20. Jerry West
Mr. Logo was a phenomenal basketball player during his time period. Inventive and daring on the court, West starred as both a point guard and as a shooting guard. He’s often viewed as a 2-guard — though much of his success came at the point. West dropped a cool 27.0 PPG average throughout his 14-year career. Though only 6’2″, West was aided tremendously by a freakish 6’9″ wingspan. Furthering his status as a premier unicorn, West made the All-Star team 14-straight times.
19. Hakeem Olajuwon
“The Dream” epitomized what it meant to be a skilled big man. In a sense, he was ahead of his time — as his famed ‘dream shake’ and tremendous footwork would’ve worked wonders with the finesse nature of today’s NBA. Olajuwon was also a demon on the defensive end of the floor. Not only was he an incredibly good shot-blocking big, but Olajuwon also averaged 1.7 steals per game for his career. This number is almost unheard of for a non-guard. He exhibited freakish tendencies on both ends of the floor (in the best sense of the term). Olajuwon’s well-rounded game should truly be celebrated and applauded.
18. Manute Bol
Bol stood an alarming 7’7″. Weighing in at (generously) 200 pounds, the strikingly thin athlete proved to be an absolute nightmare for any guard attempting to drive into the paint.
Aside from the fact that he remains the tallest player in NBA history, Bol had an uncanny timing for blocking shots at the time. For his career, he averaged 3.3 blocks per contest — with his career-high coming as a rookie in 1985 (5.0). Bol ranks second all-time in this category. His mere presence on the block would be a massive deterrent for the opposition. Though he didn’t put up gaudy stats scoring the basketball, his influence on the defensive end of the floor cannot be overstated enough.
Image Sources: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports, Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports, Focus On Sport/Getty Images