The NBA is without doubt one of the most followed sports events in the world at the moment, and this hasn’t happened in a blink. It is a result of good planning, careful marketing and great publicity. Over the years, it has served entertainment, producing a lot of great players that have gone on to shape the game internationally.
From the Steph Currys and Russell Westbrooks in the current generation and drawing back to the earlier ones, who are the standout players that played, or continue playing a role in shaping the game and conversations around it?
Michael Jordan: It is virtually impossible to talk about the NBA without mentioning Michael Jordan, the legend who played for 13 seasons, retired then returned for two final seasons. In a career that started in the 1984/85 season, Jordan played for Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls, making his debut aged 21. He won six NBA championships, six NBA finals MVP awards and five regular season MVP awards.
Magic Johnson: The four seasons he missed action with illness, from 1991/92 to 1994/95 will be remembered more but reality is that Magic had a big impact on the game. He made his debut for LA Laker in 1979, aged 20 and went on to play until he was 36, a career spanning 13 seasons also had him in the Dream Team to the Barcelona 92 Olympic Games. He has five NBA rings and won three finals MVP awards.
LeBron James: One of the biggest reasons the LA Lakers are dominantly tipped to do well, on the basketball betting tips on SportyTrader, is LeBron James’ prowess. The Power Forward is one of the top legends of the game still active, having played during the Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan eras. He has featured for Cleveland Cavalier (11 seasons), Miami Heat (four seasons) and LA Lakers (four seasons now). LeBron has won titles in all his teams; two at Miami Heat and one each at Cleveland and Lakers. He made his debut aged just 19, in 2003/04.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar: Kareem played in the NBA for 20 seasons, starting in 1969/70 aged 22, and went on to retire aged 41, in the 1988/89 campaign. He played for two teams in his NBA career; LA Lakers (14 seasons) then Milwaukee Bucks for six seasons. He won the NBA title with the Bucks in 1971 and went on to win five more with the Lakers. Karem bagged six regular season MVP awards between 1972 and 1980.
Tim Duncan: Tim is a San Antonio Spurs legend, having played there for 19 good seasons. He debuted at age 21 in the 1997/1998 season and retired in the 2015/16 season when aged 39, and having won three finals MVP awards, five NBA championships and two regular season MVP awards. He had a knack for saving his best for the playoffs, as his post season average was better than his average in the regular season, a trend that earned him the nickname “the Big fundamental”.