Being successful in the NBA is about athleticism, leaping ability and of course, skills - both on offense and defense - but there are a lot of extra things that could definitely give you a boost, and one of them is strength, as that really provides a great advantage over opposing players to gain and maintain position or to finish their shots through contact.
There have been a lot of players that haven’t shocked you with their athleticism or even their fundamentals, but strength have made them thrive through their entire careers as dominant players on both ends of the court, and today, we’ll honor them in our Top 10 Strongest Players in NBA History list.
10. Alonzo Mourning
Alonzo Mourning was one of the most intimidating players on the court on both offense and defense, being arguably the best player in Charlotte Hornets history since they drafted him 2nd overall in 1992, and where he stayed for 3 years before leaving for the Miami Heat, the Nets and then a second stint with the Heat, where he won an NBA championship despite his kidney problems.
Averaging 17.1 points, 8.5 boards and 2.8 swats per game, Mourning was a dominant presence in the paint as a 6’10 Center, making 7 All-Star appearances and winning the Defensive Player of the Year twice, as well as winning the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics.
9. Amar’e Stoudemire
People tend to forget how dominant Stoudemire was, especially during his time in the desert with the Phoenix Suns, being a regular guy in the MVP conversation due to his strength and ability to score and rebound against every opposition.
Sadly, injuries really stalled his development and durability, but when he was actually able to step on the court, the team was totally him, even during his stint in the big apple playing alongside Carmelo Anthony. With career averages of 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, STAT made his way to 6 All-Star Games and won the Rookie of the Year with his outstanding physique, able to posterize bigger defenders.
8. David Robinson
Nowadays we look at the Spurs as a beautifully orchestrated extra pass offense with lots of movement and ball rotation, but back in the day, they used to have a huge post presence and paint-oriented offense when David Robinson was a part of the team due to his extremely big and strong body.
1-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, 2-time NBA Champion and Defensive Player of the Year, The Admiral established himself as a huge force in the West through his entire 14-year career, making history as the only player to ever win the leading rebounder, scorer and shot blocker of the league while also winning the DPOY, ROY and MVP.
7. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard has pretty much always been a waste of a terrifically developed body due to his mental softness and lack of post movements, but when his mind’s in the right place, he can be an extremely dominant player with his leaping ability and will to dominate the offensive glass.
Back in the day with Orlando, it seemed like he was going to be the second coming of Shaq, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to collect 3000 boards, as well as the youngest to average a double-double for a full season, and get a 20 points-20 boards game, as well as being the tallest guy in NBA history to win the Slam Dunk contest.
6. Ben Wallace
When Ben Wallace was a part of the Pistons alongside Rasheed Wallace, you just knew you were going to receive a major beating in the paint and that wasn’t going to be pretty. Alongside Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace is the only player in NBA history to win 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards. This guy was a complete monster in the paint.
He was one of the main reasons why the Pistons won the ring in 2004, being the ultimate role player averaging 9.6 rebounds and 2 swats per matchup with just 5.7 points, being willing to protect the rim with his own life if needed despite not being the tallest guy on the court.
5. Charles Barkley
Barkley sure wasn’t the tallest or even most physically gifted power forward of his time, and that’s probably what makes him even more impressive, as he always gained position against taller and bigger guys with his fierce attitude and his competitive spirit, not backing off from anybody that stood between him and the rim.
Needless to say, this guy won everything except for an NBA ring, because he played in an era when Michael Jordan was in the league, finishing his career with lifetime averages of 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds and making 11 All-Star Appearances.
4. Darryl Dawkins
Well, this guy wasn’t nicknamed The Gorilla or Chocolate Thunder because of the color of his skin, but due to his terrifying presence and strength on both ends of the floor, and that was enough for the 76ers to choose him 5th overall in the 1975 NBA draft.
This guy didn’t hesitate to punch, shove, push or do anything he needed to prevent opposing players for scoring, owning the record for most personal fouls in a season with 386, averaging 4.8 personal fouls per game and even having one personal foul more than Michael Jordan, despite playing 350 games less than MJ.
3. Karl Malone
Few guys have been more intimidating in any sport than Karl Malone, as The Mailman was a completely dominant player with his 249 pounds at 6’9, and the 36,928 points in his 19-year career show this, being the second leading scorer in NBA history trailing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game.
13 All-Star Appearances, 2 MVPs, 2-time gold medal winner and leading scorer in Jazz history, Malone will go down as one of the greatest athletes in the history of the game, making it into the Hall Of Fame despite not winning an NBA championship, thanks again, to Michael Jordan.
2. Shaquille O'Neal
Of course, the most dominant center in the history of the game needs to be near the top of our list, as Shaq was absolutely unstoppable at both ends of the court and c’mon, just take a look at this guy, he's a freaking wall!!!
Shattering backboards, shoving opposing guys, posterizing the best players in the world and even hurting guys that tried to foul him, Shaq was the ultimate goon and one of the most talented players the game has ever seen, winning 4 NBA championships, a Rookie of the Year award, 1 MVP, 3 Finals MVP, 2 leading scorer awards, 15-time All-Star and 1-time Olympic gold medalist, averaging 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks per game.
1. Wilt Chamberlain
It was a completely different era, but like Shaq, Wilt was a completely physically developed superhuman that had no opposition, averaging 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game on 54% shooting and being the player with most points scored in a game ever with 100.
Winning the Rookie of the Year, 4 MVPs, 2 Championships and 1 Finals MVP, the Big Dipper owns 71 different records in the NBA, for instance, he averaged 50.4 points through an entire season, scoring more than 60 points in 32 opportunities, completely bullying everyone who stood in front of him.