What would the list of the 50 greatest NBA players look like if they selected the players today?

That’s a hard one. Inevitably some really good players will get bumped off… here’s the list of NBA’s 50 greatest players originally selected in 1996: 50 Greatest Players in NBA History | Basketball-Reference.com

Let’s see who should be added in today’s NBA:

-Lebron James, obvious no brainer best SF ever to play

-Kobe Bryant, another no brainer 2nd best SG

-Tim Duncan, another no brainer best PF ever

-Dirk Nowitzki, a top 5 PF of all time

-Dwayne Wade, a top 5 SG of all time

-Allen Iverson, a top 5–10 SG of all time

-Kevin Durant, top 10 SF by this point

-Stephen Curry, another top 10 PG

-Russell Westbrook, top 10 PG

-Dwight Howard, top 15 center ever

-Chris Paul, top 10 PG

-Steve Nash, top 10 PG

-Jason Kidd, top 10 PG

-James Harden, top 10 SG

-Kevin Garnett, top 5 PF

So that’s 15 guys right there… which means 15 guys need to bumped off the old 50 greatest list. It’s hard but IMO here’s the 15 that should be bumped off

-James Worthy

-Lenny Wilkens

-Nate Thurmond

-Bill Sharman

-Robert Parish

-Earl Monroe

-Pete Maravich

-Jerry Lucas

-Hal Greer

-Dave Debusschere

-Billy Cunningham

-Dave Bing

-Tiny Archibald

-Bill Walton

-Paul Arizin

Sorry these are all great players but, you gotta make room for someone right? I’d rank these guys in the top 50–80 range rather than the top 50 now that better players have come up. This is by my estimates going by stats and awards etc and also I would add Bob McAdoo, Ray Allen, Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce to the top 60 range as well.

If instead, we were to expand the list to top 75 players (75 at 75 – year 2021) then my answer would be:

from PGs: Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Gary Payton, Dennis Johnson (7)
from SGs: Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson, James Harden, Ray Allen (5)
from SFs: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Adrian Dantley (6)
from PFs: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Chris Webber, Bob McAdoo (6)
from C: Dwight Howard (1)

Those are my 25 players.

There are a few key defensive players that could be up there as well.. Dikembe Mutombo and Dennis Rodman come to mind. But they are really hard to rank given how one dimensional they were.

if ABA players are included (and they should be IMO because they are often forgotten), George McGinnis, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel and Connie Hawkins should be added to the list as well.

Here’s my take on the 50 greatest players in NBA/ABA history as of 2019:

  1. Michael Jordan “Air Jordan” – 6x Champion, 5x MVP
  2. Wilt Chamberlain “The Big Dipper” – 4x MVP, 11x Rebounding leader
  3. Bill Russell “Russell” – 11x Champion, 5x MVP
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “Cap” – 6x Champion, 6x MVP
  5. Lebron James “King James” – 4x MVP, 3x Finals MVP
  6. Magic Johnson “Magic Man” – 5x Champion, 3x MVP
  7. Tim Duncan “The Big Fundamental” – 5x Champion, 2x MVP
  8. Larry Bird “Larry Legend” – 3x Champion, 3x MVP
  9. Kobe Bryant “The Black Mamba” – 5x Champion, 1x MVP
  10. Jerry West “Mr. Clutch” – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  11. Oscar Robertson “The Big O” – 1x Champion, 1x MVP
  12. Shaquille O’Neal “Diesel” – 4x Champion, 3x Finals MVP
  13. Hakeem Olajuwon “The Dream” – 2x Champion, 2x Finals MVP
  14. Julius Erving “Dr. J” – 3x Champion, 4x MVP
  15. Moses Malone “Chairman of the Boards” – 1x Champion, 3x MVP
  16. Karl Malone “The Mailman” – 2x MVP, 13x All-NBA
  17. Kevin Durant “Durantula” – 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP
  18. John Havlicek “Hondo” – 8x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  19. Bob Pettit – 2x MVP, 11x All-NBA
  20. Bob Cousy “Houdini of the Hardwood” – 6x Champion, 1x MVP
  21. Elgin Baylor “Mr. Inside” – 10x All-NBA
  22. Kevin Garnett “The Big Ticket” – 1x MVP, 12x All-Defensive
  23. Rick Barry “The Miami Greyhound” – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  24. David Robinson “The Admiral” – 2x Champion, 1x MVP
  25. John Stockton – 8x All-NBA, 9x Assist leader
  26. Stephen Curry “Chef Curry” – 3x Champion, 2x MVP
  27. Chris Paul “CP3” – 7x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive
  28. Charles Barkley “Sir Charles” – 1x MVP, 10x All-NBA
  29. Dirk Nowitzki “The German Juggernaut” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  30. Dwayne Wade “Flash” – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  31. Scottie Pippen “Pip” – 6x Champion, 10x All-Defensive
  32. Jason Kidd “J-Kidd” – 6x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive
  33. Allen Iverson “The Answer” – 1x MVP, 4x Scoring leader
  34. Walt Frazier “Clyde” – 2x Champion, 7x All-Defensive
  35. George Gervin “The Iceman” – 9x All-NBA/ABA, 4x Scoring leader
  36. Willis Reed “Captain” – 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP
  37. Steve Nash – 2x MVP, 5x Assist leader
  38. George Mikan – 5x Champion, 3x Scoring leader
  39. Artis Gilmore “A-Train” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  40. Mel Daniels “Big Mel” – 3x Champion, 2x MVP
  41. Dolph Schayes – 1x Champion, 12x All-NBA
  42. Russell Westbrook “Russ” – 1x MVP, 7x All-NBA
  43. Isiah Thomas “Zeke” – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  44. James Harden “The Beard” – 1x MVP, 4x All-NBA
  45. Dwight Howard – 6x All-NBA, 5x Rebounding leader
  46. Paul Arizin “Pitchin Paul” – 1x Champion, 2x Scoring leader
  47. Elvin Hayes “The Big E” – 1x Champion, 6x All-NBA
  48. Kawhi Leonard “The Claw” – 2x Champion, 2x Finals MVP
  49. Gary Payton “The Glove” – 7x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive
  50. Dennis Rodman “The Worm” – 8x All-Defensive, 7x Rebounding leader
  51. George McGinnis – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  52. Connie Hawkins “The Hawk” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  53. Dave Cowens – 2x Champion, 1x MVP
  54. Bob McAdoo – 1x MVP, 3x Scoring leader
  55. Patrick Ewing – 7x All-NBA
  56. Kevin McHale “The Black Hole” – 3x Champion, 6x All-Defensive
  57. Neil Johnston – 1x Champion, 3x Scoring leader
  58. Spencer Haywood – 1x Champion, 1x MVP
  59. Dave Debusschere – 2x Champion, 6x All-Defensive
  60. Sam Jones – 10x Champion, 3x All-NBA
  61. Tom Heinsohn – 8x Champion, 4x All-NBA
  62. Dennis Johnson – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  63. Dan Issel “The Horse” – 1x Champion, 5x All-ABA
  64. Bill Sharman – 4x Champion, 7x All-NBA
  65. Billy Cunningham “Kangaroo Kid” – 1x Champion, 1x MVP
  66. Bill Walton – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  67. Wes Unseld “Big Wes” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  68. Jerry Lucas “The Computer” – 1x Champion, 5x All-NBA
  69. Clyde Drexler “The Glide” – 1x Champion, 3x All-NBA
  70. Paul Pierce “The Truth” – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  71. Dominique Wilkins “The Human Highlight Reel” – 5x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  72. Tracy McGrady “T-mac” – 5x All-NBA, 2x Scoring leader
  73. Tony Parker – 4x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  74. Bobby Jones – 1x Champion, 9x All-Defensive
  75. Anthony Davis “The Brow” – 3x All-NBA, 3x All-Defensive
  76. Roger Brown – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  77. Hal Greer – 1x Champion, 7x All-NBA
  78. Giannis Antetokounmpo “The Greek Freak” – 1x MVP, 3x All-NBA
  79. Adrian Dantley – 2x All-NBA, 2x Scoring leader
  80. Carmelo Anthony “Melo” – 2x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  81. Tiny Archibald – 1x Champion, 5x All-NBA
  82. James Worthy “Big Game James” – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  83. Robert Parish “The Chief” – 4x Champion, 2x All-NBA
  84. David Thompson “Skywalker” – 3x All-NBA/ABA
  85. Pau Gasol – 2x Champion, 2x All-NBA
  86. Chris Webber – 4x All-NBA, 1x Rebounding leader
  87. Alex English – 3x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  88. Pete Maravich “Pistol” – 4x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  89. Sidney Moncrief – 5x All-NBA, 5x All-Defensive
  90. Joe Dumars – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  91. Ed Macauley – 1x Champion, 4x All-NBA
  92. Zelmo Beaty – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  93. Jo Jo White – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  94. Mitch Richmond – 1x Champion, 3x All-NBA
  95. Alonzo Mourning “Zo” – 1x Champion, 2x All-Defensive
  96. Dikembe Mutombo – 6x All-Defensive, 2x Rebounding leader
  97. Ray Allen – 2x Champion, 1x All-NBA
  98. Chauncey Billups – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  99. Bernard King – 3x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  100. Nate Thurmond “Nate the Great” – 5x All-Defensive