Over its history, the NBA has seen some of the most athletic sportsmen make their name in the league. Just making it to the NBA requires a high degree of athleticism. Players have to maintain their stature and weight for the entirety of their careers. However, some NBA stars stand taller than others when it comes to pure athleticism. There are individuals who have made their names in other sports as well, due to their athletic ability.
In this article, we look at some of the most athletic individuals that the NBA has seen over its history.
Five of the most athletic NBA players ever
In recent years, quite a few new stars have also shown a high degree of athleticism. These stars are touted to go on to be recognized as the most athletic stars of this generation. This includes the likes of Zion Williamson and Aaron Gordon, with the latter’s’ dunking abilities resulting in some of the most memorable moments of recent years. Regardless, without further ado, we look at the NBA stars who are some of the most athletic sportsmen to ever grace the league:
#5 Russel Westbrook
Westbrook is widely known as one of the most athletic basketball players that has made it to the NBA in the last few decades. Westbrook is a hugely influential player on both ends of the court and is the most prolific triple-double machine the NBA has ever seen, something the stats prove as well.
Westbrook, during his OKC Thunder days, was named the most athletic player in the league by none other than the late LA Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant. Regardless, Westbrook’s speed, agility, and strength despite him not being the biggest NBA player around stands testament to his amazing athletic ability, something that he has proved year after year.
#4 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan walks into this list for his poster dunks alone, and also had a short career as a professional baseball player in the MLB. Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest player that the NBA has seen and won six championships with the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan retired for the first time at the end of the 1993 NBA season and it was during his hiatus that he played for the Chicago White Sox. He returned to the NBA the following year. Testament to his athletic ability was the fact that he went on to win three further championships after his first retirement. Jordan also had enough gas to return to the NBA again in 2001 for a third time. He spent two seasons with the Wizards, and averaged more than 20 points despite the fact that he was almost 40 years old.
#3 Wilt Chamberlain
A look over Wilt Chamberlain’s career statistics sheds light on the sheer dominance that he enjoyed in the NBA during his career. Chamberlain was widely known as the greatest ever scorer to play the game. He was also known for his commanding defensive skills and is one of the best rebounders to ever play in the NBA.
Chamberlain holds multiple daunting scoring records that might as well never be broken in the NBA. He most famously went an entire season averaging more than 50 points for the Philadelphia 76ers and was a four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion. Chamberlain’s ability to use his size and skill to dominate opponents was unmatched in the NBA, and he makes this list as the third most athletic individual to ever grace the league.
#2 LeBron James
LeBron James is one of the most athletic players to have ever played in the league. His longevity and overall basketball ability makes him the most complete player of all time. James is perfectly capable of doing everything a basketball player can do and looks like one of the best ever.
James’ strength, speed, agility and dunking ability makes him one of the most athletic basketballers of all time. The fact that he could as well have made a successful career in the NFL, according to his former university coach, also proves the fact that his athletic ability is second to none in the NBA. James is built like a tank, but is also one of the quickest and most skilful basketballers to ever play in the NBA.
#1 Bill Russell
A large part of the NBA community might disagree, but when it comes to pure athletic ability, there is nobody who can compete with Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. Russell was the star of a Celtics’ dynasty that won the championship 11 times, and was a 12-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion.
A commanding center, Bill Russell was a tenacious defender and is one of the best rebounders the league has ever seen. He was famous for his poster dunks and once famously jumped over a fellow player enroute to a slam dunk. Bill Russell takes the top spot from this list of the most athletic individuals to ever play in the NBA.