The NBA is filled with superstar players and big egos. But beyond that, of course, the league prides itself on its incredible teammates. A great teammate directly affects all the other players in surrounding positions. This kind of impact seriously shake things up, often increasing the chances of taking NBA term farther in the playoffs.
While concrete stats about this might be slightly hard to come by, you can’t deny the power of a solid teammate and cohesive playing. Doubtful? Check out these fantastic NBA teammates. It’s no coincidence that their teams are killing it on the courts.
The Oklahoma City Thunder team has been getting quite a lot of buzz lately. A lot of that has to do with the talented Kevin Durant who seems to be brilliant at incorporating everyone on the floor. Leading an up and coming team makes him a notable player to watch out for.
The floor general still has a little bit of work to do, but as a young and great teammate early in his career, he has a well-deserved spot on this list.
Putting LeBron in this list is a no-brainer. This player has an incredible ability to draw out the very best of his players. He took the Cleveland Cavaliers from mediocrity to the NBA Finals in the year 2007 and has been nurturing talent ever since.
While the mighty NBA king had a falling out with the Cavaliers after a while, you still cannot deny his influence on the team
Alonzo Mourning could turn up the heat when he wanted to and release the fury whenever necessary. Of course, when the pressure was off, he was known for being the nicest guy on the court.
As one of the best teammates in the league, Mourning knew the balance between friend and pro teammate. You could definitely see him bringing the "heat" in his team, Miami Heat. Yup, we said it.
Every generation has its Alonzo Mourning. So in the 60s and 70s, it was Willis Reed. The New York Knicks certainly saw many victories thanks to this great player. Much like Alonzo, this NBA champ was Mr. Nice guy in the locker room.
Out on the court though, it was a little different and he was no stranger to heated arguments and even small fistfights. He was also famous for playing through the pain. That is something that gets you unlimited respect from teammates.
Larry Bird, one of the most well-known players to come out of the 80s said of Dennis Johnson, "The best player I ever played with." That's some high praise right there. These kinds of comments were common, making Dennis Jonhosn a seriously respected player and opponent.
Unfortunately, these days Jonshon is pretty much forgotten. It's usually the bigger egos that seem to stand out of the crowd, and Johnson definitely knew when to put that aside. Sometimes you can't have it all.
The Sacramento Kings point guard was the guy that kept the team in check. Bibby was far more concerned with his teammates than himself and that was one of the key factors that made him so great and what made The Sacramento Kings so darn unstoppable.
Not only did the guy shine in the court, but he also got some additional minutes of fame in a remake of "Weekend at Bernie's." Looks like this guy shines no matter where he is.
Another non-ego we have here. Maurice (Mo) Cheeks didn't ever flaunt it. He did, however, bring it hard on the court. He was particularly hard on the defense. Cheeks never lost in on the court, which is one of the reasons he was an excellent teammate throughout his career which took place in the 80s.
Another reason Mo was so well-liked was the fact that he never sought out to overshadow his fellow teammates.
People tend to initially brush off Brian Scalabrine but in reality, the Boston Celtics power forward was one awesome teammate. While he did unfortunately fly a little under the radar in terms of public recognition, he was praised by his teammates.
Scalabrine could also diffuse some heated situations on and off the court. On top of that, he was jokingly called the White Mamba, a reference to Kobe Bryant's nickname Black Mamba.
Here we have the 7-time ring winner. Robert Horry made quite a name for himself. Horry was proof that your career isn't always about stats and how many teams you play for. When it came to Horry, it was about his tough defense, the offense from a three-four hybrid, and, obviously, the clutch shots.
His career was basically made out of clutch shots. Vlade Divac is still traumatized.
The world suffered a huge loss over Kobe Bryant's passing. There is no doubt that Bryant was one of the best players the world has ever seen. Was he always a good teammate? There have been debates. There was a time where Bryant's behavior seemed outrageous.
He was blamed for the Shaq breakup and was also the reason that Phil Jackson left. But the NBA champ changed his way and became the guy that makes everyone better. It turned around his career completely. He now will forever be remembered as one of the most loved NBA players in history.
Throughout the 90s Charles Oakley was known as the best enforcer on the court. While his skill with the ball was paramount his success, what made him really stand out was his ability to throw fists to overly rowdy opponents during a game.
Oakley was a great basketball player and was often praised by his fellow teammates.
Dirk Nowitzki wasn't exactly known to be one of those players to coddle his teammates on the court. There may have been other guys ou there who are more likely to get the "nice guy" award.
He did on the other hand get a lot of praise for knowing how to whip his teammates into some serious shape.
Kevin Garnett believed in his team for a very long time, even when the leadership and administration weren't particularly strong. Garnett succeeded in getting the very best out of some of the mediocre players on the court for as long as he could.
He then moved on to the Boston Celtics, became an enforcer for a team that wasn't entirely familiar with a tough approach.
Rajon Rondo is not exactly known for his shooting skills but certainly compensates in the slashing and dashing department. The NBA Lakers pro is great at finding the open man, as well as finding the man in the best position to dunk the ball.
Rondo's innate ability to position himself in the best way possible for his team is something that is being displayed more and more over time. If this continues, he soon might become the best point guard in history.
As we saw in the newest NBA Jam game, Kevin Johnson was an amazing teammate. In fact, in order to unlock him, one has to beat the computer in a two-on-two game by having your teammate get every point.
That in and of itself is enough fo a worthy reason to have a place in this list.
We could compare Robert Parish to Charles Oakley in a way, though Parish is a better passer. Parish would never let his teammates take a beating without him throwing himself into the center of the action first.
That of course is an invaluable quality for a center, which makes him a no-brainer for this list.
Pat Riley has often been credited for landing Chris Bosh and LeBron James, but in reality, it was Dwyane Wade that played a big part in bringing those two to Miami.
Wade was a great teammate back in the Shaq days, taking Heat to the finals in 2006. These days he's even better, especially at managing all the egos behind the scene.
The 1990s era of the Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon court domination was not easy to emerge from. But Reggie Miller did come out of that period with a fair amount of recognition.
The great Pacers leader wasn't really superstar material but he was no doubt a superb player.
Reliability is perhaps one of the most valuable things in a team player ever. And Kareem Abdul-Jabar definitely delivers in that department. In fact, it's because of this quality (not only) that makes him one of the greatest teammates in history.
His killer sky-hook, combined with his friendly demeanor, made Jabar a great player to have and a shoo-in for this list.
If there ever as a player who picked up the dirty work, it was Moses Malone. That definitely earned him a lot of respect among his teammates. Heck, even his opponents would tip their caps to him.
Malone would gran every rebound in sight, and on top of that, the boys could really joke around him with him.
Dave Cowens was a player who gave every bit of him on the court. Not only were his opponents intimidated by him but so were his teammates! Cowens' Boston Celtics fan base completely fell in love with him.
The intense player's energy impacted on the rest of the team. He would often pressure his teammates to take the game as seriously as he did. Evidently they could just never be on his level.
Here we have our up and coming passer, Chris Paul. He is the kind of player that knows the best shot from anywhere on the court, especially when his teammates don't.
That is some innate skill that no one can take away from him.
The world is pretty much split in half about the Shaq-Kobe feud. While the two NBA champs played brilliantly on the court and got three consecutive NBA championships (2000, 2001, 2002) as well as an appearance in the NBA Finals appearance in 2004, they were not so friendly with each other behind the scenes.
Still, later in his career, Shaquille O'Neal was respected by many of his teammates and of course is a major reason behind the Laker's success.
Out of the group of hunky NBA stars, Sam Cassell is not exactly one of them, not that this is a beauty contest. At least he's no Popeye Jones.
Sam Cassell is also known for being one of the most unselfish players in the whole league. That was especially true when it came to the Timberwolves when it was expected that Latrell and Sprewell and Kevin Garnett would get their toches every game.
There are many strong players that fly under the radar, and Andre Miller is definitely one of them. For the past decade, he has gone pretty unnoticed.
Miller might not be the best point guard but he is a superb teammate and knows exactly how to position himself on the court.
When the Pistons made their run to the NBA Championship in 2004, they decent bunch of players with no real centralized superstar.
Apparently this is the system that earned them that victory. Chauncey Billups was stuck in the center as the generous facilitator and the player that made sure everybody else was happy and playing their best.
Hakeem Olajuwon was an amazing teammate. That was proved when Robert Horry was asked who his favorite teammate and he picked Olajuwon over Tim Duncan.
His natural abilities as a ballplayer were evident on the court. Having only played for the first time at 15 years old, Olajuwon would dazzle his fellow players.
Derek Fisher is known as being a super down to earth kind of dude. The family man, however, does know when to put basketball first.
Back in his heyday, his shooting skills were spot-on, but generally, he was in the triangle offense. That's a lot to ask of a point guard. He sure made some big sacrifices.
Clyde Drexler a hard worker and constantly makes sure that his teammate is in check, both in defense and offense.
Drexler's teammates would often praise him over his solid attitude and hard work. The guy even once bailed Charles Barkley out of jail!
Luckily for Isiah Thomas, he was placed in a team with a lot of aggressive bad boys that would sometimes even overshadow his questionable behavior.
Being in the Bad Boy Pistons, his overaggressive and harsh nature looked acceptable next to players like Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Adrian Dantley, and Bill Laimbeer.
Pistol Pete didn't win any NBA championships but that was definitely not due to any poor team playing skills. In that department, he could have won needless champions (if you could win from friendship.)
That aside, Pistol Pete was definitely one the most skilled passers in the history of the game and pulled off some jaw-dropping feats.
As one part of the best duos in the history of the NBA, Karl Malone has one impressive reputation. Add that fact that he is just one of the nicest guys to play with, Malone is an NBA dream.
He was calm and collected mostly, but knew how to channel the aggression on the court.
As a four-time NBA Champion, Horace Grant did absolutely everything necessary to be a reliable player on some of the league's best teams.
He was a great passer and rebounder, especially for someone of his size. What's more notable was the fact that he was never upset over his amount of playing time or offensive touches.
It's been said that Mark Price was so vanilla that he made Larry Bird look like less white. While that might be funny, there was nothing funny about his playing.
As a super slick passer, Price knew how to utilize everyone on the court. That's probably why the Cavaliers were so darn good in the 90s, even though it might be hard to acknowledge that that team was good without Lebron James.
Elgin Baylor might be considered the greatest forward behind Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing. If that was all he was it would be enough.
Baylor was just an awesome teammate who got fellow players gushing over his great attitude. He did really with greats like Chamberlain and Jerry West.
Caught between two amazing passers, John Stockton and Steve Nash, it was Jason Kidd who led the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals twice. He could have come close to average a triple-double in his peak, but, he had an endless number of games where he would get 13 assists, 14 rebounds, and four points.
He was a super helpful player, always striving to involve his teammates and nurture them to be better players.
Mark Jackson went a little unnoticed in the 90s in the midst of players like the top-notch John Stockton. Of course, everyone was also overshadowed by Michael Jordan.
Still, Jackson was one of the greatest point guards and excellent at getting everyone involved in the team. Every time he joined a team, he would send them to the next level.
This was the first real superstar that caught everyone's attention in LA. Not only was Jerry West an amazing basketball player, but he was also great at getting the best out of his player, pushing them to their limits.
One could say that player George Mikan paved the way for him, but West had the all-American boy appeal that made him popular.
John Havlicek's teammates were pretty much in love with him the moment he stepped his toe on that court until the day he threw his last ball.
In fact, it was Dave Cowens who once said, “You tell me how many class guys there are like him anywhere. They ought to retire his number from the whole NBA. Just take 27 and stash it up there in lights.”
Sometimes it's hard to tell if Michael Jordan was just the most overshadowing and aggressive player or if he was one of the best teammates that the league ever saw. Whatever his methods were, they worked.
In the end, he got his team plenty of victories. Later in his career he did begin to soften up little.
Tim Duncan got his name by being the best power forward in the history of the NBA in the past 10 years. That's a mighty impressive feat. The guy clearly knows what he's doing.
He also knows how to collaborate well with players around him. It might explain why every move San Antonio has made in the past 15 years seems like the right one. just makes guys play the best they possibly can.
It really took Scottie Pippen to push Michael Jordan's Bulls to the next level, and when they got there, they were pretty much on top for an entire decade.
Pippen and Michael were great together, and specifically, Pippen elevated the rest of the team to insane heights.
There is no other player in the NBA right now that can beat making his teammates better because of the way he plays.
The Phoenix Suns sure did have their luck with a player like that. They would have a really bad record if it wasn't for him.
Throughout the 90s, John Stockton was the epitome of the ideal basketball teammate.
As a superb passer, he was great being second fiddle, as that is generally a great indicator for that role.
The six-time NBA Champion, Bob Cousy together with Bill Russell resulted in some phenomenal years for the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and '60s.
The Celtics totally dominated the league. Cousy was the ringleader of course.
Back in the olden days, there was one guy who could turn mediocre players into monsters on the court, and that man was Oscar Robertson.
Robertson was able to score points for himself and his teammates. All of this during a time where discrimination was rife in the NBA. The fact that he dealt with those issues on and off the court, just goes to show what a phenomenal guy he was.
Bill Walton was not always considered to be the greatest player. In terms of strategy, he was also not exactly the smartest player either. He did have something else going for him.
He did have incredible stamina and lasted a super long time in the league, even after his body began falling apart.
Bill Russell got the most rings out of any player in the history of the NBA. He also earned an incredible amount of respect from every player that ever encountered him. Russell also played in a generation that was terribly discriminatory against African Americans.
He did not let this get in the way and focused on winning games after games. His legacy is pretty much untouchable.
Dare we say it, Larry Bird was probably the very best teammate in the history of the NBA and possibly the greatest passer of all time. Bird with Bill Walton and Dennis Johnson were an unbeatable trio.
Watching the magical combination of those three basketball champs showed what the game was all about.
Speaking of magic...No one has a thing on Magic Johnson. This versatile freakishly talented player threw the best ball on the court and made the Lakers the powerhouse we all know and love.
Magic Johnson was in fact so great that he instinctively knew where the best shot at any point and position of the game. He knew it all even before it happened.