When you mention the NBA or basketball in that matter, the first player that will come to mind to most people, whether they watch basketball, are casual fans or don’t pay attention to it all, is going to be LeBron James. In the 2000’s it was Kobe Bryant, in the 90’s it was Michael Jordan, in the 80’s you could argue it was Magic or Larry and etc. LeBron has been the face of the league for some time and is probably going to stay there till the day he retires, but then what? Who is next in line? Here are some of the potential candidates.
After missing his initial rookie season, Ben Simmons has met and even topped his expectations as a #1 pick this season. The 21-year-old 6’10’’ point guard led his 76ers to a #3 seed in the East and along with his star center Joel Embiid is making noise in the playoffs. Simmons has a very flashy style of play combining his great athleticism and vision on the court for many highlight dunks and dimes. Also outside the court, Simmons is a recognizable personality and a client of Klutch Sports which represents Lebron and will for sure know how to promote Ben and possibly make him the new face of the NBA in the next period.
Davis is probably the most established player on this list, but he is only 25 and his prime is just starting. He is already in his 6th NBA season and is leading a surprising Pelicans team on a playoff run. Many would agree he is already the best big man in the league, covering both the power forward and center position equally efficient with his deadly mid-range jumper and great athleticism. When Demarcus Cousins went down he put the team on his back and willed them into the playoffs, doing everything the team needed from him. If the stays healthy Davis could be the biggest force in the NBA for the next decade and possibly the new face of the league.
The 24-year old center is one of the most refreshing stories of the past two years in the NBA, bringing a pure center that you could see as a potential superstar, after a drought for the centers. Embiid along with his earlier mentioned teammate Ben Simmons has rocked the league this year and is representing a potential championship team for the next decade. Embiid has drawn comparisons to the great Hakeem Olajuwon with his smooth post-game and fine touch outside the paint and even to the three-pointer. To add to his offensive arsenal he is also one of the best rim protectors in the league and represents a force on both ends of the floor. Along with his game, Embiid is an absolute superstar outside the court, being a big personality and called by some the social media king of the NBA. And when you combine the impact on the court and off the court, especially in this time he has a good chance of being the guy everybody knows and remembers as the man of the NBA.
The so-called Greek Freak entered the league as the youngest player in the NBA at the time and since then has gained a lot of experience and now being 23 years old is expected to take his Milwaukee Bucks to the next level. The lengthy 6’11’’ small forward knows how to use his size and wingspan to get to the rim and finish regularly with monster dunks. Also every season he improves his game, focusing on his jump shot and court vision. Also from his rookie season, he put on a lot of muscle so he can have a better impact on both sides of the floor. With his constant growth and development, he can take over this league in the coming years, especially considering he has playoffs experience behind him, but now he is ready to win. Also outside the court and he has a lovable personality and has a huge fan base in his homeland of Greece, with an interesting past behind him. He could be the first international star to be the face of the NBA.
Honorable mentions: Devin Booker, Karl Anthony Towns, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown