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NBA

Top 25 Duos In NBA History

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It's clear at this point that one star cannot carry a team to an NBA championship. It of course takes an entire group effort, but a trusty sidekick doesn't hurt anything. A good Robin can sometimes take a Batman to the next level.

So who are the best duos in NBA history? Let's take a look at the top 25:

25. Patrick Ewing and John Starks

New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
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25. Patrick Ewing and John Starks

New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings

Ewing and Starks were not the most popular duo, but they were sure good at their jobs. In total they played eight seasons together in the 1990s and game within a few plays of winning a title in 1994.

24. Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway

USA v France
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24. Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway

USA v France

If it weren't for the Bulls, the Zo and Hardaway led Heat may have very well ended up as NBA champions. Both were perennial All-Stars in the late 90s and were flat out fun to watch in their primes.

23. Charles Barkely and Kevin Johnson

Phoenix Suns v Seattle Supersonics
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23. Charles Barkely and Kevin Johnson

Phoenix Suns v Seattle Supersonics

Here we have another duo that was really good, but that was ultimately unable to reach the mountain top. They came close in 1993 on an awesome Suns team, but as with many teams in the 90s, Jordan denied their quest for championship gold.

22. David Robinson and Tim Duncan

David Robinson #50
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22. David Robinson and Tim Duncan

David Robinson #50

Robinson and Duncan are a unique duo because of their size. But the two big men found a way to get it done, winning two titles together (1999, 2003) before Robinson retired on top. Obviously, Duncan has continued their winning ways.

21. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers
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21. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers

It took Kobe several years to get back to the mountain top after the Shaq years, and Gasol was definitely the player that helped the most to get him there. So far they've won two rings together, but Gasol's L.A. future is very much in question.

20. Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal

Game 3 of 2006 NBA Finals
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20. Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal

Game 3 of 2006 NBA Finals

As soon as Shaq was traded to the Heat he declared them Wade's team. Flash and Superman teamed up for a title in 2006, which put D-Wade on the map and solidified Shaq as one of the best to ever play the game.

19. Walt Frazier and Willis Reed

Walt Frazier
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19. Walt Frazier and Willis Reed

Walt Frazier

Here we have a combo from the 1960s and 1970s. Frazier and Reed led the Knicks to their only two titles in franchise history in 1970 and 1973. Both now reside in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

18. Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway

Orlando Magic: Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway
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18. Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway

Orlando Magic: Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway

The biggest question with this duo -- what could have been? What would have happened if Penny had stayed healthy and Shaq hadn't left for L.A.? You have to think they would have won at least one ring together.

17. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
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17. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Can these two continue to co-exist? Some people think the answer is no, and that Westbrook will eventually get traded. But the Thunder might be considered crazy in the eyes of some if they ever deal the ultra-talented Westbrook. It will likely take a title in the next two years to keep them together.

16. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
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16. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce

The Truth and the Big Ticket joined forces for one reason back in 2008 -- to win a championship. They did it in their first year together in Boston, and currently are still trying to get back to the top with Brooklyn. However, we can all see the end is near for both.

15. John Havlicek and Dave Cowens

Boston Celtics
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15. John Havlicek and Dave Cowens

Boston Celtics

This HOF duo won two championships and made five straight trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in the mid-70s, carrying on the legacy of the great Celtics teams of the 50s and 60s. In total, Havlicek has eight titles to his name.

14. Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton

NBA Finals:  Chicago Bulls vs. Seattle SuperSonics
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14. Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton

NBA Finals:  Chicago Bulls vs. Seattle SuperSonics

Here we have another team that would have likely won a ring if it weren't for a certain No. 23. The Glove and Reign Man were the SuperSonics franchise for nearly a decade.

13. Oscar Roberston and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1974 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
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13. Oscar Roberston and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1974 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The first part of Abdul-Jabbar's lengthy NBA career was spent in Milwaukee with the Big O. The Bucks, yes the Bucks, won the championship in 1971 behind Kareem's 31 PPG and Roberston's 19 PPG.

12. Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon Game Portrait
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12. Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon Game Portrait

Clyde Drexler was already an all time great when he took his talents to Houston in 1995. But after winning a ring alongside The Dream, his legacy was definitely taken up a notch.

11. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars

Dumars and Thomas
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11. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars

Dumars and Thomas

While most of the attitude from the Bad Boys of Detroit came from Rodman and Laimbeer, most of the points came from Thomas and Dumars. The guard duo led the Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990.

10. Julius Erving and Moses Malone

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
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10. Julius Erving and Moses Malone

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Moses Malone doesn't get near enough credit. The guy was an absolute beast throughout his 20-year career, winning MVP and the NBA title in 1983 with fellow HOF'er Dr. J.

9. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat – Game Five
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9. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat – Game Five

You can hate LeBron and D-Wade all you want, but there's no denying that they're an all-time great NBA duo. They've got two rings together, but can the Heat retool and win another one in 2015?

8. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
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8. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

The Logo and arguably the greatest center of all time had to almost be unfair to play against back in the day. The two HOF'ers struck gold together in 1972, on what many consider to be the best team in NBA history (69-13).

7. John Stockton and Karl Malone

1998 NBA Finals Game 1:  Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz
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7. John Stockton and Karl Malone

1998 NBA Finals Game 1:  Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz

Here we have the greatest duo in NBA history to never win a ring. Stockon and Malone went together like peas and carrots. They were absolute masters at the pick-and-roll, but ultimately fell just short of winning a championship together. Like many others on this list, they can thank His Airness for that.

6. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale

v Boston Celtics
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6. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale

v Boston Celtics

Bird and McHale were the heart and soul of the great Celtics teams of the 1980s. Together they won three rings and played in five total NBA Finals. Both are obviously enshrined in the Basketball HOF.

5. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker
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5. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker

If there were doubts about Duncan and Parker being an all-time great duo, they've since been erased by their fourth championship together in 2014. These two deserve to be mentioned with the best of the best in NBA history.

4. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal

Blazers v Lakers X
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4. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal

Blazers v Lakers X

Their relationship ultimately didn't end well, but not before Kobe and Shaq played in four Finals together. They were able to come out of it with a three-peat and with one of the best duo legacies in league history. They proved that you don't necessarily have to like your partner in crime to be successful.

3. Bill Russell and Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Tom Heinson 1963 NBA All-Star Game MVP Portrait
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3. Bill Russell and Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Tom Heinson 1963 NBA All-Star Game MVP Portrait

Nobody knows rings quite like the Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s. While Russell is the all-time leader in championships with 11, he shared six of those titles with the great Bob Cousy.

2. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar
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2. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Here we have yet another great Lakers combo featuring two HOF'ers. But this one is THE best in franchise history. It just doesn't get any better at the PG position than Magic, and it also doesn't get any better at center than Kareem. Put the two together and you get five championship rings.

1. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

1993 NBA Finals Game 1:  Chicago Bulls vs. Phoenix Suns
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1. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

1993 NBA Finals Game 1:  Chicago Bulls vs. Phoenix Suns

No surprise here at No. 1. Jordan and Pippen are the standard when it comes to NBA duos. Pippen was an All-Pro defender and top-notch scorer, while Jordan is simply the GOAT. The two were able to compliment each other well over their 11 years together in the Windy City, which of course resulted in six NBA championships.