13h ago NBA

The most influential game changers in NBA history

The 10-year anniversary of 'The Decision' and the retirement of a YouTube pioneer makes for an opportune time to revisit the NBA's biggest game changers. LeBron James, Vince Carter, Stephen Curry and Wilt Chamberlain are among the select few who transcended the game and forever changed the course of history.

By Micah Adams@MicahAdams13

 

 

 

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Who are the NBA's most influential game changers? (Getty Images)

All week long here on NBA.com we're celebrating the amazing accomplishments and enduring legacy of Vince Carter who decided to call it a career after an awe-inspiring career which spanned a record 22 seasons. For more never-before-seen Carter content, check out ThankYouVince.com which features an interactive look back through the defining moments including never-before-seen content.

Wilt. Kareem. Doctor. Magic. Michael. LeBron. Dirk. Steph. Vince.

All certifiable NBA game changers. But what does that even mean?

Game changer (noun): a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way

While the idea of "changing the game" as it relates to sports or pastimes dates back over 100 years, the origins of the literal term "game changer" is up for debate. Some claim that it was first used in relation to sports in 1981 in Volume 3 of 'Inside Sports' while referencing one-of-a-kind baseball players. Others point towards a story in The Atlanta Constitution from 1930 which described an attempt to improve the game of bridge. "Seldom are game-changers idle."

According to Google Books Ngram Viewer, which is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any string of text found in sources printed between 1500 and 2008, there is no evidence of it used as an expression prior to the 1960s. Today, it's firmly entrenched in the vernacular and casually tossed around as an understood part of everyday lingo.

13h ago NBA

The most influential game changers in NBA history

The 10-year anniversary of 'The Decision' and the retirement of a YouTube pioneer makes for an opportune time to revisit the NBA's biggest game changers. LeBron James, Vince Carter, Stephen Curry and Wilt Chamberlain are among the select few who transcended the game and forever changed the course of history.

By Micah Adams@MicahAdams13

 

 

 

url copied to clipboard

Who are the NBA's most influential game changers? (Getty Images)

All week long here on NBA.com we're celebrating the amazing accomplishments and enduring legacy of Vince Carter who decided to call it a career after an awe-inspiring career which spanned a record 22 seasons. For more never-before-seen Carter content, check out ThankYouVince.com which features an interactive look back through the defining moments including never-before-seen content.

Wilt. Kareem. Doctor. Magic. Michael. LeBron. Dirk. Steph. Vince.

All certifiable NBA game changers. But what does that even mean?

Game changer (noun): a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way

While the idea of "changing the game" as it relates to sports or pastimes dates back over 100 years, the origins of the literal term "game changer" is up for debate. Some claim that it was first used in relation to sports in 1981 in Volume 3 of 'Inside Sports' while referencing one-of-a-kind baseball players. Others point towards a story in The Atlanta Constitution from 1930 which described an attempt to improve the game of bridge. "Seldom are game-changers idle."

According to Google Books Ngram Viewer, which is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any string of text found in sources printed between 1500 and 2008, there is no evidence of it used as an expression prior to the 1960s. Today, it's firmly entrenched in the vernacular and casually tossed around as an understood part of everyday lingo.

In the context of the NBA, the true game changers are rare. 

There are always a slew of great players, the giants of the game who tower over all and cast a shadow that extends beyond their own immediate sphere.

But even the best of the best aren't necessarily game changers. More often than not, they're simply following in the footsteps of those who came before them, evolving and naturally building upon an already predefined construct. Dominance doesn't necessarily equate to game changing.

So who then are the actual game changers? Who are the players who forever altered the course of NBA history, who changed the direction of the tracks for an NBA train barreling into the future?