An opposing player on a basketball team is barreling at you on a one-on-one break. You are the last line of defense between him and scoring. There are three options: 1. Try and defend the play by blocking the shot or poking the ball loose before he shoots. 2. Let him score, you’ll probably score on the next possession anyway. 3. Foul him as hard as you can. I choose 3.
Everybody knows all-time leaders in scoring, rebounds, steals and assists in NBA history but do you know the all-time leaders in personal fouls? It might seem like having the most personal fouls in history is a bad thing but think about it this way. If you’re fouling more than everybody else but you’re staying in the game long enough to accumulate fouls then you must be pretty good.
10th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Otis Thorpe, 4146 Personal Fouls
Otis Thorpe was a tough power forward that played in the NBA for 17 years. Thorpe is probably best remembered as part of the Rockets and Pistons.
9th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Kevin Willis, 4172 Personal Fouls
Kevin Willis bounced around the NBA for 23 years, played 21 seasons and played on 8 different teams. Willis was only an All-Star once but was in the top 10 in rebounds on a few occasions.
8th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Clifford Robinson, 4176 Personal Fouls
Cliff Robinson is most well known for being a member of the Clyde Drexler Blazers teams. Robinson was a one-time All-Star, won the Sixth Man Award once and made the NBA All Defensive team twice.
7th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Elvin Hayes, 4193 Personal Fouls
Elvin Hayes is the first player on this list that is one of the all-time greats. Hayes went to the All-Star game every year from 1969 to 1980 and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1990.
6th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Buck Williams, 4267 Personal Fouls
Buck Williams was the NBA Rookie o the Year in 1981-1982, went to the All-Star game three consecutive years and made the All Defensive team four times.
5th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Hakeem Olajuwon 4383 Personal Fouls
Hakeem Olajuwon led the Houston Rockets to back to back Championships, won the Finals MVP both years, won the MVP in the regular season once, made the All-Star game 12 times in 13 years and made the All Defensive team nine times.
4th All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Charles Oakley, 4421 Personal Fouls
Charles Oakley played most of his career with the New York Knicks teams that battled Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Oakley was a great rebounder but the only two years he led the league was actually when he played for the Bulls.
3rd All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Robert Parrish, 4443 Personal Fouls
It shouldn’t be surprising that Robert Parish is one of the all-time leaders in personal fouls. Afterall, he played until he was about 112 years old
2nd All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Karl Malone, 4578 Personal Fouls
Karl Malone was one of the most physical monstrosities to ever play in the NBA. Malone tallied 4578 personal fouls but it was worth it to get 14,968 rebounds and 36,928 points.
1st All-Time in the NBA in Personal Fouls: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, 4657 Personal Fouls
Kareem Abdul Jabbar was third all-time in rebounds so playing down low and getting physical is going to lead to a lot of fouls. .