Even if you don't follow the NBA, you know who Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James are. And yes, you're certainly not clueless about Shaquille O'Neal, Larry Bird, and the late Kobe Bryant.
But what about the Michael Coopers, Adrian Dantley, Jack Sikmas, and Dennis Johnsons of the world? Who? There are plenty of guys throughout NBA history who don't get the respect that they deserve.
Bernard King is a prime example. With his trademark turn-around jump shot, the New York Knicks legend was an unstoppable scorer back in the 1980s. He led the league in scoring during the 1984-85 season, with an average of 32.9 points per contest.
King tore his ACL, yet he returned to average over 20 points for three straight years, including 28.4 per game at age 34.
Retiring in 1993, the four-time All-Star didn't make the Hall of Fame until 2013. Now that's what you call underappreciated.
Here's a list of the league's five most underrated players of all time. If you're expecting names like Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or James Harden, you'll be disappointed.
#5 Kevin Johnson
We begin the list with someone who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but may never get in. And that's sad because he was a phenomenal player.
Kevin Johnson is one of only four players in NBA history to average at least 20 points and ten assists per game during three different seasons. Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and Isiah Thomas are the other three.
KJ was one of the early '90s most exciting point guards. He could score, dish the ball and get to the basket with ease for a poster dunk. Check out his jam over Hakeem Olajuwon whenever you get the chance.
In your face, Kevin Johnson!!
However, the average fan doesn't know anything about him.
#4 Scottie Pippen
During his illustrious career, Scottie Pippen won six championships, made seven trips to the All-Star game, and was a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times.
He even won a Gold Medal with the Original Dream Team, which is probably the most exceptional team ever assembled. Plus, he's undoubtedly one of the most well-known players ever.
So how in the world is Pippen underrated? It's simple: He doesn't get enough credit for Chicago's success in the '90s. He's often thought of as just Jordan's sidekick who never won any championships without MJ.
But how many championships did Jordan win without Pippen? The answer is zero.
And sure, Jordan was the main reason for the Bulls' dynasty, but he wouldn't have won all six of those titles if it wasn't for Pippen's lockdown defense and all-around play.
#3 Alex English
Alex English rocked some cool Denver Nuggets uniforms back in the '80s. But that's not why he makes an appearance on the list.
When it comes to scoring, English was the man. He scored more total points than any other player during the '80s.
English averaged at least 23 points per game night straight seasons, including a career-high 29.8 during the 1985-86 campaign.
His silky-smooth jumper and ridiculous mid-range game made him into an eight-time All-Star and a Hall of Famer. Yet, he was overshadowed by other '80s stars like Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Julius Erving.
#2 Mark Price
In today's NBA, there's a point guard by the name of Steph Curry who can simply shoot the lights out. Back in the day, there was Mark Price.
The four-time All-Star was once a member of the 50-40-90 club (50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point land, and 90 percent from the free-throw line). He also won the NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest twice.
Although he hasn't played in over 20 years, Price still ranks third all-time in free-throw percentage behind Curry and Steve Nash.
Price was the leader of some dangerous early '90s Cleveland Cavalier teams that might've won a title or two if it wasn't for Jordan and Pippen's Bulls. Perhaps if he had won a championship, more fans would know about him.
#1 Dennis Rodman
Wait for a second, doesn't pretty much everybody knows who Dennis Rodman is? Yes, but that doesn't mean he isn't profoundly underrated and underappreciated.
People think of him as that guy who always changed his hair color, had a bunch of tattoos, and once wore a wedding dress. Yet, they tend to forget that he's possibly the greatest rebounder of all time and one of the best defenders the Association has ever seen.
Rodman grabbed over 17 rebounds a night seven consecutive seasons and won Defensive Player of the Year twice. Serving as the ultimate role player, he helped win a handful of titles–two with the Detroit Pistons and three as a member of the Bulls.