NBA 75th Anniversary Team: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry among new players announced

In an effort to ramp up anticipation for who made the list, the NBA unveiled the 76 names over the first three days of the regular season.

NBA logo, Image credit: Twitter

The NBA officially kicked off its 75th season in existence, and to celebrate, the league decided to put together a list of the greatest players in history. However, instead of it consisting of 75 names similar to how the 50th anniversary team included 50 players, 76 players were announced due to a tie. To create this list, a panel of voters was assembled, which is entirely distinct from the Top 50 list the league released for its 50th anniversary in 1996. However, like the ’96 list, the players were not ranked. 

In an effort to ramp up anticipation for who made the list, the NBA unveiled the 76 names over the first three days of the regular season. The first 25 names were announced on Tuesday, followed by the second batch of 25 players on Wednesday. The list was finalized Thursday night with the final 26 names. Now that the list has been released in its entirety, here are the players who were granted the prestigious honor: 

  1. Bill Russell
  2. Oscar Robertson
  3. Dirk Nowitzki
  4. Hal Greer
  5. Bob Pettit
  6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  7. Kevin Durant
  8. Elvin Hayes
  9. Jerry Lucas
  10. Willis Reed
  11. Nate Archibald
  12. Bob Cousy
  13. Dave Cowens
  14. James Harden
  15. Hakeem Olajuwon
  16. Kevin McHale
  17. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  18. George Mikan
  19. John Stockton
  20. Steve Nash
  21. Charles Barkley
  22. Julius Erving
  23. George Gervin
  24. Moses Malone
  25. David Robinson
  26. Paul Arizin
  27. Rick Barry
  28. Larry Bird
  29. Wilt Chamberlain 
  30. Clyde Drexler 
  31. Tim Duncan
  32. Patrick Ewing
  33. Walt Frazier
  34. Kevin Garnett
  35. John Havlicek
  36. Allen Iverson
  37. Magic Johnson
  38. Sam Jones
  39. Michael Jordan
  40. Karl Malone
  41. Robert Parish
  42. Chris Paul 
  43. Scottie Pippen 
  44. Bill Sharman
  45. Isiah Thomas
  46. Nate Thurmond
  47. Wes Unseld
  48. Bill Walton
  49. Jerry West
  50. James Worthy
  51. Elgin Baylor
  52. Dave Bing
  53. Billy Cunningham
  54. Dave Debusschere
  55. Pete Maravich
  56. Earl Monroe
  57. Shaquille O’Neal
  58. Dolph Schayes
  59. Lenny Wilkens
  60. Dominique Wilkins
  61. Dennis Rodman
  62. Ray Allen
  63. Dwyane Wade
  64. Jason Kidd
  65. Kobe Bryant
  66. Gary Payton
  67. Bob McAdoo
  68. Paul Pierce
  69. Stephen Curry
  70. Reggie Miller
  71. Kawhi Leonard
  72. Damian Lillard
  73. LeBron James
  74. Carmelo Anthony
  75. Anthony Davis
  76. Russell Westbrook

Although the league said the Top 50 honorees weren’t guaranteed a spot on the 75th anniversary team, all 50 players made it after the final batch of players were revealed. Every era and player type has been represented on the list, showing the history and evolution of the NBA.   

For Kevin Durant, one of the new selections that had not even reached the NBA when it named its top 50 players in 1996, the honor was among the greatest of his career. 

“It means a lot,” Durant said on TNT after being selected. “It means everything to be honest. You wanna leave your mark on this league, on the game of basketball itself. To be among the greatest that this game has ever seen, just to be in that same company is pretty sweet. As a kid I saw the 50th anniversary and always dreamed of having one of those jackets on, being amongst that group so it feels good to be a part of it now.” 

The league has a number of celebrations planned for the season to honor the 75th anniversary, and players like Nowitzki, Pettit, Robertson, Magic Johnson and Clyde Drexler will serve as ambassadors for the diamond anniversary.

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