The NBA’s career leader in 3-point goals, Curry changed the game by making shots from well beyond the arc seem routine. But in addition to being prolific, he is a career 43% shooter from deep. The Golden State Warriors won three NBA titles in the 2010s as Curry and Klay Thompson lit up the league with unmatched perimeter shooting and expert passing. Curry was league MVP in 2015 and 2016 and he led the league in scoring and steals in 2016. He led the Warriors team that posted an all-time best 73-9 regular season record in 2015-16.
A versatile 6-foot-10 small forward, Durant quickly lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to prominence after the franchise moved from Seattle. He won scoring titles with the Thunder in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He led Oklahoma City to the NBA Finals in 2012 and was league MVP in 2014, famously calling his mother “the real MVP” in his acceptance speech. He controversially left the Thunder to join the powerhouse Golden State Warriors, their biggest rival at the time. He fit right in with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and won two NBA titles and two Finals MVP awards with the Warriors. He was All-Star MVP in 2012 and 2019.
Harden is a scoring machine whose impeccable footwork popularized the step-back jumper, pushed the limits on traveling and earned him seemingly endless trips to the free throw line. The 6-foot-5 guard started his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder and was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year, but he flourished after he was traded to the Houston Rockets before the 2012-13 season. He led the league in assists in 2017 and won scoring titles in 2018 and 2019. He averaged 36.1 points in 2018-19 — the eight-highest single-season average in NBA history. He was league MVP in 2018.
James shifted the league’s landscape in 2010 when he announced he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers — based near his hometown of Akron, Ohio — to “take my talents to South Beach” and join the Miami Heat. By the end of the decade, fans were debating whether he had reached Michael Jordan’s level. He was league MVP in 2010 with Cleveland and 2012 and 2013 with Miami. He was Finals MVP in 2012 and 2013 with Miami and in 2016 after he returned to Cleveland. He played in the NBA Finals each year from 2011 to 2018.
Germany’s greatest basketball player spent his entire 21-year career with the Dallas Mavericks before retiring in 2019. His success expanded the game globally, and teams still scour Europe hoping to find the next Dirk. His one-legged fadeaway jumper has been imitated by many of the game’s greats. He was one of the first 7-footers to regularly shoot 3-pointers. He did most of his best work in the 2000s, claiming the league MVP award in 2007. But he saved some of his best action for the 2010s, when he won his only NBA title in 2011 and was Finals MVP. He is the No. 6 scorer in NBA history.