Top 15 NBA Players Who Played In The Shadow Of A Bigger Star

The NBA is unique from the other "Big Four" sports leagues (NHL, MLB, NFL) in that the teams are much smaller. Active NBA rosters are only composed of 12 players. There are obviously multiple positions in basketball with defined roles, but not to the extent of other sports. In football there are two completely different units for offensive and defense. Quarterbacks generally get the spotlight, but they don't take away from the stardom of great defensive players. In baseball, you don't even have to worry about star players having good chemistry. In baseball, players who don't have much team success usually don't have their reputations affected because baseball is primarily focused on individual performance.

We have seen numerous great dynamic duos in NBA history. Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. John Stockton and Karl Malone. However, with these duos, I don't think one player took away from another. None of those duos had someone playing in the shadow of another player. Instead they were both recognized as great players who reached their maximum potential.

Many of the players on this list are widely considered to be amongst the greatest to ever play. Yet they still don't receive the same recognition that the franchise player on their team did. Who knows how these players' careers would've been affected had they played on other teams and been the go-to-guy.

15 Terry Porter


14 Dave DeBusschere


13 Rashard Lewis


12 Shawn Kemp


11 Pau Gasol

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

10 Manu Ginobili

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

9 Tony Parker

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

8 Klay Thompson

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

7 Joe Dumars


6 Kevin McHale


5 Robert Parish


4 Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway


3 Russell Westbrook

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2 James Worthy


1 Scottie Pippen


The greatest Batman-Robin combo in the history of sports, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Chicago Bulls to six championships in the 1990s. Both Jordan and Pippen were tremendous all-around players. No one should ever doubt Pippen's greatness. He is one of the greatest wing players of all-time and is in the Hall of Fame. Yet when we talk about him, the fact that he was Jordan's sidekick always permeates in the conversations. There are many great sidekicks in sports history. Yet with Pippen, you can't help but immediately think that he was a member of "Jordan's Bulls." This has nothing to do with Pippen's basketball abilities, but is a testament to how Jordan is both the greatest player ever and a global icon. There will never be a bigger shadow to play under than the shadow of Michael Jordan.

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Top 15 NBA Players Who Played In The Shadow Of A Bigger Star