The Most Iconic Basketball Players Of The Early 2000s




Otherwise known as ‘Big Diesel’, this iconic player dominated both the 1990s and the 2000s

NBA is where it’s at today because of some of these iconic players and their talent that was developed during this decade. 

Kobe Bryant 

First on the list is Kobe Bryant, who played a strong 10 seasons from the year 2000 through to 2009. In a similar way to how Michael Jordan dominated the 1990s, Kobe was certainly one of the biggest names to watch during the 2000s. 

This iconic player benefitted from playing alongside one of the best centers, however, Kobe proved that he could also lead a team by himself when he led the L.A. Lakers to take the NBA title in 2009. 

Despite his many, many achievements, Kobe didn’t just earn his success overnight and his skills didn’t come as a natural gift to him. He put in a lot of hard work and studied the game in depth. However, when he made it and all his hard work paid off, Kobe outsmarted his defenders and was able to break down defences by understanding what their weaknesses were. 

Shaquille O’Neal 

Like Kobe, Shaquille played 10 seasons of basketball professionally from 2000-2009. Otherwise known as ‘Big Diesel’, this iconic player dominated both the 1990s and the 2000s because he was physically on another level than the majority of other players, even at the center position. 

He was able to use his size advantage to dominate whoever his opponent was, which many centers failed to realise. Without both Kobe and Shaquille, the L.A. Lakers wouldn’t have won three straight NBA titles at the beginning of the decade. 

Tim Duncan 

Another one of the most successful basketball players of the early 2000s was Tim Duncan, who deserves this spot for winning three NBA titles, whilst averaging a double-double during the 2000s. 


Tim Duncan proved that you don’t have to be the biggest, most athletic or strongest to be the best player in the NBA

Nicknamed ‘The Answer’ or ‘AI’, he won the All-Star Game MVP award in both 2001 and 2005

Tim Duncan proved that you don’t have to be the biggest, most athletic or strongest to be the best player in the NBA. Simply, work very hard and understand the game, and that is what he did! 

Kevin Garnett 

Kevin Garnett made the transition from high school into the NBA look a lot smoother than it was and he was one of the first players to make this move. 

Garnett took the Timberwolves from the bottom of the Western Conference and turned them into a perennial playoff team in just a few seasons. His game was defined by his consistent production and intensity, as he continually dominated more experienced players in the NBA because of his athletic abilities. He was also able to get inside his opponents’ heads, which he did time and time again.

Allen Iverson 

Iverson played 11 consecutive all-star games in his career and is well-regarded as one of the most influential and greatest basketball players of all time. 

Nicknamed ‘The Answer’ or ‘AI’, he won the All-Star Game MVP award in both 2001 and 2005 and was the NBA’s most valuable player in 2001. So, this list really isn’t complete without him! Iverson retired in 2013 when he announced that he’d lost his desire to play anymore. 

Of course, these aren’t all of the most successful basketball players of the early 2000s, but these have truly deserved their spots on this list for being so iconic throughout their careers.

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