Top 15 Rebounders in NBA History

Top Rebounders in NBA History

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Rebounding is not the most glorious stat in basketball, but it may be the most important. Fighting below the rim for every inch of space takes will-power and determination. Rebounds are not given, for they are earned. This ranking of some of the NBA's most talented players ever was compiled together with a plethora of statistics, but focusing primarily on total rebounding percentage as the most accurate way to compare players of different eras.

15. Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit
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15. Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit
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Bob Pettit only played in the league for 11 years, but he grabbed over 1,000 boards or more per season for nine straight years. Pettit's lengthy streak of consistency is only surpassed by Bill Russell. Career Total Rebounds: 12,849

14. Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
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14. Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Mark L. Bear- USA TODAY Sports

Kevin (KG) Garnett has had a long tenured career in the NBA and is still currently starting for the Brooklyn Nets. His tenacious rebounding efforts have led him to 15 All-Star appearances and league MVP in 2003-04. He also led the league in rebounds from 2003-07. His resume of many accolades will garnish him a ticket to the Hall of Fame once he hangs up the jersey. Career Total Rebounds (still active): 14,201 and 17.0 Reb. %

13. Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon
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13. Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon
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Hakeem (the Dream) Olajuwon's list of accolades is extensive. He's a 12 time All-Star and led the league in rebounds twice. He also led his team to two championships and was the Finals MVP for those championships. His never stop attitude carried him throughout his career until he absolutely could not continue. His defensive game may outweigh his rebounds, but he still made a big splash in this stat. Career Total Rebounds: 13,748 and 17.2 Reb.%

12. Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal
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12. Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Shaquille (Shaq) O'Neal has had an impressive career that includes winning league MVP in 1999 and then Finals MVP for the following three years in a row. His enormous size made him a stone wall down low that would rarely get cracked. Shaq was a beast around the rim, but was also adept at getting the ball in the hoop. He led the league in field goal percentage for five straight seasons. Career Total Rebounds: 13,099 and 17.8 Reb. %

11. Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo
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11. Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo
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Dikembe (Mount) Mutombo is most widely known for his intimidating, finger-waiving and shot-blocking ability, but he was a great all-around player and accumulated many rebounds throughout his illustrious career. He was also an eight time All-Star and garnished the league's defensive player of the year award four times. Career Total Rebounds: 12,359 and 19.1 Reb. %

10. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

10. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tim (Big Fundamental) Duncan is one of the smartest talents on this list. He plays the game in a very methodical fashion, for he's constantly looking for his next move. He is a 14 time All-Star and MVP in 2002 and 2003. He has also been the anchor of consistency and stability his entire career for the San Antonio Spurs, and his reliable game has led them to five championships. Career Total Rebounds (still active): 13,940 18.5 Reb. %

9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a pure all-around shooter. He scored more points than any other player at 38,387. He was also a dynamite rebounder ranking third all time. Simply put, he is one of the best players this league has ever witnessed. Career Total Rebounds: 17,440 and 16.0 Reb. %

8. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley
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8. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley
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The amount of rebounds that Charles (the Round Mound of Rebound) Barkley brought down throughout the 80s and 90s is truly staggering because Barkley is only 6-foot-6, the shortest player on the list. He also only played over 75 games in a season in six of his 16 years in the league. Barkley tallied an average of double-digit rebounds for 15 consecutive years. That level of consistency is unmatched. Career Total Rebounds: 12,546 and 18.2 Reb. %

7. Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld
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7. Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld
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Wes Unseld was a rock for the Baltimore and Washington Bullets throughout the 70's. His physicality proved difficult for other teams to guard. Unseld has the seventh highest career rebounding average and maintained double-digit rebounding averages for 12 consecutive seasons. Career Total Rebounds: 13,769 and 18.0 Reb. %

6. Walt Bellamy

Walt Bellamy
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6. Walt Bellamy

Walt Bellamy
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Walt (Bells) Bellamy often goes overlooked in the top rebounders discussion. He ranks ninth all time and has the highest rebounding percentage. Bellamy even averaged 19 boards a game one season. He was very athletic and quick for being 6-foot-11. An amazing talent who should be recognized more often. Career Total Rebounds: 14,241 and 20.1 Reb. %

5. Nate Thurmond

Nate Thurmond
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5. Nate Thurmond

Nate Thurmond
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Nate (the Great) Thurmond was consistently amazing. He averaged over 16 rebounds per game in eight seasons, over 18 a game in five seasons and over 20 rebounds per game in two glorious years. Thurmond played in an era of exceptional rebounding talent and never led the league in rebounds despite being fifth all time with an average of 15 rebounds per game. Career Total Rebounds: 14,464 and 18.7 reb. %

4. Moses Malone

Moses Malone
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4. Moses Malone

Moses Malone
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Moses (Chairman of the Boards) Malone was absolutely dominant down low in the early 80's. His athleticism and hustle was unmatched during that period. He led the NBA in rebounding totals for six of the seven years from 1979-85. The Chairman of the Boards also averaged double-digits in rebounds for 14 consecutive seasons. Career Total Rebounds: 16,212 and 19.8 reb. %

3. Bill Russell

Bill Russell
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3. Bill Russell

Bill Russell
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Bill Russell is simply a legend. He only played in the league for 13 seasons, but he made every single one of those years count for everything. He averaged over 1,500 rebounds per season in 12 of those years and was a 12-time All-Star. Russell led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships in those 13 seasons, the most in NBA history. He averaged 22.5 rebounds per game. The greatest defensive player in NBA history. Career Total Rebounds 21,620.

2. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain
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2. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain
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Wilt (the Big Dipper) Chamberlain is considered by many as the greatest to ever play the game. He is the only player to ever score 100 points in a game. Yes, it was a different era, but you can not dismiss his amazing accolades simply because of time period. He owns six of the 10 greatest single-season rebounding averages including the year he averaged 27.2 rebounds per game. He is also first all time in rebounds. Career Total Rebounding: 23,924

1. Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman
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1. Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman
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Dennis Rodman was the fiercest rebounder to ever play the game. He is only 6-foot-7 but played with the attitude of an 8-foot giant. He's the only player who played in the 80s or later (arguably the toughest era in the NBA) with a career rebounding average of over 13 per game. He led the league from 92-98 in rebounding for seven straight seasons in which he averaged 16.7 rebounds per game. Career Rebounding Total: 11,954 and 23.4 Reb. %