Slam Dunks: The Best Players in NBA History


By: Nathan Chandler

5 Min Quiz

Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

The NBA is full of legend and lore -- and not a little braggadocio. But when it comes to pinpointing the best players in league history, the numbers don't lie. Statistics reveal who shows up time and again…and well as those who choke when it counts. How much do you know about the best players in NBA history?

How many times was Michael Jordan named MVP of the NBA Finals?

Jordan played in six NBA Finals series. He was named the MVP for every single one of them, a fact that propels him to the top of many "greatest NBA player ever" lists.


How many players are tied for the all-time lead in points per game?

There are two players tied as the all-time leaders in points per game. They are Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.


How many points did Chamberlain and Jordan average per game?

Both Chamberlain and Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game. No current player comes within even two points of that average.


As of early 2017, how many points per game does LeBron James average?

As of February 2017, James averages 27.1 points per game. During the 2005-06 season, he averaged 31.4 points per game, meaning that he'll likely never approach the record set by Jordan and Chamberlain.


Who is the all-time leader in assists?

John Stockton dished the ball like no one else. He had 15,806 assists in his 1,504-game career, a fact that helped Utah achieve massive success season after season.


How many assists did Jason Kidd have during his 1,391-game career?

Kidd has the second-highest number of career assists, with 12,091, but he still finished with 3,715 fewer than John Stockton.


Which player scored the most points in his career?

Abdul-Jabbar had by far the most points of anyone during his storied career. His total is so phenomenal that it may stand for decades to come.


How many total points did Abdul-Jabbar score?

Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points. That's nearly 2,000 more points than Karl Malone managed to score in his also-phenomenal career.


Which player averaged the most minutes per game during his career?

Chamberlain's per-game minutes were far higher than anyone else's. He averaged 45.8 minutes per game. That puts him at nearly four minutes per game more than second-place Bill Russell.


Who's the career leader in defensive rebounds?

Kevin Garnett took pride in owning the defensive boards. With 11,453, he has the most in history, 47 more than Karl Malone.


Which player averaged the most field goal attempts per game?

Jordan and Kobe Bryant might get a bad rap for chucking the most shots, but Elgin Baylor has them all beat -- he attempted 23.8 field goals per game during his career.


How many field goal attempts per game did Jordan average?

Jordan had a well-deserved reputation for putting up a lot of shots per game. He's second all-time with 22.9.


How many seasons did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play in his storied career?

Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in the NBA, retiring at age 42. Even in his final season, he was averaging nearly 23 minutes per game, making him one of the most effective players ever.


Who owns the record for most offensive rebounds?

Offensive rebounds are harder to grab than defensive rebounds. Garnett owned the defensive boards, but Moses Malone was master of the offensive glass, with 6,731 in his career.


DeAndre Jordan has been playing since 2008. What's his lowest field goal percentage for an entire season?

Jordan's lowest season field goal percentage is 60.5 percent. As of early 2017, his career shooting percentage is a ridiculous 67.2 percent, far higher than anyone else, including second place Artis Gilmore (59.5 percent).


Wilt Chamberlain averaged more minutes per game than anyone. What was his per-game average?

Chamberlain rarely rested during games. He averaged 45.8 minutes per game, meaning he hardly ever left the floor. Bill Russell is second, with 42.2 minutes per game.


Steph Curry has made more 3 pointers than anyone else in NBA history.

Curry is still making 3-pointers at a prodigious rate, but as of 2017, he's still more than 1,000 threes behind Ray Allen, who made 2,973 during his sharpshooting days.


Who played the most playoff games?

Derek Fisher played most of his 20 seasons with the Lakers, a fact that help him to make many playoff game appearances -- he had 259 during his career. Tim Duncan is second, with 251.


Which player had the most career playoff rebounds?

Bill Russell played 165 playoff games and made the most of them -- he had 4,104 rebounds. In 160 playoff games, Chamberlain had 3,913.


Who committed the most personal fouls?

Not all of Abdul-Jabbar's records are enviable. He hacked more people than anyone else. During his 20 seasons, he had 797 fouls.


Mark Price and Steve Nash tied for the highest career free throw percentage. What was their free throw shooting percentage?

Opponents avoided sending Nash and Price to the line at the end of tight games -- they both averaged 90.4 percent during their careers.


How many 3-pointers did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar make in 20 years of regular season games?

Abdul-Jabbar played exclusively down low, and he was never meant to be a long-range shooter. He attempted just 18 3-pointers … and made one.


Who had the most career blocks?

Olajuwon was renowned for rejecting shots. He blocked 3,830 during his career, at a rate of 3.1 per game.


Who had the most career steals?

John Stockton didn't just pile up assist after assist, he also used those quick hands to grab steals. With 3,265 steals, he had about 500 more than second-place Jason Kidd.


Who made the most free throws?

Karl Malone pushed his way to the basket often during his career and drew a lot of fouls in the process. He attempted 13,188 free throws and made 9,787, good for a 74.2% completion rate.


Kobe Bryant scored more points than Michael Jordan.

Bryant bested Jordan by more than 1,000 points. The former had 33,643; the latter, 32,292.


Who played the most minutes in history?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played 1,560 games and racked up 57,446 minutes. His 20 seasons on the floor were a testament to his will and physical stamina.


Which player attempted the most 3-pointers?

Ray Allen played 1,300 games (fewer than both Terry and Miller) but still attempted the most 3-pointers -- he threw up 7,429 during his career, making 2,973.


Scottie Pippen had more career steals than Michael Jordan.

Pippen was a prolific thief who nabbed 2,307 steals. That’s about 200 fewer than Michael Jordan, one of the most savage defenders in NBA history.


Who had more turnovers than anyone else?

Karl Malone scored nearly 37,000 points in his career, but he also had more turnovers than anyone else -- he threw it away 4,524 times. His long-time teammate Stockton had the second most, with 4,244.


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