The 1970s and 1980s saw some of the greatest basketball players to ever step onto the court. From Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, to Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, these players shaped the game of basketball for years to come. It is no surprise that many of these players have been inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. In this blog post, we will be looking at the best NBA players of 70s and 80s and examining what made them so special. Get ready to relive some of the greatest moments in basketball history as we count down the 10 best players from these two decades.
1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest basketball players of all time and a dominating force in the NBA during the 1970s and 1980s. He is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points and his six MVP awards are an all-time high. Abdul-Jabbar was renowned for his signature skyhook shot, a devastatingly effective move which allowed him to score over defenders with ease. During his career he played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, helping both teams to multiple championships.
Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.6 blocks during his 19 seasons in the NBA and was a part of 6 championship winning teams, 5 of which were with the Los Angeles Lakers. His impressive achievements in basketball saw him inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. To this day, Abdul-Jabbar remains a widely respected figure in the world of basketball and a testament to the greatness of NBA players from the 1970s and 1980s.
2) Magic Johnson
As per The News Titan Magic Johnson is considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He was a major part of the Lakers during the 1980s and early 1990s, leading them to five championships, as well as three MVP awards. Johnson was one of the most influential players in the history of basketball and he revolutionized the point guard position with his size, speed, and court vision. He was a dominant scorer, averaging over 19 points per game during his career. He was also an incredible passer, dishing out 10.5 assists per game in his first season alone.
Johnson was known for his flashy style of play and for his ability to take control of a game with his leadership skills. He was also able to score from anywhere on the court and could defend multiple positions, making him a complete player. His number 32 jersey was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1992 and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
3) Larry Bird
Larry Bird is widely considered to be one of the best NBA players of the 1970s and 1980s. He was a three-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and was also the MVP for three consecutive years from 1984-1986.
During his time in Boston, Bird led the Celtics to the playoffs every year and won two championships in 1981 and 1984. His most impressive performance came in the 1984 Finals when he scored a remarkable 60 points in a single game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bird’s career averages are impressive as well, with 20.3 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game, and 6.3 assists per game. He was also a great shooter, averaging nearly 50% from the field and 38% from three-point range.
In addition to his on-court accomplishments, Bird was a leader off the court as well. His leadership skills were evident as he brought out the best in his teammates and inspired them to succeed. He was also known for his ability to get under the skin of opponents, often by trash talking and mind games.
Overall, Larry Bird’s accomplishments speak for themselves, as he is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was a leader both on and off the court and his achievements will never be forgotten.
4) Julius Erving
Julius Erving, otherwise known as “Dr. J” was one of the most iconic figures of the 1970s and 80s. He began his career with the ABA’s Virginia Squires, where he played from 1971-1973. During this time, Erving won two MVP awards, averaged an astounding 30 points per game, and became a fan favorite for his exciting and flashy style of play.
In 1976, Erving joined the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and quickly established himself as one of the greatest players in the league. Over the next decade, he won three MVP awards and four scoring titles while leading the 76ers to the NBA finals in 1980 and 1982. Dr. J was also known for his incredible dunking ability and highlight reel plays, helping to popularize the sport and cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Erving retired in 1987 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. He is still remembered today for his amazing accomplishments and revolutionary style of play, and many consider him to be one of the best players ever to grace the hardwood.
5) Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson is widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, and he was one of the best players of the 1970s and 1980s. He was an incredible all-around player who dominated the game on both ends of the court.
Nicknamed “The Big O,” Robertson was a 6-foot-5 guard who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks during his 14-year career. He was a 12-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection, and the 1964 MVP.
One of Robertson’s greatest achievements was leading the Royals to their only NBA championship in 1971. During that playoff run, Robertson averaged 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field.
Robertson was also the first player ever to average a triple-double over a season, doing so in 1961-62. He finished his career with averages of 25 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds per game.
There’s no doubt that Oscar Robertson is one of the greatest NBA players of all time, and he certainly deserves recognition for his dominance during the 1970s and 1980s.
6) Bill Russell
Bill Russell was one of the most iconic and important players of the 1970s and 1980s. He was a five-time NBA champion, and played for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969. During his career, he averaged 15.1 points per game, and led the league in rebounding nine times. He is also credited with helping to revolutionize the game of basketball with his defensive prowess.
He was an 11-time All-Star, and a 12-time All-Defensive Team selection. He is considered to be one of the greatest defensive centers in NBA history. He was also a two-time MVP and a three-time Finals MVP. He is one of only four players in NBA history to have won eight consecutive championships, and he is one of the most decorated players in NBA history.
Russell’s impact on the game went beyond stats and accolades; he changed the way basketball was played. He was instrumental in the development of the center position, and helped to popularize team defense over individual talent. Russell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, and his number 6 was retired by the Celtics. He remains one of the most respected figures in basketball, and his legacy will never be forgotten.
7) Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain is considered by many to be one of the greatest players in NBA history. During his 14-year career in the league, he was an 11-time All-Star and won two championships. He was also a four-time Most Valuable Player and two-time Finals MVP.
Chamberlain was known for his remarkable physical abilities, as he could jump higher, run faster, and had a longer wingspan than any other player in the league. He set numerous records during his time in the league and still holds the record for most points scored in a single game (100). He also holds records for most rebounds in a single game (55) and highest points-per-game average (50.4) for a season.
Off the court, Chamberlain was well respected for his philanthropic efforts. He often used his fame to help those less fortunate, donating large amounts of money to charities. He was also active in civil rights and other causes, which earned him even more respect from the fans.
Chamberlain’s legacy lives on today, as he is still one of the most iconic players of all time. His immense talent, combined with his humanitarian efforts, make him a true legend of basketball.
8) Isiah Thomas
Isiah Lord Thomas III was an American professional basketball player who played for the Detroit Pistons from 1981 to 1994. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and is often referred to as “The Zeke” by his fans.
A 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion, Thomas was a prolific scorer, with career averages of 19.2 points, 9.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. During his playing days, he was one of the most popular players in the league and earned a reputation as one of the best clutch players ever.
Thomas was also known for his excellent leadership and management skills, which enabled him to lead the Pistons to two NBA championships during his tenure with the team. He was instrumental in helping the Pistons win their first championship in 1989 by scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also named the Finals MVP that year.
In addition to his individual accolades, Isiah Thomas was also a leader off the court. He was the first President and Chief Operating Officer of the Toronto Raptors from 1994 to 1998 and served as a studio analyst for NBC during their coverage of the NBA playoffs from 2002 to 2008.
Thomas was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time.
9) Jerry West
Arguably one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, Jerry West was born in Chelyan, West Virginia in 1938. He is one of the few players to be named an All-Star in every season he played, making it to the All-Star game a total of 14 times during his career. West was an excellent passer, often being compared to Magic Johnson. On the court, he was known for his quickness and agility.
West began his professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers and stayed with them until 1974. During his time with the Lakers, he helped lead the team to nine NBA Finals appearances, winning one championship. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team seven times and was a six-time All-Defensive selection. In 1970, West was given the title of the NBA’s first ever “Mr. Clutch” for consistently performing well when his team needed it most.
Throughout his career, West averaged 27 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game. Upon his retirement in 1974, he held records for most points (25,192) and assists (6,238). West was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980 and had his number 44 jersey retired by the Lakers in 1983. Today, he is widely considered one of the greatest players in NBA history and an icon of basketball excellence.
10) Karl Malone
Karl Malone was one of the most dominant forces in basketball during the 1980s and 90s. He was an 11-time NBA All-Star, two-time MVP, and a 14-time All-NBA selection. His career points per game of 25.0 is among the highest ever recorded.
Malone spent most of his career playing with the Utah Jazz. He led the Jazz to the NBA finals twice, losing both times to the legendary Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. During his 19 year career with the Jazz, Malone averaged more than 20 points per game in all but two seasons.
Malone was not only a great scorer, he was also one of the best rebounders in NBA history. He is second all-time in total rebounds with 14,092, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain.
What made Malone so special was his work ethic and tenacity. He was known for always being willing to practice hard and give it his all on the court. His mental toughness and determination is what made him one of the greatest players in NBA history.