Basketball is such a popular sport worldwide that so many kids now aspire to become basketball players. Many of them have already tried their hand at the game, and have become stars in their own right. If you listen to interviews with younger basketball players, you will learn just how much the veterans of the game have inspired them.
The pioneers, the great athletes, the kind sportsmen and sportswomen who have given the game a more prestigious air - these great players are worthy of emulating, idolizing, and of course worthy of respect. And indeed, they have been well-respected!
When the sport was invented, times were obviously different. Circumstances are different, and the socioeconomic and political air is different. That's why some rules before are now obsolete, got revised and updated, and younger generations are now revitalizing how the game is played. For one, basketball does not remain a sport for boys or men only. These days, girls and women have great basketball leagues. And both genders have produced a fine bunch of athletes we have come to respect.
Do you think you can name these great athletes if we showed you their black and white images? Try it, and see if your guesses are on point for a three-point shot! Game!
Chicago Bulls were pretty much ushered into the limelight back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, thanks to Michael Jordan. He was number 23!
LeBron James was first drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then played for Miami head after that, then back to Cleveland, before settling on LA now.
Kobe Bryant spent his basketball career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in 2016.
Sheryl Swoopes is a pioneer for women in basketball for being the first one to sign on in the WNBA. She had a great career playing with the Houston Comets, Seattle Storm, and Tulsa Shock.
Scottie Pippen is highly identifiable as the Chicago Bulls player of the ‘90s, playing alongside Michael Jordan. They won around six titles during that time.
Kevin Durant plays for the Golden State Warriors. But he was first picked by the Seattle SuperSonics during the 2007 NBA draft.
Magic Johnson is considered as one of the legends of the NBA. But he became more legendary when he gave a face to HIV/AIDS advocacy, as he came out and declared his HIV-positive status in the early ‘90s, at a time when it was still highly demonized.
Diana Taurasi currently plays fierce ball with the Phoenix Mercury. She already has three WNBA championships under her belt – and counting!
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most unforgettable NBA players of all time. Plus he also holds a doctoral degree and an MBA!
Hakeem Olajuwon was a very valuable player of the Houston Rockets back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. He was born in Nigeria.
The legendary Wilt Chamberlain was first a member of the fun team Harlem Globetrotters in the late ‘50s before playing in the NBA. He was a memorable player of the Philadelphia 76ers and LA Lakers back in the ‘60s and ‘70s
Maya Moore plays for the Minnesota Lynx. She’s a small forward.
Tim Duncan was with the San Antonio Spurs during all of his basketball career. He retired in 2016.
Dwayne Wade plays as a shooting guard for the Miami Heat. But he also played with the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Karl Malone played with Utah Jazz in his heyday. He was the NBA’s MVP twice.
Cheryl Miller played a lot of international games during her active playing time. She was part of the women’s basketball team at the 1984 LA Olympics and the 1986 Moscow Goodwill Games, to name a few.
David Robinson played for the San Antonio Spurs where he was nicknamed “The Admiral.” That’s because he really did serve in the US Navy.
Indiana Pacers player Reggie Miller was notorious for his three-point shots. He was a shooting guard, after all.
Charles Barkley was part of the US Dream Team of basketball that competed at the Olympics in the ‘90s. During his active playing career, he was with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Phoenix Suns, and finally the Houston Rockets.
Lisa Leslie is hailed as the first WNBA player to have made a dunk. Her 6 feet 5 inch stature sure came in handy there, while playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.
Tristan Thompson plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But he’s originally from Toronto, Canada.
Stephen Curry plays for the Golden State Warriors. He joined them back in 2009.
Elgin Baylor was a great jump shot artist for the Los Angeles Lakers back in the ‘60s. He was drafted to the NBA back in 1958.
Cynthia Cooper was a star of the Houston Comets in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. But she’s happier as a coach now.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is hailed as one of the greatest basketball players ever! His tall stature is unmistakable and was useful for his legendary skyhook shots.
Dennis Rodman was memorable on the court for his basketball talent, but he was also notorious outside of the game. If you date Madonna and marry Carmen Electra and make friends with Kim Jong-un, you’re one heck of a personality!
Lamar Odom played well with the LA Clippers, LA Lakers, and the Dallas Mavericks. But people might know him more for starring in "Khloe & Lamar," being formerly married to a Kardashian.
Tamika Catchings was a great small forward for the Indiana Fever. She has won numerous awards in her career, including the Rookie of the Year Award and the WNBA MVP Award.
James Harden currently plays with the famous Houston Rockets. And his beard is equally famous as well.
Julius Erving is a talented slam dunk master of the NBA. This move actually became popular thanks to him!
Yao Ming played for the Chinese Basketball Association first before being drafted into the NBA in 2002. He played with the Houston Rockets during the span of his US career.
Tina Thompson started her WNBA career with the Houston Comets. Nowadays, she’s coaching the Virginia Cavaliers.
Ray Allen was with the Boston Celtics where he was part of the “Big Three,” which included players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. He then played with the Miami heat after that, before retiring from the game.
Larry Bird, a.k.a. Larry Legend, was a shining star identified with the Boston Celtics during the ‘80s. But he also spent some time as a coach for the Indiana Pacers.
Walt Frazier was with the New York Knicks during the ‘60s and ‘70s. He then played for the Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring.
Lauren Jackson actually played for the Canberra Capitals before being drafted by the Seattle Storm. Yup, she’s Australian, mate!
Dwight Howard currently plays for the Washington Wizards. But he started with Orlando Magic.
Isaiah Thomas started his career with the Sacramento Kings. Currently, he’s playing for the Denver Nuggets.
Jason Kidd is actually a gold medalist at the Summer Olympics. He was part of the team in the 2000 Sydney and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Did you know that Ann Meyers tried out for the NBA, to hopefully join the Indiana Pacers during the ‘80s? That didn’t pan out, but she still had a stellar basketball career, starting at the Women’s Professional Basketball League in the late ‘70s.