The All-Time All-NBA First Team

Upside Hoops recently compiled the 25 Greatest Players by position. Each piece can be found here:

25 Greatest Centers in NBA History
25 Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History
25 Greatest Small Forwards in NBA History
25 Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History
25 Greatest Point Guards in NBA History

The All-Time All-NBA First Team is a compilation of the best players of all time by position specifically.


Magic Johnson – Point Guard
Magic Johnson

Points per game Assists per game Win Shares
19.5 11.2 155.8

The ultimate point guard. Nothing about Magic Johnson makes sense. He was a point guard in a power forward’s body and used it fully to his advantage. Unlike  the myriad of large point games that came before and [mostly] after him, Magic was the most legitimate point guard. His unmatched passing skills and top level ball-handling skills meant he was not just “a big guy who could pass and shoot”. It is fairly well understood that if you could just make an elite but short player taller, you will likely lose something with the added height. Magic was the exception to that.


Michael Jordan – Shooting Guard
All-Time All NBA First Team

Points Per Game VORP Win Shares
30.1 116.1 214.0

Almost nothing needs to be said here. With few exceptions, Jordan is widely considered to be the best player in NBA history regardless of position. His accolades are as impressive as they are extensive. Unlike many on this list MJ was elite both as a scorer and as a defender. His status as a cultural icon is merely coincidental to his on-court greatness.

LeBron James – Small Forward
LeBron James

Points Per Game Field Goal % PER
27.1 50.4 27.5

Outside of the most unreasonable interlocutors, LeBron James is either regarded as the greatest or second greatest basketball player of all-time. Combining a devastating combination of size, basketball IQ, court vision and passing ability – LeBron is an absolute nightmare match-up for most players. He is fully capable of and does play multiple positions on both ends of the floor.

Tim Duncan – Power Forward
Tim Duncan

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game             Box Plus/Minus
19.0 10.8        5.6

The only player on this list that has a legitimate argument for being one of the top ten greatest players regardless of position, Duncan was a truly special talent in the NBA. Between Duncan’s defensive acumen, basketball IQ, and impressive fundamentals, he was able to remain a high level threat on both ends of the court deep into his thirties.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  – Center
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Points Per Game Blocks Per Game             Offensive Rating
24.6 2.6*        115*

Abdul-Jabbar still holds the record for most points scored in an NBA career. And despite a career that spanned two decades, he is not merely a case of good longevity. Kareem was one of the most gifted basketball players with an almost incomparable basketball IQ. The fact that he also had one of the most unstoppable moves in NBA history (the skyhook), is merely a bonus.

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