Many great stars have emerged in each decade, and they have been a part of crucial events in basketball history. From Wilt Chamberlain and Magic Johnson to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, these legends have kept the game alive, inspiring millions of people worldwide.
Basketball is a sport that has grown tremendously in popularity over the past few decades, and many great players have helped it reach this point. Here are the names of some famous people in basketball history:
Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1974) - American player who dominated the game in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He is considered the greatest scorer in NBA history.
Larry Bird (1959-1991) - American player who was one of the best ball handlers of all time and scored in plenty of ways. He is second only to Chamberlain in total points scored by a player.
Michael Jordan (1973-2019) - American player who dominated the 1990s as well as the early 2000s. He is the most successful player of all time based on salary earned during his career.
Kobe Bryant (1978-2020) - American player who has won several awards including five NBA championships. He is the most decorated player in NBA history.
Kevin Durant (1986-2019) - American player who has won three NBA championships.
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While he may have lost a stride and is no longer regarded as the best player in the game, he will be remembered as one of the greatest and most influential NBA players of all time. Emanuel Ginobili, No. 8 Ginobili's contributions, like Parker's, extend beyond the NBA. He has five championship rings from his years with San Antonio, making him one of only four players who have won championships with three different teams (the others are Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James).
Ginobili was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but raised in Italy because of his father's job. He started playing basketball when he was 5 years old and decided to focus on it after seeing how much joy it brought to his family's life. During his career, he has had to overcome injuries that have prevented him from playing for periods of time, but he always returned to action too soon.
Even before he became a full-time starter for San Antonio, Ginobili was considered one of the best shooters in the league. His 3-point shooting percentage of.443 is 16th all-time among players who have shot at least 300 triples, and it is even more impressive when you consider that he took nearly 6,000 shots over his career.
In addition to being one of the best shooters, Ginobili was also a master of the steal, having pulled down 1,039 rebounds during his career.
Browse through our list of the NBA's most renowned names, including current champs Stephen Curry and LeBron James, as well as past greats Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Walt Frazier.
Looking for some other sports heroes to add to your wall collection? Try: Floyd Landis (cyclist), Barry Bonds (baseball player), Monica Seles (tennis player), Dara Torres (swimmer), Jessica Savitch (journalist), Erin Andrews (athlete), Paul George (basketball player).
Another example of an athlete who defied the odds to play a professional sport is LeBron James. Some consider him to be one of the best basketball players of all time, and LeBron James is a household name in many households. He has been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player twice, won two Olympic gold medals with the United States national basketball team, and played in three NBA Finals contests (one with each of his teams).
James was born on Fraser Street in South Akron, and he grew up in a family that struggled with poverty. His mother worked several jobs to support her family, while his father stayed at home to raise him and his two brothers. He had little interest in sports as a child, but he did manage to play baseball and soccer. In 1996, when he was in ninth grade, James started playing varsity basketball for North Coast High School. That same year, he led his team to the state championship.
He went on to play four more years of college basketball at the University of Miami (UM), where he was a member of two National Championship teams. After graduating from UM, he entered the 1997 NBA Draft, where he was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick. He immediately made an impact on the court, helping the Cavaliers win their first game after he arrived at training camp with a score of 95 points.
Michael Jordan was the most dominant player in the 1990s. He was named NBA Most Valuable Player five times and guided the Chicago Bulls to six league titles. The "Flu Game," as it's known in basketball circles, occurred when Jordan missed 34 games over a two-month span in 1995-96. At the time, it was a record for most consecutive games played by a player of the year candidate.
The answer is the Chicago Bulls. In his first season with the team, Jordan led the Bulls to their first championship in four years. He went on to win six more championships with Chicago, tying the great Bill Russell for most career titles won by a single player. After leaving the Bulls in 2001, he returned in 2004 and helped them reach the playoffs for the first time since 2000. That same year, he finished second behind Larry Bird for the MVP award.
After his retirement, Jordan stayed involved with the Bulls through the annual "MJ Day" celebrations that take place at Chicago's United Center. The event features appearances by former teammates and coaches along with several other celebrities who have been influenced by Jordan's game.
He also continues to influence the NBA through his role as president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards.