The NBA has evolved to become one of the largest global sports leagues in history. The league has changed a lot over the years, but its popularity remains the same amongst fans in the United States and worldwide. Whether it’s players changing teams, free agency, or draft picks, there is always something to talk about when it comes to the NBA.

So, let’s look at the best names in NBA history. These players helped redefine the sport as we know it today.

Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon made a mark for himself when Michael Jordan was injured during the 1994 and 1995 seasons. He won consecutive titles and Finals MVP awards while dominating so thoroughly that no one could match up with him. Olajuwon did everything, winning a Defensive Player of the Year Award and an MVP Award. He’s acknowledged as one of the five greatest players in NBA history.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell won 11 championships as the starting center for a Boston Celtics dynasty from 1956 through 1969. Russell is recognized as one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history, and his gift for inspiring his teammates was crucial to his team’s success.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain holds several all-time NBA records, including his 100-point game and record for most rebounds in a game. Chamberlain’s size and athleticism enabled him to dominate opponents during his playing years and helped him achieve greatness on the court. 

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal was an unstoppable force during his prime. The seven-foot-tall star used his size and strength to gain easy lay-ups on offense; he was also extremely skilled at sinking three-pointers and hook shots. Defenders could not stop him from scoring.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is arguably the greatest center to have ever played. He holds many records and has won at every level of competition, making him one of the most successful players in basketball history. His signature shot, the skyhook, was unstoppable at its peak.

Moses Malone

Moses Malone was a professional basketball player; he played in the National Basketball Association as well as the American Basketball Association. He was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player a total of three times, which shows how great of a player he was. He used his skill and force to own the boards and was a 12-time NBA All-Star. The basketball star passed away at the age of 60 in September 2015 in Norfolk, Virginia, as a result of heart disease.