Some of the best rebounders in NBA history are well known to sports fans while some don’t register in the memory banks. This list doesn’t include some of the league’s top all-time career rebound leaders, like Elvin Hayes (16,279 career rebounds) and Karl Malone (14,968), but is made up of players who made the most out their abilities.
Chamberlain, along with his rival and contemporary Bill Russell, tower above the others on this list due to their astronomical accomplishments. Chamberlain was an imposing force who put up mind-boggling numbers: In a game when double-figure rebounds a game is considered stout, Chamberlain averaged 27 boards a game in his first season. He tops the all-time list in rebounds (23,924) and rebounds per game (22.9).
Russell is the only other player in league history to eclipse 20,000 boards for his career (21,620) and perhaps one of the few men who could match up physically and athletically with Chamberlain. He practically matched his rival in career rebounds per game (22.5) and amassed his numbers in 963 career games.
In spite of his sometimes bizarre behaviour when he wasn’t wearing his basketball uniform, Rodman combined quickness, effort and, yes, smarts to be the most dominant rebounder of the late 1980s and ’90s. He holds the record for most consecutive rebounding titles (7) and averaged 13.1 per game for his career.
Photo credit: Dennis Rodman’s Facebook Fan Page
Right before Rodman crashed on the NBA scene, Malone laid claim to five straight rebounding titles, from 1980 to 1985. While he ranks fifth in all-time rebounds, his specialty was grabbing his teammates’ misses: He is number one all-time with 6,731 offensive rebounds.
At 6 foot, 7 inches, Unseld was an undersized center during his days. But he made the most out of his talents. He managed to average 14 boards per game over a dozen years in the league and is 11th on the all-time list (13,769).
Thurmond’s career began in 1963, in the middle of Chamberlain’s prime years. Still, he was able to hold his own with the best of them, finishing with 14,241 boards in 964 career games. He averaged 20-plus rebounds a game in consecutive seasons (1967-68),
The game’s all-time leading scorer was a more complete player than he is sometimes given credit for. Abdul-Jabbar is next behind Chamberlain and Russell in rebounds (17,440). He was relatively slender for his size, but averaged double figures in rebounds for 12 consecutive years.
Although officially listed at 6-foot-6, Barkley may have been closer to 6-4. Still he averaged double figures in all but his rookie season and earned his nickname, “The Round Mound of Rebound.”
The last two players on this list aren’t household names to some fans, but dominated during their time. Bellamy capped his career with 14,241 rebounds, playing in the Chamberlain era, from 1961 to 1974.
Lucas also played during that time-span (1963-74) and managed to pull down 12,942 rebounds in a modest 829 games.
… written by Bill Lucas - an avid basketball fan who loves attending NBA games, playing basketball with friends, writing and talking about sports online.