There have been a lot of great players in the National Basketball Association. There have been few players that have revolutionized the game at the NBA level. This list is a list that separates the greats from those that have revolutionized the game of basketball. The ones that have revolutionized the game are those that were either pioneers of the game, were able to make people’s jaws drop, and were downright competitive.
Players that Revolutionized the Game of Basketball
Earl Lloyd was the first African-American professional basketball player in 1950. He is the Jackie Robinson of the NBA. Lloyd opened the door of the NBA to other African-American Basketball players. Lloyd is one of basketball’s pioneers in the sense that without this talented player the NBA would have waited until later to open the door to African-American players. This is the reason even though fans of today’s era may not know who Lloyd is. Lloyd had two championships to his name.
Julius Erving better known as “Dr. J” changed the way the game was played in the 1970s and 80s. Dr. J is the one that made it popular to do spectacular dunks in the NBA. Dr. J was about the most flamboyant the NBA has ever seen. Do to the dunks that Dr. J would pull off he was well above other players in his time frame. Dr. J is who players of the 80’s and 90’s looked up to for new ways to dunk the ball. This is the claim to fame that Dr. J founded for himself and the NBA.
Wilt Chamberlain is the only man to lay claim to one record in the NBA. This claim to fame is that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game. Chamberlain was of course taller than any other player in the NBA at the time. This is not to take away from that feat though. The closest anybody has came since that game was Kobe Bryant who once scored 81 points in a single game. Wilt Chamberlain finished his career with two NBA championships with Los Angeles Lakers.
Bill Russell had to play his NBA career against Wilt Chamberlain. This is no easy feat considering how great Chamberlain was. There is one thing that Bill Russell was able to accomplish that Chamberlain could not. Russell was able to capture 11 championships in his career. The amazing part about this other than the fact it is 11 championships is that Russell only played for 13 years. This means every year that he played except for two he won a championship.
Larry Bird is not the greatest player to live. The thing that Larry did was compete and he competed at a high level. Larry Bird was competitive with one of the greatest basketball players the NBA has ever seen. Bird and Magic competed in such an intense manner that they were able to get fans attention. Bird was also able to win three rings competing against the likes of Magic. Bird will forever be known as one of the greatest because of his rivalry with Magic. This rivalry started in college when Indiana State and Michigan State played for the crown.
Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players to help revolutionize the game. The intense rivalry that he and Bird had was a thing of epic proportions. This type of rivalry had not been seen in the NBA since the days of Chamberlain and Russell. This rivalry was one of heart, skill, determination, and beauty. These two players brought the NBA to the lime light once again with this rivalry. Magic was able to capture four championships while with the Lakers and competing against Bird.
Jordan is considered by many to be the best basketball player hands down. Jordan was born in the NBA during a time of fierce rivalry between Bird and Magic. This meant that Jordan had to raise his game up in the NBA to get past Bird. Bird and Magic are partially responsible for making Jordan what he was as an NBA player. He was always a great player, but to get past Bird in the East he had to work at it. This meant that he would have to become more competitive than he was in college. This carried over for the rest of Jordan’s career. It took Jordan seven long years to get to the finals. Jordan retired with six NBA championships.
Kobe Bryant has revolutionized the game of basketball in his era. Bryant has carried the intensity that Bird, Magic, and Jordan all tried to pass down to the younger players of today’s era. Bryant is a highly competitive player and has learned from watching the greats while honing his own skills. Bryant has five rings so far in his career and he is still playing. Time will tell how many rings Bryant will end up with.
These are some of the men that revolutionized professional basketball. Who will be the next?