Most of the great teams in NBA history have had great duos leading them. Having two partners in crime has been shown to be important to win a championship or to contend for one. There have been many talented duos throughout NBA history, but here are the top 3 all-time NBA duos:
- Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Years active: 1980-1989
Five championships won (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987-1988)
Magic and Kareem dominated from the first year they played together. They spearheaded the dominant team of the ’80s: the “Showtime” Lakers. Kareem’s skyhook was unstoppable even as he got older, and was still getting over 20 points a game while Magic blossomed into the face of the league along with rival Larry Bird, saving the NBA.
Facing tough competition in the finals every time they got there, these two made the showtime Lakers what they were, and complemented each other very well. However, they aren’t even the greatest Laker duo ever. Crazy, right?
- Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal
Years active: 1996-2004
Three championships won (2000-2002)
It took a little while for this duo to hit the ground running, but once they did it was over for the NBA. Kobe came into his own, while Shaq was racking up huge numbers and MVPs. They won three championships in a row and were easily the duo of the 2000s.
Their chemistry also couldn’t be denied on the court, especially against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2000 Western Finals. Despite their rifts off the court, they put that aside to win championships. Kobe and Shaq would have been the most dominant duo in the NBA if it weren’t for a duo in Chicago that won every time they hit the court.
- Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen
Years active: 1987-1998
Six championships won (1991-1993, 1996-1998)
I think Michael Jordan said it best: “When you speak Michael Jordan you should speak Scottie Pippen”. These two were meant for each other. Pippen’s playmaking and defense, along with Jordan’s all-around dominance complimented each other so well.
Although Pippen was robbed of a defensive player of the year award, he took the task of guarding the team’s best perimeter threat every night. He often took a backseat to MJ’s GOAT status, but Pippen’s impact shouldn’t be forgotten.
Meanwhile, MJ took the league by storm. Once he got the throne, he never lost it. He was the most dominant player of his era. He also never lost in the finals, going 6-0, and cemented their place as the best duo the NBA has ever seen.
These three duos dominated their era. You need a Batman and Robin to win in any era. These duos proved that, and never relinquished their status.