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The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History (also referred to as NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team or NBA's Top 50) were chosen in 1996 to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). These fifty players were selected through a vote by a panel of media members, former players and coaches, and current and former general managers. In addition, the top ten head coaches and top ten single-season teams in NBA history were selected by media members as part of the celebration. The fifty players had to have played at least a portion of their careers in the NBA and were selected irrespective of position played.

The list was announced by NBA commissioner David Stern on October 29, 1996, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, the former site of the Commodore Hotel, where the original NBA charter was signed on June 6, 1946. The announcement marked the beginning of a season-long celebration of the league's anniversary. Forty-seven of the fifty players were later assembled in Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker, during the halftime ceremony of the 1997 All-Star Game. Three players were absent: Pete Maravich, who had died in 1988, at forty; Shaquille O'Neal, who was recovering from a knee injury; and Jerry West, who was scheduled to have surgery for an ear infection and could not fly. At the time of the announcement, eleven players were active. Only O'Neal remained active as of the 2008–09 season.

Players selected

Selection process

The list was compiled through unranked voting completed by fifty selected panelists. Sixteen of the panelists were former players voting in their roles as players, thirteen were members of the print and broadcast news media, and twenty-one were team representatives: contemporary and former general managers, head coaches, and executives. Of the last group, thirteen were former NBA players. Players were prohibited from voting for themselves. Only three voting veterans (Bill Bradley, Johnny Kerr, and Bob Lanier) were not selected to the team.

Voters

* Denotes voter who was selected to the 50 Greatest Players list
Voter category As categorized by the NBA
Name Voter category
* Player
Media member
Team
Team
* Team
* Player
* Team
Team
Media member
Player
Team
* Player
Media member
* Player
* Team
Team
Media member
Team
* Player
Media member
Media member
Team
Team
* Player
Media member
Team
Media member
* Player
Player
Media member
Player
Team
Media member
Media member
Team
* Player
* Player
Team
Team
* Team
* Player
* Player
Media member
* Player
* Player
Team
* Team
* Team
Media member
* Team


List

Eleven players (Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton) were active in the 1996–97 season, during which the team was announced. Only O'Neal is active as of the 2008–09 season. All of the selected players except Karl Malone, O'Neal and Pippen have, as of 2009, either been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famemarker or announced as inductees by the Hall. Lenny Wilkens was the only member of the players list to have been selected as a member of the coaches list.
Italics Denotes player who was active at the time of induction
^ Denotes player who is still active
* Elected to the Basketball Hall of Famemarker
Year Denotes year of Basketball Hall of Fame induction
G Guard F Forward C Center
Pos Position Pts Points Reb Rebounds
Ast Assists MVP Most Valuable Player


Name Team(s) played for (years) Pos Pts Reb Ast Championships won MVP won Finals MVP won Year Ref.
* Milwaukee Bucks (19691975)

Los Angeles Lakers (19751989)
C 38,387 17,440 5,660 6 (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) 6 (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980) 2 (1971, 1985) 1995
* Cincinnati Royals / Kansas City-Omaha / Kansas City Kings (19701976)

New York Nets (1976–1977)

Boston Celtics (19781983)

Milwaukee Bucks (1983–1984)
G 16,481 2,046 6,476 1 (1981) None None 1991
* Philadelphia Warriors (19501962) F/G 16,266 6,129 1,665 1 (1956) None None 1978
* Philadelphia 76ers (19841992)

Phoenix Suns (19921996)

Houston Rockets (19962000)
F 23,757 12,546 4,215 None 1 (1993) None 2006
* San Francisco / Golden State Warriors (19651967, 19721978)

Houston Rockets (19781980)
F 18,395 5,168 4,017 1 (1975) None 1 (1975) 1987
* Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers (19581971) F 23,149 11,463 3,650 None None None 1977
* Detroit Pistons (19661975)

Washington Bullets (19751977)

Boston Celtics (1977–1978)
G 18,327 3,420 5,397 None None None 1990
* Boston Celtics (19791992) F 21,791 8,974 5,695 3 (1981, 1984, 1986) 3 (1984, 1985, 1986) 2 (1984, 1986) 1998
* Philadelphia / San Francisco Warriors (19591965)

Philadelphia 76ers (19651968)

Los Angeles Lakers (19681973)
C 31,419 23,924 4,643 2 (1967, 1972) 4 (1960, 1966, 1967, 1968) 1 (1972) 1979
* Boston Celtics (19501963)

Cincinnati Royals (1969–1970)
G 16,960 4,786 6,955 6 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963) 1 (1957) None 1971
* Boston Celtics (19701980)

Milwaukee Bucks (1982–1983)
C/F 13,516 10,444 2,910 2 (1974, 1976) 1 (1973) None 1991
* Philadelphia 76ers (19651972)

Philadelphia 76ers (19741976)
F/C 13,626 6,638 2,625 2 (1967, 1983) None None 1986
* Detroit Pistons (19621968)

New York Knicks (19681974)
F/G 14,053 9,618 2,497 2 (1970, 1973) None None 1983
* Portland Trail Blazers (19831995)

Houston Rockets (19951998)
G/F 22,195 6,677 6,125 1 (1995) None None 2004
* Philadelphia 76ers (19761987) F/G 18,364 5,601 3,224 1 (1983) 1 (1981) None 1993
* New York Knicks (19852000)

Seattle SuperSonics (2000–2001)

Orlando Magic (2001–2002)
C/F 24,815 11,607 2,215 None None None 2008
* New York Knicks (19671977)

Cleveland Cavaliers (19771980)
G 15,581 4,830 5,040 2 (1970, 1973) None None 1987
* San Antonio Spurs (19761985)

Chicago Bulls (1985–1986)
G/F 20,708 3,607 2,214 None None None 1996
* Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers (19581973) G/F 21,586 5,665 4,540 1 (1967) None None 1982
* Boston Celtics (19621978) F/G 26,395 8,007 6,114 8 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976) None 1 (1974) 1984
* San Diego / Houston Rockets (19681972, 19811984)

Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets (19721981)
F/C 27,313 16,279 2,398 1 (1978) None None 1990
* Los Angeles Lakers (19791991, 1996) G/F 17,707 6,559 10,141 5 (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) 3 (1987, 1989, 1990) 3 (1980, 1982, 1987) 2002
* Boston Celtics (19571969) G/F 15,411 4,305 2,209 10 (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969) None None 1984
* Chicago Bulls (19841993, 19951998)

Washington Wizards (20012003)
G/F 32,292 6,672 5,633 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) 5 (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998) 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) 2009
* Cincinnati Royals (19631969)

San Francisco Warriors (19691971)

New York Knicks (19711974)
F/C 14,053 12,942 2,732 1 (1973) None None 1980
Utah Jazz (19852003)

Los Angeles Lakers (2003–2004)
F 36,928 14,968 5,248 None 2 (1997, 1999) None
* Buffalo Braves (1976)

Houston Rockets (19761982)

Philadelphia 76ers (19821986, 1993–1994)

Washington Bullets (19861988)

Atlanta Hawks (19881991)

Milwaukee Bucks (19911993)

San Antonio Spurs (1994–1995)
C/F 27,409 16,212 1,796 1 (1983) 3 (1979, 1982, 1983) 1 (1983) 2001
* Atlanta Hawks (19701974)

New Orleans / Utah Jazz (19741980)

Boston Celtics (1980)
G 15,948 2,747 3,563 None None None 1987
* Boston Celtics (19801993) F/C 17,335 7,122 1,670 3 (1981, 1984, 1986) None None 1999
* Minneapolis Lakers (19481956) C 10,156 4,167 1,245 5 (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) None None 1959
* Baltimore Bullets (19671971)

New York Knicks (19711980)
G 17,454 2,796 3,594 1 (1973) None None 1990
^ Orlando Magic (19921996)

Los Angeles Lakers (19962004)

Miami Heat (20042008)

Phoenix Suns (20082009)

Cleveland Cavaliers (2009–present)
C 27,619 12,566 2,920 4 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006) 1 (2000) 3 (2000, 2001, 2002)
* Houston Rockets (19842001)

Toronto Raptors (2001–2002)
C 26,946 13,748 3,058 2 (1994, 1995) 1 (1994) 2 (1994, 1995) 2008
* Golden State Warriors (19761980)

Boston Celtics (19801994)

Charlotte Hornets (19941996)

Chicago Bulls (1996–1997)
C 23,334 14,715 2,180 4 (1981, 1984, 1986, 1997) None None 2003
* Milwaukee / St. Louis Hawks (19541965) F/C 20,880 12,849 2,369 1 (1958) 2 (1956, 1959) None 1971
Chicago Bulls (19871998, 2003–2004)

Houston Rockets (1998–1999)

Portland Trail Blazers (19992003)
F/G 18,940 7,494 6,135 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) None None
* New York Knicks (19641974) C/F 12,183 8,414 1,186 2 (1970, 1973) 1 (1970) 2 (1970, 1973) 1982
* Cincinnati Royals (19601970)

Milwaukee Bucks (19701974)
G/F 26,710 7,804 9,887 1 (1971) 1 (1964) None 1980
* San Antonio Spurs (19892003) C 20,790 10,497 2,441 2 (1999, 2003) 1 (1995) None 2009
* Boston Celtics (19561969) C 14,522 21,620 4,100 11 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969) 5 (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965) None 1975
* Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers (19491964) F/C 18,438 11,256 3,072 1 (1955) None None 1973
* Washington Capitols (1950–1951)

Boston Celtics (19511961)
G 12,665 2,779 2,101 4 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961) None None 1976
* Utah Jazz (19842003) G 19,711 4,051 15,806 None None None 2009
* Detroit Pistons (19811994) G 18,822 3,478 9,061 2 (1989, 1990) None 1 (1990) 2000
* San Francisco / Golden State Warriors (19631974)

Chicago Bulls (19741975)

Cleveland Cavaliers (19751977)
C/F 14,437 14,464 2,575 None None None 1985
* Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets (19681981) C/F 10,624 13,769 3,822 1 (1978) 1 (1969) 1 (1978) 1988
* Portland Trail Blazers (19741979)

San Diego / Los Angeles Clippers (19791985)

Boston Celtics (19851987)
C/F 6,215 4,923 1,590 2 (1977, 1986) 1 (1978) 1 (1977) 1993
* Los Angeles Lakers (19601974) G/F 25,192 5,366 6,238 1 (1972) None 1 (1969) 1980
* St. Louis Hawks (19601968)

Seattle SuperSonics (19681972)

Cleveland Cavaliers (19721974)

Portland Trail Blazers (1974−1975)
G 17,772 5,030 7,211 1 (1979) None None 1989
* Los Angeles Lakers (19821994) F 16,320 4,708 2,791 3 (1985, 1987, 1988) None 1 (1988) 2003


Top 10 Coaches in NBA History

Alongside the selection of the 50 greatest players, was the selection of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History. The list was compiled based upon unranked selection undertaken exclusively by members of the print and broadcast media who regularly cover the NBA. Four of the coaches—Phil Jackson, Don Nelson, Pat Riley, and Lenny Wilkens—were active at the time of the list's announcement. Only Jackson and Nelson coached teams during the 2008–09 season. Nelson was the only member to have never won a championship as a coach, even though he won five as a player. Wilkens was the only member of the coaches list to have been selected as a member of the players list.
^ Denotes coach who is still active
* Elected to the Basketball Hall of Famemarker
*^ Active coach who has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame
Year Denotes year of Basketball Hall of Fame induction
Coach Team(s) coached (years) Coaching record Championships won as coach Coach of the Year award(s) won Year Ref.
* Washington Capitols (19461949)

Tri-Cities Blackhawks (1949–1950)

Boston Celtics (19501965)
938–479 (.662) 9 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966) 1 (1965) 1969
* Cleveland Cavaliers (1982)

Detroit Pistons (19831992)

New Jersey Nets (19921994)

Orlando Magic (19971999)
564–379 (.598)

638–437 (.593)
2 (1989, 1990) None 1994
Cleveland Cavaliers (19701979)

Boston Celtics (19791983)

Houston Rockets (19831988)

New Jersey Nets (19891992)

Los Angeles Clippers (19941998)
944–1106 (.460) 1 (1981) 2 (1976, 1980)
* Milwaukee / St. Louis Hawks (19541956)

New York Knicks (19671982)
696–604 (.535) 2 (1970, 1973) 1 (1970) 1986
*^ Chicago Bulls (19891998)

Los Angeles Lakers (19992004, 2005–present)
414–160 (.721)

1041–435 (.705)
10 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009) 1 (1996) 2007
* Minneapolis Lakers (19481959) 423–302 (.583) 5 (1949 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) None 1995
^ Milwaukee Bucks (19761987)

Golden State Warriors (19881994, 2006–present)

New York Knicks (1995–1996)

Dallas Mavericks (19972005)
851–629 (.575)

1309–1007 (.565)
None 3 (1983, 1985, 1992)
* Philadelphia 76ers (19681972)

Buffalo Braves (19721976)

Portland Trail Blazers (19761986)

Indiana Pacers (19861988)
864–783 (.525) 1 (1977) None 1992
* Los Angeles Lakers (19811990)

New York Knicks (19911995)

Miami Heat (19952003, 20052008)
798–339 (.702)

1210–694 (.636)
5 (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2006) 3 (1990, 1993, 1997) 2008
* Seattle SuperSonics (19691972, 19771985)

Portland Trail Blazers (19741976)

Cleveland Cavaliers (19861993)

Atlanta Hawks (19931999)

Toronto Raptors (20002003)

New York Knicks (20042005)
1014–850 (.544)

1332–1155 (.536)
1 (1979) 1 (1994) 1998


Top 10 Teams in NBA History

Also included in the NBA's 50th-anniversary celebration was the selection of the Top 10 Teams in NBA History. The list was compiled based upon unranked selection undertaken exclusively by members of the print and broadcast media who regularly cover the NBA. Teams are chosen from among all single-season individual teams. Each team won the NBA championship, and they combined to average 66 wins per season. The 1995–96 Chicago Bulls had the best single-season record in NBA history with 72 wins. Six out of thirty NBA teams were selected (twenty-nine teams at the time of announcement); the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers were selected twice. Players whose names are italicized were inducted after the announcement of the ten best teams.
Season Team Record Playoffs

result
Roster and head coach Players in the

Hall of Famemarker
Players on the

50 Greatest Players list
Ref.
1964–65 Boston Celtics 62–18 (.775) Won 1965 Finals Ron Bonham, Mel Counts, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Willie Naulls, Bevo Nordmann, Bill Russell, Tom Sanders, Larry Siegfried, John Thompson, Gerry Ward, coach Red Auerbach 5 (K. Jones, S. Jones, Heinsohn, Russell, Havlicek) 3 (S. Jones, Russell, Havlicek)
1966–67 Philadelphia 76ers 68–13 (.840) Won 1967 Finals Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Costello, Billy Cunningham, Dave Gambee, Hal Greer, Matt Guokas, Luke Jackson, Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni, Chet Walker, Bob Weiss, coach Alex Hannum 3 (Greer, Chamberlain, Cunningham) 3 (Greer, Chamberlain, Cunningham)
1969–70 New York Knicks 60–22 (.732) Won 1970 Finals Dick Barnett, Nate Bowman, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Bill Hosket, Don May, Willis Reed, Mike Riordan, Cazzie Russell, Dave Stallworth, John Warren, coach Red Holzman 4 (Frazier, Bradley, DeBusschere, Reed) 3 (Frazier, DeBusschere, Reed)
1971–72 Los Angeles Lakers 69–13 (.841) Won 1972 Finals Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim Cleamons, LeRoy Ellis, Keith Erickson, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, Jim McMillian, Pat Riley, Flynn Robinson, John Trapp, Jerry West, coach Bill Sharman 4 (Goodrich, West, Chamberlain, Baylor ) 3 (West, Chamberlain, Baylor)
1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers 65–17 (.793) Won 1983 Finals J. J. Anderson, Maurice Cheeks, Earl Cureton, Franklin Edwards, Julius Erving, Marc Iavaroni, Clemon Johnson, Reggie Johnson, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, Mark McNamara, Clint Richardson, Russ Schoene, Andrew Toney, coach Billy Cunningham 2 (Erving, Malone) 2 (Erving, Malone)
1985–86 Boston Celtics 67–15 (.817) Won 1986 Finals Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, Rick Carlisle, Dennis Johnson, Greg Kite, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Jerry Sichting, David Thirdkill, Sam Vincent, Bill Walton, Scott Wedman, Sly Williams, coach K. C. Jones 4 (McHale, Bird, Parish, Walton) 4 (McHale, Bird, Parish, Walton)
1986–87 Los Angeles Lakers 65–17 (.793) Won 1987 Finals Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adrian Branch, Frank Brickowski, Michael Cooper, A. C. Green, Magic Johnson, Wes Matthews, Kurt Rambis, Mike Smrek, Byron Scott, Billy Thompson, Mychal Thompson, James Worthy, coach Pat Riley 3 (Johnson, Worthy, Abdul-Jabbar) 3 (Johnson, Worthy, Abdul-Jabbar)
1988–89 Detroit Pistons 63–19 (.768) Won 1989 Finals Mark Aguirre, Adrian Dantley, Darryl Dawkins, Fennis Dembo, Joe Dumars, James Edwards, Steve Harris, Vinnie Johnson, Bill Laimbeer, John Long, Rick Mahorn, Pace Mannion, Dennis Rodman, Jim Rowinski, John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Micheal Williams, coach Chuck Daly 3 (Thomas, Dumars, Dantley) 1 (Thomas)
1991–92 Chicago Bulls 67–15 (.817) Won 1992 Finals B.J. Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, Bob Hansen, Craig Hodges, Dennis Hopson, Michael Jordan, Stacey King, Cliff Levingston, Chuck Nevitt, John Paxson, Will Perdue, Scottie Pippen, Mark Randall, Rory Sparrow, Scott Williams, coach Phil Jackson 1 (Jordan) 2 (Jordan, Pippen)
1995–96 Chicago Bulls 72–10 (.878) Won 1996 Finals Randy Brown, Jud Buechler, Jason Caffey, James Edwards, Jack Haley, Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Toni Kukoč, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Salley, Dickey Simpkins, Bill Wennington, coach Phil Jackson 1 (Jordan) 2 (Jordan, Pippen)


See also



Notes

  • American Basketball Association (ABA) teams other than those admitted into the NBA in 1976 are not included; each year is linked to an article about that particular NBA season.
  • Each year is linked to an article about the NBA Finals in that year.
  • Italicized record and winning percentage reflect all games played through the 2008–09 season; the preceding record is that of the coach at the time of his selection.
  • Inducted into Basketball Hall of Famemarker as coach; Bill Sharman was inducted as both a player and a coach
  • Having been injured in the second game, Baylor missed the remainder of the 1971–72 season. He retired at the beginning of the next season.


References

General


Specific


External links




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