More times than not the team who wins the game is the team that can control the boards. Having a great center was a necessity back in the day. The three-point line wasn’t the focus. Basketball is still a tall man’s sport but it was even more of a big man’s game in the past. The top three rebounding centers in NBA history are all from the 1980s and beyond.
While many great big men came and went, the old school players are still at the top of the list. A popular debate is whether players from past eras could play in this era. With their skills, the players on this list most likely could. Superstars of the past are god-like figures in terms of one of the most crucial stats in the league; they were rebounding masters.
The Best Rebounding Centers in NBA History
Number 3 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an all-time great. He is one of the top players of all-time. He helped the showtime era Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships. Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest scorer of all-time as he tops the list of total NBA points for a career. While he was a great scorer he was also an incredible rebounder.
He was able to average 15 or more rebounds four different times in his career. In terms of total rebounds, he is third with 17,440. He was the 1975-76 rebounding champ. Abdul-Jabbar had a great career and he is on the top of many stats. Rebounding is something not talked about often when it comes to him.
Number 2 – Bill Russell
Bill Russell is the winningest player in NBA history, with 11 rings. While his rings were won in an era that was not as competitive, he was still a remarkable athlete. He was not like Abdul-Jabbar who was an amazing scorer but unlike the other two on this list, he was known for his rebounding. For his career, he averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game.
Russell is a four-time rebounding champ. For his career, he averaged 20 or more rebounds 10 times. Finally, he is one of two players to ever get 20,000 rebounds or more. For his career, he had 21,620 total rebounds. Russell wasn’t as great a scorer as Wilt Chamberlain and Abdul-Jabbar but he was able to do what the team needed and that got him 11 championships.
#1: Wilt Chamberlain
The greatest rebounding center is Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain holds many records and is a legendary figure in basketball history. He has many records that haven’t been touched and probably never will due to the fact that the competition is better. While he is an NBA champion, holds the highest scoring mark in an NBA game at 100 points, and has the highest total points scored in an NBA season with 4,029, Chamberlain was a great rebounder.
Chamberlain has the most rebounds ever in NBA history with 23,924. He is an 11-time rebounding champ and he averaged 20 rebounds or more eight times. He put up unbelievable numbers as the centerpiece for the Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers.
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