NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson among first 50 players announced

The NBA officially released the first 25 names on the list Tuesday, and on Wednesday they announced the next 25 names.

NBA logo, Image credit: Twitter

The NBA has officially kicked off its 75th season in existence, and to celebrate, the league has decided to name the 75 greatest players in league history. A panel of voters was assembled to build the list, which will be entirely distinct from the Top 50 list the league released for its 50th anniversary in 1996. However, like the ’96 list, the players will not be ranked. 

The NBA officially released the first 25 names on the list Tuesday, and on Wednesday they announced the next 25 names. Here are the players who’ve made the cut so far: 

  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 

So far, 41 players on the Top 50 list from 1996 have made the cut, despite the fact Top 50 honorees weren’t guaranteed selection onto the Top 75 list. Every era and player type has been represented thus far, and the list will only get deeper when the final set of 25 names is unveiled Thursday.   

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.” 

With 50 names down, the NBA still has 25 to go. 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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