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The Most 12 Exciting Black Basketball Players Of All Time

Welcome to our list of the top 10 black basketball players of all time, where we’ll be looking at the players who have made their mark on the game and are remembered for their hustle and determination.

It’s no secret that basketball has been a staple in American culture for decades. It’s a sport that brings together generations of fans and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. But what about people who are black and play basketball? Aren’t there some incredible stories behind them? We think so!

That’s why we’re here today—to share our list of the top 10 black basketball players of all time.

The Most Black Basketball Players Of All Time

  • Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is a former American basketball player and one of the NBA’s most recognizable icons. While playing in the NBA, he earned five NBA Most Valuable Player awards, six NBA Finals MVP awards, three All-NBA First Team designations, twelve NBA All-Star Game selections, and two Olympic gold medals. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times. Jordan retired from basketball in 2003 as the league’s all-time leader in points scored (career at that point), assists and steals. He returned to play two seasons with the Washington Wizards before retiring for good from basketball in 2009.

  • Born: February 17, 1963 (age 59 years), Cumberland Hospital
  • Net worth: 1.7 billion USD (2022)
  • Spouse: Yvette Prieto (m. 2013), Juanita Vanoy (m. 1989–2006)
  • Children: Marcus Jordan, Victoria Jordan, Jeffrey Michael Jordan, Ysabel Jordan, Jasmine M. Jordan
  • Number: 23 (Chicago Bulls / Shooting guard), MORE
  • Height: 1.98 m
  • Career end: 1993, March 1995, 1998, 2003

2. LeBron James

LeBron James
LeBron James

LeBron James (born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The King of basketball, LeBron James, is the most decorated athlete in the Cleveland Cavalier’s history. He has won four MVP awards and is one of only six players in NBA history to lead teams to four consecutive championships. He’s also appeared in nine straight NBA Finals.

  • Born: December 30, 1984 (age 37 years), Akron, Ohio, United States
  • Net worth: 1 billion USD (2022) Forbes
  • Height: 2.06 m
  • Children: Bronny James, Bryce Maximus James, Zhuri James
  • Spouse: Savannah James (m. 2013)
  • Weight: 113 kg
  • Salary: 44.47 million USD (2023)


3. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, one of the dominant black players in the NBA, left a legacy that few teams and players can dream of. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA draft of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Bryant helped lead the Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000–2002. In 2003, he won the fourth ring as part of the franchise’s first worldwide championship with a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Japan. During two retirements between 2006–15 and 2017–18, he also won two NBA championships with the Heat and one title as part of his second stint with the Lakers.

  • Born: August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Died: January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California, United States
  • Children: Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant, Capri Kobe Bryant
  • Spouse: Vanessa Bryant (m. 2001–2020)
  • Number: 24 (Los Angeles Lakers / Small forward, Shooting guard), MORE
  • Parents: Joe Bryant, Pam Bryant
  • Height: 1.98 m


4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, another black basketball player, is a star. He was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. and is arguably the greatest basketball player. A 7-foot-2-inch tall giant of the sport and a vital member of the storied UCLA Bruins, he earned a nearly unrivaled three NCAA championships, two Most Outstanding Player awards, and two Finals MVPs. After eight years with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jabbar led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles in an era where his team played every game as if it were Game 7. He has six NBA MVPs, 15 All-Star appearances, six NBA Finals MVPs (a record), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995; even by today’s standards, he’s still among the league’s top 20 all-time in points per game.

  • Born: April 16, 1947 (age 75 years), Harlem, New York, United States
  • Height: 2.18 m
  • Spouse: Habiba Abdul-Jabbar (m. 1971–1978)
  • Children: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jr., Sultana Abdul-Jabbar, Adam Abdul-Jabbar, Amir Abdul-Jabbar, Habiba Abdul-Jabbar
  • Full name: Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.
  • Dates joined: 1975 (Los Angeles Lakers), 1969 (Milwaukee Bucks), 1965 (UCLA Bruins men’s basketball)
  • Career end: 1989


5. Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson is one of the most celebrated athletes in history. Named one of the 50 greatest players in National Basketball Association history in 1996, the 6’9″ forward-center was selected NBA rookie of the year and named to eight All-NBA Teams, winning three MVP awards. He led his teams to nine NBA Finals appearances and seven championships and won a gold medal for Team USA at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

  • Born: August 14, 1959 (age 63 years), Lansing, Michigan, United States
  • Spouse: Cookie Johnson (m. 1991)
  • Children: EJ Johnson, Andre Johnson, Elisa Johnson
  • Height: 2.06 m
  • Number: 32 (Los Angeles Lakers / Point guard), 33 (Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball / Point guard)
  • Career end: 1996
  • NBA draft: 1979 (Round: 1 / Pick: 1)


6. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson

One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Erving is known as a strong defender, playmaker, and rebounder. Oscar Robertson is a retired American basketball player who played for the University of Cincinnati and spent his entire professional career with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks. The 11-time All-Star was the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a whole season, accomplishing the feat in the 1961–62 NBA season. His playing career, especially during high school and college, was plagued by racism.

  • Born: November 24, 1938 (age 83 years), Charlotte, Tennessee, United States.
  • Height: 1.96 m
  • Position: Point guard, Guard
  • Number: 14 (Sacramento Kings / Point guard), MORE
  • Dates joined: 1970 (Milwaukee Bucks), 1960 (Sacramento Kings), 1957 (Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball)
  • Spouse: Yvonne Crittenden (m. 1960)
  • Teammates: Jerry West, Jerry Lucas, Walt Bellamy, Bob Boozer, 


7.  Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is a retired American professional basketball player and current sports analyst. Shaquille O’Neal, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this September, is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Two things defined his career:

All-Star appearances and nicknames. The seven-foot-one legend played for 15 seasons in the NBA, most notably with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, where he won four championships under head coach Phil Jackso

  • Born: March 6, 1972 (age 50 years), Newark, New Jersey, United States
  • Height: 2.16 m
  • Spouse: Shaunie O’Neal (m. 2002–2011)
  • Children: Shareef O’Neal, Shaqir O’Neal, Tahirah O’Neal, Me’arah O’Neal, Myles B. O’Neal, Amirah O’Neal
  • Shoe size: 23
  • Weight: 147 kg
  • Number: 34 (Los Angeles Lakers / Center),


8. Allen Iverson

Allen Email Iverson (born June 7, 1975) is a professional basketball player. He played in shooting and point guard positions for fourteen seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Iverson played college basketball for the Georgetown University Hoyas and was selected as the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers after winning a national championship in his senior year.

He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in the 1996–97 season and won four consecutive Eastern Conference championships after being traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2000.

  • Born: June 7, 1975 (age 47 years), Hampton, Virginia, United States
  • Height: 1.83 m
  • Children: Allen Iverson II, Isaiah Rahsaan Iverson, Dream Alijha Iverson, Tiara Iverson, Messiah Lauren Iverson
  • Number: 3 (Philadelphia 76ers / Shooting guard), MORE
  • Spouse: Tawanna Turner (m. 2001–2013)
  • Position: Point guard, Shooting guard, Combo guard
  • Nicknames: A.I., Al, Bubba Chucks, Ivy, Me, Myself and Iverson, The 3rd Degree, The Answer, Third Degree


9. Julius Erving (Dr. J)

Julius Erving (Dr. J) is one of the greatest basketball players. In his career, he was known for his high-flying style, and a signature move called the “slam dunk.” He played for the Virginia Squires, New York Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and San Diego Clippers.

He’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice: once as a member of the ABA’s 50th Anniversary Team and again as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In addition to being an incredible athlete, Julius Erving was also an incredibly generous person who did a lot to help others. He was named Man of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine in 1985 for his work with charities and raising money for medical causes.

  • Born: February 22, 1950 (age 72 years), East Meadow, New York, United States.
  • Height: 2.01 m
  • Children: Alexandra Stevenson, Corey Erving, Jules Erving, Justin Kangas
  • Spouse: Dorýs Madden (m. 2008), Turquoise Brown (m. 1972–2003)
  • Nicknames: Dr. J, Dr. J.
  • Position: Small forward
  • Number: 6 (Philadelphia 76ers / Small forward)


10. Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson was born on August 14, 1959. He was a former American basketball player. His career began in 1979 when he played for Michigan State University and ended in 1991 when he retired from the NBA.

Johnson was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant point guards of all time, and ESPN ranked him as the most excellent point guard and the second-best player (behind Michael Jordan) to play in the NBA.

  • Born: August 14, 1959 (age 63 years), Lansing, Michigan, United States
  • Spouse: Cookie Johnson (m. 1991)
  • Children: EJ Johnson, Andre Johnson, Elisa Johnson
  • Height: 2.06 m
  • Number: 32 (Los Angeles Lakers / Point guard), 33 (Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball / Point guard)
  • Career end: 1996
  • NBA draft: 1979 (Round: 1 / Pick: 1)


How many black basketball players are in the NBA?

Given that 84.2 percent of NBA players are black, and 13.4 percent of the general population is black as well, but only a 5.7 percent **percentage-point difference in full

Who was the 1st black NBA player?

The first black NBA player was Earl Lloyd, who played for the Washington Capitols in the 1950-51 season. He was also the first black to play in the NBA.

Are there any African players in the NBA?

In the NBA, there are many players with afros. Some are Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry. They have different hairstyles that make them stand out from their teammates and opponents.


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