Can You Name the Famous Basketball Legend from a Hint?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

These basketball legends did it all. They scored baskets, played tough defense, and won championships; but how much do you know about them? 

The NBA has always been defined by its players, the stars of the game. These are the faces you remember when you think about the different eras of the NBA; Bill Russell winning with the Celtics, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominating in three different decades, Larry Bird going up against Magic Johnson, and the greatness of Michael Jordan. They had the greatest accomplishments by overcoming the fiercest obstacles. They hit game winning shots, carried teams just by their will to win, and put themselves in a class above all other players who had the chance to grace the NBA floor. These are the NBA legends that defined the game for future generations. 

Do you really know these players, though? Can you guess them from just a hint? What about the players that were great but didn't make it onto the front page of every sports' magazine? How deep does your NBA fandom go? If you think your knowledge stands up against other basketball historians, take this quiz and show everyone you know all there is to know about NBA legends!

He had both of his numbers, 8 and 24, retired by the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. His first three came while playing with Shaquille O'Neal, though tensions eventually rose between the two and Shaq was traded.


He was the first player in the NBA to average a triple-double​ for a season.

Oscar Robertson spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Royals. However, it was not until he joined the Milwaukee Bucks that he won a championship.


He won five NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs.

Tim Duncan spent his entire career playing for Gregg Popovich. During their five championship run, Duncan was the centerpiece of the organization.


He's the player on the NBA logo.

Jerry West had a successful career as a player, but his legacy in the front office of both the Lakers and the Warriors has defined his career. Between the two organizations, West has helped them win eight NBA championships.


His nickname was "The Round Mound of Rebound."

Charles Barkley played college basketball at Auburn University. He is widely considered the greatest player in Auburn history.


He was voted MVP in both the ABA and NBA.

Julius Erving won the NBA championship in 1983. That same year, he was voted MVP of the All-Star game.


He was MVP for the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.

Dwyane Wade managed to win three championships with the Miami Heat. Of course, two of those titles came with another legend, Lebron James.


His nickname was "The Mailman."

Hoping to win a championship, Karl Malone spent the last year of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he was unable to win a title. Instead, he went down as one of the greatest players to never win a championship.


He was a player-coach for the Celtics.

Bill Russell was the first African American coach in the NBA. During his career, he won eleven NBA championships, two as a player-coach.


He averaged 30 points and 20 rebounds in a season.

Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a game. He's also the only player to average over 40 points in a season.


He won the '87 and '88 Slam Dunk Contest.

Michael Jordan dominated the league from the moment he entered it. However, he didn't win his six championships until the latter part of his career.


He was the NBA MVP six times.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in three different decades. He started his career in 1969 and finished it in 1989.


He played college basketball at LSU.

Shaquille O'Neal was one of the most dominant centers to ever play in the NBA, but he couldn't make a free throw. A strategy to force him to shoot free throws became known as "Hack a Shaq."


He's from Nigeria.

Hakeem Olajuwon had the misfortune of playing in a league against Michael Jordan. He did manage to squeeze out two NBA championships while Michael Jordan was playing baseball, though.


He was drafted directly out of high school.

Kevin Garnett was a defensive monster throughout his NBA career. However, he never had success in the playoffs until he joined the Boston Celtics.


His nickname is "The Truth."

Under the leadership of Paul Pierce, the Celtics won their only NBA title since the 1980s. His number 34 jersey was later retired by the Celtics.


He was part of "The Twin Towers."

Before becoming an NBA player, David Robinson was an officer in the United States Navy. During his career, he won two NBA championships with the Spurs.


He holds the record for three-pointers​ made in a season with 402.

Stephen Curry broke the record for three-pointers made in a season three times. Of course, that meant he had to break his own record twice.


He was the leader of the "Bad Boy" Pistons.

The "Bad Boy" Pistons were known for their tough, defensive style of play. This type of basketball helped them win two NBA titles in '89 and '90.


He won six NBA titles alongside Michael Jordan.

Scottie Pippen rarely gets the credit he deserves because he played alongside Michael Jordan. Still, during his career, Pippen made the All-Star game seven times and was elected to the All-NBA First Team three times.


He's from Germany.

Dirk Nowitzki is one of only seven NBA players with over 30,000 career points. He has spent his entire career with the Dallas Mavericks.


He won three NBA MVP awards with the Boston Celtics.

Larry Bird's rivalry with Magic Johnson in the NBA has been well documented. A less known fact, this rivalry actually started in college when the two played against each other in the NCAA Championship in 1979. Magic Johnson's team won that game.


He was the leader of the "Showtime" Lakers.

Magic Johnson was a 6'9" point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. With height and exceptional passing abilities, Johnson led the Lakers to five NBA championships.


He was a Canadian player in the NBA.

Nash is one of the greatest players to never win an NBA championship. He did win two NBA MVP awards, though.


He holds the NBA record for most career assist.

Stockton also holds the record for most career steals. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009.


He was the NBA MVP in 2001.

In high school, Iverson played both basketball and football. Many scouts believed he could have had a successful career in the NFL had he chosen that route.


He was the NBA Finals MVP in 1983.

Moses Malone was drafted straight out of high school in the 1974 ABA Draft. After a spectacular first season, he was selected as an ABA All-Rookie.


He's from Jamaica.

Patrick Ewing has coached for several different teams since retiring from basketball. His first job was with the Washington Wizards.


His number 31 was retired by the Indiana Pacers.

When Reggie Miller retired, he was the leader in three-pointers made for a career. However, he has since been passed by Ray Allen.


He was called "The Human Highlight Film."

Dominique Wilkins was an offensive machine during his career. He was most well-known for his dunking ability and won two NBA Slam Dunk Contest.


His nickname is "The King."

Lebron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to defeat the Golden State Warriors. This was the first time in NBA history that a team came back after being down 3-1.


He played point guard for and later coached the Nets.

Jason Kidd was selected second overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1994 NBA Draft. His first season he went on to earn co-Rookie of the Year honors.


Wearing number 32, he played his entire career with the Boston Celtics.

Drafted in 1980, Kevin McHale spent his career at power forward, dominating under the hoop. He was particularly well-known for his post-up game, which he called "the torture chamber."


He won an NBA title with both the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

Ray Allen is the NBA leader for career three-pointers. One of his greatest shots came against the Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals where he pushed Game 6 into overtime, which the Heat won.


He was known as "The Houdini of the Hardwood."

Bob Cousy was one of the first great point guards in the NBA. During his career, he won six NBA championships with the Boston Celtics.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!