The most popular answer is Michael Jordan. Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain are popular selections. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are certainly in the conversation. LeBron James is a favorite of the current generation and still climbing.
A name that rarely…if ever…comes up is Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Surprising, considering the big man’s pedigree. Here are 10 supporting arguments for Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the best ever.
1. POINTS: He’s the leading scorer in NBA history with 37,387 points. Karl Malone is second.
2. MVP: Kareem won the NBA MVP award a record six times. Jordan won five and LeBron is a four-time winner.
3. RINGS: He’s won six NBA championships, one with the Bucks and five with the Lakers. Only Robert Horry and a bunch of Celtics have won more. Russell is the leader with 11.
4. DEFENSE: Kareem was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive team 11 times.
5. REBOUNDS: He’s fourth all-time in rebounds with 17,440, trailing only Wilt, Russell and Malone.
6. ALL-STAR: Jabbar appeared in 19 NBA All-Star games, the most in history. Kobe Bryant is second with 18.
7. BLOCKS: Only Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutumbo have more blocks than Kareem.
8. UCLA: Won three straight NCAA titles with UCLA in 1967,68 and 69, and made first team All-American each year.
9. GAMES: Only Robert Parrish played in more NBA games than Jabbar.
10. SCORING AVERAGE: Kareem averaged 24.6 points per game throughout his career.