Best white NBA players: top 20 basketballers of all time

Best white NBA players: top 20 basketballers of all time

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most prestigious basketball leagues in the world since every top talent in basketball yearns to play in the league. African-American players have dominated the league for a long time, but some white players have also shown exceptional talents. When acknowledging top basketball players, it is worth mentioning some of the best white NBA players in history.

White NBA players
Larry Joe Bird, John Houston Stockton, Luka Doncic, and Dirk Nowitzki are among the best white NBA players. Photo: Joe Scarnici, Otto Greule Jr, Tom Pennington, Ronald Martinez (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

How many white basketball superstars can you mention? Well, most basketball enthusiasts can easily mention African-American basketball players. However, the best white NBA players also exist and have immensely contributed to the game’s history.

Best white basketball players of all time

White basketball players have made significant achievements in the NBA. From winning NBA championships and NBA Most Valuable Players Awards, setting impressive NBA records, to being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, white players have been outstanding. Here is a list of some of history's best white NBA players.

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1. Larry Joe Bird

White NBA players
Larry played in the NBA between 1979 and 1992. Photo: @larry_bird_33 on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Larry was nicknamed Larry Legend, Kodak, or The Great White Hope. He commenced his professional NBA career in 1979 when he joined Boston Celtics, where he played his entire career. Between 1979 and 1992, he helped Boston Celtics win NBA championships three times; 1981, 1984, and 1986.

Individually, he won three league MVPs (1984, 1985, 1986), two NBA finals MVPs (1984, 1986), and NBA Rookie of the Year (1980). The former star basketball player was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, and later in 2010, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the second time as part of the Dream Team.

2. Dirk Nowitzki

White basketball players
Dirk Nowitzki is a former German professional basketball player. Photo: @swish41 on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The former German professional basketball player was also called German Jesus during his career. He made his NBA debut in 1999 when he signed for the Dallas Mavericks and played for the team until he retired. The power forward and centre player won the NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. He had many individual achievements in his career, including winning the NBA MVP in 2007 and being part of the All-NBA Team 12 times between 2001 and 2012.

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3. Luka Doncic

Best white NBA players
Luka Doncic was drafted into the NBA in 2018. Photo: @lukadoncic on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

He is a Slovenian professional basketball player currently signed with the Dallas Mavericks. He joined Dallas Mavericks in 2018 and has played as a point guard and shooting guard for four years. His notable achievements include winning the NBA Rookie of the Year (2019) and being part of the NBA All-Star four times between 2020 and 2023.

4. John Houston Stockton

Best white basketball players
John Stockton is honoured during the NBA Legends Brunch Portraits as part of the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend. Photo: David Sherman
Source: Getty Images

The former American professional basketball star debuted in the National Basketball Association league in 1984 when he played for Utah Jazz. He played as a point guard for Utah Jazz in his entire career until he retired in 2003. Stock, as he is sometimes referred to, also makes it to the list of the greatest white NBA players as he holds the record for NBA's all-time steals and assists leader with 15,806.

5. Stephen John Nash

Best white basketball players
Steve Nash was one of the most famous white basketball players in NBA history. Photo: @stevenash on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Steve Nash was one of the most famous white basketball players in NBA history and remains one of the greatest point guards ever to play the game. The Canadian started playing in the NBA in 1996 when he joined Phoenix Suns and later played for Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. Even though Steve did not win the NBA championship, he had multiple achievements, such as NBA MVPs (2005, 2006) and being an NBA All-Star eight times. He is the second Canadian basketball player inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2018).

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6. Jerome Alan West

Jerome Alan West was famous as Jerry West, and he played professional basketball as a point guard and shooting guard for Los Angeles Lakers between 1960 and 1974. Jerry is the third basketballer to attain 25,000 points in NBA history. He helped the Los Angeles-based basketball team reach nine NBA championship finals and win one NBA championship in 1972.

7. Nikola Jokic

Best white NBA players of all time
Nikola Jokic, also known as Joker or Big Honey, is a retired Serbian NBA player. Photo: @jokicnikolaofficial on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The Serbian professional basketball player is nicknamed Joker or Big Honey. He started playing in the NBA in 2015 when he joined Denver Nuggets and has played for the team for seven years. He is an outstanding basketballer and is the sixth player in NBA history to record 100 career triple-doubles. The Denver Nuggets centre has two MVPs (2021, 2022).

8. Pete Maravich

Best white NBA players of all time
Pete Maravich, of the New Orleans Jazz, is shown here dribbling the ball in action against the New York Knicks. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Pete Maravich was an American professional basketball player who played for Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Jazz, and Utah Jazz as a shooting guard. He passed away on 5 January 1988 but is still recognised as one of the best white NBA players. Pete was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. After his demise, he was named to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996

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9. Kevin Edward McHale

Famous white basketball player
Kevin McHale #32 of the Boston Celtics looks to grab a rebound from the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1987 NBA Championships at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Kevin McHale played in the NBA for Boston Celtics as a power forward for approximately 13 years. He had numerous achievements with the Boston Celtics, including winning three NBA championships (1981, 1984, 1986). The former American basketball star was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

10. Richard Francis Dennis Barry III

Rick Barry’s debut in the NBA came in 1965 when he played for San Francisco Warriors. He later played for Oakland Oaks, Washington Capitols, New York Nets, Golden State Warriors, and ultimately ended his basketball career at Houston Rockets in 1980. The former professional NBA player was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.

11. John Joseph Havlicek

Famous white basketball player
John Havlicek played in the NBA for 16 years. Photo: @skyriecollection, @kgarnetthistory on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

John Havlicek played in the NBA for 16 years as a small forward and shooting guard for the Boston Celtics. The late American professional basketball player had a remarkable career winning eight NBA championships with Boston Celtics. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1984.

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12. William Theodore Walton III

Best white basketball players of all time
William Theodore Walton III was indicted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1993. Photo: @billwalton on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The former professional basketball player was famous as Bill Walton. He commenced his career in the NBA in 1974 and played as a centre for four teams, achieving quite a lot with them. He won a single NBA MVP and Sporting News MVP in 1978. He won two NBA championships; 1977 with Portland Trail Blazers and 1986 with Boston Celtics. Bill Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1993.

13. Christopher Paul Mullin

Greatest white NBA players
Chris Mullin started playing professional basketball in the NBA in 1985. Photo: @chrismullin2017 on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Chris Mullin started playing professional basketball in the NBA in 1985 when he signed for the Golden State Warriors. His professional career in the NBA spanned approximately 16 years, playing as a small forward and shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers. His most outstanding achievements include being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame twice, as part of The Dream Team in the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team and for an excellent individual career in 2011.

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14. Robert Joseph Cousy

Bob Cousy, as he was popularly known, is a former American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics and Cincinnati Royals in the NBA. He features among the best white NBA players of all time, having won NBA championships six times with the Boston Celtics (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961,1962, 1963). He was honoured after he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1971.

15. Pau Gasol Sáez

Famous white basketball players
Pau Gasol is a former Spanish professional basketball star. Photo: @paugasol on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Pau Gasol is a former Spanish professional basketball star who plied his trade for the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Milwaukee Bucks in The NBA. He was named FIBA MVP in 2006 and MVP FIBA EuroBasket in 2009 and 2015. He also won NBA championships with Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

16. Predrag Stojaković

White NBA players
Predrag Stojaković played in the NBA for 13 years. Photo: @pedjastojakovic on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The former Croatian professional basketball player was nicknamed Peja, and he played for multiple teams during his 13 years in the NBA. He won NBA championships in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks and was named NBA All-Star two times in 2002 and 2003. Peja was also inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame in 2022.

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17. Robert Lee Pettit Jr.

Best white basketball players of all time
NBA Legend, Bob Pettit, looks on during the NBA 75 Group Photo as part of the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend. Photo: Bart Young
Source: Getty Images

The former basketball star started playing in the NBA in 1954 for Milwaukee Hawks and later joined St. Louis Hawks. He is undoubtedly one of the best white basketball players in history, having been the first person to win the NBA MVP award in 1956 and later in 1959. He also won the NBA All-Star Game MVP award four times and was the first player to score more than 20,000 points. Bob Petit was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.

18. Jason Chandler Williams

White basketball players
Jason Chandler Williams. Photo: @jasonwilliams55 on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Jason Williams was nicknamed the White Chocolate due to his unique style of play. He helped Miami Heat win the NBA championships in 2016. Jason was also elected to NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1999. He ended his career at the Memphis Grizzlies after playing 788 games.

19. George Lawrence Mikan Jr

Greatest white NBA players
NBA Legend George Mikan speaks during a press conference to announce the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History on October 29, 1996. Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler
Source: Getty Images

George Mikan, nicknamed Mr. Basketball, was a former American professional basketball player for the Minneapolis Lakers in the NBA. He debuted in the NBA in 1948 and played 439 games for the basketball team as a centre. He is considered the first NBA superstar and played a vital role in helping Minneapolis win five NBA championships between 1949 and 1954. The late sports personality was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959.

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20. Arvydas Romas Sabonis

Best white NBA players
Legendary NBA player Arvydas Romas Sabonis. Photo: @nbastateofmind on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

He is a former professional basketball player from Lithuania, and he played for the Portland Trail Blazers as a centre between 1995 and 2003. He achieved quite a lot in his seven years in professional basketball, winning European Championship MVP (1985), Spanish League Finals MVP (1993-94), Spanish League MVP (1994-95), and Euroleague MVP (2004). He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

The best white NBA players made great history in the game and some set records that remain unbroken today. They stood out as individual players and helped their teams win numerous titles.

Legit.ng recently published the lives of Nigerian celebrities before they attained fame. Everyone has a life story, and while most celebrities are not shy to show off their lifestyle publicly, many of their fans do not know who they were before fame.

Ever wondered who your favourite Nigerian celebrity was before they came into the limelight? Find out the lives of various Nigerian celebrities before they attained celebrity status.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Muhunya Muhonji avatar

Muhunya Muhonji (Lifestyle writer) Muhunya has been a writer for more than three years. He graduated from Egerton University in 2014 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He is also a certified public accountant and tax expert. Muhunya joined Legit.ng in July 2021 and writes about various topics such as entertainment, technology, business, and biographies. In 2023, Muhunya finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. In March 2024, he completed the Google News Initiative course. Email: muhunyah@gmail.com

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