After handling the steals yesterday, we’re dealing with blocked shots today, featuring only centers, and another appearance by Hakeem Olajuwon, this time much higher than yesterday.
Number 10 – Alonzo Mourning, 2356
The only player in Miami Heat history to have his jersey retired, ‘Zo was one of the best defensive players of the last twenty years, averaging 2.81 blocks per game throughout his career, 6th best all time. He won the Defensive player of the year award twice (1999-2000) and the NBA’s all defensive team on those two occasions. He also led the league in blocked shots during those two seasons, averaging nearly 4 blocks per game.
Number 9 – Robert Parish, 2361
The hall of famer (2003) and four time NBA champion wasn’t a supreme blocker like others on this list, averaging “only” 1.47 a game in his 21 year career, 49th all time, but his longevity in the game brings him this high on this list. And yeah, despite not winning any individual awards, Parish was one heck of a player, on both ends of the basketball court.
Number 8 – Tree Rollins, 2542
Like Parish, Rollins began his career in the late 70’s, playing for the Atlanta Hawks for 11 seasons before beginning to switch teams on a rather quick pace. Nicknamed “the intimidator”, Rollins was never a real force on offense, averaging 5.4 points throughout his career. His defense was much better, averaging 2.2 blocks, 19th best all time. In the 1982-1983 season Rollins led the league in blocks, averaging 4.3 per game.
Number 7 – Shaquille O’Neal, 2690
On to someone a tad more efficient and flashy on offense, Shaq is still with us, 18 years after he entered the NBA, going after his fifth NBA title. Shaq never led the league in blocks but was and still is a very threatening figure in the paint, averaging 2.3 blocks per game, 15th best all time. His best came in his rookie season, averaging 3.5 per game, good enough for second in the league.
Number 6 – Patrick Ewing, 2894
The only one of the “big four” centers of the 1990’s who ended up without a title, Ewing is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. Ewing played in the NBA for 17 seasons, 15 of them with the New York Knicks, averaging over 2 blocks per game in his first 14 seasons, finishing with a career average of 2.45, 13th best all time. In the 1989-1990 he averaged his career best (and also probably his best season statistically), blocking 4 shots per game.
Number 5 – David Robinson, 2954
The Admiral spent his entire 14-season career with the San Antonio Spurs, starting his pro career at the late age of 24 due to his military obligations, but managed to leave an impressive mark on the league, excelling on both ends of the court. He won the DPOY award in 1992 and was a four time All-Defensive first team member. He averaged nearly 3 blocks per game throughout his career, 4th best all time, leading the league in blocks once (1991-1992, 4.5 per game) and winning two NBA titles.
Number 4 – Mark Eaton, 3064
The 7’4 giant spent his entire 11-season career with the Utah Jazz, leading the league in blocked shots four times, including an amazing 5.6 per game in the 1985-1986 season. His career average, 3.5, is the highest ever, aiding him in winning two DPOY awards (1985, 1989) and also three selections to the NBA’s all-defensive first team.
Number 3 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 3189
The six time NBA MVP never won the DPOY award, but made the All-Defensive team five teams in his 21 year career. He led the league in blocked shots four times, including two seasons with 4+ blocks per game. His career average of 2.57 is 9th best all-time.
Number 2 – Dikembe Mutombo, 3289
The Congolese titan was one of the more popular and positive figures in the NBA during his 19 year career, helping the 76ers and the Nets to the NBA finals. Mutombo led the league in blocked shots in three consecutive seasons (1993-1996), winning the league’s DPOY four times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001), a record he shares with Ben Wallace. His career average of 2.75 is 7th best all time.
Number 1 – Hakeem Olajuwon, 3830
Another Olajuwon sighting, after featuring yesterday on our top 10 steals leaders of all-time post. Hakeem leads the blockers by a huge margin, 541 ahead of Mutombo and 1140 ahead of the highest ranked active player, Shaq. Olajuwon led the league in blocked shots three times during the early 90’s and his career average of 3.09 is third best all time behind Eaton (3.50) and Manute Bol (3.34).
Active Players –
Shaquille O’Neal, 6th all time, is number one among active players, and although he’s far away from his dominant days, Shaq is still a legitimate NBA center and has quite a few years of playing in him, at least physically. Next in line is Tim Duncan, 11th all time, 20 blocks behind Mourning, meaning he’ll make the top 10 when next season comes, averaging 2.29 per game (16th all time). Marcus Camby is right behind him with 2140, averaging 2.58, 8th best all-time. Ben Wallace is 16th with 2032, averaging 2.09, and the last player in the top 20 is Theo Ratliff with 1963, with his 2.45 average good enough for 12th all time.
The league’s best blocker in the last two seasons, Dwight Howard, is 72nd all time with 1042 blocks, averaging 2.13, 20th in NBA history. Short calculation – Howard needs about 600 more games to make the top 10.