There are plenty of all time great NBA player lists one can find by surfing the web. This question is a fan question, in other words, it is totally subjective with just enough facts thrown in to make it respectable. If you were building a team from scratch and could have any center in history in prime physical condition who would you want?
Usually when looking at all time greatest NBA centers three names hover near the top: Wilt Chamberlin, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russell. The reasons are obvious. Wilt Chamberlin holds 60 out of 72 NBA records. They even changed NBA rules to try to stop his dominance. Compare this with rule changes in later years that were intended to help players like Michael Jordan.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar is simply the all time scoring leader in the NBA and his "Sky Hook" was virtually unstoppable. Bill Russell had 11 championship rings in 13 years.
A player that usually does not make the top ten list but who still fascinates me after all of these years is Dave Cowens. Considered too small at 6' 9" when he was drafted by the Celtics he went on to be the NBA rookie of the year. Cowens had a unique style of play. On defense he would bump and grind and throw himself after rebounds. He could dribble the length of the court and finish with a layup, something big men never did in his day. He is one of only four players in NBA history to lead his team in all five major statistical categories in a season -points, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and steals. In the championship game against the Bucks he did what few players have ever done. He held his own against Kareem Abdul Jabbar and kept him from taking over the game.
Another interesting player to consider is Bill Walton. He was part of an 88 game wining streak at one point in college. Unfortunately as a pro he was injured much of the time. When able to play he showed flashed of brilliance. He is the only player other than Cowens who was able to fight Kareem Abdul Jabbar to a draw in a playoff game or championship game. He is the only player in NBA history to win the NBA Finals MVP, the Sixth Man Award and the regular season MVP award.
So who is your favorite center of all time? Vote from the following options and my apologies ahead of time for not being able to list everyone.
Wilt Chamberlin -30.1 points a game and 100 points in a single game. (14 votes)
Kareem Abdul Jabbar -virtually unstoppable in the paint and the all time leading scorer in the NBA. (11 votes)
Bill Russell -perfected blocking the shot, controlling the ball and starting the fast break which inevitably led to points. He made almost everyone he played with a Hall of Famer. (27 votes)
Dave Cowans -a so called "blue collar" type player who was never manhandled by any opposing player. (2 votes)
Moses Malone -best rebounder of all time and scored 31.4 points per game. (2 votes)
Hakeem Olajuwan -all time leader in blocked shots if you put an asterisk by his name and a footnote to Bill Russell. He was silky smooth as a big man. (8 votes)
Shaquille O'Neil -holds many records for playoffs games including most dunks in a playoff. (6 votes)
George Milkan -The only other player in the NBA history that they tried to slow down by changing the rules. A dominant player in his day. (2 votes)
Bill Walton -former coach John Wooden said that when healthy he was the best offensive center in the game. (1 vote)
73 total votes