There are a lot of famous names in basketball, but some of them are definitely more influential than others. So, that leaves us with a very important question: who is the most influential and what did they bring to the NBA, or basketball in general? We’re going to look at five players who have definitely earned their place in the history of the NBA, one way or another.
TEAM: TORONTO RAPTORS
When he started out in the NBA, he wasn’t exactly memorable. He actually spent quite a bit of time on the bench, and if he hadn’t made his big move to Israel, there is a strong chance that no one would have even remembered his name. He did, however, by signing on with Maccabi Tel Aviv and becoming one of the Euroleague’s top-50 contributors. He stands alongside famous names like Mike D’Antoni and Manu Ginobili – it’s no small accomplishment. While he earned the highest honor in the Euroleague (MVP 2004-2005), he found his home in the West, once again, with the Toronto Raptors. With any luck, he’ll find himself with an NBA championship, but if we know him, he’s not going to need luck.
TEAM: SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Ginobili is a legend, but for far more than just his NBA achievements. He is a three-time NBA Champion, but he’s also an Olympian and a former Euroleague Finals MVP. As an NBA player, there is a good chance that he’ll eventually end up in the hall of fame, and it all started in his rookie season. He didn’t get a chance to play much during the regular season, but he did eventually lead the San Antonio Spurs to an NBA championship.
TEAM: DALLAS MAVERICKS
Nowitzki won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award on top of being a 7-time NBA All-Star. He is without a doubt one of the greatest players to ever hold a basketball, and while he has suffered his losses, his overall performance has been absolutely amazing. Players like Nowitzki have managed to revolutionize their positions both in the states and out, and finding players to succeed them is going to be exceedingly difficult.
There are not many players out there who could fill the gap left by Michael Jordan, but a case could definitely be made for Kobe Bryant. No matter which end of the court he’s on, he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with, and there are very few athletes out there that can play on his level. While he is a three-time NBA champion, this is only one of his claims to fame. His influences spread far beyond North American borders, making him a force to be reckoned with both on the field and off.
TEAM: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
There isn’t a basketball fan alive that doesn’t know the name of Lebron James. He’s not that old, but he’s been compared to NBA legends like Magic Johnson and even Michael Jordan.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the influential basketball players; you can rest assured that there are much more, and we’ll cover a few of them in a future article. So, who are your favorites? Who do you think has had an influence on the game as a whole?