18. LeBron James
LeBron James single-handedly revived his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers franchise with his legendary basketball skills. More than anything, his ridiculous athleticism and size as a point-forward is what separates him from any other basketball player who has ever played the game.
To demonstrate his impact on a team, consider this: he improved the Cavaliers record by 18 games in his rookie season by averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for the season. Also, when he left the Cavaliers in 2010 for the Miami Heat, the Cavaliers went from the NBA’s best record at 61-21 in 2009 to the Eastern conference-worst at 19-63.
He will most likely contend for more championships during his tenure with the Miami Heat and their freakish super-team, but it is mostly because of his remarkable impact on a franchise. He has been selected as an NBA All-Star seven consecutive times and won the Most Valuable Player award twice in 2009 and 2010.
17. Julius Erving
Julius Erving, or more fittingly “Dr. J”, is mostly remembered for his amazing dunks, as he himself incorporated his signature “slam” dunk into the game of basketball.
He spent the first few years in the American Basketball Association before joining the NBA with the Philadelphia and making an impact on the league. Not only was he able to win two championships in the ABA, but he was also able to win a championship in the NBA in 1983 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the 1983 Finals, he was able to demonstrate his unique athleticism with his “baseline move” in which his arm extended behind the backboard and reach the rim. In addition the his championship, he was also selected as an NBA All-Star 11-times and as the Most Valuable Player in 1981.