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5 most dominant NBA players of all time

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
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Himanshu Srivastava

What does being a dominant player mean?

Quite simply, it means being able to transcend the era you played in. The definitive superstar of your time? Well, then hop in a time-machine and be that same superstar you were in your era to the one you have been transported to.

Numbers so great that they should demand the critics do a double take just to believe in them. Highlights so fancy and exhilarating that they are worthy of running on a 24-hour loop. Resume so extraordinary that it speaks for itself.

And with all that said, let's countdown to the five most dominant player in the history of the NBA.

#5: Bill Russell

Bill Russell
Bill Russell

Resume: 11 X NBA Champion, 5 X NBA MVP, 12 X NBA All-Star, 3 X All-NBA First Team, 8 X All-NBA Second Team

The greatest winner of all-time. More rings than fingers. No single individual in the history of basketball has ever come close to winning as much Bill Russell did. From 1959-1966, the Celtics won 8 straight NBA Championships with Russell leading the charge.

Also read: Top 5 NBA centers of all time

In a stellar 13-year career, he went to the finals a total of 12 times, accumulating an overall record of 11 wins and 1 losses. In fact, he won the last two championships as a player-coach which serves as a tribute to his basketball acumen.

The reason there is no NBA Finals MVP in his resume is that they named the honor after him.

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Generally regarded as the greatest defensive basketball player of all time, the big man from Louisiana would have been a force to be reckoned with in any era, because as we know defense wins championships.

#4: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Resume: 6 X NBA Champion, 6 X NBA MVP, 2 X NBA Finals MVP, 19 X NBA All-Star, 10 X All-NBA First Team, 5 X All-NBA Second Team

With 38,387 points to his name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sits at the very top of the NBA All-Time points scored. Took home two NBA Finals MVP, one in 1971 and the other in 1985. Went to the NBA Finals a whopping 10 times.

Never has a single player achieved both individual and team success at the level Jabbar did and no other player maintained the astounding level of consistency that the player formerly known as Lew Alcindor did for two full decades.

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But, the number 1 reason Kareem-Abdul Jabbar would have been a dominant force no matter the era lies in the fact that he possessed the most unstoppable shot the game has ever seen, the skyhook.

#3: Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan #23
Michael Jordan

Resume: 6 X NBA Champion, 5 X NBA MVP, 6 X NBA Finals MVP, 14 X NBA All-Star, 10 X All-NBA First Team, 1 X All-NBA Second Team

Arguably the greatest of all time. With the only guard on the list, it is a testament to the greatness of the one simply known as MJ.

His brilliance on both ends of the court has never been matched. Going 6 for 6 in the NBA Finals with 6 Finals MVP made Michael Jordan truly unstoppable on the hardwood floor.

He is also only one of two players to have accumulated more than 3000 points in a season, which he did in the 1986-87 season when he averaged 37.1 points per game. His offensive mastery often leads people to forget about his defensive brilliance.

Also read: Top 5 NBA shooting guards of all time

A 9-time member of the All-Defensive First Team, 3-time steals leader and the recipient of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 1988, Michael Jordan could lay claim to being the greatest all-around player of all time too.

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His averages for the NBA Finals read as 33.6 points, 6.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds. All we can do is look at those numbers and shrug.

There may never be another Michael Jordan. In this lifetime or another.

#2: Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O''Neal
Shaquille O''Neal

Resume: 4 X NBA Champion, 1 X NBA MVP, 3 X NBA Finals MVP, 15 X NBA All-Star, 8 X All-NBA First Team, 2 X All-NBA Second Team

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Shaquille O'Neal happens.

Averaging 23.4 points, 3.5 blocks and 13.9 rebounds as a rookie for the Orlando Magic, there was no doubt that the Big Aristotle was destined to be a superstar but it was as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers that the Shaqtus become a true legend of the game. In a tenure which lasted for 8 years, he averaged 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks.

And when the stage was the biggest, he shone the brightest. Going to the NBA Finals a total of six times, he averaged 28.8 points and 13.1 rebounds. Those numbers skyrocketed to 33.6 points and 13.9 rebounds as a part of the gold and purple.

His Lakers were the last team to three-peat in the NBA. And he was a big reason for them. He might have been the reason for them. His averages for them? Look below:

2000 NBA Finals: 38.0 points and 16.7 rebounds

2001 NBA Finals: 33.0 points and 15.8 rebounds

2002 NBA Finals: 36.3 points and 12.3 rebounds.

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One word: Dominant.

#1: Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain

Resume: 2 X NBA Champion, 4 X NBA MVP, 13 X NBA All-Star, 7 X All-NBA First Team, 3 X All-NBA Second Team

The most dominant player of all time. Maybe in all of sports.

Also read: Top 10 Regular season scorers in NBA History

No single individual has touched the numbers Wilt ever did. Forget about touching, they have not even come close.

Whether it is dropping 100 points or grabbing 55 rebounds in a single game, Wilt has all of them covered. In the 1961-62 season, the great man averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds for a whole season. That is not a typo, you read that correctly.

The leader for the most points scored in a single season belongs to Wilt when he totaled a staggering 4,029 points in the aforementioned season. Number 2 on that list? Wilt the Stilt with 3,586 points in the 1962-63 season.

He also has the most 50 points game in the season when he accumulated 45 of them in the 1961-62 season. No other player has 45 in their entire career.

And he was a rebounding machine too, with career averages of 22.9 rebounds per game, the highest in league history and a career total of 23,924 rebounds, also an NBA record. Not only that, he also has the most number of seasons with 1000 rebounds or more, with 13.

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We can go on and on, but the point is simple: the history of the game has never seen someone dominating the game with utter ease. Eye-popping and jaw-dropping numbers. A true giant of the game. Records that make him sound like a myth.

For such reasons and many more: Wilt Chamberlain is the most dominant player in the history of the NBA.

Edited by Yash Matange
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