These players have shown amazing skill on and off the court, and they continue to hold fascination for fans and players today.
Wilt Chamberlain, also known as Wilton Norman Chamberlain, has a number of different monikers including “Chairman of the Boards:” a name suggesting his domination over the backboards in the game; “The Big Dipper:” a name suggesting his ability to dunk the ball, and “Wilt the Stilt:” a name referencing his extraordinary physical height. Chamberlain played for the San Francisco Warriors of Philadelphia, the 76ers of Philadelphia, and the Lakers of Los Angeles. He was even a team member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He is considered to this day as one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain started out as a rookie player weighing in at 250 pounds but eventually gained weight and while playing for the Lakers weighed in at 300 pounds. He is seven feet one inches tall.
Awards he has won include the Rookie of the Year and the NBA Finals MVP. In addition, he won the NBA Scoring Championship Award seven times. He is identified as one of the fifty greatest players in the history of the NBA and he earned the most valuable player award four times. He was the NBA rebounding champion eleven times.
Earvin Johnson Jr. - Magic Johnson
Earvin Johnson Jr. is otherwise known as Magic Johnson. Now a retired basketball player, Johnson was at one time a point guard for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson won high school as well as collegiate championships. He earned the Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season in the NBA, and won four additional championships while he was a player for the Lakers during the ‘80s. Unfortunately, Magic Johnson contracted HIV and retired in the early 1990s. He returned to the game for a brief period in the year 1992 where he played an All Star Game and won the All Star Most Valuable Player Award. He then retired for an additional four years, before coming back to the game in 1996, playing thirty-two games with the Lakers, and then finally retiring on a permanent basis.
Magic Johnson was a five time NBA Champion. He was named the Most Valuable Player three times during his career, and he was also a Finals Most Valuable Player three times. From 1983 to 1991 he played on the All NBA First Team nine times, and in 1980 he played on the NBA All Rookie First Team. He was also the NCAA Champion in 1979. His number, 32, was eventually retired by the Lakers.
Larry Bird, otherwise known as Larry Joe Bird, was drafted into the NBA in1978 and became a team member of the Boston Celtics. For a period of 13 seasons he played as power forward or a small forward and he has teamed up with players like Kevin McHale, a forward, and Robert Parish, a center. He was voted to NBAS Fiftieth Anniversary All Time Team in the late 1990s and later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Larry Bird was an NBA Champion three times; an NBA Most Valuable player three times, and an NBA All Star player twelve times. He was an NBA Finals Most Valuable player twice, an All NBA First Team player nine times, and an NBA All Defensive Second Team Player three times. His number, 33, was later retired by the Celtics. In 1992, Bird was forced into retirement due to back-related issues.
From 1997 until 2000 he coached the Indiana Pacers. Three years later he became the President of Basketball Operations for the same team and he remains in this position today. In 1998 he was named the Coach of the Year.
Michael Jordan, also known as Michael Jeffery Jordan, is a businessman and former basketball player. His success in both basketball and in marketing popular sports apparel helped to make the NBA incredibly popular. Jordan started out his career at the University of North Carolina. He joined the NBA in 1984 when he became a team member of the Chicago Bulls. In 1982 he played in the Tar Heels’ National Championship. His monikers include “His Airness,” and “Air Jordan,” because of his amazing jumping abilities. To this day Jordan is considered one of the best defensive players in the NBA. In 1993 and 1994, Jordan temporarily retired from basketball in order to pursue a different career in baseball. In 1995 he once again became a member of the Chicago Bulls. He retired again in the late 1990s, but did return for some games in 2001 as well as 2003. Today his is also one of the owners of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Jordan’s achievements in basketball are many; he is a six-time NBA champion, a five time NBA Most Valuable Player, and he was an NBA All Star fourteen times. He was an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player six times, and he was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. He was on the All NBA First Team ten times, the NBA All Defensive First Team nine times, and in 1985 he was named the Rookie of the Year. In 1984 he was named the ACC Player of the Year, the Naismith College Player of the Year, and in the same year he earned the Adolph Rupp Trophy, the John R. Wooden Award, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. His number, 23, was retired by the Bulls.