The NBA’s shooters get all the glory, but they couldn’t do their jobs without the “box” players who put in the grunt work under the basket.

The success of a team depends heavily on the abilities of its rebounders, who must be able to fight through defensive pressure and keep the offensive possession alive.

This season, Domantas Sabonis has averaged over 15 rebounds per game, second only to Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert.

Focus is typically on the top scorers like Joel Embiid, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, so he and players like him don’t get much attention.

To pay tribute to such an integral part of the game, this article will examine the careers of the NBA’s top rebounders throughout its history.

Commendable Mention

Of course, these five players aren’t the only great rebounders in NBA history; there are many others who came close but didn’t make the cut.

On this particular list, Karl Malone appears at number six. There were 14,968 receptions in his career total. His career is complete except for a championship ring.

In a strong showing, Robert Parish comes in seventh. When it comes to total league matches played, Parish holds the record with 1,661.

The legendary “The Chief” capped his rebound total at 14,715 points.

Kevin Garnett appears on this list at number eight. Garnett played for the majority of his career in Minnesota before making the move to Boston and finally bringing home a championship.

Even though he only scored 14,662 points, his impact on the NBA was significant.

Currently, Nate Thurmond is ranked #9. Interesting fact: he grabbed 14,464 boards in his career, one more than he scored points (14,437).

Walt Bellamy, who made 14,241 jumps in his career, rounds out the top 10 list of NBA rebounders.

By the end of the 61/62 season, he had the third-best rebounding average in NBA history among rookies, and he was named the league’s best player.

Let’s talk about the five best rebounders of all time, and then we’ll talk about the best rebounder of all time.

Moses Malone (1955 – 2015)

You don’t get the moniker “Chairman of the Boards” if you don’t grab a lot of boards for your team.

Moses Malone, who stood just 208 centimeters tall, earned his moniker by leading the NBA in rebounds on six separate occasions over the course of seven seasons, beginning in 1979 and ending in 1985.

Although Malone’s output dropped significantly when he moved to Milwaukee at age 36, he is still second all-time in offensive rebound percentage and fifth in career rebounds.

Dennis Rodman (1961)

Everyone on this list of rebounders earned their spot by outsmarting and outplaying their competition. We can definitely put Dennis Rodman in that category.

The five-time champion spent countless hours studying his teammates’ missed shots in practice so that he would be in the ideal spot to capitalize on their miscues during games.

In preparation for an NBA game, he would do the same thing by watching the other team’s warm-ups to learn the angles at which their missed shots would bounce.

Rodman’s incredible focus on detail on defense earned him two Defensive Player of the Year awards and seven rebounding crowns between 1992 and 1998.

Rodman has spent some of his free time in recent years trying to ease tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Surely this is a rare occurrence in sports history!

Abdul-Jabbar Kareem (1947)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is remembered by most basketball fans as the gentle, clean-shaven giant who created the innovative sky-hook.

Abdul-Jabbar Kareem (1947)

The player who became known as “Cap” (short for Captain) was originally recognized as a huge center who rebounded like “crazy,” despite the fact that he spent the best days of his career doing something else.

Standing at 7 feet tall (218 cm), Abdul-Jabbar averaged 15.6 rebounds per season during his first seven years in the NBA and finished his 20-year career with the third-most rebounds in NBA annals.

Bill Russell (1934 – 2022)

There have been 35 Hall of Famers from the Boston Celtics, but William Felton Russell is a giant among them.

The five-time MVP also held the league record for most rebounds in a season on five separate occasions between the ages of 22 and 34.

Bill Russell (1934 - 2022)

That’s not all, though! On February 5, 1960, against the Syracuse Nationals, Russell set an NBA record with as many as 49 rebounds, and he recorded at least 38 rebounds in as many as 23 games.

Of course, there could have been mitigating circumstances, but we like to think the Nationals’ eventual relocation to Philadelphia was motivated by shame.

Chamberlain, Wilt (1936 – 1999)

The 23,924 boards Wilt Chamberlain collected between 1959 and 1973 are the most impressive of his career-high statistics.

Despite being retired for nearly half a century, “The Big Dipper” still holds 21 records for most or all types of rebounds.

Chamberlain, Wilt (1936 - 1999)

He has a career rebounding average of 22.9, and he has had 11 seasons in which he led the league in that category (13).

If he hadn’t divided his time so evenly between basketball and his social life, he might have set even more records.

Furthermore, think of how much fewer points the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, LeBron James, would have scored if the great Wilt had been 50 years younger.


While the NBA’s top scorers often receive the spotlight, the role of the “box” players who put in the hard work under the basket cannot be underestimated. Rebounders are integral to a team’s success, and players like Domantas Sabonis, Rudy Gobert, and the top five rebounders of all time have made significant contributions to the game. While some rebounders may not receive as much attention as top scorers, their impact on the game is undeniable, and they deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to their craft. OKBET Sports Betting is a great platform for fans to get in on the action and place bets on their favorite teams and players.