TOP 10 CENTERS
10. Robert Parish - "The Chief" starts off the list after a stellar career with the Boston Celtics. The man who made wearing "00" cool, averaged 14.6 PPG and 9.0 RPG post-1980. Parish is 19th on the all-time NBA list in points scored and 7th in rebounds. He won three titles with the Celtics and got a fourth with the Chicago Bulls, another little trivia piece for you.
9. Dwight Howard - Howard starts a string of the next 3 centers that were more dominant on the defensive end then the offensive side. Howard will ascend up this list if he continues his current career path, but his 6 seasons of 17.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG land him here for the time being. Howard has played in one finals and is a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year. Howards current 57.5 FG% ranks #4 all-time.
8. Dikembe Mutombo - Mutombo was a game-changer without much offensive game, garnering 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards. He averaged 9.8 PPG and 10.3 RPG over his career, which included one finals appearance with Philadelphia and no titles. Dikembe is #2 on the all-time blocks list and will be most remembered for spear-heading the first big upset in the current NBA playoff format.
7. Alonzo Mourning - Yes Alonzo Mourning, notta Christian Laettner. Dikembe's college teammate gets him by a spot. "Zo" averaged 17.1 PPG and 8.5 RPG over his career, which included one title with the Miami Heat. Mourning was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and is 6th on the career list of blocks per game. His career numbers would in all likelihood have exceeded these if not for the mysterious illness that caused him to retire for
6. Moses Malone - Who would have thought that Moses played 15 seasons post 1980? His averages of 20.5 PPG and 11.3 RPG land him at #6 on the list. Malone won one title and Finals MVP with Philadelphia, and 2 Regular Season MVP's. A monster on the low-block, he is #6 all-time in points and #5 in rebounds in NBA history.
5. Patrick Ewing - He went to the Knicks, some believe, because their lottery card was in a freezer. Once he got there, Ewing was a dominant force in the league. Patrick averaged 21.0 PPG and 9.8 RPG over his career, which yielded one Finals appearance and no titles. Ewing checks in #16 all-time in points, #23 in rebounds and #6 in blocked shots in NBA history.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - The former Lew Alcindor was a tough call, but he was less dominant in the 80's than he was in the 70's. The NBA's all-time leading scorer averaged 20.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG post-1980, but did win all 5 of his titles in that span (the first coming in 79-80). The master of the sky-hook, Kareem won one League MVP and one Finals MVP, while totaling the 3rd most rebounds and blocks in NBA history. He is also up for best actor on this list vs the guy from Blue Chips.
3. David Robinson - The "Admiral" suffered through the "Jordan Years", but hung around long enough to get two titles to go with his League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Robinson averaged 21.1 PPG and 10.6 RPG over his career and ranks 5th on the all-time blocked shots list. His signature left-handed jumpshot was extremely effective, as was his sportsmanship and off-court contributions.
The Diesel vs The Dream
This battle comes down to the most physically dominant center of the last 30 years, Mr. Shaquille O'Neal and the best all-around center of the last 30 years, Mr. Hakeem Olajuwon. Shaq Daddy averages 24.1 PPG and 11.0 RPG, along with 2.3 BPG and numerous bad raps. Olajuwon averaged 21.8 PPG and 11.1 RPG, adding 3.1 BPG and 1.7 SPG. O'Neal has 4 titles to Hakeem's 2, although Olajuwon took the only head-to-head finals match-up between the two. Shaq is 5th all-time in points, 14th in rebounds, 7th in blocks while Hakeem is 8th in points, 11th in rebounds, 1st in blocks and 8th in steals all-time. Shaquille O'Neal has been the biggest inside force of these past 30 years, from the brute power of his game, to the way teams needed to change defenses and strategy to stop him. Olajuwon was so smooth for a big man, faking and twirling his way past opponents like an artist. Once again, you could argue either way, although in this case, power and titles win out.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
1. Shaquille O'Neal