Looks like Shaq voters have #7 wrapped up, but I'll comment anyhow.
First, it's nice to see that Bill Russell finally got on the list, but it seems it's going to be like pulling teeth to get players from earlier eras on this list--even though it's an all-time list of the "greatest," which is slightly different than "best" (look it up if you don't believe me).
Anyhow, L.Kizzle has suggested these players at this point:
Elgin hasn't got any votes, but Duncan is ahead of all those listed there with the exception of Shaq (in terms of voting). I wouldn't vote for Elgin, either, yet; when he was the best player on his team, his team wasn't very good. When his team was good, either Jerry West (except his rookie year) or Wilt Chamberlain were the best player on the Lakers.
Julius Erving isn't this high, either. The heading of this list is greatest NBA player--emphasis on NBA. Erving's best years were in the ABA. He had good NBA years and doubtless will make the top part of these kind of lists, but no way he's this high up--probably even below Baylor.
People were talking about how Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had to be next to each other on the list, which I think was rather silly, but they certainly should be close, as should be Oscar and Jerry. Their careers almost entirely overlap each others and their greatness is easily equated. I think they're both in the top 15 easy--top 10 maybe; I'll have to think more about it. But, for right now, I think the list should keep going big.
Of the players mentioned, that leaves Duncan, Olajuwon and O'Neal. I have to agree that those are the best bigs left. What hasn't been mentioned yet here, though, or at least not much, is how much the careers of these guys overlap. I like to look at head-to-head match-ups; it's not the entire story, but it can be a good indicator of who to pick over who.
It doesn't quite work with Duncan vs. Olajuwon because Olajuwon was at the end of his career and that was also when Duncan had Robinson. And, Duncan has never entirely been a center, anyhow. Although Duncan didn't statistically dominate Olajuwon on an indiviudal-to-individual basis, the Spurs won all 10 of their head-to-head games.
Shaq and Duncan actually have a pretty even record against each other, although Shaq probably holds the slight edge with that Lakers dynasty.
Olajuwon was better than Shaq in the 1995 Finals. Shaq even said Olajuwon was the best center in the NBA then. Eventually, though, Shaq was clearly better than an aging Hakeem.
It's close, but I'm voting Olajuwon; it was impressive how for a time he out-played some of the greatest centers in the league (none of which were on their last legs or know-nothing rookies, either), especially in the playoffs: he beat Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal. Heck, he even had some pretty good games against Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar early in his career. Say what you will about how things always improve, but O'Neal and Duncan haven't had that kind of competition for their entire careers.