With big man Anthony Davis recently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers to be paired with all-time great forward LeBron James, another superstar duo has been formed in the NBA. The NBA world has a lengthy history of dominant duos ranging all the way from Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West to Curry and KD. Furthermore, with a new possible superstar duo formed with “The King” and “The Brow”, it reminds us of some of the greatest duos to ever do it. With that taken into account, let’s rank the top five duos in NBA history.
5) Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West
Really all that needs to be said is that one scored over 100 points in a single game and the other is the NBA logo. This iconic Lakers duo is one that resulted in plenty of finals appearances, but just one ring for West and two for Chamberlain. However, Chamberlain had four regular season MVP awards, a rookie of the year award, one finals MVP award, and thirteen All-Star selections. Meanwhile, Jerry West made the All-Star game in every single one of his fourteen seasons. Jerry West is also the only player in NBA history to be on the losing team of the NBA Finals and win Finals MVP. This legendary duo is certainly one for the ages, however, they are ranked a couple spots lower on this list just because how vastly different the league was back in the 60s and 70s. In addition, there are plenty of other prolific stats and accolades among the other duos on this list.
4) Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant
To continue the list is a duo that has recently frustrated NBA fans everywhere. When the 73 win Warriors went on to sign Kevin Durant, who led the league in scoring four of his previous seven seasons, a dynasty of the ages was made. Kevin Durant later went on to win back to back Finals MVP awards with the Warriors while Stephen Curry was the first ever unanimous MVP the season prior to Durant joining. The duo, along with Klay Thompson lit up the league for three consecutive 50+ win seasons while only falling one win short of sweeping the entire NBA playoffs in the first year of this duo being together. Had it not been for injuries to Durant and Thompson in the finals, perhaps we’d also be looking at a three peat on Durant and Curry’s resume. In just a short amount of time this duo has cemented itself as one of the most prolific ever, netting them a top five spot on this list.
3) Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal
Swooping in at number three on the list is yet another legendary NBA duo. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are not only all-time greats of their positions, but are part of the last NBA team to complete a three peat. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant have five combined Finals MVP awards throughout their careers, both players averaged over 22.5 points per game and at least 45% shooting during the three years of their finals wins. Bryant and O’Neal both dominated the game in ways very few have, with Bryant having two season of 30+ points per game, five championships, and being widely regarded as one of the best volume scorers to ever hit a basketball court. Additionally, O’Neal had two seasons of 29+ points per game AND 13+ rebounds per game, while averaging a double-double in each of his first thirteen seasons in the league. Both talent-wise and performance-wise while together, Shaq and Kobe were without a doubt one of the most prolific pairs to ever touch a basketball.
2) Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
First and foremost, the reason Magic and Kareem are all the way at number two on this list is that they simply have the most NBA Finals wins among all duos mentioned so far in this article. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won a total of five NBA championships together throughout the duration of their careers. Jabbar also is the NBA’s all time leading scorer with a gargantuan sum of 38,387 points throughout his tenure in the league. Kareem also is a six time regular season MVP as well as having netted a ludicrous nineteen All-Star appearances. Meanwhile, Magic was busy winning a championship and Finals MVP award as a rookie, as well as going on to average a double-double in nine seasons, appear as an All-Star in twelve of his fourteen seasons, and become one of the all-time Lakers greats. It’s no secret why when these two players joined forces they went onto win five championships and create the dynasty known as “Showtime”. Magic and Kareem will always be known as the most valuable contributors to one of the most historic franchises in all of sports.
1) Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen
Four words: greatest of all time. Michael Jordan has solidified himself throughout much of the basketball world as the greatest to ever do it (LeBron fans may argue) and what’s a Batman without his Robin? This historic duo was undefeated in the finals going 6-0 in the world championship. No other NBA duo has ever dominated the NBA Finals with such perfection (except maybe Bill Russel and company) in the history of the sport. Also, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen didn’t three-peat just once, but twice. Many say that if Jordan didn’t retire in the middle of each three-peat, his Bulls would have six-seated, and we’re not inclined to argue against that stance. Michael Jordan averaged over 30 points for his career while winning defensive player of the year twice, creating a player that really can’t be pointed as having any true liability to their legacy. However, when Jordan left the Bulls for a brief retirement, the team still won 53 games with Pippen grabbing All-Star MVP honors. There’s much talk about MJ being the greatest to ever do it, and he certainly is the center of the argument for this duo being the greatest ever, but Pippen was the perfect Robin to MJ’s Batman, creating the greatest sports duo in history.
The NBA has a lengthy and developed history of prolific player duos each with varying talent, combined success, and individual success. With Anthony Davis and LeBron James now on the same team that has held three of the top five duos to ever do it, we’d like to hear the readers’ thoughts. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, do you think LeBron and AD can find their way onto this list in the next few years?