Can You Identify These NBA Dynamic Duos?

By: Gavin Thagard

When this pair came together with the Phoenix Suns, they took their game to another level. Nash was voted MVP in 2004 and 2005 and Stoudemire became a five-time All-Star.

Kyrie Irving decided to leave LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers following the 2016-17 season. He wanted to be the lead player on a team and was traded to the Boston Celtics.

The Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal-led Lakers were coached by Phil Jackson. Jackson had been the head coach of the Chicago Bulls when the team won six championships in the '90s.

Larry Bird and Kevin McHale were two of the most dominant offensive players the league has seen. Bird was a ​clutch shooter and McHale couldn't be stopped in the post.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen three-peated twice, winning a total of six championships. The only thing that stopped them from winning more titles was Jordan's temporary retirement from the NBA so he could play Major League Baseball.

Karl Malone was nicknamed "The Mailman." He would take a pass from John Stockton and deliver it into the basket.

The "Showtime Lakers" relied on their run-and-gun style of basketball. When that didn't work, they gave the ball to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the post.

Walt Frazier and Willis Reed won their first NBA title together in 1970 while with the NY Knicks. That year, they defeated the Lakers in seven games, and Reed was named the championship series MVP.

Together, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy won six NBA titles. Cousy left the Celtics after the 1963 season, but Russell went on to win five more championships.

Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West are two of the most recognized faces in the history of the NBA. Chamberlain set numerous records, including the single-game scoring record of 100 points. After retiring as a player, West built multiple championship franchises around the league as an executive.

LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade in Miami during the 2010 offseason. James' move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami​ Heat was televised as "The Decision" and was heavily criticized by reporters and analysts.

Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars won back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. Dumars was named the MVP of the 1989 Finals and Thomas received the recognition in the 1990 Finals.

Despite numerous All-Star selections and an NBA MVP award, David Robinson failed to win a championship before the arrival of Tim Duncan. With Duncan on the team, the Spurs won two NBA titles.

Moses Malone helped the 76ers reach the NBA Finals in only his first season with the team. In The Finals, the 76ers defeated the Lakers, and Malone was named the MVP.

Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were both NBA MVPs at some point in their careers. Robertson won the award once while Kareem took the award home six times.

In what has been called the weakest move in NBA history, Kevin Durant left the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors in 2016. He was criticized for making the move without consulting his friend and teammate, Russell Westbrook.

In 2007, the Celtics brought together several NBA All-Stars to compete for a championship. Aside from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the team also added Ray Allen.

Despite playing the same position, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson had success on the court together. The duo led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, but they lost to the Boston Celtics.

Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp played seven seasons beside one another on the Seattle SuperSonics. Together, they reached the 1996 NBA Finals but lost to the Chicago Bulls.

Under head coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs played an unselfish brand of basketball throughout the 2000s and 2010s. That allowed multiple players to shine, including Tony Parker and Tim Duncan who won four titles together.

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have revolutionized basketball because of their ability to shoot the three-pointer. Stephen Curry currently holds the record for three-pointers made in a single season.

Shaquille O'Neal won his only NBA title outside of Los Angeles with the Miami Heat in 2006. However, Dwyane Wade was the star of the team and earned Finals MVP honors.

The 2002 Western Conference Finals was one of the most crooked series in NBA history. One referee even admitted to helping call Game 6 in favor of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had high hopes when they came together in 2011. Though they saw great regular season success, the duo often failed to advance in the playoffs, mainly due to injuries.

Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson had some of their best years while playing together for the Bucks. However, neither won an NBA title until they left the team.

Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady were dominant on the court together. Though they made several playoff appearances​, their on-court time as a duo was scarce because both players suffered various injuries during their time in Houston.

The 1998-99 season was significantly shortened because of a players' strike. Coached by Jeff Van Gundy, the Knicks won 27 games that season.

Hakeem Olajuwon played college basketball with Clyde Drexler at the University of Houston. Their team became known as "Phi Slama Jama" because of their above-the-rim play.

Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway spent time with several different teams throughout their NBA careers. However, both players were in their prime during their time in Miami, though their averages began to decline by the time they parted.

Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway led the Magic to the playoffs in 1993-94. It was the first playoff appearance for the Magic in franchise history.

Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki both joined the Mavericks in 1998. It took them three seasons to make the playoffs, but when they did, they were off and running, reaching the playoffs each season until Nash left the team in 2004.

Prior to the 2007-08 season, Kobe Bryant asked to be traded from the Lakers. However, the Lakers refused to trade Bryant, and instead, they added Pau Gasol to the team, which put the Lakers back in championship contention.

Both Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson were multi-year NBA All-Stars. However, neither player was able to win an NBA title. Johnson later went on to become​ the 55th mayor of Sacramento, California, and the city's first African-American mayor.

Jerry West and Elgin Baylor played in seven NBA Finals with one another. Baylor retired a few games into the 1971-72 season, and in an odd turn of events, the Lakers went on to win the title that year.

Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer only played three and a half seasons together for the 76ers. However, they put up spectacular numbers during their time in Philadelphia, and the 76ers honored the two players by retiring their numbers.

The Knicks played a physical style of basketball throughout the 1990s. Their style of play often caused conflict with other teams, particularly the Pacers who had Reggie Miller, a player with whom John Starks had a personal rivalry.

John Havlicek and Dave Cowen's greatest accomplishment together came in 1974 when they defeated the Bucks in the NBA Finals. The Bucks were led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, two future Hall of Famers.

Allen Iverson was an undersized guard in the NBA, but he was an elite scorer with a deadly crossover move. Dikembe Mutombo was the perfect defensive help for Iverson because he was a powerhouse on that end of the court.

Both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were first-round draft picks for the 76ers. Embiid was chosen as the third pick in the 2014 NBA draft, while Simmons was selected as the first pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

After demanding a trade from the Pacers, Paul George joined Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. After their first year together, George decided to re-sign with the team, hoping to win a championship together.

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About This Quiz

It's time to look back at the history of the NBA and decide which teams had the greatest NBA duos, but first, you have to look at what allows two players on the same team to work so well together and what exactly makes their tandem so great. 

What makes an NBA duo great? Is it how many championships they've won together? Some of the greatest duos never won a title, after all. Is it how well they balance each other out? For one player to be great, the other player has to be able to cover their weaknesses. Maybe it's just the attention they brought to a franchise, and the number of fans they put in the seats. 

One thing is certain. No matter which NBA duo you analyze, the chemistry they have on the court is undeniable. The best duos are magical on the court next to one another. They know exactly what the other player is thinking, whether they are about to cut to the basket, jump for an alley-oop, or go for a steal. A duo's ability to play off of one another is the reason these players are in this quiz. 

Do you think you can identify the best duos in NBA history? Here's your chance to find out. Get started with this quiz and put your NBA knowledge up against a real test! 

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