Ranking the seven strongest NBA players of all-time

David Robinson
There's no doubt that David Robinson was one of the strongest NBA players. Photo from Pounding The Rock.

Aside from skill and athleticism, strength is also important in basketball. As we witnessed from some of the strongest NBA players ever, there are a lot of advantages in being dominant physically on the floor.

Strongest NBA player ever

The strongest NBA players of all time rely use their brute strength to their advantage. They can bully opposing defenders in the paint or use their wide frame to protect the rim.

Building to the strongest NBA player ever, here’s our top seven.

7. David Robinson

Coming from the Navy, David Robinson arrived in the league with an intimidating figure (7’1″, 235 lbs). His lean and muscular body is more than just looks though as he uses his strength to bully his opponents in the post and protect the paint.

All thanks to his post-game, he won MVP, DPOY, was named an All-Star 10 times, and won two championships. He was a pivotal piece in San Antonio’s paint-oriented offense in the late 1990s.

6. Karl Malone

When it comes to physique, there’s no one more ripped than Karl Malone in the NBA. His body is built like a truck and he plays like one. He’s one of the best power forwards to ever play the game due to his post-game and toughness.

Malone won two MVPs and became a 14-time All-Star while looking like a pro bodybuilder out there. He averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds per game in his career.

5. Charles Barkley

Using his strength, Charles Barkley battled with opposing power forwards and centers several inches taller than him. We all know that he was undersized at the forward position but his ferocity and competitiveness allowed him to win most of the time in the paint.


Thanks to his wide frame and strength, he finished his career with 22 points and 12 rebounds per game while making 11 All-Star appearances.

4. Artis Gilmore

Artis Gilmore deserves to be high on this list due to his physical profile (7’2″, 240 lbs) and ability to carve space in the paint. This is why he got the nickname “A-Train” back in the 1970s. Even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had headaches when playing against him.

Over his career, he averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds per game on 58% shooting. He won the ABA Rookie of the Year and MVP award in the same season.

3. Ben Wallace

We all know that Ben Wallace was undersized as a center at 6’7″. However, he compensated for his lack of height with brute strength and toughness, especially on the defensive end. He weighed 250 lbs of pure muscle back then. I mean just look at him.

It was reported that he could bench press 450 lbs during his prime years. This just shows that he’s a superhuman who is a product of hard work rather than being gifted.

Over the entire course of his career, Wallace won six DPOY awards, was twice the rebounding champ, and won a title.

2. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq is one of the most dominant NBA players ever. He’s a freakish specimen—listed at 7’1″ and weighed nearly 400 lbs back then. His physical tools are the sole reason he was simply unstoppable in the paint. Shaq even broke a backboard once in a game.

Even when missing all of his free throws, Shaq could drop 30 points a game. That just shows how dominant he was. He could posterize anyone, even the opposing centers. His dominance translated to landing an MVP, three Finals MVPs and four rings.

1. Wilt Chamberlain

Yes, Wilt may come from a different era but he’s arguably the strongest NBA player ever. At 7’1″ weighing 275 lbs, he had no opposition back then. Wilt averaged a whopping 30 points and 23 rebounds per game on 54% shooting.

Wilt’s strength also translated off the court. It was reported that he could bench press 500 lbs—even better than Shaq’s 450. Arnold Schwarzenegger was even impressed with his strength.

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About Jeremy Mallari 123 Articles
Jeremy lives and breathes basketball. He's an avid NBA fan for almost a decade now.

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