Who are the 20 Greatest Players of the 21st Century? Which 20 younger players will become All Time Greats?


In 1997 at All Star Weekend the NBA gathered together the 50 greatest players in History.  Now over 20 years later I am going to rank 20 more players to join the list.  These 20 players all played in the NBA this century and almost half of them are still playing.  

First let's take a look at the original list: 

      Some legendary names but there have been so many great players in the last 20 years that it is time for an update. 

This is a new list so I won't be including previously snubbed players from the All Time 50 such as Dominiuqe Wilkins, Bob McAdoo, Alex English and Bernard King.  McAdoo a former league MVP and Nique in particular, a 9 time All Star who scored over 26,000 points should have made the original 50 players list but that is for another debate. 

And I only wanted to include players who have played the majority of their career so I will only be including players who are in their 10th year or later.  I didn't want to rank some young players such as Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and Joel Embiid who are clearly talented enough to make this list but they are still early in their career and have not had a chance to cement their legacy.  

Most players in their 10th year or later such as Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have already made historical achievements and have easily earned their place among the NBA greats, despite having almost half their career left still to play.

And again since it is a new list there is one special player that I will not be including as he was already included in the original 50 list despite only being in the league for 4 years at that time: Shaquille O'Neal

 

Of course if this list was an actual list of the top 20 players of the century Shaq, the most dominant player with Wilt in NBA history would be right near the top.  His 3 straight Finals MVP's to start the century is (along with Michael Jordan) the single greatest stretch of Finals basketball ever played.  He averaged 38 and 17 in 2000, than 33 and 16 in 2001 and finally 36 and 12 in 2002, completely overwhelming the Pacers, Sixers and Nets as the Lakers stomped to 3 straight titles.  He would go on to win a 4th championship with D-Wade in Miami and he made 15 All Star Teams as well as 8 All NBA First Teams. 

No doubt Shaq is right there with Tim Duncan and ex teammate Kobe Bryant for the 2nd greatest player of the century.        

So without further ado, let's look at the 20 greatest players to add to the original 50, in order starting from the best:

1. Lebron James

3 x NBA Champion, 3 x NBA Finals MVP

4 x NBA MVP, 15 x NBA All Star

12 x All NBA 1st Team, 2 x All NBA 2nd Team

5 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 1 x 2nd Team

There is no debate who is number one on this list, the greatest player Ever, not named Michael Jordan. 

Lebron James has reached some historic milestones in this his 16th NBA season, none higher than passing the late great Wilt Chamberlain for 5th place All Time in scoring with MJ himself the next player he will pass in a few weeks time.  The amazing thing is he is not even known to be a scoring specialist yet he is passing the best scorers ever while still in his prime! 

James is also about to enter the top 10 All Time in assists as well and he has made an incredible 8 straight Finals appearances, basically taking the East hostage for almost a decade.  

With an amazing instinct about when the right time is to move on, Lebron is now out West just when the East got real top heavy with the Celtics, Raptors, Bucks and Sixers all looking like worthy Finals contenders this year.  But he is learning that just making the playoffs in the mighty West is no guarantee and he is finally showing signs of being human by having his first serious injury of his career causing him to miss 19 games this year.    

A 4 time MVP, 3 Time Champion, 15 Time All Star and 12 time All NBA 1st Team member, there is no question that when Lebron does finally hang it up he will have record breaking accolades and mind boggling career stats.  But the big question is: Can he bring another title to La La Land and in doing so challenge His Airness for the G.O.A.T title?     

2. Kobe Bryant 

5 Titles, 2 FInals MVP

1 x NBA MVP, 18 x NBA All Star

11 x All NBA 1st Team, 2 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

9 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team

There is going to be some controversy with this ranking as the majority of analysts (that's analysts not players or coaches), rank Tim Duncan over Kobe Bryant All Time.  Both players have 5 championships although Tim Duncan has 2 MVP's and 3 Finals MVP's to 1 and 2 from Kobe.  Kobe does have 3 more All Star selections, 1 more All NBA 1st Team selection and 1 more All Defensive Team selection than Duncan.  Clearly it's close either way for all the individual accolades and team success.  

But there was something about The Black Mamba, something that he gave to the game of basketball that Tim Duncan just didn't or couldn't.  His drive, his oversized heart, his obsession to be the best, his desire to master every detail, his willpower, his sheer determination, his confidence to take any shot anytime, his killer instinct to rip your heart out, his game's aesthetic beauty and mostly his influence on his peers, his future contemporaries and kids and fans all over the world is just something Tim Duncan cannot match.     

Kobe Bryant simply meant more to the Game of Basketball than Tim Duncan.  Considering their similar individual achievements and team success, this gives Kobe the slight edge in my book.  That and the fact he always wanted to shine in the biggest moments and he was at his best with the game on the line.  Just look at the highlight video above where 15 whole minutes is needed just to fit in all of Kobe's Game Winners!

3. Tim Duncan

5 x NBA Champion, 3 x NBA Finals MVP

2 x NBA MVP, 15 x NBA All Star

10 x All NBA 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

8 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 7 x 2nd Team

Just because I rank Tim Duncan slightly behind Kobe does not mean I don't rate him as one of the top 10 players and easily the best Power Forward of All Time.  

Timmy D played in San Antonio for 19 years and he made the playoffs and won 50 games every single year.  He didn't have the flair or pizzazz of a Kobe Bryant or Lebron James, but Tim Duncan played basketball the right way and he was the perfect player to build a franchise around.

Tim Duncan was the ultimate winner, the most selfless player who did anything and everything to help his team win and make his teammates better.  Make no mistake, Duncan may not have been demonstrative or loud, but he too had immense drive and determination, and he was simply one of the greatest leaders ever.    

4. Stephen Curry

3 x NBA Champion

2 x NBA MVP, 6 x NBA All Star

2 x All NBA 1st Team, 2 x 2nd Team, 1 x 3rd Team

1 x Scoring Champion, 50-40-90 Club

Another difficult player to rank since he is still in his prime and has many good years left.  But even up until now especially if he can win the title this year, you are looking at a 2 time MVP and 3 or possibly 4 time champion with almost half a career remaining.  If this happens, only Kareem, Russell, Jordan, Magic and Tim Duncan can say they have achieved that, which instantly puts Curry into the top 20 players of All Time. 

And it's not just the accolades, Steph Curry has changed the way the game is played forever, which is why I rank him 1 place higher than teammate Kevin Durant (Along with the fact that he has 1 more championship and 1 more MVP than KD).  Never before has a player had to be checked as soon as he crosses half court in fear of a 3 point bomb, and no other player can bust a game open with a 10 or 20 point personal run in just a few minutes (except possibly his teammate and fellow Splash Bro Klay Thompson, who can go nuclear at anytime but not at the regularity and timeliness of Steph). 

Curry's unlimited range, uncanny shotmaking  and his sheer audacity to take and make shots other players would never dream of attempting, makes him simply the greatest shooter to ever live.   The league has changed for the better because of Steph Curry and he has clearly already cemented his place in the absolute Pantheon of players.  It will be interesting to see how high he can climb.   

5. Kevin Durant

2 x NBA Champion, 2 x NBA Finals MVP

1 x NBA MVP, 10 x NBA All Star

6 x All NBA 1st Team, 2 x 2nd Team

4 x Scoring Champion, 50-40-90 Club

It was a tough decision to put Kevin Durant over Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki with all of what those 3 have accomplished.  But there is little doubt that Durant will eventually pass all 3 of them soon on the Pantheon of greats if he hasn't already.  KD has an MVP which D-Wade does not have and he has won 2 Championships (and 2 Finals MVPs) to Dirk's and KG's 1, with very possibly another one coming this year. 

Durant, already a 10 time All Star has widely been regarded as the second best player in the game for the most part of the last decade, a distinction the other 3 could not carry for most of their careers.    

When it's all said and done, if he can stay in his prime for the next 4 or 5 years, Kevin Durant may just become the All Time leading scorer.  And if he does decide to go to New York this summer and manages to bring a championship to the Knicks, he will be regarded as a top 5 All Time Player if not higher.      

6. Dirk Nowitzki

1 x NBA Champion, 1 x NBA Finals MVP

1 x NBA MVP, 14 x NBA All Star

4 x All NBA 1st Team, 5 x 2nd Team, 3 x 3rd Team

50-40-90 Club

With the next two (or even 3) players you could easily flip a coin to rank them.  But Dirk, the 2007 MVP had the most impressive championship run, shocking the world and almost single handedly beating Lebron and the Heatles in 2011.

Dirk Nowitzki, the only 7 footer to be a member of the illustrious 50/40/90 club is a one of a kind player never before seen in the NBA.  He changed the way 7 footers were looked at and paved the way for a wave of European players and sweet shooting big men to join the league.

Dirk and KG faced off once in the playoffs in 2003 and Dirk was sensational, clearly outplaying the Big Ticket averaging 33 and 16, including 39 and 17 in the last game of a first round sweep.  

Nowitzki has currently scored over 31,000 points closing in on Wilt Chamberlain for 6th place All Time.  That is an amazing achievement as is his record breaking 21st season playing with the same team, the Dallas Mavericks.  He will retire as easily a top 20 All Time Player and the second greatest international player ever, only behind the great Hakeem Olajuwon.  

7. Kevin Garnett

1 x NBA Champion

1 x NBA MVP, 15 x NBA All Star

4 x All NBA 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

1 x Defensive Player of the Year

9 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team

There is also a strong case for Kevin Garnett to be ranked higher and above his rival Dirk.  

Like Dirk, Garnett also won one championship and one regular season MVP and both players made 4 All NBA First Teams, while Garnett had one more All Star Appearance.  But Garnett, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year was one of the best and most versatile defenders ever making the All NBA Defense Team 12 times including the 1st Team 9 times compared to 0 for Dirk.  And KG's near unanimous 2004 MVP Season is amongst the best all around seasons ever. 

Clearly Dirk was the better scorer and shooter, but KG was better at almost everything else: rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, defense, leadership and intangibles.  These are enough reasons to consider Garnett as the better all time player.    

But Dirk had the longer Peak, made more All NBA Teams (12 to 9), had the most impressive title run and he single handedly carried a successful franchise for 20 years.  Dirk's playoff performances and the fact that he performed significantly better in playoff clutch moments gives him the slight slight edge over KG in this ranking.

8. Dwyane Wade

3 x NBA Champion, 1 x NBA Finals MVP

13 x NBA All Star, 1 x Scoring Champion

2 x All NBA 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team, 3 x 3rd Team

3 x NBA All Defensive 2nd Team

What about D-Wade, why isn't he considered better than Dirk or KG?  He is after all a 3 time NBA Champion compared to just 1 for the two big men.  But I do suspect Nowitzki and Garnett could have won more championships as well if Lebron James decided to join their team instead!  

Nevertheless Wade's performance in the 06 finals for his 1st title is still one of the greatest Finals performances ever where he averaged 40 points in the the last 4 games to beat who else but Dirk and the Mavs.  And in his best season in 2009 he averaged over 30 points, 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.3 blocks and shot almost 50% from the field in one of the greatest individual seasons of the modern era.  

But at the end of the day Wade never won an MVP and only made 2 All NBA First Teams in his career.   Although Peak Dwyane Wade was almost as good as anyone, it was short lived and he does not quite have the career stats and longevity of a Nowitzki or Garnett.  But that does not mean he won't go down as a top 25 player All Time and top 4 shooting guard of all time behind MJ, Kobe, West and just ahead of the little guy below.    

9. Allen Iverson

1 x NBA MVP, 11 x NBA All Star

3 x All NBA 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team, 1 x 3rd Team

4 x NBA Scoring Champion, 3 x Steals Leader

The greatest player 6 feet and under in NBA history is the Answer Allen Iverson.  Relentless, fearless and born for the big stage, Iverson was one of the most electrifying players ever. 

At only 165 pounds, A.I would take it to the hole time and time again no matter how many times he hit the deck.  He was lightning quick with the best crossover in history and somehow he never ever got tired, running around the whole game like an energizer bunny. 

Iverson, the 2001 MVP was a 4 time scoring champion and 11 Time All Star (including 2 All Star MVP awards).  But it's in the playoffs where he raised his game another notch averaging almost 30 points for his whole playoff career, 2nd All Time only to Michael Jordan.    

10. James Harden

1 x NBA MVP, 7 x NBA All Star

4 x All NBA 1st Team, 1 x 3rd Team

1 x NBA Scoring Champion, 1 x Assists Leader

The Beard James Harden has shot up this list the last 2 years, thanks to an MVP campaign in 2018 and an amazing season this year where he is averaging an astounding 36.6 points per game, including 31 continuous games with 30 or more points (and counting), 2nd all time only to Wilt Chamberlain.

He has been a one man gang for the injury riddled Houston Rockets, carrying them with multiple 50 point games and crazy 40 point triple doubles.  And the most amazing fact is that almost all of his points have come unassisted including another record breaking 304 straight points without a teammate even setting him up!

His signature step back 3 pointer is one of the most deadliest and unguardable shots in the league and with his uncanny ability to draw fouls and finish at the rim, James Harden is simply the most unstoppable offensive player in the NBA right now.  

But for Harden to climb any higher on this list, he will have to raise his game when it matters most and start to have some memorable playoff performances while competing for championships.  

11. Russell Westbrook

1 x NBA MVP, 8 x NBA All Star

2 x All NBA 1st Team, 5 x 2nd Team

2 x NBA Scoring Champion, 1 x Assist Leader

Average a Triple Double 3 Straight Years

Sometimes Russell Westbrook gets a bit of an unfair rap.  Yes he is shooting the ball poorly this season and in the past he has not always made the right play and has even been a bit out of control, especially in the playoffs where poise and execution are at a premium.  But there is no denying that he is a force in the NBA that has never been seen before in history. 

He will average a triple double for 3 straight seasons after nobody came close to doing it once in the last 50 years since the Big O in 1968.  This includes a current record breaking streak of 11 triple doubles in a row and counting.  And this year Russ has handed the scoring to Paul George while he focuses on everything else including a much improved effort on the defensive end which seems to be a recipe of success for the Thunder. 

I suspect Russ will be looked back 20 years form now with a lot more respect as a legendary player when people realize this dude averaged a high triple double for basically the second half of his career.  

12. Jason Kidd

 

1 x NBA Champion

10 x NBA All Star, 5 x Assist Leader

5 x All NBA 1st Team, 1 x 2nd Team

4 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 5 x 2nd Team

With the next 4 point guards, it's like splitting hairs as all 4 of them have a claim to be the best of the bunch.  I ranked Kidd above Steve Nash despite not winning any MVP's because Kidd has better career numbers, was a better leader, winner, defender and almost everything else except shooting.  I wrote a detailed blog about this earlier here.   

And I put Kidd over Chris Paul and Gary Payton mainly due to Team Success and career numbers.  Kidd is 2nd All Time in Assists and Steals to the untouchable John Stockton, 9th in 3s and 1st among all guards for rebounding.  But if Chris Paul can play for another few years without injuries and enjoy some more team success and possibly a championship, then he will most likely pass Steve Nash and Jason Kidd on the All Time List.  

13. Steve Nash

2 x NBA MVP, 8 x NBA All Star

3 x All NBA 1st Team, 2 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

5 x NBA Assist Leader, 50-40-90 Club

Steve Nash was a 2 time MVP and from all the great players on this list only Lebron, Curry and Tim Duncan can say the same.  And only Magic Johnson amongst point guards in history has ever won more.  

And when it comes to shooting, few players if any in NBA history can match Steve Nash’s efficiency from 2, from 3 and from the free throw line.  He was part of the famous 50/40/90 club (50% from the field, 40% from 3 and 90% from the line) an unbelievable 4 times in his career.  Outside of Nash, this remarkable feat has only been recorded 7 times in NBA History, with only Larry Bird managing to do it more than once.

But a lack of team success is the main reason why a two time MVP would not be higher on this list.  Nash is the greatest player ever and only league MVP ever to never make the NBA Finals despite playing on some great teams.  For this reason I cannot place him any higher on this list.

14. Chris Paul

9 x NBA All Star

4 x All NBA 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team, 1 x 3rd Team

7 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 2 x 2nd Team

4 x NBA Assist Leader, 6 x Steals Leader

Creeping up on Jason Kidd and Steve Nash is 9 time All Star Chris Paul.  Similar to Jason Kidd with his leadership and all around offensive and defensive game, Paul was the much better shooter and scorer.  Paul also lead the league in assists 4 times and steals 6 times drawing comparisons to Utah legend John Stockton.

Although he never won a league MVP, Paul finished in the Top 5 and Top 10 more times than Kidd or Nash, including 7 Top 7 finishes, with his best year being a runner up to Kobe Bryant in 2008.  Paul also made more All NBA teams than Kidd or Nash (8 including 4 First Teams) and he made the All Defense Team 9 times, including 7 1st team selections.

His repeated playoff failures hurt his ranking, but CP3 has a chance to climb this list and pass Nash and Kidd if he can play at an elite level for a couple more years.  And if he can win a championship together with James Harden while racking up more career assists and steals, he could challenge John Stockton and Isiah Thomas for a top 5 All Time point guard ranking (only behind Magic, The Big O and Steph).

15. Gary Payton

1 x NBA Champion, 9 x NBA All Star

2 x All NBA 1st Team, 5 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

1 x Defensive Player of the Year

9 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team

The Glove Gary Payton was one of the greatest defensive players (and trash talkers!) of all time.  He is the only point guard in NBA History to win the Defensive Player of the Year and no guard has won the award since.  

He was also a great offensive player, averaging over 19 points per game and 7 assists for 10 seasons, scoring over 21,000 points in his career and dishing out almost 9,000 assists, good for 9th place on the All Time List.  He also made 9 consecutive All NBA teams from 1994 to 2002 and he won 2 Olympic Gold Medals in 1996 and 2000.    

Forming a dynamic Sonic Boom Duo with Shawn Kemp, Payton lead the Sonics to the NBA Finals in 1996 falling in 6 games to perhaps the greatest team ever, the 72 win Chicago Bulls.  Payton would finally win a title late in his career when he joined the Miami Heat, making the crucial game winning jumper to avoid going down 3-0, helping to kickstart the comeback for the Heat to win 4 straight games and their first ever title.  

16. Tracy McGrady

7 x NBA All Star

2 x All NBA 1st Team, 3 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

2 x NBA Scoring Champion

Many people would put Paul Pierce and even Reggie Miller and Ray Allen over Tracy McGrady but T-Mac was just a better player than those 3.  Not including injuries, at no point in their careers did anyone think Paul Pierce or Ray Allen was a better player than Tracy McGrady.  During the early part of this century T-Mac was one of the top two scorers in the league with Kobe Bryant, and his sheer talent and ability at his peak was unmatched. 

T-Mac was a two time All NBA 1st team member, 3 Time 2nd Team member and 2 time scoring champion.  The other 3 players below never made an All NBA first team and were never really considered one of the top 5 or even 10 best players in the league at any time of their careers.  Just because Paul Pierce and Ray Allen got Kevin Garnett to join them to help win a championship does not make them better players then the supremely talented McGrady. 

17. Paul Pierce

 

1 x NBA Champion, 1 x NBA Finals MVP

10 x NBA All Star

1 x All NBA 2nd Team, 3 x 3rd Team

Paul Pierce was undoubtedly one of the greatest players of his generation but a closer look at his individual accomplishments show that he may be just a tad overrated. 

As mentioned above he never made the All NBA First Team and only one 2nd team, with players such as Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph all getting voted ahead of him during his prime years.  He also only finished in the top 10 in MVP voting once (compared to 5 times for T-Mac) meaning he was never really considered a top 10 player in the league during his career.

However you can't deny that he was Boston's go to player for 15 years, having countless big performances and making multiple clutch shots in the playoffs.  He definitely brought his A game when his team needed him the most, none more so than game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals when he went head to head with Lebron scoring 41 points to carry the Celtics to the Finals.  He was then named Finals MVP averaging 22 points a game as the Celtics beat their old rivals the Lakers in 6 games.    

18. Ray Allen

2 x NBA Champion

10 x NBA All Star

1 x 2nd Team, 1 x 3rd Team

All Time 3 Pointers Made Leader

The 3rd member of the Boston Big 3 to make this list is Ray Allen, the all time leader for 3 pointers made and probably the best shooter of all time not named Steph Curry.  

Again Allen may not have the individual accolades of McGrady as he only made 1 All NBA 2nd Team and only finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting once.  But he did average 20+ points per game for 9 straight seasons, peaking at 26.4 points per game in 2007 before joining the Celtics and sacrificing his scoring to focus on winning.

Allen may be the one player to influence other legends legacies more than anyone else considering his clutch performances in both the 2008 and 2013 Finals.  He was sensational in the 2008 Finals averaging over 20 points including 26 points and seven 3s in Game 6 to help lead the Celtics to the title.  This directly helped shape the legacy of Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as they won their only title that year and they have Ray Ray to thank for it.

And who could forget one of the biggest shots in NBA history, the game tying 3 from the corner to force overtime in Game 6 of the 2013 finals to save Lebron from having a Finals record of 2 wins and 7 losses, a stat that would have severely tarnished The King's legacy.    

19. Reggie Miller

5 x NBA All Star

3 x All NBA 3rd Team

50-40-90 Club

Personally I think Reggie Miller was the better player than Ray Allen on the simple fact that he single handedly carried an Indiana Pacer franchise for almost 20 years and he never had another All Star to play with in his prime.  He played his best basketball in the playoffs with many unforgettable moments such as the 8 points in 9 seconds to shock the Knicks in 1995 and the 3 Point Buzzer Beater against MJ and the Bulls to force a game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1998. 

If this was a ranking of playoff performers he would be higher on this list but the simple fact is Ray Allen was a 2 time NBA Champion, a 10 time All Star and even passed Reggie Miller for the All Time most 3 pointers made.  Miller only made 5 All Star Teams and only made the Finals once, losing to Shaq and Kobe in 2000.    

20. Dwight Howard

8 x NBA All Star

5 x All NBA 1st Team, 1 x 2nd Team, 2 x 3rd Team

3 x Defensive Player of the Year

4 x NBA All Defensive 1st Team, 1 x 2nd Team

Dwight Howard currently does not have a good reputation in the NBA and in hindsight it was a big mistake that he left the Orlando Magic as his career has never been the same since. 

But people forget how dominant Dwight was in his prime when he was clearly the premier big man in the NBA making 8 consecutive All Star Games from 2007-2014 and making the All NBA First Team 5 years in a row from 2008-2012.  He was also a 3 time Defensive Player of the Year, he won 5 rebounding titles, 2 blocks titles and lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009 losing to Kobe and the Lakers.     

No matter what people think of him now, he has already achieved enough in his career to be a sure bet to get elected to the Hall of Fame and his individual accomplishments alone is enough to get him the 20th and final spot on this list.

Next Ten:

Pau Gasol                Chris Webber

Manu Ginobili          Tony Parker

Carmelo Anthony     Vince Carter

Chris Bosh               Dikembe Mutombo

Ben Wallace             Chauncey Billups

Some of these players barely missed the cut.  NBA Champions and international greats Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker could all lay claim to be a top 20 player, but their peaks were not quite as elite as the other players on the list and they no doubt benefited from playing with 2 All Time Greats in Kobe and TD.  

Dynamic scorers Carmelo Anthony and Vince Carter were both perennial All Stars, Melo with 10 selections and Vince with 8 but their lack of playoff success and ability to make their teammates better means they do not make this list.

Big men Chris Bosh and Chris Webber also have a case, Bosh as a two time champion and 11 time All Star and Webber as a top forward with TD, Dirk and KG in the early 2000s.  But Bosh only made one All NBA 2nd team and tragically had his career cut short due to life threatening blood clots.  And Webber has not yet been selected to the Hall of Fame while everyone else on the list has or 100% will when they retire.

Another International Player Dikembe Mutombo and Detroit's Ben Wallace both won a record 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards but their offensive limitations hurt their case.  And finally fellow Piston Chauncey Billups probably had a better career than his teammate but still falls just short on this list.    

Injuries Prevented Them from Being All Time Greats:

Derrick Rose

Grant Hill

Penny Hardaway

Yao Ming

Alonzo Mourning

All 5 of these players could have been All Time Greats and 3 of them Grant Hill, Yao Ming and Alonzo Mourning still made the Hall of Fame despite all suffering serious injuries or in Mourning's case a Kidney disease that would force his early retirement in his prime before a mini comeback.  Grant Hill was so good and popular in the 90s, he even out voted Michael Jordan in the All Star Game and looked prime to become an NBA Legend until repeated ankle surgeries derailed his career.   

The 4th guy, Penny Hardaway was not elected to the Hall of Fame, but like Hill he was a young Mega Superstar for a short period in the 90s when teaming with Shaq. He was so good in his young prime and was a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer if he didn't suffer those devastating knee injuries.

And finally 2011 MVP Derrick Rose is still playing and after looking like his career was pretty much done, he has had an amazing comeback this year, averaging over 18 points off the bench making him one of the favourites for the 6th man award.  Whether he makes the Hall of Fame is up for debate, but if he doesn't then he will be the only former MVP to not make it.     

Bonus List Future 20:

Below is a list of players who could easily join this list in the future:

Anthony Davis          Kyrie Irving

Paul George              Giannis Anteokounmpo

Joel Embiid               Karl Anthony Towns

Nikola Jokic               Rudy Gobert

Klay Thompson          Draymond Green

Damian Lillard           Ben Simmons

Luka Doncic               Kristaps Porzingis

Jayson Tatum             Donovan Mitchell

Devin Booker             Deandre Ayton

DeMarcus Cousins     Pascal Siakam                     

* Zion Williamson - Not yet in the NBA but worth a mention.

 

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