10. Zion Williamson. Although it is clear this could be a tad premature, the hype surrounding the Duke phenom is electric. The expectations and pressure on Williamson is extreme and rare. He hasn’t accomplished anything quite yet, but give him time and he will rise all the way to number one on this list.
9. Muggsy Bogues. Bogues is known for being one of the shortest players to ever play in the NBA. Not only did he play, but he excelled. Standing 5’3 he managed to get buckets amongst the trees, and was a serviceable player for 14 seasons. Bogues also made an appearance on the movie Space Jam with Michael Jordan and other NBA stars.
8. Devin Booker. Much like Williamson, Booker is still a young player and has the potential to be higher on this list be the time his NBA career is finished. As of now, he is one of the best young scorers in the league, and can drain a shot from anywhere on the court. One night against the Boston Celtics he put up 70 points, making him one of six players in NBA history to score that many points in a game. Booker has a bright future, and if on another team, could have a lot more publicity.
7. Chris Bosh. Bosh was a third wheel on one of the best teams in the history of the NBA. After being an All-Star with the Toronto Raptors, he joined LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat to make one of the first classic “super teams.” He was drafted in the star-studded 2003 NBA draft and ended his career early due to health problems. When it was all said and done he was a member of 5 All-Star teams and won two NBA titles.
6. Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire was one of the great bigs of the mid 2000’s and was the perfect ‘ying’ to Steve Nash’s ‘yang.’ Together they were dynamic and a force to be reckoned with. Stoudemire finished his NBA career with 6 All-Star appearances and the 2003 Rookie of the Year award. There is no question he is one of the best players to ever have number one on his chest.
5. Chauncey Billups. Billups has to go down as one of the most underrated players in the history of the National Basketball Association. He led the Detroit Pistons to one of the greatest underdog victories in sports history. The 2004 NBA Finals victory over the Los Angeles Lakers was nothing short of a miracle. He was dominate from long range and directed the offense to perfection. He was also defensive minded much like the rest of the Pistons at the time. He was a true two way player.
4. Derrick Rose. Rose is one of the most inspiring stories in sports. He went from being the youngest player to win the MVP, to completely out of the league due to a tsunami of injuries. Who knows where Rose would have ended up if it wasn’t for these unfortunate circumstances. Perhaps, one of the greats. He was like a ballerina with a basketball, he leaped with such grace, and made ‘Houdini’ like finishes at the rim.
3. Penny Hardaway. Anfernee Hardaway was a star player and was a part of a team that was one of the few to defeat Jordan’s Bulls in their prime. The combination of Penny and Shaquille O’Neal were lethal, and dominated in the late 90’s. He was an All-Star and his ceiling was extremely high before falling continuously to injuries.
2. Tracy McGrady. There must be something with the number one that carries career ending injuries, much like Hardaway and Rose, McGrady fought injuries the duration of his NBA tenure. With these issues he still managed to be a 7x NBA All-Star and was a scoring champion TWICE. He was a prolific scorer and would have been an all-time great if it weren’t for an unfortunate series of injuries.
- Oscar Robertson. “Big O” is one of the greatest point guards to play that game, and brought the one and only championship to Milwaukee with the help of one Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Robertson was king of the triple-double long before Russell Westbrook came along. By the end of his career, he made the All-Star team 12 times and was awarded the MVP trophy in 1962. Although, there are some star players on this list, none can make the case for the greatest player to wear the number 1, except “Big O.”