The center position historically has always been a position of importance in the NBA. Featuring some of the most productive and talented players in basketball history, the position is central to the success of many NBA teams. Defensively, centers are responsible for protecting the rim and rebounding. Centers come in all different shapes and sizes. There were the seven-footers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain that towered over their peers and dominated. On the other hand, there were the smaller fives like Dave Cowens and Wes Unseld that used their speed and quickness to make an impact.
A few players such as Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan were considered but left off of this list due to their time playing primarily outside of the center position. Both played center for huge portions of the latter stages of their careers, but at their peak, they were power forwards. From Shaquille O’Neal to Bill Walton, here are the 20 best centers of all-time.