Top 7 Best Power Forwards Of All Time From The NBA

Last Updated on: 19th September 2023, 12:05 am

best power forwards of all time

In basketball, every position has its unique role and importance on the court. The power forward position is no exception.

Over the years, some truly amazing players have held this position and left an indelible mark on the NBA. This article will explore the top 7 best power forwards of all time from the NBA.

From dominating in the paint to shooting lights out from long range, these legendary players have shown versatility and skill over their careers. They have led their teams to championship titles, set numerous records, and inspired generations of basketball fans worldwide.

For those looking to gain insight into what makes a great power forward or simply wanting to appreciate some of the greatest players in NBA history, keep reading for a closer look at these top 7 players.

Karl Malone

You can’t discuss great power forwards in NBA history without mentioning Karl Malone. Known as ‘The Mailman,’ he was a beast on the court and dominated during his 19-year career with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers. Standing at 6’9′ and weighing in at 250 pounds, Malone’s physicality and strength made him almost unstoppable when driving to the basket or posting up in the paint.

Malone’s career accolades are impressive, including two NBA MVP awards, 14 All-Star appearances, and being named to All-NBA First Team eleven times. He also led the Utah Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998 but ultimately fell short of winning a championship ring. Despite this setback, Malone’s dedication to his craft earned him respect from fans and fellow players, cementing his legacy as one of the best power forwards ever.

Moving on from Karl Malone brings us to Dirk Nowitzki, another legendary player who left an indelible mark on the NBA.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki, one of the best power forwards of all time, was known for his incredible shooting ability and versatility on the court. Standing at 7 feet tall, he had an impressive wingspan that helped him score from anywhere on the court.

His signature fadeaway shot was nearly impossible to defend against and became a staple in his game. Dirk’s smooth footwork and quick release made him a threat from mid-range and beyond the arc.

Throughout his career, Dirk racked up numerous accolades, including being named NBA MVP in 2007 and leading the Dallas Mavericks to their first championship in 2011. He also became the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history, surpassing Hakeem Olajuwon’s record with over 31,000 points.

Dirk’s impact on the game cannot be denied, as he paved the way for other international players to succeed in the league.

Moving onto Kevin Garnett, another legendary power forward who dominated during his prime years…

Kevin Garnett

Get ready to witness the fierce intensity and unparalleled passion that Kevin Garnett brought to every game he played. As one of the best power forwards in NBA history, Garnett was known for his incredible athleticism, defensive skills, and fiery personality on and off the court.

He played for 21 seasons in the league, starting with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995 before moving on to play for the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. Garnett’s impressive career stats include an average of 17.8 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, and over 26,000 points scored throughout his time in the NBA.

He was also known as an excellent passer and team player who could lead by example through his court actions and vocal leadership from the sidelines. It’s no wonder why he was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2020, cementing his place as one of the all-time greats at his position.

With Garnett’s legacy firmly established among basketball fans across generations, it’s time to look at another legendary power forward: Charles Barkley.

Charles Barkley

As one of the most captivating and outspoken personalities in basketball history, Charles Barkley’s impact on the court and off it is still felt today. Known for his fiery personality and incredible athleticism, Barkley was a force to be reckoned with as a power forward. He played for 16 seasons in the NBA, earning 11 All-Star selections and being named league MVP in 1993.

Barkley’s physicality made him a nightmare for defenders who tried to match up against him. His ability to score from beyond the arc or drive to the basket made him a versatile player who was difficult to defend against. However, Barkley wasn’t just an offensive threat – he was also known for his rebounding skills, which helped him average over 11 boards per game throughout his career.

As one of the greatest power forwards of all time, Charles Barkley left an indelible mark on the sport that will always be remembered by fans worldwide.

Moving on from Barkley, Tim Duncan is another great power forward who deserves recognition.

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan was a beloved figure in the basketball world due to his consistent dominance on the court and humble demeanor off it. He played with the San Antonio Spurs his entire career, leading them to five NBA championships. Duncan’s skills on both ends of the court were unmatched, earning him All-Defensive Team honors 15 times throughout his career.

He was also known for his smooth offensive game, with an impressive mid-range shot and excellent footwork in the post. Despite his numerous accolades and accomplishments, Duncan remained grounded and never sought attention or fame off the court. His quiet leadership style earned him teammates, coaches, and fans respect.

Moving on from Tim Duncan to another iconic power forward, Kevin McHale was known for his dominant low post moves during his time with the Boston Celtics.

Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale’s footwork in the low post was like a beautifully choreographed dance, leaving defenders dizzy and helpless. He was one of the best power forwards ever to play the game.

McHale used an arsenal of moves to dominate his opponents on both ends of the court. His ability to rebound made him stand out among other power forwards. He played for 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics and was a seven-time All-Star.

He led the team to three championships during his tenure and is considered one of the greatest players in Celtics history. McHale’s dominance as a player can be attributed to his agility, strength, and quickness.

He was an excellent scorer, an outstanding defender, and one of the top rebounders in NBA history.

Let’s explore Elvin Hayes’ career as a power forward in more detail.

Elvin Hayes

Elvin Hayes, known for his formidable presence on the court and impressive scoring abilities, left a lasting impact as a key player in professional basketball. As one of the top power forwards of all time, Hayes was an unstoppable force in the paint and could score from anywhere on the court. He spent most of his career with the Washington Bullets and was instrumental in leading them to their only NBA championship in 1978.

Hayes’ dominance on the court was due to his unique combination of size, strength, and skill. Standing at 6’9″ and weighing over 235 pounds, he could overpower defenders with ease while also possessing a smooth shooting touch that allowed him to score from long range. His signature move – ‘The Big E’ – involved using his powerful body to back down defenders before turning around for a mid-range jump shot.

It’s no wonder why Elvin Hayes remains one of the most respected power forwards in NBA history.

Here are three interesting facts about Elvin Hayes:

  • He played college basketball at the University of Houston alongside future Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.
  • In 1968, he led his college team – nicknamed ‘Phi Slama Jama’ – to an incredible 32-0 record.
  • He retired as the third-highest scorer in NBA history with over 27,000 points.


In conclusion, the NBA has seen remarkable power forwards over the years. These players have not only been dominant on the court, but they’ve also left a lasting impact on basketball.

Karl Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley, Tim Duncan, Kevin McHale, and Elvin Hayes are all special in NBA history. Each player brought their unique skill set to the game and helped revolutionize their position.

From scoring machines like Malone and Nowitzki to versatile defenders like Garnett and Duncan, these power forwards were true trailblazers. Their legacies will continue as fans look back at their incredible careers with awe and admiration.

Whether dominating in the post or hitting clutch shots from beyond the arc, these power forwards truly embodied what it meant to be a great basketball player. As such, they’ll always be remembered as some of the best power forwards ever to grace an NBA hardwood.