Welcome back to the "Greatest Ever" series as we continue with the rankings of the greatest NBA players from the 80's.

Most experts, people agree that the 80's offered the best basketball from the league's history, thanks to the big competition. They were the little more advanced basics of modern and so typical way of playing hoops. Players were in general little more athletic, fundamentally more sound, more skilled than in the previous decades. Teams were really great, competitive and all played rough defense.

This decade had many memorable franchises but many more players. From Magic Johnson to Larry Bird, from the most unique to the best players ever, the decade had it all. Without, further ado here are the top players from the 80's!

15.Alex English

A prolific scorer, with silky smooth shot and efficiency on offense, Alex English was one of the most underrated players in the NBA History.

He was a real match up for his opponents. English was a 6'7 Small Forward possessed such a nice touch, with an accurate jumper that he released when his arms reached the highest point. It gave him the ability to score in bunches while doing it on a high percentages, which is beyond impressive. He had a nice arsenal and did his scoring, in many ways.

He scored most points in the 80's, a decade in which he truly dominated. His average of 25.9 was a factor of his brilliance on offense that earned him a reputation. He was the first player to ever score at least 2 000 or more points in a single season, who led twice in total points scored and grabbed a scoring title too. He did enough to be considered as one of the greatest offensive players of any time.

He was decent all-around player, who wasn't a good defender. He holds many Nuggets' franchise records, who's the all time leading scorer in its history. He also holds few more of them as well. Overall, English was a hell out of a forward in the 80's and should get bigger credit.

Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1997); All-NBA Second Team (1982, '83, '86); Eight-time NBA All-Star (1982-89); J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1988)

Stats (Regular Season/Playoffs):

-Points:25.613 (21.5)-----------------------------1.661 (24.2)

-Rebounds:6.538 (5.5)-------------------------371 (5.5)

-Assists:4.351 (3.6)------------------------------293 (4.3)

14.Dennis Johnson

One of the best defensive guards of any time who was skilled, smart and great overall player, Dennis Johnson was one of the best from the 80's.

He was a real all time great on defense, who's regarded as one of the finest perimeter stoppers in the league's history because of foot work, tenacity, hard work and ability to stop usually taller, stronger opponents in variety of ways. He was good off-ball as well, but he did most of his contribution on ball defense which cannot be measured with any statistics. Johnson is credited with slowing down the greatest player ever in Magic Johnson (arguably) in 1984.

He had a decent all-around game, however he brought some of the little things that aren't found in the stat box and led Seattle to its first and only championship in 1979 while winning the well deserved Finals MVP honors with averages 22 points, six assists and six boards in a winning effort over the Bullets. What made it even more sweeter, it was a revenge for the previous year's defeat and it was in a near sweep.

He continued to produce big time when he joined the Celtics to win few titles more and he quickly became a fan favorite in Boston, for his many clutch and memorable moments in the green and white uniform. He's elected in the Hall Of Fame, an accomplishments that is certainly late because the great DJ, died at the age of 52 in 2007. Still, the rarely credited tough guard, was a real factor for all of his teams.

Honors: NBA champion (1979, '84, '86); NBA Finals MVP (1979); All-NBA First Team (1981); All-NBA Second Team (1980); All-Defensive First Team (1979-83, '87); All-Defensive Second Team (1984-86); Five-time NBA All-Star 1979-82, '85).

Career Stats (Regular/Post Season)

-15.535 points (14.1)--------------------------------------------------------------3.116 (17.6)

-5.499 assists (5.0)----------------------------------------------------------------1.006 (5.6)

-4.249 assists (3.9)-----------------------------------------------------------------781 (4.3)

13.Bernard King

One of the most explosive and best scorers ever, Bernard King was one of the game's finest offensive machines of any time as he was capable to fill it up in a hurry.

He scored with his nice touch from mid range, had an excellent post up game, a trademark turn around shot that was so effective and he run the floor very well. On top of that, he had those long arms and quick release which made him an efficient scorer and pretty well at making his shots.

He was a 6'7 forward who had a well built body, nice athleticism, good vertical jump of 33 inches and all of those physical advantages fit well with his finesse that made him a dominant offensive force at anytime. He additionally had a deadly mid range game which was another strong attribute of his. He exploded for many high scoring games, as he often went over 40 points. In fact, he was the first one since 1964 to score 50 points consecutive times in a row.

To illustrate his real greatness, he did average well over 42 points against the Detroit Pistons who were an elite defensive team and he additionally poured 46 in Game 5 of the 1984 in the post season. That's King in his prime who was perhaps even a top 10 scorer, who was a real threat. He did led the NBA in scoring with outstanding 32.9 points, giving him his only scoring crown. He was always among the league leaders.

He did prove his skeptics wrong when he bounced back to became an All-Star. He was also very efficient scorer, who in the peak of his best averaged 26 points on 57% from field! Thats amazing efficiency from the field which is another reason why a terrific scoring miss match in his days. He was also a well rounded forward, who even averaged 9.5 rebounds in his rookie year.

Still, he's one of the greatest players whose careers were slowed down by an injury. He did average at 34, well over 28 points but then again, he injured again and it forced him to be retire. Still, he could be argued even as part of the 10 finest small forwards in the NBA History. He adjusted himself pretty well and was still a dominating player, which he was throughout the most valuable years in the pros.

Hopefully he'll enter the Hall Of Fame very soon!

Honors: All-NBA First Team (1984, '85); All-NBA Second Team (1982); All-NBA Third Team (1991); NBA Comeback Player of
the Year (1981); All-Rookie team (1978); Four-time All-Star (1982, '84, '85, '91

Career Stats (Regular/Post Season)

-19.655 points (22.5)---------------------------------------------------687 (24.5)

-5.060 rebounds (5.8)--------------------------------------------------121 (4.3)

-2.863 assists (3.3)------------------------------------------------------65 (2.3)

12.Sidney Moncrief

A 6'4 guard who was incredibly versatile, excellent offensive threat and terrific stopper on defense, the underrated Sidney Moncrief was one of the top players from the 80's.

He was arguably the best defensive guard of all time, who could additionally be argued as the greatest defender in the league's history who was a powerhouse on the other side of the court. He made his reputation on that, who could virtually do it all and is regarded as one of the most complete players to ever step on a NBA hardwood.

He possessed fantastic foot work, was athletic, had a nice vertical jump of 36 that gave him an above average shot blocking skills. He was a presence on this aspect of the game, and the first one to win the Defensive Player Of The Year award in general and two times in a row. He also holds the honor of being the only guard to ever collect this trophy twice too. He was additionally a lock down defender, who usually stopped his opponents. He could guard even 6'6 and taller players without a problem. He was just that good.

He was a fundamentally sound player, who was good in offense as he could slash well, hit his jumpers, post up in the paint despite his size, could take the role of the playmaker and was a good passer as well. He was known for his on court intensiveness that really boosted his abilities out there. He was a winner, who led the Milwaukee Bucks to the third highest winning percent in the 80's only behind the Celtics and Lakers. It was because of the C's, that he never got a chance to compete for the championships.

Still, he was consistently among the Most Valuable Player candidates who finished once 4th overall in the voting. Not bad for a guy who's not so known and so underrated. He's now one of the best players that's not in the Hall Of Fame, but hopefully he will be elected very soon as well as the likes of Bernard King and so on. Moncrief was a model of consistency, who kept himself in terrific shape and posted solid numbers.

Still, his production is beyond the numbers and should be in the Hall Of Fame!

Honors: Two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Four-time All-NBA First Team, Five-time NBA All-Defensive Team, Five-time All-Star

Career Stats (Regular/Post Season)

-11.931 points (15.6)------------------------------------------------------1.487 (16.0)

-3.575 rebounds (4.7)----------------------------------------------------469 (5.0)

-2793 assists (3.6)---------------------------------------------------------317 (3.4)

11.Hakeem Olajuwon

A force in the paint on both sides of the court who was a nearly perfect finesse player yet so physically gifted, Hakeem Olajuwon was the Dream for the fans and the Nightmare for all of his opponents.

He possessed amazing skill set which made him one of the most complete players to ever grace the league, who was versatile, extremely mobile, explosive and his greatness was obvious out there. Olajuwon had a pair of post moves and few counter moves, that he used smartly in order to dominate inside with gracefulness. His agility was nice as well. He could make even perimeter shots, as he poured in dozens of points on his 18 footer. He attracted consistent double teams.

The Dream belonged in the legendary tier of world class stoppers in the interior who was a relentless shot blocker that blocked a bunch of attempts, alerted a bunch of them as well and he could stop his man too. However, until he got more mature, he bite on pump fakes. He was a great rebounding machine too, who cleaned the glass pretty well. He won a pair of block and rebound crowns in this decade to show how good his abilities were.

However, this young Hakeem got his career moments, better career success, reputation, greatness more in the 90's so that's why i will keep it short and sweet on this one. Outside of few accomplishments, mostly individual, there isn't enough for him to put him above others. Still, he'll get his place!

10.Michael Jordan

Arguably the biggest surprise in basketball's history, the man who pretty much became its symbol, Michael Jordan was a fearless and terrific superstar in the 80's who's now a respected sports legend.

His path to success was tough, but in the end it pretty much paid off. Much like Hakeem, he was dominating individually as he surprised all in Chicago after being taken third overall. The back then GM of the Bulls said, "We've got a good defensive forward/guard who can score well" but Jordan shocked everyone and did so much more as he elevated his game to became a star from the get go. He was averaging well over 28 points, 6.5 rebounds and nearly six assists. He was an All-Star in the rookie season.

He was destroying teams with his offense, as he could get his way to the rim with easy thanks to his athleticism. He had a nice jumper which got better as time passed, he found his way to the line, made all kind of shots and was a walking highlight machine. He was also one of the finest at putting the ball through the hoop in a spectacular fashion as he won an All-Star Slam Dunk Contest with a terrific jam from the free throw line.

He was a dominant defensive guard as well, who led twice in steals and was averaging nearly one block in those seasons too. He could pick up the opponents best player and stop him, even though he was scoring well over 30 points on the other side of the court. He played big minutes and was an energy guy. Although his individual accomplishments are nice, he didn't win anything tough.

9.James Worthy

A complete player who's one of the most underrated legends ever yet such all time great, James Worthy was one of the greatest small forwards in the NBA History.

His greatness is diminished behind his former team mates Magic and Kareem, however he was still a superstar and belonged among the elite. "Big Game" Worthy was one of the most versatile overall players and defenders, who was equally terrific on both sides of the court, was skilled, athletic and so fast. He was also, one of the top finishers and perhaps the best at running the fast brake ever. He was a very productive forward who brought so many things on the board and his stats did suffer a little bit from the system he played in.

However, he was a team first oriented guy who wanted to win only. For a small forward, he had a sensational post up game and had the quickest first step in the league for at least seven years. Additionally, he had a pair of quick moves, fakes and a soft touch to be efficient in there. He had an unreal percentages of over 55% for a forward, who after his first eight season was the most efficient quickest finisher of any time.

He was a reliable on defense as well, and is one of the most versatile defenders in the league's history who was capable to lock his man and defend multiple positions on a high rate. James was a very clutch player who always improved his game in the post season and in the Finals. He did prove himself as one of the top small forwards to lace them, as he led the Lakers over the Pistons in the NBA Finals with averages of 22 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He recorded 28 points and 9 boards in Game 6, and had a dazzling triple double in Game 7 with 36 points, 16 assists and 10 boards en route to his last title and only Finals MVP.

He was just that awesome. It's a shame he's overlooked and underrated.

Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2003); NBA champion (1985, '87, '88); NBA Finals MVP (1988); All-NBA Third Team (1990, '91); All-Rookie Team (1983); Seven-time NBA All-Star (1986-92); One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).

Career Stats (Regular/Post Season)

-16.320 points (17.6)--------------------------------------------------3.022 (21.1)

-4.708 rebounds (5.1)-------------------------------------------------747 (5.2)

-2.791 assists (3.4)-----------------------------------------------------463 (3.2)

8.Dominique Wilkins

One of the best dunkers of all time,Dominique Wilkins was regarded as one of the greatest small forwards in the NBA History and also the most underrated player of all time.

He wasn't called "Human Highlight Film" for nothing. In the mid 80's he was spectacular scorer, powerful finisher at the rim with nice all around game which made was one of the most exciting ever. He was the first one who started doing the windmill dunks, copied by many these days. He was a powerful high flyer, who could go up high and finish with a strong jam.

For his ability to throw it down in style (just like in the picture), he participated in five Slam Dunk Competitions, earning two Dunk Titles and his match up with Jordan was interesting to watch. He was very consistent forward, that could score from nearly anywhere inside the three point line. He's the Hawks all time scoring leader.

Many feel, that 'Nique was arguably the best dunker of any time, as he was capable to rock the rim with variety of dunks. He averaged 28.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists in a span of 9 years, that speaks about the quality of the ultimate Hawk. He was indeed a superb player that shouldn't be dismissed because he didn't win a title.

Honors:9x All Star, All NBA First Team, 4x All NBA Second Team, 2x All NBA Third Team, 2x Slam Dunk Contest Titles, FIBA World Championship Gold Medal, NBA All Rookie Team, 1x scoring champion

Stats (Regular season/Playoffs)

-Points:26.668 (24.8)-------------------------1.423 (25.4)

-Rebounds:7.169 (6.7)------------------------375 (6.7)

-Assists:2.677 (2.5)---------------------------143 (2.6)

7.Isiah Thomas

Regarded as the greatest small man to play basketball, Isiah Thomas is one of the best players in NBA history.

He's among the top Point Guards of all time who marked the 80's with a fantastic all-around game. He was one of the purest guards in the league history. He's considered to be one of the most outstanding playmakers that the league has seen who would use whatever the defense gave him to drive inside,shoot, and pass.

However, he also brought amazing physical skills which, for a guy that was barely 6'0", was quite unique. He led a group of rough and nasty defensive players called the Bad Boys aka Detroit Pistons to two titles. Thomas was one of the most complete players, who did it all and was additionally a tough competitor that could take over a game at any time.

He was a terrific floor general for the Pistons, who consistently ranked high in each statistical category who even led the league one year in assists with a back then record of 13.9 dimes in that season. Even though he was undersized, it never stopped him from being a dominant presence on the court.

He was one of the finest undersized players to ever step foot on a NBA hardwood, who succeed in many things and left a remarkable proof that you can be great as long as you bring it all. His assist totals and averages are both among the all time league leaders at a very high place.

He is known for his 42 point performance with an injured ankle against the Los Angeles Lakers in a NBA Finals!

Stats (Regular/Post season)

-18.822 points (19.2)---------------------------------------2.261 (20.4)

-9.061 dimes (9.3)-----------------------------------------987 (8.9)

-3.478 rebounds (3.6)------------------------------------524 (4.7)

-1.861 steals (1.9)------------------------------------------234 (2.1)

Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2000); NBA champion (1989, '90); NBA Finals MVP (1990); All-NBA First Team (1984, '85, '86); All-NBA Second Team (1983, '87); NBA All-Rookie Team (1982); 12-time NBA All-Star (1982-93); NBA All-Star Game MVP (1984, '86); J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1987); One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)

6.Clyde Drexler

One of the best all time guards who was known for his ability to slash and get to the rim, Clyde Drexler was simply said one of the top players to ever step on a NBA hardwood.

He was a remarkable guard who possessed incredible physical tools such as athleticism, quickness, vertical jump of 43 inches and all of that with a superb skill set, intelligence that made him quite a force in his day. He's also one of the most complete players of all time so, that adds nicely. He was also a spectacular player to watch, especially because he was an outstanding dunker who was one of the most explosive finishers ever.

He wasn't called the Glide, as he could easily get up there and finish beautifully. However it was his all around game that earned him the reputation of the most elite in the league at his time thanks to averages of 27.0 points,6.6 rebounds ,5.8 assists and 2.5 steals. He had 26 points, nearly eight rebounds and around six assists in one Finals series which he lost even tough he shot on 54.3% from field against one of the greatest defensive teams ever.

The second time he was in the Finals with Portland was against Michael and the Bulls which they lost in six games. However, he finally won his ring in one of the last years as a pro as he teamed up with former team mate from college Hakeem to win his only title. He did put on a show with 21 points, 9.5 boards and 7.5 dimes...That's what greatness is all about!

Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2004); NBA champ (1995); All-NBA First Team (1992); All-NBA Second Team (1988, '91); All-NBA Third Team (1990, '95); 10-time All-Star; One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996); Olympic gold medalist (1992).

22.195 points (20.4)-----------------------------------------------------2.963 (20.4)

6.677 rebounds (6.1)----------------------------------------------------1002 (6.9)

6.125 assists (5.6)--------------------------------------------------------891 (6.1)

5.Julius Erving

Even in only seven years in the 80's, Julius Erving had to be part of this list as well

It was in the other part of his career in which he achieved his most memorable achievements such as winning the NBA title in a sweep over the Lakers, the regular season MVP etc. He was still quite a force as he was among the league leaders in scoring and he did post so much better all-around stats as well.

However, for a better read you can continue reading on Dr J in his better times here. Moving on...

4.Moses Malone

One of the first great high school players that made a direct jump into the pros, Moses Malone was one of the greatest big men of all time.

Not as tall as the other centers, he used fantastic quickness,strength and tenacity to establish himself as a presence on the court. He put phenomenal work on the boards and had a sense for the offensive rebounds with dozen of good post moves and trips to the line.

In other words, he was one of the most dominate players the game has ever seen who during his peak,won three Most Valuable Player awards while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the Finals where they'd sweep the Lakers, and he earned the Finals MVP as well

He posted some of the most insane numbers in the NBA History. He once averaged 31.4 points with 14.7 rebounds during a season, basically destroying Kareem with 25.8 points and 18 boards during the 1983 Finals.

He was called "Mr Chairman of the boards" and controlled the glass with ease. During his career, he led everyone six times in rebounding, including nine times in offensive rebounds and setting the record for a single season as well

Moses Malone, combined with his NBA/ABA career, recorded amazing numbers and left a strong legacy behind him during his 21-year career. His entrance in the pros coming from high school was historical and opened the gates to follow him. He could be argued even as a top 10 player of all time!

Career Resume

-NBA Champion, Three-time MVP, Finals MVP, Selected as one of the 50 greatest players in the league's history, Elected in the Hall Of Fame, Eight All-NBA Teams (Four-time All-First), Two All-Defensive Teams (One All-First), 13-time All-Star (counting the one from the ABA), All-ABA Rookie Team, All Time ABA team

Career NBA/ABA combined stats (Regular/Post Season)

-29.580 points (20.3)----------------------------------------2.213 (22.0)

-17.834 rebounds (12.3)-------------------------------------1400 (14.0)

-1.889 blocked shots (1.3)-----------------------------------160 (1.6)

3.Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The 80's Kareem Abdul Jabbar was different from the 70's in couple of ways. First of all, he changed his playing style from once a big powerful force on both ends to a guy who became mainly a terrific defensive presence with passing skills like Walton and he was still torching defenses with his sky hook.

He won the championship another five teams, earned a few MVP awards and was the oldest Finals MVP ever at the age of 38, as he led to a huge victory over LA's hated rivals, the Celtics. He set a bunch of new records and most of them still stand today. Even in his late 30's, he was still a capable player.

To read more on Kareem and on his best days, click here.

-Larry Bird

An intelligent forward who possessed incredible skill set and intelligence, Larry Bird was arguably the best player to ever step foot on a NBA Hardwood.

He was the greatest sharp shooter of any time, as he was the first one to get well over 50% from field, 40% from three point land and 90% from the charity which is a real factor of his dominance. He reached that achievement twice and was always a dangerous shooter on the court and at any time. He also could be argued even as the most skilled player ever, who dominated because of his outstanding skills and wasn't physically gifted because he could do it all out there.

He was a walking triple double who recorded well over 50 triple doubles and ranks among the five all time leaders in that category, a prove of just how rounded game he had. Perhaps no one in the clutch was better at making the last second shot as he had a bunch of game winners against elite defenses. He was an all time great in terms of clutch performances as well, as he was averaging a triple double in few of them!

Bird just was arguably smarter than anyone who ever played basketball, as he often was a couple of steps ahead of his competition, a thing that made him amazing. He was capable to read an inbound play, pretend to ignore it and then come up with the steal. Speaking of defense, he was a tough and good team defense that made few All-Defensive Teams. He wasn't a lock down stopper though.

He was a big competitor and the ultimate trash talker, things he's also known for. In some game against the Lakers, he told his stopper Michael Cooper what was he going to do on six possessions and guess what he did? He did exactly as he told and the results was only swish! However, Bird could have been a career 27 point scorer if he wanted. He was actually a playmaker too, who was only behind Magic in the 80's in that aspect.

Larry was one of the finest non guard passers in the league's history, who consistently led all non guards in passing for dozens of years and even averaged well over 10 dimes in some Finals series. He was a proven winner as well, who won three championships with the Celtics as he made them a dynasty since the 60's all over again. Long live Bird, the living legend of basketball!

Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1998); NBA champion (1981, '84, '86); NBA Finals MVP (1984, '86); NBA MVP (1984, '85, '86); Nine-time All-NBA First Team (1980-88); All-NBA Second Team (1990); All-Defensive Second Team (1982, '83, '84); NBA Rookie of the Year (1980); One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996); Olympic gold medalist (1992).

Career Stats (Regular/Post Season)

21,791 points (24.3)------------------------------------------3897 points (23.8)

8,974 rebounds (10,0)--------------------------------------1683 rebounds (10.3)

5,695 assists (6,3)--------------------------------------------1062 assists (6.5)

1.Earvin "Magic" Johnson

A unique player who had outstanding all-around abilities, made everything around him better and is the standard for comparing the point guards, Earvin Johnson was arguably the greatest player in the NBA History.

It was simply "Magic" how such tall guy could handle the rock like that and dish it. That's how he got his nickname. He was the greatest passer to ever step foot on a basketball hardwood, who led the fast brake better than anyone else and turned passing into an art form as he run the Showtime LA team to perfection. He did get rare assist numbers, but they don't always tell the story. According to his former team mates Worthy and Kareem, he gave you room to do your thing while he was leading you to easy points.

Nobody made his team mates better than Johnson, as he made all around terrific and much more effective. He was the most versatile player of all time, as he's the only one who could play all five positions on an A level. A proof for that is when he switched from point guard to a center into the 1980 Finals in Game 6 to replace the injured Kareem and recorded arguably the most amazing performance with 42 points, 12 assists, seven boards and five steals.

That's a reason why he was so magical. He was also terrific in the post season and Finals where he usually was a triple double machine as he's the all time leader in most triple doubles during the playoffs with 30 and ranks second to the Big O in career triple doubles with over 120. He was arguably more complete than anyone who ever played in the league. He averages of like 21/13/6, 18/12/7 and so on. (Points/Assists/Rebounds)

He was also one of the biggest winners ever, as he holds the all time winning percent in the post season and led the Lakers to either the first or second highest winning percentage in the 80's overall too. He was a good team defender, who led all in steals twice with well over 2.5 in average etc. He additionally is ranked first in career dimes (11.2) and playoff (12.1) assists (plus total) too, who holds the record for most dimes in a Finals game with 21.

He record triple double in a few series during the playoffs and overall, he is a living legend!

Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2002); NBA champion (1980, '82, '85, '87, '88); NBA Finals MVP (1980, '82, '87); NBA MVP (1987, '89, '90); Nine-time All-NBA First Team (1983-91); All-NBA Second Team (1982); 12-time All-Star; All-Star MVP (1990, '92); Olympic gold medalist (1992); One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).

Stats (Regular season/Playoffs)

-17,707 points (19,5)-------------------------------------------3,701 points (19,5)

-10,141 assists (11,2)------------------------------------------2,346 assists (12,3)

-6,559 assists (7.2)----------------------------------------------1,465 rebounds (7.7

By Darko Mihajlovski


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