With over 80 different second-generation players, it's fascinating to see how many father-son tandems have passed through NBA locker rooms through the years. Let's explore the most famous father-son duos that passed the torch down from one generation to the next to be able to play in the league.
Walter Szczerbiak/Wally Szczerbiak
Walter Szczerbiak had a less-than-stellar career in the United States. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1971 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns but elected to play for the Pittsburgh Condors in the ABA. Overseas he had an illustrious career. While playing for Real Madrid, Szczerbiak became a three-time EuroLeague champion and won the FIBA Intercontinental Cup three times. He was also named the MVP of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in 1977.
His son, Wally Szczerbiak, was a star in college playing for Miami (Ohio) and went on to have a relatively successful career. Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, he averaged 11.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game and was named to the 1999-2000 All-Rookie first-team. He had his best statistical output during the 2001-2002 season when he averaged 18.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game on .508/.455/.831 shooting splits. That same season he was named an All-Star reserve.
Multiple knee and ankle injuries that required surgery limited his mobility and dampened his productivity shortly after. A career 40.1 percent 3-point shooter, Szczerbiak converted at least 40 percent of his 3-point attempts in seven of the ten seasons he played in the NBA. He is currently an analyst at MSG Network covering the New York Knicks and serves as a backup color commentator for Walt Frazier.
Harvey Grant/Jerami Grant
Harvey Grant was never as talented as his identical brother, four-time NBA champion Horace Grant. Still, he was a lottery pick, drafted 12th overall by the Washington Bullets in the 1988 NBA Draft. He played five seasons with the Bullets, and from 1990-93 he averaged 18.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 steals in 37.1 minutes per game while converting nearly half of his field-goal attempts (48.8 percent). His son, Jerian, was drafted by the Washington Wizards and traded twice before landing with the New York Knicks on draft night. He is another player in a long line of first-round draft picks that didn’t pan out for the Knicks.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected Jerami Grant in the second round of the 2014 draft. He developed a reputation as a proficient rebounder and versatile defender. He’s improved his game every season since he entered the league, and he’s currently enjoying a breakout campaign in his first season with the Detroit Pistons. After averaging 9.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 24.5 minutes per game on .465/.347/.669 shooting splits in his first six seasons; at the time of this writing, he is averaging 23.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while posting shooting splits of .434/.358/.875.
George Karl/Coby Karl
George Karl is more known for his coaching career than his playing days. In fact, most fans born after 1980 don’t know he played five seasons with the San Antonio Spurs from 1973-78. He spent his first three seasons starting and playing alongside George “Iceman” Gervin before moving to a reserve role later in his career. As a head coach, he led the Seattle Supersonics to the NBA Finals in an eventual loss to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. He also led the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets to conference championships but has never been able to get over the championship hump.
He’s coached four NBA All-Star games and was the 2013 Coach of the Year. Karl is the sixth most winningest coach in NBA history (1,175) and has a 58.8 winning percentage. His son Coby Karl signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as an undrafted free agent in 2007 and spent the bulk of his NBA tenure in the G-League. He played in a grand total of 24 games between 2007-2010, scoring 54 total points in his career. In 2008, the Karl’s became the first father-son tandem to face-off in a playoff game. After hanging up his jersey for the final time in 2015, Coby Karl followed in his father’s footsteps once more and got into coaching.
Glen Rice/Glen Rice Jr.
Glen Rice was an absolute stud in college. Over his final two seasons at the University of Michigan, he averaged 24 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 49.1 percent from three. His senior year, he led the Wolverines to a National Championship in 1989, scoring a record 184 points in the NCAA tournament, breaking the previous record of 177 set by Bill Bradley 24 years earlier. After a dominant senior season in college where he saw his draft stock rise, Rice was taken fourth overall by the Miami Heat in the 1989 NBA Draft. It took him a few seasons in the league to get completely acclimated, but by his third season, he was averaging 22.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game and led the Heat to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
In 1995 he won the NBA Three-Point Contest, and the following season he made his first of three consecutive All-Star games. From 1992-2000 he averaged 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 41 percent from three. In 2000, he finally won an NBA championship as the starting small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. Glen Rice Jr. was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and traded on draft night to the Washington Wizards. He played a total of 16 games in the NBA with one start and spent the majority of his career in the G-League before taking his talents overseas.
Greg Anthony/Cole Anthony
Greg Anthony was a career role player; he was not a talented scorer but carved out a 12-year career in the league due to his reputation as a hard-nosed defender. He won a National Championship in 1990 when the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels upset title favorite Duke in a 103-73 victory. Drafted in the first round of the 1991 NBA Draft, Anthony played his first five seasons with the New York Knicks, losing to the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals in a heartbreaking seven-game series in 1994. After being selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the 1995 expansion Draft, he would have the best statistical season of his career, posting averages of 14 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals in 30.4 minutes per game.
Cole Anthony is much more skilled offensively than his father, but he’s not nearly the defender he was. After an underwhelming and inefficient season with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Anthony declared for the draft. The Orlando Magic selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Initially starting his career in a bench role, Anthony was promoted to full-time starter when the Magic lost Markelle Fultz for the remainder of the season with a leg injury. On Jan. 20, he hit what the Magic hoped was the first of many game-winning shots when he knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a one-point victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s shown flashes of his potential to be a cornerstone piece for Orlando moving forward, but he’s currently sitting out with no timetable to return as he nurses a rib injury.
Mike Dunleavy Sr. /Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Mike Dunleavy Sr. was drafted in the sixth round of the 1976 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He made two trips to the NBA Finals, once as a member of the 76ers, and once with the Houston Rockets, losing both. Chronic back pain forced him to retire after just nine seasons. He also made the Finals as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991, losing once again. He also served as the VP of basketball operations of the Milwaukee Bucks while also serving as the head coach in the mid-’90s. He last coached in the NBA for the LA Clippers from 2003-2010, where he was also the general manager.
His son Mike Dunleavy Jr. starred at Duke University, playing under esteemed head coach Mike Krzyzewski, winning a National Championship his sophomore year in 2001. After his junior year, he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the third overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft. He played for six teams in his 15-year NBA career, and his best days came in Indiana. In his four and a half seasons with the Pacers, Dunleavy averaged 14 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, and in 2011, he helped the franchise reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006. A deadeye marksman and career 37.7 percent 3-point shooter, he only shot less under 35 percent from the perimeter five times, and he converted 45.1 percent of his 3-point attempts in 32 postseason games. As of 2019, Dunleavy serves as the assistant general manager of the Warriors.
Wes Matthews/Wesley Matthews
Wes Matthews was selected with the 14th pick of the 1980 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets. The 6’1 point guard played nine seasons in the league, winning back-to-back NBA championships as a member of the “Showtime” Lakers. In 1981 as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, he dished out a career-high 18 assists in a matchup against the Seattle Supersonics. Wesley Matthews Jr. went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft but signed a one-year deal with the Utah Jazz. After initially coming off the bench for the Jazz, he was promoted to the starting lineup after a mid-season trade.
The following year he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers as a restricted free agent and thrived as the starting shooting guard in a complementary role to LaMarcus Aldridge. In his first season with the Blazers, he was the team’s second-leading scorer behind Aldridge. He made a name for himself by playing tremendous defense as well as for his toughness and willingness to play through injuries. In 2015 Matthews suffered a devastating injury, rupturing his Achilles tendon. In 2019 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Matthews became the first undrafted player in NBA history to knock-down at least 1,500 career 3-pointers. He is currently a member of the Lakers, his father’s old team, hoping to help the defending champions raise their 18th championship banner.
Kenyon Martin/Kenyon Martin Jr.
Kenyon Martin was a star player for the Cincinnati Bearcats college basketball team and was named the Conference Player of the Year, National College Player of the Year, NABC Defensive Player of the Year, and Consensus first-team All-American during his senior season. He suffered a broken leg during the conference tournament his senior year, but that didn’t stop the New Jersey Nets from selecting him with the top pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. By the end of his fourth season in the league, Martin already made two trips to the NBA Finals (both losing efforts) and participated in an All-Star game. Unfortunately for Martin, he would not get selected to another All-Star game or make the Finals again for the remainder of his career. He retired in 2015 after being waived by the Milwaukee Bucks.
After an impressive run with IMG Academy, his son Kenyon Martin Jr. (KJ) was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft and traded to the Houston Rockets. After a brief stint with the Rockets G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Vipers, KJ was recalled to the big club. He already has three games with multiple blocks in his short career and scored a career-high 21 points on March 14 against the Boston Celtics. He is a very bouncy and athletic forward and has already displayed a better jump shot than his father. He is expected to be a part of the Rockets’ young core moving forward as the team begins to rebuild their roster.
Tito Horford/Al Horford
Alfredo “Tito” Horford became the first Dominican-born player to play in the NBA when the Milwaukee Bucks drafted him in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft. He would play two seasons in a minimal role with the Bucks before playing overseas for the next three years. He would return to the NBA in 1993 for a brief three-game stint with the Washington Bullets before tossing his sneakers on the wire. His son Al Horford has experienced a much more fruitful basketball career. He played collegiate basketball with the Florida Gators and won back-to-back NCAA championships in the mid-2000s sharing the frontcourt with future NBA All-Star Joakim Noah. One of the best two-way players in the league during his prime years, Horford was a versatile defender with a lethal mid-range shot and was a great playmaker for a guy his size. Despite being listed at just 6’9″, he played primarily at the center position for most of his career.
Horford overcame two significant injuries, tearing his left pectoral muscle in Jan. 2012 and his right pectoral muscle in Dec. 2013. He is a five-time All-Star, a member of the 2011 All-NBA third-team, and a member of the 2017 All-Defensive Second-team. As his athleticism began to wane and the NBA game became more three-point oriented, Horford developed a perimeter game to keep up with the times. Since the 2015-16 season, he’s shooting 36.7 percent on three-pointers, on 3.5 attempts per game. Horford’s never won an NBA title, but he’s been to the playoffs every season of his career and made it as far as the Eastern Conference Finals three-times but lost to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers all three times. He currently plays for the OKC Thunder and is set to miss the playoffs for the first time in his career.
Ernie Vandeweghe/Kiki Vandeweghe
Ernie Vandeweghe was a star for Colgate University, averaging 20.6 points per game in two seasons and was a Consensus All-American second-team selection. He was drafted by the New York Knicks in the third round of the 1949 BAA Draft. Vandeweghe played six seasons in the NBA for the Knicks while simultaneously attending medical school at Columbia University. Due to this fact, he would often show up to games late as well as miss road games. He made three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, falling to the Minneapolis Lakers all three times. After six seasons in the NBA, he retired and started his own pediatric practice in California and later became the team doctor for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kiki Vandeweghe, his son, started at UCLA before being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 11th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft and was traded to the Denver Nuggets after demanding a trade and refusing to play for the Mavs. Kiki enjoyed a successful career with the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers before being traded to the New York Knicks, where he was a shell of himself and could no longer consistently produce at an All-Star level. From 1981-1988, Kiki averaged 23.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, was a two-time All-Star and helped his team make the playoffs all seven seasons. Vandeweghe was a proficient scorer and perimeter shooter in his heyday. He shot over 36 percent from beyond the arc seven times, over 40 percent twice, and in 22 games during the 1989-90 season, he connected on 10 of his 19 (52.6 percent) 3-point attempts. Though he never won a championship, he made the playoffs every season of his 13-year career, with the lone exception being his rookie campaign.
Manute Bol/Bol Bol
Standing at a gargantuan 7’7″ tall, Manute Bol was larger than life. A second-round pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, Bol is considered one of the greatest shot blockers in league history but didn’t provide much on the offensive end. He led the league in blocks twice, was named to an All-Defensive team, and is the only player in history to retire with more blocks than points. He is well known for philanthropy and humanitarian work. It is said that he used most of his career earnings to help various causes in Sudan. He also started the Ring True Foundation to raise funds for Sudanese refugees and partnered with Sudan Sunrise to help build schools across Sudan’s southern region.
His son Bol Bol played collegiate basketball with the Oregon Ducks and averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks through nine games before a foot injury forced him to sit out the rest of the season. Prior to getting injured, Bol Bol was considered a top prospect and a projected lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but the injury scared teams enough that he slipped out of the first round entirely and slid all the way down to the 44th overall pick. Listed at 7’2″ with a 7’8″ wingspan, Bol is supremely athletic and possesses the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. He certainly has the potential to be a multi-time All-Star; unfortunately for him, he plays for the Denver Nuggets, a team with a deep roster and title hopes, so his development isn’t necessarily a priority for the franchise.
Henry Bibby/Mike Bibby
Bibby was the starting point guard on a UCLA Bruins that won three consecutive NCAA championships from 1970-72. In his second year in the NBA, he won a championship with the New York Knicks. He would reach the NBA Finals two more times in his nine-year career (both with the Philadelphia 76ers) but lose both times. Although he didn’t experience as much team success as his father, Mike Bibby was a much more talented and skilled player. In 1997, the Bibbys became the second father-son duo to win an NCAA championship when Mike helped lead the Arizona Wildcats to victory over the Kentucky Wildcats in the title game his freshman year.
He was the second overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies and spent his first three seasons there before being traded to the Sacramento Kings. As a member of the Kings, he was an integral part of their run to the Western Conference Finals. The Kings would make the playoffs in five of the six full seasons Bibby played for the franchise. Late in his career, when he was a shell of himself, Mike Bibby joined the Miami Heat. The Heat would go on to lose to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals that year, in Bibby’s line Finals appearance. The following season he ended his 14-year career, in New York, with the team his father started his career with.
Jim Paxson Sr. /John Paxson
Jim Paxson Sr. was selected with the third overall pick in the 1956 NBA Draft by the Minneapolis Lakers. He played two mediocre seasons with the Lakers and the Cincinnati Royals before retiring and taking over his father-in-law’s insurance business. Two of his three sons played in the NBA. His eldest son Jim Paxson Jr. was the most successful of the bunch. He was a two-time All-Star for the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1983 and ’84 seasons, and he was also named to the All-NBA second team in 1984. In 2003, while serving as the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he drafted LeBron James. He currently serves as the Director of Pro Personnel for the Chicago Bulls.
John Paxson didn’t achieve the same individual success as his older brother, but he has something that no other Paxson can claim. John won four NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, three as a player and one as an assistant coach. John Paxson is best known for knocking down the game-winning 3-point shot with 3.9 seconds remaining in game six of the 1993 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. The Bulls currently employ him as a senior advisor of basketball operations.
Jimmy Walker/Jalen Rose
Jimmy Walker was an NCAA basketball standout playing for the Providence Friars. He was a two-time Consensus first-team All-American and led the NCAA in scoring his senior year. In 1967, Walker was selected with the first overall pick in both the NBA and ABA Draft by the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers respectively. He elected to play in the NBA and spent nine years with the Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Kansas City Kings. Though he never lived up to his draft spot, Walker was selected to two All-Star games and averaged 16.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Jalen Rose, Walker’s son, was a member of the notorious “Fab-Five” at the University of Michigan that went to back-to-back NCAA Championships in the early ’90s. Idolizing Magic Johnson growing up, Rose was a 6’8″ versatile scorer and playmaking point-forward.
After being drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1994 NBA Draft, Rose played two years with the Nuggets before being traded to the Indiana Pacers. It would take a few years, but Rose would eventually find his niche with the Pacers. He went to three consecutive Eastern Conference Finals and alongside Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, led the franchise to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won the Most Improved Player award as a member of the Pacers. While playing in the NBA, Rose started a foundation to help the under-served youth, and in his retirement, he established the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter high school in his hometown of Detroit. Personally, this writer will always remember Jalen Rose for being on the Raptors team that gave up 81 points to Kobe Bryant.
George Mikan/Larry Mikan
George Mikan was one of the most dominant forces in basketball history and is the reason for multiple changes to the game and rule changes that still stand today. The advent of the shot clock came in part because teams would hold the ball and pass incessantly to limit his impact, and his dominance around the rim led to the addition of the goaltending rule and the widening of the paint area.
Mikan won seven championships, made four All-Star appearances (won All-Star MVP in 1953), won four scoring titles, and was named All-League eight times across nine seasons in the Basketball Association of America (BAA), National Basketball League (NBL), and NBA. He retired with a then-record of 10,156 points scored in the NBA, and he’s the first person in NBA history to score 10,000 points. His record since then, of course, has ultimately been shattered several times over. The Hall of Fame center was also a co-founder of the American Basketball Association (ABA). His son, Larry Mikan, was drafted in the fourth round of the 1970 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He would play one season for the Cleveland Cavaliers averaging 3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game, before abruptly retiring.
Press Maravich/Pete Maravich
Petar “Press” Maravich played two seasons in the Basketball Association of America (now known as the NBA) as well as the National Basketball League (which was absorbed by the NBA in 1949). After his brief professional career, Press went back to his alma mater of Davis & Elkins to become a coach and spent the next 28 years coaching high school and college basketball. Most notably, he coached his son Pete while he played for LSU in the 1960s. Despite only playing on the varsity team for three years and without a three-point line, Maravich is the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored. In those three years, he averaged 44.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.
He’s arguably the greatest player to never win a championship and is infamous for his innate scoring, playmaking abilities, limitless range, and unorthodox shooting form. The NBA finally instituted the 3-point line just before his final season in the league, and he made 10 of his 15 attempts despite no longer being the proficient scorer he was known to be. If he played in today’s pace-and-space NBA, he could easily be a top-five player and lead the league in scoring. In conjunction with a myriad of injuries, chronic knee issues limited his NBA career to ten years. Still, Maravich played in 658 career games, averaging 24.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He’s a five-time NBA All-Star, four-time All-NBA selection, and the 1976-77 scoring champion. His number 44 jersey has been retired by the Atlanta Hawks, and his number 7 jersey has been retired by both the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans as well. In 1987, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Gary Payton/Gary Payton II
Gary “The Glove” Payton is one of the best point guards and one of the best two-way players of all-time. He was a smart, physical, and menacing defender and was known to trash-talk and taunt his opponents. He’s a nine-time All-Star, made nine All-NBA teams, and was named to the All-Defensive first-team nine consecutive times from 1994-2002. Payton holds Seattle Supersonics/OKC Thunder franchise records in assists (7,384), steals (2,107), games played (999), minutes played (36,858), field goals made (7,292), and win shares (123.8), and he’s second behind Russell Westbrook in points (18,207).
In 1996 Payton became the first point guard in league history to be named the Defensive Player of the Year, and he was the last guard to win that award. That same year he made his first NBA Finals appearance, losing in six games to the Chicago Bulls, despite his stellar defense on Michael Jordan. Payton would lose in the Finals again in 2004, this time with the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2006, after joining the Miami Heat as a free agent, he finally captured the championship that had eluded him for 15 years. He’s also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning in 1996 and 2000, representing the United States. Payton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the 2013 class. His son, Gary Payton II, hasn’t experienced the same type of success as his father. The two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year went undrafted in 2016. While he’s had brief stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, Lakers, and most recently the Washington Wizards, Payton has spent most of his career in the G-League trying to prove he deserves to be an NBA mainstay. He currently plays for the Toronto Raptors G-League affiliate, the Raptors 905.
Larry Nance/Larry Nance Jr.
Larry Nance is a former first-round draft pick, three-time All-Star, and a three-time All-Defensive player, but he is best known as the winner of the inaugural NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1984. Nance was the model of consistency and efficiency during his playing days. From the 1982-83 season through the 1992-93 season, he started 776 of a possible 807 games while averaging 18.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.4 blocks, and 1.0 steals in 35.4 minutes per game. Always among the highest in field goal percentage, Nance only shot under 51 percent from the field once (48.7 percent in his final season) in his entire 13-year career. He was a lethal mid-range shooter and used a combination of strength and athleticism to score amongst the trees around the rim.
He was also one of the league’s better shot blockers, averaging 2.2 blocks per game during his career, and is the only non-center other than Kevin Garnett to amass at least 2,000 blocks during his career. The Cavaliers retired his number 22 jersey after his retirement, but he gave the franchise permission to allow his son to wear it after being traded to Cleveland in 2018. At the tender age of 16, Larry Nance Jr. was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his basketball dreams. In 2015 Nance Jr. was drafted with the 27th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. They would eventually trade him to the Cavaliers, helping the team reach the NBA Finals in 2018. A high-flyer and solid defender like his father but never the consistent scorer he was, Nance Jr. once again followed in his father’s footsteps when he entered the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest, but he finished in second place. He’s found success as a key role player, but injuries have marred his career, and he likely won’t ever reach his true ceiling as a player as a result.
Stan Love/Kevin Love
Better known as the younger brother of Beach Boys legend Mike Love, Stan Love played four seasons of professional basketball. He played for the Baltimore Bullets and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and played for the San Antonio Spurs when they were still an ABA team. He retired in 1975 after just four years and 239 games. Kevin Love was selected with the fifth pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He’s a talented bruising power forward in the post with the ability to knock down 3-pointers at a high clip. Once an elite talent, injuries have defined Love’s career.
His ability to crash the boards, especially on the offensive glass, made him a walking double-double in his prime. Love was approaching superstar status after becoming a full-time starter with Minnesota, but he couldn’t stay healthy. Injuries continued to plague him after he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, forcing him to miss the Finals in his first season with the team. From 2010-2017, Love averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game on .440/.368/.824 shooting splits. After missing the playoffs each year in Minnesota, Love made four consecutive postseason berths, playing alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. He was a member of the historic 2016 team that overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Finals against the Golden State Warriors to capture the Larry O’Brien trophy.
John Stockton/David Stockton
John Stockton was selected as the 16th pick in the star-studded 1984 NBA Draft. He would play 19 seasons in the NBA, all with the Utah Jazz, and with career averages of 13.1 points, 10.5 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, he is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time. In addition to his reputation as an elite playmaker and stout defender, Stockton was an efficient scorer and deadly sniper from the perimeter, converting 51.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and knocking down 38.4 percent of his 3-pointers. He and Karl Malone formed one of the best duos of the era and the deadliest pick-and-roll combo of all time. Together they led the Jazz to the franchise’s only two NBA Finals appearances when they lost in back-to-back championship series to the Chicago Bulls in the late ’90s. From 1987 to 1996, Stockton led the league in assists for nine consecutive seasons, averaging 13.1 assists per game during that span. He’s a 10-time All-Star, two-time steals champion, nine-time assists leader, 11-time All-NBA player, and named to an All-Defensive team five times in his career.
The Hall of Fame point guard holds arguably two of the most unbreakable NBA records, most assists all-time (15,806) and steals (3,265). Stockton ranked third for most games played (1,504) at the time of his retirement and currently sits in sixth place for career win shares (207.70). He was also a member of the infamous 1992 Olympic Dream Team and named one of the 50 greatest players of all-time. In another classic case of “the son living in his father’s shadow,” David Stockton was never able to live up to the unfair expectations that came with being a Hall of Famer’s son. Already at a disadvantage, standing at just 5’11”, 165 pounds, the younger Stockton had a slim chance of becoming an NBA player. After going undrafted in 2014, Stockton made his NBA debut in Feb. 2015 with the Sacramento Kings. He played in three games with the Kings that season and wouldn’t appear in another NBA game until the 2017-18 season, this time with his father’s old team, the Jazz. He spent most of his career in the NBA developmental league (G-League) while also making a few stops overseas. He currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies G-League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle.
Doc Rivers/Austin Rivers
Glenn “Doc” Rivers was selected with the first pick of the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1986 NBA Draft. He was a defensive-minded point guard during his playing days and played 13 seasons in the NBA, appearing in the postseason 10 times but could never achieve the ultimate dream of winning a championship. A Hawks legend, Rivers played his first eight years with Atlanta, making one All-Star appearance, and setting a franchise record for most assists in a single season (3,866), and the only player in franchise history to average at least 10 assists per game for an entire season. He’s 3rd in franchise history with 1,166 steals, and his 1,563 career steals ranks 37th all-time.
Shortly after retirement, Doc transitioned into coaching. As an NBA head coach, he has made two finals appearances, and in 2008, he finally captured the ever-elusive Larry O’Brien trophy. Rivers’ son, Austin, was drafted 10th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, and though he has never lived up to being a lottery pick, Austin has developed into a solid role player over his eight years in the league. He’s not the defensive stalwart his father was known for, but he’s a solid off-the-bench scorer. In January of 2015, Austin Rivers was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Boston Celtics, and a few days later, he was traded again, but this time, he would go to the LA Clippers and become the first player to be coached by his father in the NBA. Austin currently plays for the New York Knicks under Tom Thibodeau.
Arvydas Sabonis/Domantas Sabonis
Widely recognized as one of the best European basketball players of all-time, Arvydas Sabonis played nearly two decades of international basketball and seven seasons in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers. One of the most decorated basketball players in the history of the game, Sabonis didn’t transition to the NBA until he was 30-years-old and past his prime. That didn’t stop him from having an effective career once he came stateside. He possessed unique court vision and passing ability for his size (7’3″) and is considered the best passing big-man of his generation and one of the best of all-time. He averaged 12 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in his NBA career. In the 1997-98 season, Sabonis had his best statistical NBA year, averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 79.8 percent from the charity stripe. He shot at least 36 percent from behind the arc three times during his seven years in the league, and the Trail Blazers made the playoffs every season he played, twice advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
Much like his father, Domantas Sabonis is a bruiser in the post who can act as a tertiary playmaker and stretch the floor with his ability to knock down three-pointers. Unlike his father, Domantas is a two-time NBA All-Star. Each year he continues to improve his game and increase his production. Sabonis currently plays for the Indiana Pacers and is averaging career highs in points (20.3), assists (6.4), and steals (1.1) per game. He’s a walking double-double and won the 2021 NBA Skills competition during the most recent All-Star weekend. At just 24-years-old, Domantas has solidified himself as not only one of the best passing bigs in the league but one of the best big men in today’s game.
Tim Hardaway/Tim Hardaway Jr.
Selected by the Golden State Warriors with the 14th overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft, Tim Hardaway was a five-time All-Star and was named to an All-NBA team five times. He also won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics playing for team USA. During his time with the Warriors, he, along with Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, formed the infamous three-headed monster known as “Run TMC.” Over his 14-year career, he averaged 17.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game. Aside from the Run TMC era, Hardaway is probably best known for his killer crossover known as the UTEP two-step, named after his alma mater, where he developed the move. Following a trade from the Warriors, he played six and a half seasons with the Miami Heat, leading them as far as the Eastern Conference Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. Hardaway holds the Miami Heat’s all-time record in 3-point field goals made, with 806, and the franchise retired his jersey (number 10) in 2009.
Just like his father, Tim Hardaway Jr. was a first-round selection, but unlike his senior, Hardaway Jr. was not a lottery pick, going 24th overall to the New York Knicks in 2013. THJ doesn’t possess his father’s ability to put the ball on the floor and create at an elite level, but he’s developed into a solid scorer and an above-average 3-point shooter. He currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks, and he’s averaging 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while converting 38 percent of his 3-point attempts since joining the franchise in 2019. He’s nowhere near his father’s talent, but THJ can be a solid third or fourth option on a championship team.
Melvin Booker/Devin Booker
Melvin Booker was a high school basketball standout while growing up in Mississippi, and the 6’2” point guard would go on to play college ball at the University of Missouri. After going undrafted in 1994, Booker would play parts of two seasons with the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and Denver Nuggets before taking his talents overseas to continue his professional basketball career. Booker’s son, Devin, has been more fortunate and has proven to be much more skilled than he ever was. Devin Booker was a high school phenom and showed off his smooth shooting stroke and ability to score in bunches coming off the bench for a stacked Kentucky Wildcats team in his lone college season. After his freshman year of college, he was drafted 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2015 NBA Draft.
On March 24, 2017, Devin Booker became the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 points in a game. Just 20 years old at the time, Booker is also the youngest ever to accomplish the feat. In his rookie campaign, he spent most of his time coming off the bench, but in five seasons since Booker has started all 296 games he’s appeared in, while cementing his status as one of the premier scorers and playmakers in the league, averaging 25.5 points and 5.2 assists in 35 minutes per game. The Suns have yet to make a postseason appearance with Booker leading the way, but at just 24 years old, Booker is already a two-time All-Star, a 3-point contest champion, and the driving force behind the Suns’ march back towards relevancy.
Mychal Thompson/Klay Thompson
Mychal Thompson was drafted first overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1978 NBA draft. Born in the Bahamas, he was the first foreign-born player to be selected with the first pick. After being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1986-87 season, Thompson would go on to win consecutive titles in 1987 and ’88, serving as a backup to the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Lakers also reached the Finals in 1989 but lost to the Detroit Pistons. Although he is a two-time champion, his son Klay has had a much more successful professional career than his father. Drafted 11th overall in the 2011 draft, Klay Thompson is a three-time NBA champion, 3-point contest champion, five-time All-Star, and was named to the 2019 All-Defensive Second Team. He also won a gold medal in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and an Olympic gold medal in 2016.
Klay holds the regular-season record for most points scored in a quarter (37), most 3-pointers made in a game (14), the playoff record for 3-pointers made in a game (11), and tied with Steph Curry for the playoff record for most 3-pointers made in a single postseason (98). With a career 41.9 3-point percentage, Klay has never shot less than 40 percent from behind the arc. In 2015, Thompson helped lead the Golden State Warriors to their first NBA Championship since 1975. The Warriors would make five consecutive NBA Finals appearances, winning three. When Klay won his first championship in 2015, the Thompsons became the fourth father-son duo to win an NBA Championship as players and the second to win multiple championships each.
Patrick Ewing/Patrick Ewing Jr.
Patrick Ewing is arguably the greatest New York Knick in franchise history despite never winning an NBA championship. The first overall pick of the 1985 NBA Draft, Ewing’s career got off to a fine start, averaging 20 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game en route to winning the Rookie of the Year. Ewing was a gifted, strong, powerful athletic center who dominated down low but also played with finesse and had a soft touch around the rim. From the 1985-86 season through the 1998-99 season, Ewing averaged 23.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, one steal, and 2.7 blocks per game. During that span, Ewing made 11 All-Star appearances, seven All-NBA teams, and was named to an All-Defensive team three times.
He made two trips to the NBA Finals as a member of the Knicks but lost both times. For virtually his entire tenure in New York, Knicks fans believed as long as they had Ewing, they had a chance at winning the title, even with Michael Jordan in the same conference. In the aftermath of his career, Ewing was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame twice; for his individual playing career and also as a member of the 1992 Olympic team. He’s currently the head coach of his alma mater, the Georgetown Hoyas. His son, Patrick Ewing Jr., tried to follow in his footsteps, but that didn’t work out too well. The younger Ewing was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft but spent most of his career in the then-called “D-League” (now dubbed the G-League). He made his NBA debut in the 2010-11 season for the New Orleans Hornets, playing a total of 19 minutes across seven games. He averaged 15 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game in four seasons in the D-League before giving up on his NBA dream and taking his game overseas.
Rick Barry/Brent Barry
Rick Barry was one of the best players of the 1960s and 70s and an all-time great talent, named to the NBA’s 50 greatest players of all-time list. Over his 14 year Hall of Fame career, Barry thrived in both the ABA and the NBA. He made a combined 12 All-Star games, was named first-team All-ABA four times, and made the All-NBA team six times (five first-team, one second-team). In 1966 he won Rookie of the Year, and in his second season in the NBA, he led the league in scoring with a career-high 35.6 points per game. In 1975 Barry averaged 30.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.9 steals per game and led the Golden State Warriors to their first title in franchise history. He was awarded the NBA Finals MVP award for his stellar play, averaging 29.5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3.5 steals per game in a four-game sweep over the Washington Bullets.
Even with all of his accolades, what this writer finds to be the most impressive feat in his Hall of Fame career; Barry shot 89.3 percent from the charity stripe for his career, and he led the league in free throw percentage seven times, all while shooting every one of his free throws UNDERHANDED. Barry also had three of his sons (Brent, Drew, and Jon) play in the NBA. None of the Barry boys were anywhere near as talented as their father, but Brent had a pretty successful career as a sharpshooter and tertiary playmaker off the bench. He didn’t enjoy any of the individual success his father experienced but was a solid defender for the majority of his career and shot over 40 percent from behind the arc for his career. In 2001 he shot a league-leading 47.6 percent from the 3-point line. The following season, he shot a league-leading 58.8 percent on two-point field goals, and he also led the league in effective field goal percentage twice during his career. He was a key role player with the San Antonio Spurs, winning two NBA titles in the mid-2000s.
Bill Walton/Luke Walton
Bill Walton played college basketball at UCLA, coached by the legendary John Wooden. The Bruins, led by Walton, won a record 88 consecutive games. From 1972–74, Walton won three national College Player of the Year Awards (now known as the John Wooden Player of the Year Award) in a row while leading UCLA to NCAA championships in 1972 and 1973. The Portland Trail Blazers selected Walton with the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft. Three years later, he would lead the Trail Blazers to an NBA championship in 1977 and was named Finals MVP with averages of 18.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 3.7 blocks per game. The following season he won his only regular-season MVP despite missing 24 games due to a foot injury.
Injuries derailed his career, but he won a second championship and was named Sixth Man of the Year in 1986 as a member of the Boston Celtics. In 1993 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His son Luke was not as tall, talented, or skilled as him, but he carved out a nice 10-year NBA career with a reputation for being a hard worker and a selfless teammate. He made three Finals appearances and won two championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. In 2009 Luke and his father Bill became the third father-son tandem to win a championship as players, and the following year, they became the first pair to win multiple NBA championships. Currently, the Sacramento Kings head coach, Luke, also won a championship in 2015 as an assistant head coach for the Golden State Warriors.
Dell Curry/Steph Curry
Dell Curry carved out a nice 16-year career after being selected with the 15th overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He bounced around the league his first few seasons before he settled in and made a home with the Charlotte Hornets. He carved out a role as a sharpshooting guard before volume 3-point shooting was commonplace in the NBA, providing instant offense off the bench for the Hornets. In his 10 years with Charlotte, Curry averaged 14 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 steals in 25.1 minutes per game. He averaged a career-high 16.3 points per game in the 1993-94 season while playing all 82 games and posting proficient .455/.402/.873 shooting splits, en route to winning his lone Sixth Man of the Year award. At the time of his retirement, Dell Curry was the Charlotte Hornets’ all-time leading scorer with 9,839 points. He’s currently a color commentator for the Hornets but his two sons, Steph and Seth, are active NBA players. Stephen Curry is a generational talent whose unlimited shooting range has changed the way the NBA game is played. He’s not just the best shooter of his generation but arguably the greatest shooter of all time.
I could write a book on all of Steph’s accomplishments and his major impact on the game of basketball, but I will highlight a few here. Steph is a three-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, and the only player to unanimously be voted as the NBA MVP. He’s a six-time All-NBA player and a seven-time All-Star, and he holds the record for most 3-pointers made in a single season (402). Since the 2012-13 season, Curry has averaged 25.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game with unbelievable .477/.432/.909 shooting splits while leading the league in 3-pointers made five times during that span. He currently needs less than 300 treys to pass Ray Allen for the all-time record. Seth, the youngest of the Curry clan, is closer to his father’s style and skill level than his older brother. He had a tougher journey into the NBA than his relatives, but once he found his footing, he hasn’t looked back. Over the past five seasons, he’s established himself as one of the league’s elite shooters, posting .475/.443/.850 shooting splits. He was a key contributor on the historic 2019-20 Dallas Mavericks offense and has finally become a full-time starter with the Philadelphia 76ers. All three Currys have shot at least 40 percent from behind the arc for their respective careers.
Joe Bryant/Kobe Bryant
Joe “Jellybean” Bryant was a first-round pick in the 1975 NBA Draft and played for three teams across seven seasons before moving to Europe and playing overseas for the remainder of his career. After his playing career, Bryant got into coaching and most notably was the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. 21 years after being selected 14th overall in the 1975 NBA Draft, his son Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant was drafted with the 13th pick in the 1996 draft. Taken out of Lower Merion high school at just 17 years of age, Kobe would go on to have a legendary career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Unlike his father, Kobe would play his entire career with a single franchise. For his first two seasons in the league, he was coming off the bench, and despite only starting one game his second year, he was named an All-Star starter and had an epic showdown with Michael Jordan during the All-Star game. The younger Bryant developed a reputation as a supremely confident and unflappable player with a killer instinct and one of the most clutch players in history. On Jan 22, 2006, Kobe scored the second-most points in an NBA game when he dropped 81 against the Toronto Raptors. At the time of his retirement in 2016, he was third in scoring (33,643 points) all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Karl Malone.
In his 20 seasons with the Lakers, Kobe made seven finals appearances, winning five championships and two Finals MVP awards in the process. Somehow he only won a single MVP award during his illustrious career, but he finished top-five in MVP voting 11 times and was a top-three vote-getter five times. He’s the franchise leader in games played (1,346), minutes (48,637), points, steals (1,944), field goals made (11,719), 3-pointers made (1,827), and free throws made (8,378). He’s also the only person to have multiple numbers retired by a single franchise. Here’s a list of some of Bryant’s most notable achievements during his basketball career:
Here Are the Best Basketball Players From Each U. S State
As of 2021, the NBA league had more than 210 million social media followers, making it one of the biggest sports leagues in the world. The popularity of the game seems to be skyrocketing as NBA reported that their ratings have increased by 18% in 2022. In honor of this popular American sport, let’s take a look at the top players of the game. From Michael Jordan to Magic Johnson and more, here are some of the best basketball legends of all time. Which ones are your favorite?
Wyoming: James Johnson
Wyoming isn’t brimming with basketball players but one of the most notable players we can think of is James Johnson. Born and raised in the city of Cheyenne, Johnson attended Wake Forest before building a formidable career in basketball.
Johnson is a versatile athlete who masterfully guards both forward spots and gained popularity as a defensive big. He might not be known for his offensives, but he can still perform well when needed. Johnson is playing as a rotation player for the Indiana Pacers.
Hawaii: Cedric Ceballos
You might have witnessed Cedric Ceballos's questionable blindfolded Slam Dunk Contest performance that seemed to have been rigged. While the jury is still out on that one, Ceballos wasn’t exactly a bad player throughout his decade-long career with the NBA.
He stood firm with Los Angeles during the time they failed to earn any titles for 12 years straight. In 1995, Ceballos made it to the All-Star team when he averaged 21.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in a game. However, one of his most iconic moments was that stunning blindfolded slam dunk in 1992 that spawned a lot of controversies.
Vermont: Taylor Coppenrath
Only true basketball fanatics would know about Taylor Coppenrath, the only big name in basketball from the state of Vermont. Predictably, Vermont might be the only state that hasn’t produced a noteworthy NBA player. That’s why Coppenrath gets this title by default.
Coppenrath was known for his unusual jumper that he’d launch from behind his head. At six foot nine, he looked much like a giant catapult slinging the ball toward the hoop. He really shined in a game against Syracuse during the NCAA tournament where he led team Vermont to an upset win. Most of Coppenrath’s career has been spent in Europe.
North Dakota: Tyler Johnson
North Dakota isn’t exactly known for giving us too many basketball players, to begin with. The only players that hail from this state include Mark Landsberger, Doug McDermott, Duane Klu, and Tyler Johnson. It’s a tough choice to make but we’re going to go with Tyler Johnson.
Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Johnson later moved to California and attended high school there. In the game, Johnson plays as the scoring guard off the bench. He’s proved to be capable with the ball and is known for hurting his opponents from the perimeter and with his strong drive to the basket.
South Dakota: Mike Miller
Mike Miller is the ideal candidate for a role player on a solid basketball team. Raised in a small town called Mitchell located in South Dakota, Miller came from humble beginnings. He went on to attend the University of Florida and trained under Billy Donovan.
He was decent on the NBA pitch for a long time with his beyond-the-arc skills and ability to get a shot on demand. His performance even earned him the 2001 Rookie of the Year award. Followed by that prestigious title, Miller won the Sixth Man of the Year trophy only five years after it.
Rhode Island: Ernie DiGregorio
The small state of Rhode Island spawned only a few basketball players. Ernie DiGregorio is possibly the best one out of the handful of players we had to choose from. Even though his career in the league was short-lived, lasting only a few years at most.
In the 1973 draft, DiGregorio was selected as the No. 3 Overall pick. His game was based on passing the ball and he holds the current record for 25 assists in a single game by a first-year player. Naturally, this earned him the Rookie of the year award.
Maine: Jeff Turner
Much like some of the states we’ve already discussed, Maine isn’t considered a hotbed for NBA talent. There are certainly no coaches and talent hunters scouring Maine for athletes. Until 2018, Jeff Turner was the only player who hailed from Maine in basketball history.
That is until the former walk-on for Michigan and current Miami Heat player Duncan Robinson joined the ranks. Considering Robinson only made his debut this year, this one has to go to Turner for his long-time basketball career. During his years in the game, he played as a journeyman for the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic.
New Hampshire: Matt Bonner
The state of New Hampshire is home to only one NBA player in the league’s history and that’s Matt Bonner. In short, we have no choice but to entitle Bonner with the honor of being the best from New Hampshire.
While Bonner isn’t known to be the most athletic and defensive player, he played to his strengths which lay in perimeter shooting. Named ‘The Red Rocket’ due to his elite perimeter shooting skills, he went on to become a two-time NBA champion.
Idaho: Luke Ridnour
Born in Idaho, Like Ridnour is the best from the state because of his famous signature move and performance with the Sonics. Drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in their 14th draft pick in 2003, Ridnour was immediately thrown into all the action.
He proved to be detrimental to the Oregon Ducks during his three-year tenure in Eugene. Ridnour may not boast shockingly high stats and numbers, but he proved to be a source of stability for bench units and starting lineups. He’s also well-known for his signature move: the pull-up mid-range jumper.
West Virginia: Jerry West
West Virginia native Jerry West will always be remembered in basketball history as an iconic basketball player. He was essentially the first elite combo guard in the game’s history. He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers as No. 2 Overall in 1960. Standing at six foot two, West was a force to be reckoned with.
His height gave him an advantage over both short and tall defenders who he manages to skillfully evade. Known as “The Logo”, West’s unlimited range and confidence while shooting were commendable. His prowess on the ground won him 14 All-Star appearances and he made it to 10 All-NBA First Teams.
North Carolina: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan might have been born in Brooklyn but he spent the majority of his childhood in Wilmington, North Carolina. Of course, the rest is history. Who doesn’t know the iconic story of Jordan’s success?
All that’s left to say is that he has earned GOAT status in the world of basketball. His career kicked off at the University of North Caroline before he was drafted. During his career, he displayed an unmatched level of skill, competitiveness, and resilience. No wonder he led the Bulls straight to victory, winning them six NBA titles in total.
Nevada: Greg Anthony
Belonging to the party city, Las Vegas, Greg Anthony is known to be a true Nevada native. He had the good fortune of playing under the guidance of Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV. Later he became the reason behind the resurgence of Runnin’ Rebels and brought them to the national stage.
Anthony enjoyed a good, 12-year NBA career, playing as a lefty guard for most of it. While he wasn’t exactly an elite player by any means, he was still a good stabilizing force due to his efficiency in second units and basketball passing abilities.
Texas: Shaquille O’Neal
It’s hard to pinpoint where Shaq spent his childhood. However, since he attended high school in San Antonio, he’s technically a native of Texas. Of course, Texas is also home to other great players, such as Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge, but neither of them can even come close to Shaq’s greatness on the court.
For a man who weighs around 350 pounds, Shaq is insanely stealthy and quick. Combine that speed with his strength, and he was a menace on the court. With 15 All-Star appearances, four NBA titles, and three MVP trophies, Shaq is the best to come out of Texas.
Kansas: Lucius Allen
Kansas may be famous for its basketball-crazy fans and deep-rooted traditions but it’s not exactly home to a lot of NBA talent. Over the years, the number of basketball players emerging from Kansas has been low despite all the Allen Fieldhouse traditions.
Allen started playing college football at the prestigious UCLA even though he hails from Kansas City. During his sophomore year in the league, he played an important role in winning the Milwaukee Bucks a championship in 1971. Lucius Allen is the best basketball player we could find from Kansas.
Indiana: Larry Bird
We’ve discussed Larry Bird and Kevin McHale’s dominating duo before. It’s time for a special mention for Bird who hailed from Indiana. Known as the ‘Hick from the French Lick’, Bird was a destructive force on the floor. He was known for pulling out the chops at critical moments in the game.
A clutch shooter and amazing playmaker, Bird went on to win the NBA Championship three times and earned the MVP title twice. One of his most iconic victories was when he stole Isiah Thomas’ pass during the 1987 game and tipped the game in favor of the Celtics. Overall, Bird has enjoyed a celebrated career filled with noteworthy moments and plays that made headlines.
Arkansas: Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen is largely credited for winning the Chicago Bulls six championships. Due to that alone, he’s known as one of the greatest perimeter defenders in the history of basketball. Pippen proved to be the perfect player to complement Jordan in a wing defender position.
It’s quite astonishing to note that Pippen was never awarded the title of Defensive Player of the Year. Although he did earn his due with 10 All-Defensive Team inclusions. In the era of Michael Jordan and his prowess, the only player who could possibly outshine him was Pippen.
Mississippi: Spencer Haywood
Finally, we’re excited to present a state overflowing with undercover NBA talent. Mississippi has given NBA high-scoring players such as Chet Walker, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, Danny Manning, Mo Williams, and Antonio McDyess.
While the above-mentioned players enjoyed decent success in the league, none of them could even come to close to Spencer Haywood, the double-double machine. He truly shined in the 70s, playing some of his best games and earning one of the best rookie stats in NBA history.
Utah: Tom Chambers
Utah has given us the likes of Scot Pollard and Byron Scott, promising NBA players with interesting careers. However, our pick for Utah has to be Tom Chambers. Standing at six foot ten, Chambers was a power forward who played in four All-Star games.
In 1987, he earned an MVP award, solidifying his place as a top talent in the NBA. Chambers was known to be a versatile player, especially when it came to scoring. He could score from outside the pain and on the block.
Iowa: Harrison Barnes
Iowa’s Harrison Barnes earned a lot of hype as he began his college basketball career right after high school. The six-foot-eight player was somewhat of a superstar with a high level of athletic ability and a silky jumper.
Despite all the hype surrounding the start of his career, Barnes has yet to exceed expectations and reach his potential as a player. Although, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he has created a niche for himself in NBA. One of his most notable performances for the Golden State Warriors in 2016 featured him as a versatile defender guarding multiple positions.
Connecticut: Calvin Murphy
With a height of five foot nine, Calvin Murphy may not loom over most basketball players but he used his unique combination of speed and stealth to become one of the top NBA players out there.
Considering the recent trends in basketball, it seems impossible that a player as short as Murphy could prove to be valuable without an outside shot. The NBA hadn’t even introduced the three-point shot until Murphy was in his ninth year with the league. Despite that, he managed to dominate the game and average 25.6 points per game in an entire season devoid of a three-point line.
Massachusetts: Bill Laimbeer
Gritty and tough Massachusetts deserves a top player with the same characteristics as the state. That’s why we had to pick Bill Laimbeer, the perfect embodiment of a star player from Massachusetts. Known to be a tough cookie due to his hard-hitting style of playing, Laimbeer earned the Pistons the title of ‘the Bad Boys.’
Every winning team needs a fearless player who stands up for the team, dives for balls, and sets records. That was Laimbeer for the Pistons. Not only did he build a culture in the team but played an integral role in their winning streak of 1989 and 1990.
Oklahoma: Blake Griffin
Many Oklahoma natives have hit it big in the world of basketball. Some notable names include the late Wayman Tisdale, John Starks, and Mark Price. All of these iconic players were born in the state of Oklahoma. However, we’ve gone for Blake Griffin who is arguably the best of the bunch.
In 2009, Griffin was picked No.1 Overall by the Clippers and the rest is history. Since then, Griffin has been a menace to opposing teams. He has displayed impressive athletic abilities and elusive maneuvers for passing. At the age of 29 years old, Griffin has managed to earn five All-Stars and a Slam Dunk competition.
Oregon: Kevin Love
Oregon has produced two promising players Danny Ainge and A.C. Green. While both of the players had their moments, especially as a part of their respective teams, we had to choose one that stood out the most.
Considering that they have won many titles, it was a difficult choice. That’s why we’re skipping those two and going with a third candidate who’s better than either of them and that’s Kevin Love. Hailing from the posh area of Lake Oswego in Oregon, the former UCLA basketball player turned into a formidable post player. His basketball passing skills have been a game-changer for the teams he has served.
Kentucky: Dave Cowens
Well before the world of basketball in Boston was dominated by Larry Bird and after the mythical Bill Russell dominated courts for over a decade, Dave Cowens and his trio of Hall of Fame players were winning titles for the team. The dynamic trio consisted of JoJo White, John Havlicek, and Dave Cowens.
Their teamwork won the team two titles in the 70s including an MVP win for Cowens in 1973. Known to be an incredible defender, Cowens was the perfect center for the Celtics team. And that’s why he’s our top basketball player from the state of Kentucky.
Louisiana: Karl Malone
Referred to as ‘The Mailman’, Karl Malone will be commemorated in basketball history as one of the best power forwards of all time. Malone’s mastery was born out of his formidable frame combined with a silky touch that made him unique. Honorable mentions to players who have come out of Louisiana are Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Willis Reed, Bill Russell, Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes, and D.J. Augustin.
Seeing Malone play was a sight to behold due to his singular playing style. From the day he started playing for the NBA, all eyes were on him and he tried to make the most out of it. While he never managed to win an NBA title, Malone did bag 14 All-Star nods, along with two MVP trophies.
Virginia: Allen Iverson
Alonzo Mourning and Moses Malone have also hailed from Virginia, making it a hard choice when talking about the best basketball player from each state.
Iverson was an iconic force in the NBA and has changed how the game has been played over the years after his retirement with infatuating handles and a deadeye 3-point shot. Although he never won an NBA Championship during his playing years, he is considered the best player of all time to never win a ring, and his iconic stomp-over Tyron Lue after a nasty jump shot.
Alabama: Charles Barkley
Hailing from Alabama, this Krispy-crème loving trash talker was a true force to be reckoned with in the league. If you’re new to basketball, you might be unaware of the kind of impact Barkley has had on the game. With his wider frame and expertise with the ball, Charles Barkley was a revolutionary force in NBA.
Following his college basketball career at Auburn, he was drafted in 1984 as fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first year with the 76ers, he managed an average of 14 points with 8.6 rebounds. Overall, he appeared in the NBA 12 times and won the MVP trophy in 1993. Pretty commendable for a six-foot-four power forward!
South Carolina: Kevin Garnett
A native of South Caroline, Kevin Garnett spent his childhood in Mauldin before moving to Chicago for his senior year of high school. While there are two other notable players from the state, namely Alex English and Jermaine O’Neal but we have to go with Garnett on this one.
With his lean, sinewy build, Garnett managed to play with efficiency like no other. His efficient playing style combined with his elite length and lateral quickness made him one of the most iconic defenders in the league.
Colorado: Chauncey Billups
Considering that Chauncey Billups went on to become a five-time NBA All-Star, success didn’t come easily to him. In fact, his career started off shaky before it truly took off. Probably because the Celtics coach Rick Pitino traded him in the middle of his rookie season.
After that, he didn’t quite manage to adjust to multiple teams including Toronto, Minnesota and even his home team Denver, Nuggets. That’s until he was hired by the Detroit Pistons. With the Pistons, Billups managed to earn his nickname ‘Mr. Big Shot’, leading the team to the 2004 NBA Championship. Not only that but he managed to outshine Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in the series.
Minnesota: Kevin McHale
Who doesn’t know the dynamic duo that took the Celtics to the next level? Yes, we’re talking about Kevin McHale and Larry Bird. The two players complemented each other like yin and yang, guiding their team toward victory.
While Bird was more reserved, McHale was charismatic and easy-going. Their opposing personalities resulted in spectacular chemistry during the game. McHale went on to become a seven-time All-Star but was always comfortable with a bench role. His partnership with Bird boded well for Boston and contributed to the team’s success.
Wisconsin: Jordan Poole
The Poole party is making waves in the NBA. He already has an NBA championship to his name and has been playing on par with his superstar teammates, Steph and Klay. His court vision and shooting skills have been showing more than promising results on the court, and he is getting better every year.
Most of the players on this list are retired or at the end of their prime years as a player, but that could be nothing close to the truth for Poole. His season average points per game have been steadily climbing, and he is one of the most lethal guards in the league with a deadeye 3-pointer and killer moves at the rim.
Maryland: Kevin Durant
We finally have a state that is known for producing some of the biggest names from the league. Welcome to Maryland, the state that has been home to Victor Oladipo, Steve Francis, Sam Cassell, Ty Lawson, and Mugsy Bouges. They are all incredibly tough guards with great offensive skill sets. But none compare to the cupcake snake himself, the slim reaper Kevin Durant
His balanced skills allow Durant to form successful chemistry with many amazing guards on the team. Durant’s ability to handle the ball and his range is quite impressive for someone who stands at seven feet tall. Over the years, he has managed to bag an MVP trophy and two NBA Championships.
Missouri: Jo Jo White
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Jo Jo White has left a legacy in the world of basketball that many youngsters dream of living up to. Newer players like Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum who are also from Missouri showcase a lot of promise but are yet to outshine Jo Jo White.
For ten years, White was an All-Star level player. He was also the number-one scorer for the Celtics during two NBA Championships in the 70s. White also won the MVP trophy for his 1974 contributions to the NBA finals with the Celtics.
Tennessee: Penny Hardaway
Penny Hardaway’s career came to a standstill after his health declined but his short-lived career managed to make waves across the league. Hardaway started strong by playing college basketball in Memphis before he broke into the world of pro basketball.
His first gig in the NBA was with Orlando Magic and proved to be immensely successful. At six foot seven, Hardaway was quick to deter any guards aiming for a check. His point guard prowess combined with his lean frame made him a unique asset to the team. These days, Hardaway is acting as head coach at his former college.
Arizona: Sean Elliott
Arizona may be known for Wildcat basketball but the state is strangely devoid of talent when it comes to major players. Don’t get us wrong, there are a few interesting players from Arizona, including Fat Lever and Jerryd Bayless.
Unfortunately, neither of them managed to live up to their full potential in the end. So, we had to go with the relentless and consistent Sean Elliott. He played a critical role in the 1999 Spurs championship, making them a winning team, and turning them into a thriving franchise for years to come.
Washington: John Stockton
With his smaller frame and non-athletic build, John Stockton may not look like it but he really came through on the basketball court. Not only was he fantastic with the ball, but he was also an intelligent player who often set up his teammates to score easily.
As a resilient on-ball defender, Stockton created a culture of toughness in Utah. Over the last two decades, barely any players have managed to surpass his status in the game. His career started as a college basketball player in Gonzaga during the early ‘80s.
New Jersey: Rick Barry
From the state of New Jersey, we have none other than Rick Barry, a player that left his opponents shaking. He was known for his unexpected performances at any given game. Barry’s unique blend of skill, creativity, and athleticism made him an elite player on the court.
He managed to build a decorated career with eight All-Star appearances. Barry also made it to the All-NBA First Team five teams and earned the NBA Finals MVP trophy. Barry finally made it to the NBA Hall of Fame in 1987.
Michigan: Magic Johnson
True to his name, Magic Johnson enchanted the basketball world with his talent. Coming from Michigan, Johnson is no doubt the best candidate for this title. He was known for going to great lengths to bag that win for his team.
Johnson is also known as one of the greatest passers in basketball history. However, he was a versatile player with some great skills as a rebounder, shooter, and even a coach. Other players like LeBron James and Ben Simmons might have come close to surpassing him but in the end, no one can outshine Magic.
Georgia: Walt Frazier
It’s virtually impossible to talk about New York basketball without mentioning THE Walt Frazier. With seven All-Stars and two NBA championships under his belt, Frazier is one of the most influential figures in the league and beyond.
Frazier made it to basketball royalty when he led the Knicks to score their first NBA title against the Lakers in 1970. That game is forever preserved in the annals of basketball history due to the unbelievable stats he managed to pull. Bagging 36 points, 19 assists, and seven rebounds in one high-stakes game is no easy feat!
Ohio: LeBron James
Some of the best players in the game have been born out of Ohio. Legendary players John Havlicek, Charles Oakley, John Paxson, Michael Redd, Nate Thurmond, and Steph Curry were born in Ohio. Besides Steph, nobody can surpass the greatness of Lebron. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, LeBron James rose to fame as a basketball prodigy well beyond his years. After a successful college football career, James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and led them straight to an NBA title.
James’ presence itself proved to have a positive impact on Ohio’s economy and brought the state a lot of business. While he’s still in the midst of his prime and his career is still going strong, he seems to have surpassed many legendary players on the court. Only time will tell whether James manages to surpass Michael Jordan as the greatest NBA player of all time.
Pennsylvania: Kobe Bryant/Wilt Chamberlain
We’ve made difficult choices and picked one out of many players from a state. However, this time, we have to call a tie. Both Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant rank as the top 10 basketball players of all time. And coincidentally, both of them hail from Pennsylvania.
Chamberlain waltzed into the court and achieved a 100-point mark that had yet to be touched. On the other hand, Kobe shows the potential to surpass Michael Jordan as the GOAT. He has led the Lakers to five Championship wins during his two-decade career.
Illinois: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade’s talent might have been overlooked during the 2004 NBA draft because his peers included Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Perhaps that’s why everyone was shocked to see Wade bagging the championship ring before anyone else in his class.
Following his win in 2006, Wade carved his own place in the league and rose through the ranks. Considering his size, he eventually solidified his position as a formidable slasher and shot blocker. While Wade has spent most of his career playing for the Miami Heat, he’s also made an appearance with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
New York: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
New York is overflowing with fresh talent due to the rich basketball culture. No wonder many Hall of Famers hail from NYC, the hub for all things basketball. The best of the best from New York has to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
After completing an illustrious college basketball career at UCLA, Abdul-Jabbar set out on a 20-year career in the league. He bagged eight titles in total, six as a player and two as an assistant coach. Currently, Abdul-Jabbar is the No. 1 leading scorer in the history of the NBA. On top of that, the iconic basketball player holds the record for making the most unstoppable shot in the game’s history with the iconic skyhook.
Florida: Vince Carter
Apart from being a high-flying dunker, Vince Carter was a truly inspiring player in his prime. A native of Florida, Carter has managed to sustain the quality of his game well into his 40s. He was drafted fifth overall in the 1998 draft and began his career with the Toronto Raptors.
After more than six seasons with the Raptors, Carter tried to find his place in the league by switching teams. He was a part of several franchises, including New Jersey, Phoenix, Dallas, Orlando, Sacramento, Memphis, and Atlanta, before he retired in 2020.
New Mexico: Bill Bridges
Born and raised in Hobbs, New Mexico, Bill Bridges is our pick for the best NBA player from this state. Bridges has enjoyed an impressive 13-year career in the NBA. Considering his impressively long association with the league, many believe him to be a successful basketball player.
Bridges was a big man whose energy and effort was visible on the ground. He won All-Star three times and led Golden State to earn a title during his last NBA season. In one playoff game, he managed 35 rebounds, a crazy number for any player.
Montana: Phil Jackson
Once again, Montana isn’t exactly the breeding ground for talented NBA players. Without a doubt, the most famous basketball-related personality from this state has to be Phil Jackson. Known as ‘The Zen Master’, Jackson was born in the city of Deer Lodge, Montana.
Coming from a remote area, Jackson managed to make it big as a role player in the NBA. The most noteworthy achievement in his career is his legendary stint as a head coach. He managed to win 11 titles in total while coaching teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls.
Delaware: Walt Hazzard
You might be surprised to find Walt Hazzard mentioned in connection to Delaware. While Hazzard did spend his college basketball career and the beginning of his NBA stint on the West Coast, he was a Delaware boy well before that.
Hazzard’s college football career launched at UCLA and he got drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964. He didn’t achieve much success as a pro basketball player with the Lakers. Hazzard’s big break occurred when he was moved to the Seattle Sonics and proceeded to play his best season ever. Despite being in a mediocre team, Hazzard managed to score an average of 24 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds, followed by an All-Star appearance.
Nebraska: Bob Boozer
Much like Maine and Montana, Nebraska isn’t exactly the most popular birthing place for basketball players. Out of the few players that hail from Nebraska, Bob Boozer might be the only one worth mentioning on this list.
Boozer spent his childhood in Omaha, Nebraska. He was drafted to the NBA in 1959 as the No.1 Overall pick. Apart from his basketball career, he even won a gold medal for the US in the ’60 Olympics. His NBA career wasn’t much to write home about. Apart from one All-Star appearance and one title team, he didn’t earn too many accolades. Many believe that he failed to live up to the hype.
California: Bill Russell
Winners can never be erased from history. That's why the world will always remember Bill Russell, the Celtics player who's remembered for his prowess. His partnership with the Celtics resulted in 11 NBA championships from 1957 to 1969, and he became the first Black head coach in the NBA. While Russell wasn't born in California, he spent most of his childhood and high school years in Oakland and the Bay Area. Russell passed away on July 31st, 2022, leaving an unforgettable legacy behind. Every single NBA team has retired Bill Russell's iconic number 6, showing how impactful he was in trailblazing what the NBA turned out to be today.