The 75 greatest NBA players of the 2000s, ranked

The 2000s were an important decade for the NBA, with new stars emerging to carry the league into a new era. But which players were the best of the decade?
Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal
Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal / Jed Jacobsohn/GettyImages
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9) LeBron James

With superstar LeBron James in his 21st season, it's not surprising that he makes an appearance on this list. LeBron was selected all the way back in 2003 and spent the first six seasons of his career playing in the 2000s, racking up big numbers.

In 472 games, LeBron averaged an outstanding 27.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.7 assists, while transforming the Cleveland Cavaliers into a playoff team and then a contender. In 2007, he stunned the Detroit Pistons by reeling off 23 straight points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

That resulted in him making his first NBA Finals at the age of 22, but the Cavs were completely overmatched by the Hall of Fame trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Still, LeBron averaged an amazing 29.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists over 60 playoff games during the decade, proving that he was the real deal.

All told, with the exception of his rookie season, in which he had to "settle" for Rookie of the Year, he made five all-star appearances in the 2000s. LeBron also made first-team All-NBA three times and second-team All-NBA twice, an incredible feat for an all-time great.