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Bill Russell & Wilt Chamberlain

 

Top 10 Centers of All Time

by MARK GREY

 

It’s long been known that Basketball is a big man's game.  While a handful of guards such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and more recently Kobe Bryant have been able to lead their teams to titles, history has shown that the quickest way to a title is find the best big man in the game and build from there.  While the title of best big man in the game has been passed down from generation to generation like a quilt sewn by grandma, the title of greatest center ever is still very much up for debate.  Never one to duck a good sports debate, I figured it was time to put together a top 10 list of the greatest centers of all time.

While putting together this list I ended up doing a lot more research than I ever imagined.  There have been a lot of great centers and a lot of epic big man battles (most of which I never saw) so a lot of reading and listening was required.  I wanted to put together a list that showed who truly was the greatest center of all time, not just who had the best stats or the most hardware.  In my list, I took many different things into account and weighed them all differently.  I took note of what each one of these giant’s teams needed them to do in order to win, as well as what they had the ability to do.  While clearly winning and titles are huge, when judging who is the greatest ever, I also took into account who was on the team.  Some of these big men anchored championship teams, while others weren’t just the anchor, they were the whole damn boat.  In the quest to find out who was really dominate, I took a close look at how many times each player was named first team all NBA, Defensive Player of the Year, as well as did they ever lead the NBA in any categories.  Not only was each players prime taken in to consideration but also how long their prime lasted and what other greats they faced who were in their prime.

One player whose name is not on this list that I’m sure belongs, is the late George Makin.  Now let me start by saying I am fully aware of what he has meant to the game of basketball and how dominant he was in his time, it’s just his time that I question.  It’s always hard to rank a player who you didn’t see play with your own eyes but it’s even harder to do when almost no one saw him play.  While I never got to see Wilt or Russell play live, there are countless stories to read with play by play detail as well as box scores.  As far as I’m concerned, when Thomas Jefferson and the countries founding fathers were drawing up the Declaration of Independence, big George Mikin was shooting hoops out back.  Throw in the fact that there weren’t any black players in the NBA until 1950 and I just have no clue where to place him.  Dwight Howard also didn’t make the list and that’s simply because his career isn’t over yet and I think his best basketball is still in front of him.  I have no doubt in my mind that when his playing days are done he will not only be on this list but pretty high up.  With no further adu, here are the PlayersVoice top 10 centers of all time.  Read More ...

 

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