From bonafide guaranteed All-Star selections like the freshly retired Dwyane Wade to flat out ring-achievers like Magic Johnson, all 50 states have their most notorious NBA alumni. Unfortunately, your favorite player of all-time might not be able to make the cut to represent their hometown states. With that said, we have compiled the 50 best NBA players to ever hit the professional hardwood from each state in the US of A. See if your favorite NBA great has made the cut below.
Every year a new NBA prospect pops up with hopes of working hard enough to become an honorary member of the world's greatest basketball players of all-time. Unfortunately, for most, things don't pan out. Untimely injuries, poor work ethic, or sometimes just bad luck can plague an excellent NBA player into the forgotten oblivion of NBA hopefuls looking to become one of the greatest of all time.
Then there some players that have an irrefutable passion for the game and are constantly developing their skill set, allowing them to supersede their NBA peers and stack up the accolades necessary to be considered a Hall of Fame-caliber talent. Do you agree with our picks?
Kids today might recognize Charles Barkley as that portly, chubby fellow analyst with extremist hot takes on NBA on TNT. But despite his newfound fame in the color commentary world, he's one of the most ruthless dominant forwards to ever play the game. Hailing from Leeds, Alabama, Barkley himself once stated that he never believed he would become a Hall-of-Fame worthy professional basketball player. He thought his life would lead him straight to a local Alabama factory. Boy, was he wrong.
The man formally known as Sir Charles was selected fifth overall in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Throughout his illustrious NBA career, Charles Barkley was able to collect 11 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA Most Valuable (1993), 5x NBA First-Team honors, two Olympic Gold Medals, and so much more. In sixteen years in the NBA, Barkley was not able to win a single Championship ring but still is considered an NBA legend for his contributions to the game.
First and foremost, we should probably recognize that the49th state in Alaska isn't known for pumping out world-class athletes. Matter of fact, Mario Chalmers is the only NBA talent born in the state, Anchorage to be exact. However, NBA alumni Carlos Boozer and Trajan Landon did play high school ball in the Russia-neighboring state. But we have to give the Alaskan basketball crown to the former NBA point guard.
Chamers was originally selected 34th overall in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. That same year he found himself as a member of the Miami Heat were he would earn the starting point guard role and win back-to-back NBA Championships alongside Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh. While his relationship with James looked shaky at times, he was an integral part of that team's success. These days, Chalmers is an active player in Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league and playing overseas in Italy.
Hailing from Tucson, Arizona is none other than San Antonio Spurs legend, Sean Elliott. Coincidentally, Elliott remained loyal to his hometown as he played his entire collegiate basketball career in his hometown with the Arizona Wildcats. During those four years (1985-1989), Elliott led the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1988, lead's the Wildcats in all-time scoring to this day, and even broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Pac 10 scoring record.
In 1989, Elliott was drafted third overall to the San Antonio Spurs where he played all but one season of his twelve-year career with the Texas-based NBA franchise. In 1999, Elliott won his first and only NBA Championship alongside Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The 6'8 small forward also notched two NBA All-Star appearances in 1993 and 1996. While Sean Elliott wasn't a particularly flashy player, he had a high basketball IQ and was an excellent lockdown defender. He's the missing piece to a lot of championship-contending teams we see today.
Some say that if the Chicago Bulls would have never acquired Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan probably wouldn't have one six rings and his legacy wouldn't be what it is today. But forget the hypotheticals, Scottie Pippen, beat out high-quality talent like Joe Johnson and Glen Rice to earn his right as the NBA's king of Arkansas, hailing from Hamburg, Arkansas. Scottie's lanky 6'8 frame, huge hands, vision allowed him to become an anomaly out there on the professional hardwood. There wasn't a single thing on the court that he didn't excel at throughout his 21-year NBA career.
The 6x NBA Champion, 8x NBA All-Defensive First Team honoree, and 7x NBA All-Star has one of the most decorated Hall of Fame blazers hanging in his closet at this very moment. His defense allowed Michael Jordan to take over on the offensive side of the court and his vision made his teammates around him better. Scottie Pippen helped define the role of a perfect sidekick by embodying the role without letting his ego interfere with his team's one common goal. To win.
California is known for its hooping community and there is no other pro-hooper in the state's history that could hold a light to Reggie Miller's flame. Ok, that might be a little dramatic especially in the company of names like Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, and a ton of other qualified pro-basketball players. But none of those individuals named ever struck fear into the hearts of their opponents like Reggie Miller did.
At one point, Reggie Miller held the title for most three-pointers made by a single player with 2,560. Ray Allen would go on to take Miller's crown from him years later. Still, there was never a shot Reggie Miller was afraid as he played his entire NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. Miller's also known for the one greatest moments in NBA history eight points in nine seconds against the New York Knicks in game one of the 1995 Playoffs to steal the first game at Madison Square Garden. To this day, Miller is known as 'The Knick Killer.'
There are few NBA players that could match the poise that Chauncey Billups contained when the lights were shining bright, the crowd was going wild, and the pressure was on. This is why he holds the title of Colorado's best-born basketball player beating out Joe Kleine, Derrick Martin, and Jason Smith. At 6'3 Billups would take command on the court leading teams like the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, and Denver Nuggets into playoff berths.
With a career average of 15.2 points per game, Chauncey wasn't necessarily known for getting buckets but his reputation for hitting much-needed baskets earned him the moniker of 'Mr. Big Shot.' Not to mention he also led a Detroit Pistons team to an NBA Championship beating out a stacked Lakers team that featured Shaq, Kobe, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone. If you want to become a complete all-around great and calculated basketball player, contact Chauncey Billups as soon as possible.
While Marcus Camby is a Connecticut native, sometimes you have to respect on the OGs of the game's names. At just 5'9, Calvin Murphy found his way to the 1970 NBA Draft and selected at 18th overall by the San Diego Rockets where he would play his entire thirteen-year NBA career. In an era where big men dominated the game, the Norwalk, Connecticut-bred point guard would go on to average a total of 17.9 points per game throughout his career.
That's not all Murphy accomplished throughout his pro-basketball days. Murphy earned a spot on the 1979 NBA All-Star roster and Basketball Hall of Fame, making him the shortest NBA player to achieve both milestones in NBA history. To this very day, Calvin Murphy is an important part of the Houston Rockets organization working as a color commentator on the team's broadcast crew on the Rockets' AT&T Sportsnet Television channel.
Here's a name you might not have heard when it comes to some of the NBA's greatest ever. Hailing from Wilmington, Delaware, Walt Hazzard, is one of the NBA's earliest greats to ever lace up his sneakers and where the NBA logo on his lapel. Prior to being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1964 NBA Draft, Hazzard was a member of the UCLA Bruins basketball team where he would help the institution earn their first-ever NCAA National Championship. That same year in 1964, Hazzard was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Throughout his NBA career, the athletic point guard played for a multitude of teams including the previously mentioned Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Buffalo Braves, Golden State Warriors, and Seattle Supersonics where he earned NBA All-Star honors in 1968. Later, Hazzard went on to coach the UCLA Bruins throughout the '80s and recently lost his life at the tender age of just 69-years-old after suffering from complications from a stroke. Rest well, legend.
If there's anyone who deserves the praise and respect of basketball fans everywhere, look no further than this man here, David Robinson. While Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady are both Florida natives, David Robinson earned his way as Florida's best hooper for his long list of accolades he's achieved throughout his career. Robinson averaged a double-double of 21.1 points per game and 10 rebounds per game throughout his fourteen-year long NBA career. Not to mention his competition throughout the '80s and '90s was some of the toughest the world has ever witnessed.
David Robinson led the San Antonio Spurs to two NBA Championships (1999, 2003), racked up a total of ten NBA All-Star appearances, the 1990 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA Scoring Champion Award (1994), an NBA Most Valuable Player Award (1995), and so much more as a member of his one and only team in the Spurs. Not to mention, prior to dominating in the NBA, Robinson served as an officer in the United States Navy, earning him the nickname 'The Admiral.' How can you root against a guy like this?
There has never been a pair of mutton-chop sidebars to hit the professional hardwood that have looked better than Walt 'Clyde' Frazier. And while Walt might be known for his eccentric suits and flamboyant garb now, he was a dog when he was on the court and the inspiration behind one of the most legendary sneakers of all-time in the Puma Clyde.
Walt Frazier brought a never-before-seen finesse to the game of basketball, his court vision and ability to get to the basket was almost as if he could read his competition's mind. The 6'4 guard was drafted by the New York Knicks fifth overall in the 1967 NBA Draft. Three years later, he lead the Knicks to an NBA Championship defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. Three years following his first ring, he brought the Knicks yet another Championship against the same Lakers team. The now Hall of Famer is a commentator for the Knicks lighting up the sideline at Madison Square Garden every home game.
It takes a different kind of animal to find motivation when you're living in a literal paradise. Yet, Cedric Ceballos found the determination to work himself into world-class athletic shape and become an NBA fan-favorite. Hailing from Maui, Hawaii, Cedric Ceballos is able to claim the state's best pro-basketball honors beating out Red Rocha as the only other Hawaii native to make it to the NBA.
Ceballos played four full years of collegiate basketball at the University of Ventura (1986-1988) and the University of Cal State Fullerton (1988-1990). In 1990, Ceballos was selected 48th overall in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. The 6'6 small forward went on to be a contributing member of multiple NBA teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Detroit Pistons before taking his talents overseas. Cedric Ceballos might be most notably known for winning the 1992 NBA Slam Dunk Contest after his infamous blindfold dunk. Oh, he also had a stint as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters in 2002.
It can't possibly be too hard to claim the throne of Idaho's best professional basketball ever, right? Well, guess again, Luke Ridnour had to beat out the likes of Steve Haye, Charlie Black, and Dale Wilkinson... Of course, none of those names are ringing a bell probably because Idaho is more known for their potatoes and Napoleon Dynamite than their athletes. However, we shouldn't sleep on Luke Ridnour owning that crown, he did have a professional playing career of twelve years in the NBA and was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft that featured the likes of Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and other future NBA Hall of Famers.
Matter of fact, Ridnour was selected 14th overall by the Seattle Supersonics and went on to play for the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Bobcats, and Orlando Magic before calling in quits in 2015. Throughout his career, Ridnour went on to notch 9.3 points per game on 43% shooting from the field. While not wildly impressive, he can guarantee he'll bust your a** in a 24-Hour pickup game to this very day.
Surprisingly, this might be one the most questionable selections on the greatest state-by-state NBA player list yet. Both hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Dwyane Wade and legendary Detroit Pistons bad boy, Isiah Thomas could be interchangeable kings of Illinois. Statistically, many can argue that Dwyane Wade deserves the honors of being Illinois' greatest NBA player of all-time, but Isiah Thomas was an athlete and personality that defined one of the greatest eras of hardnose basketball the world has ever witnessed.
Regardless, Dwyane Wade has earned one more championship than Thomas (with three) and earned one more NBA All-Star honor with a total of thirteen. Not to mention, Dwyane Wade's epic 2006 NBA Playoff run where he carried an aging Shaquille O'neal and his Miami Heat teammates to glory. With Dwyane Wade officially retired, South Beach might not ever be the same. Will we ever see a shooting guard as crafty and iron-willed in Miami ever again? Only time will tell.
Somehow, history has forgotten that Larry Bird was one of the toughest, trash-talking, body-banging forwards to ever play the game. Secretly, Larry Bird was one of the dirtiest players to hit the professional hardwood. Not to mention his unorthodox jump shot that killed the hopes and dreams of a lot of hi NBA alumni peers. Yet, he's deserving of the crown of Indiana beating out some rather tough competition in George McGinnis, Zach Randolph, and Shawn Kemp.
After being picked sixth overall in the 1978 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, 'The Hick from the French Lick' went on to win three NBA Championships with the franchise while earning three NBA Most Valuable Player honors, and two NBA Finals MVP Awards. His list of accolades run much deeper but his rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers and Magic Johnson was one of the greatest sports stories anyone could ever imagine. These days, Larry Bird is still in the pro-basketball realm working as the President of Basketball Operations for his home state Indiana Pacers.
Iowa is actually home to some rather prominent NBA ballers including Nick Collison, Raef LaFrentz, Kirk Hinrich, and Harrison Barnes. Some could argue that Hinrich is deserving of the Iowa head honcho for his league longevity but the statistical differences and in-game impact just won't allow it. Despite this being Harrison Barnes' fifth year in the league in comparison Hinrich's thirteen-year long career, Barnes has already won a ring and proved to be an integral part of a high-caliber playoff team.
In 2012, Barnes was selected seventh overall by the Golden State Warrior where he would go on to be selected NBA All-Rookie First Team. Statistically, Barnes can show improvement racking up a career average of 13.6 points per game on 44% shooting, and he has time at 27-years-old. However, it appears that Barnes is chasing the money bags recently inking a four-year, $85 million contract with the Sacramento Kings. If his play doesn't reflect his pay, he could be staring a shortened career in the face.
Alvan Adams might not be a household name, but he was the original proof that white men can jump. Just look at the hangtime and the determination to throw down this dunk on his unexpecting opposition. While Kansas isn't particularly known for pumping out NBA prospects, Adams is definitely deserving to represent his home state. Matter of fact, the Lawerance, Kansas-bred power forward tied the University of Oklahoma's school record for double-doubles during the 1973-74 NCAA Basketball season. He's also one of three Sooners score 40 points and snag 20 rebounds in a game.
With feats like those under his belt, he was drafted fourth overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 1975 NBA Draft. The tall and slender Adams spent his entire thirteen-year NBA career with the Suns where he would earn the honors of NBA Rookie of the Year and an NBA All-Star roster spot in 1976. From here on out, let's not sleep on our white historical NBA alumni brethren. They got game too.
Most of the time when we think about Kentucky we think about two things, obese people and chicken. However, Kentucky has pumped out some quality basketball talent throughout the state's history. Former Boston Celtic and Milwaukee Buck, Dave Cowens. Cowens had some suitable competition for the basketball king of Kentucky in Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, but Cowens' tenure as a coach and his numerous accolades outnumber Unseld's attempt at the crown.
In the 1970 NBA Draft, Cowens was selected fourth overall by the Boston Celtics where he would go on to win two NBA Championships with the team (1974, 1976), be selected as the NBA's Most Valuable Player (1973), and earn eight NBA All-Star honors. Cowens had an extremely well-rounded game for a center and stacked numbers in every statistical category during his tenure as a player. He also spent a lot of time in coaching positions across the league, most notably as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets from 1996-99.
If there's anyone who could beat out the likes of Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, and Elvin Hayes for the best professional basketball player in the state of Louisiana, it would be none other than Bill Russell. If we're strictly talking about winning, Bill Russell is the greatest basketball of all-time without a doubt. Matter of fact, Russell is tied with professional hockey player, Henri Richard, for the most championship wins by an athlete in North America. Surprisingly, Bill Russell's winning ways didn't start in the NBA.
The 6'10 center from Monroe, Louisiana led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships in 1955 and 1956. That same year, Russell led the Men's US National Basketball team to a gold medal in the 1956 Summer Olympics. Somehow, Russell ended up the second overall pick of the 1956 NBA Draft where he went on to win eleven NBA Championships, win five MVP honors, and be selected for the NBA All-Star team a total of twelve times. What we want to know is... Who doesn't pick the guy who just won back-to-back college championships and a gold medal first in the NBA Draft? Simpletons.
While the northeast region of the United States has produced some world-class ballers, unfortunately for Maine, they only have one lone wolf to ever make it to the pros in former NBA power forward/center, Jeff Turner. Hailing from Bangor, Maine Turner took his future into his own hands and played all four years of his collegiate basketball at Vanderbilt University (1980-84). Turner eventually made his way to the NBA Draft being selected 17th overall in the 1984 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets.
Turner played three seasons with the Nets before heading overseas to play in a professional Italian basketball league. The lefty made his way back to the NBA signing a contract with the Orlando Magic where he played from 1989-1996. While averaging an uneventful 6.0 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game, he did have a rather successful pro-ball career and even won a gold medal as a member of the Men's US National Basketball Team in the 1984 Olympics.
Maryland is home to some pretty legit talent like Steve Francis, Reggie Lewis (rest in peace), and Muggsy Bogues. However, there's one man that some people might sleep on when it comes to historic on-court captains and that's Sam Cassell. When a point guard can take command of a team and lead them to victory while being a stern yet poised leader, many tend to follow and that's exactly what Sam Cassell was able to achieve throughout his decorated fifteen-year NBA career.
Sam Cassell was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 24th overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He was immediately placed in charge of the team's offensive scheme and led the collective to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995. Cassell also earned an additional NBA ring as a member of the 2008 Boston Celtics. But during his more prominent years, Cassell led underdog teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves deep into playoff action. For some reason, just one NBA All-Star honor (2004) doesn't sit well for the legacy he's created for himself.
Bill Laimbeer is partially why the NBA is so soft today. If you wanted an elbow to the throat, an eye raked while an opposing player was headed to the basket in mid-air, or someone to just start a brawl in the midst of gameplay, Bill Laimbeer was your guy. Ok, so that's kind of dramatic being that Laimbeer did create an illustrious career for himself based off his skill, but he was known for being the anchor enforcer of the infamous Detroit Pistons 'Bad Boy' era and it showed.
Bill Laimbeer, born William Laimbeer Jr. was selected 65th overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He didn't receive much playing time so he took his talents overseas to play a season in Italy. It wasn't until he was traded to the Detroit Pistons in 1982 that he would blossom into a 4x NBA All-Star, an NBA Rebounding Leader (1986), and a 2x NBA Champion alongside Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman. The ironic thing about Laimbeer's career in basketball is that he's become one of the greatest WNBA coaches of this current generation. Who knew that he was that level-headed?
Magic Johnson is single-handedly for converting casual basketball supporters into full-blown fanatics throughout the '80s as one of the originators of the Lakers 'Showtime' era. Not only was Magic Johnson's basketball IQ unlike anything ever seen before, his speed and fluidity were, and still is, one of the most awe-inspiring things to ever be seen in the Great Western Forum. At 6'9, Magic took command of the court at the point guard position, something that was unheard of when he hit the professional hardwood for the first time in 1979.
But prior to being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft, the Lansing, Michigan-bred superstar led his Michigan State teammates to an NCAA National Championship in 1979. The following year as a rookie, Magic Johnson was forced to play the center position in the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers and earned his first NBA Championship. Johnson would go on to win additional four NBA Championships with Los Angeles Lakers (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988). Twelve NBA All-Star honors and five MVPs don't hurt his resume either. Not to mention the guy's a billionaire so, basically, everything he touches turns to gold. What a life, what a legacy.
Yeah, initially looking at this guy you might not think much of him. But he'd definitely bust your a** if you came into the paint with some weak lay-up attempt. The legendary Kevin McHale didn't have much competition to beat out for the Minnesota state crown but that's mainly due to his own set of extreme accomplishments. Hailing from the small town of Hibbing, Minnesota, Kevin McHale was able to become a local legend, ranking second in all-time career points (1,704) and rebounds (950) at the University of Minnesota.
McHale's 6'10 frame and elite skill set translated directly to the professional level as he was drafted to the Boston Celtics third overall in the 1980 NBA Draft. McHale went on to become a 7x NBA All-Star, 3x NBA All-Defensive First Team roster member, and 3x NBA Champion. It also doesn't hurt being named an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame and then going on to being a general manager, head coach, and television analyst for the game you love. Youngsters, get acquainted with the legend that is Kevin McHale, you will not be disappointed.
Hailing from Silver City, Mississippi, Spencer Haywood probably has the most unique entry story into the realm of professional basketball than anyone else on this list. After moving to Detroit in 1964, Haywood led his high school basketball team to the state championship game and won in 1967. Later, he found himself averaging an insane 28.2 points and 22.1 rebounds per game while attending a community college. He was contacted to join the Men's US National Basketball Team for the 1968 Summer Olympics where he would go on to lead the team in scoring averaging 16.1 points per game and setting a United States field goal percentage record of 71%.
Following the Olympics, Haywood transferred to the University of Detroit where he revealed that he would go pro following his sophomore year of college. The NBA denied Haywood's request to enter the NBA Draft due to the rules stating that he would enter with his graduating class. Haywood being the forward-thinking young man that he was, he joined the ABA and won Most Valuable Player before being drafted to the Seattle Sonics in 1970. Haywood would go on to become an NBA Champion with 1980 Los Angeles Lakers and 4x NBA All-Star. Way to work the system, Spencer.
The Boston Celtics have a plethora of legendary athletes that have come and go from their roster but none as durable as the 6'3 point guard Jo Jo White. After his four year stint at the University of Kansas, White found his way to the 1986 Summer Olympics where he would earn his first-ever accolade as a member of the Men's US National Basketball Team earning a gold medal. The following year, Jo Jo White was drafted ninth overall in the 1969 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics where he would go on to have a stellar NBA career.
In 1970, White earned the title of NBA All-Rookie First Team, seven NBA All-Star nods, two championships as a member of the Celtics (1974, 1976), NBA Finals MVP (1976), and eventually an induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. During his ten-year stint with the Boston Celtics, Jo Jo White broke a franchise record tallying a total of 488 consecutive games played with the Celtics. Unfortunately, Jo Jo passed away from complications with dementia and pneumonia in January 2018. Not only will Jo Jo be remembered for his contributions to the game of basketball but for the beautiful person was.
While Montana is yet another state not known for pumping out professional athletes, the state was the birthplace to one of the greatest basketball minds the NBA has ever seen. Phil Jackson is officially Montana's greatest NBA player of all-time. While he might not be particularly known for his playing days, Phil Jackson was a problem on the court for many, standing at 6'8 playing the power forward position.
The then NBA hopeful bright-eyed kid, now known as The Zen Master was selected 17th overall in the 1967 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. Jackson spent eleven out the thirteen years in the blue and orange (1967-78) before closing out his playing career with the New Jersey Nets in 1980. In that time, Jackson won two NBA Championships with the Knicks (1970, 1973) and earned the honor of NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1968. Two NBA Championships is definitely nothing to blow off, but that's nothing compared to the eleven he earned as a head coach coaching the likes of two of the greatest NBA players ever in Michael Jordan and Kob Bryant.
No, Bob Boozer is not an ancestral descendant of Carlos Boozer despite both playing in the NBA decades apart. Matter of fact, Bob Boozer is one of those NBA legends that rarely gets the praise or recognition that he fully deserves. The wildly athletic 6'8 power forward was picked first overall in 1959 NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals and played alongside other NBA Legends such as Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Jerry Lucus, Elgin Baylor, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar throughout his twelve-year NBA career.
Surprisingly, Boozer's only NBA Championship came in 1971 when he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. With career averages of 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, Bob Boozer was one of the NBA's best wingmen during the league's early stages. Unfortunately, Bob Boozer passed away in May 2012 from a brain aneurysm at the age of 75. In his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska his legacy lives on in the form of his very own street, Bob Boozer Drive. Rest well.
It came between Greg Anthony, CJ Watson, and Pat Garrity for the honors of Nevada's most prominent NBA great, and there really wasn't any other choice than to give it to the former point guard in Greg Anthony. Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, the 6'0 Greg Anthony made his way into the NBA Draft after playing three seasons of basketball with his hometown collegiate team in UNLV where he won an NCAA National Championship in 1990. The New York Knicks went on to draft the crafty point guard with the 12th overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft.
From there, Anthony went on to have a solid career as a journeyman playing for teams like the Vancouver Grizzlies, Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks before hanging up his jersey for good. Throughout his eleven-year career, Anthony averaged a solid 7.3 points and 4.0 assists per game. While some might consider his career rather uneventful, he lived out the dreams millions of people have failed at and continue to fail trying to achieve.
The Concord, New Hampshire-bred, Matthew Robert Bonner, also known by his on-court moniker, the 'Red Rocket' is the only NBA player born in the state of New Hampshire. The 6'10 red-head literally has no competition when it comes to basketball prowess in the entire state of New Hampshire. Which sounds about right, sometimes we forget that it's even a state. With that said, Matt Bonner turned quite a few heads during his stint at the University of Florida after making a total of 165 three-pointers in his four seasons playing with the school.
Bonner declared himself for the NBA Draft and was picked 45th overall, in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. After not feeling at home in Chicago, Bonner ditched the NBA and played in Italy for a year before signing with the Toronto Raptors in 2004. It wasn't until he was acquired by the San Antonio Spurs in 2006 that he would become a fan-favorite and crucial member of the team for the next decade to come. Bonner won two championships with the Spurs (2007, 2014) before retiring in 2016.
Shaquille O'Neal is the most unstoppable entity that the NBA has ever seen to this very day. It's almost impossible to explain or measure his impact on the game. Every night, centers across the league would hang their heads in shame knowing that there was nothing they could possibly do to stop Shaq from completely wrecking the rim while he was on the floor. Some coaches strategically utilized fouling the 7'1, 325lbs powerhouse, but eventually, a rule was created to curb that type of behavior from opposing teams in the 'Hack-a-Shaq' rule.
Shaq was selected first overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic where he played alongside the legendary Penny Hardaway before taking his talents to Hollywood in 1996, where he would become a larger-than-life superstar. Shaq earned four NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVPs, fifteen NBA All-Star selections, one NBA Most Valuable Player Award (2000) and so much more. There literally isn't anything the Big Diesel hasn't done. Whether it be act, rap, DJ, star in a video game, or host the most popular NBA postgame television show, Shaquille O'Neal is sports entertainment at its best.
You'd think that New Mexico would be home to more than just a couple of elite, pro-level basketball players due to their proximity to California. But, surprisingly, there are only a handful of NBA players from the border state that have played more than a full season in the NBA. However, the 6'6 power forward, Bill Bridges, hailing from Hobbs, New Mexico is more than deserving to hold the crown for his hometown state. Prior to entering the NBA, in 1961, Bridges entered the American Basketball League as a member of the Kansas City Steers where in his second season he lead the league in scoring.
In 1964, Bridges finagled his way into the NBA and played for the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors where he won his first and only NBA Championship in his final season in 1975. Averaging a career double-double of 11.9 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, Bridges was also a 3x NBA All-Star (1967, 1968, 1970). Unfortunately, Bridges lost his battle with cancer at the age of 75-years-old in September 2015. With that said, thank you for pushing the game forward and holding New Mexico down. Rest well.
New York is home to some of the greatest ballers to ever grace the basketball court. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bernard King, Julius Erving are living legends in their own right, but we have to give the King of New York crown to Michael Jordan. We understand that the Jumpman might have spent his adolescent years in North Carolina and considers himself a Carolinian, but the truth is Sir Airness was actually born in Brooklyn. Not to mention, he's also the greatest professional basketball player to walk the planet.
Many can attempt to disprove MJ's GOAT status using stats and numbers, but if you weren't around to witness Michael Jordan single-handedly take over a basketball and berate his opposition into submission, you might want to sit this one out. In his fifteen-year playing career, Mike racked up a total of six championships (both in the form of three-peats), six NBA Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, fourteen NBA All-Star selections, and an endless list of additional accolades that have inspired every generation after him to pick up a basketball. During Michael Jordan's prime, there wasn't a kid alive who didn't want to like Mike.
Bob McAdoo, Walt Bellamy, and Chris Paul all hail from North Carolina but they still weren't able or haven't created a legacy for themselves like 'Big Game' James. Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, James Worthy went on to lead his home state North Carolina Tar Heels to an NCAA National Championship in 1982. Worthy was named College Basketball Player of the Year and the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. With a resume like that under his belt, Worthy was drafted first overall in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers where he would play his entire twelve-year career.
Sometimes people forget that if James Worthy wasn't around, the 'Showtime' era the LA Lakers embodied throughout the '80s wouldn't exist without James. His ability to catch flight, change direction, and float in the air was uncanny. Worthy played unselfish basketball and was always in the right place at the right time. He helped the Lakers win three NBA Championships (1985, 1987, 1988), was named NBA Finals MVP in 1988, and was a 7x NBA All-Star. To this very day, James is an important part of the Lakers organization working as an analyst on the team's broadcast television network.
We haven't seen a lot of young talent make this list thus far mainly because a lot of these youngsters have yet to prove themselves worthy of taking the throne of their respective home states. Yet, here we are crowning the 27-year-old, Tyler Johnson, the greatest NBA player from the state of North Dakota. His current competition for the king of Peace Garden State is fellow NBA alumni Doug McDermott who currently holds a roster spot on the Dallas Mavericks. Over the course of the next decade, these two will be attempting to outperform each other for the title of North Dakota's best.
However, for now, Tyler Johnson is deserving of the title averaging 11.0 points per game on 43% shooting. Johnson entered the league undrafted finding a home in Miami during the 2014-15 season. He spent five years with the Heat before landing in Phoenix where he currently is planning to make a name for himself. Only time will tell with this one. Doug McDermott, it's your move, bud.
While John Havlicek and Steph Curry were both born in Ohio, you have to give the crown of Ohio to The King, Lebron James. There have been few physical specimens to lace up their kicks and hit the professional hardwood like LBJ. His freakish athletic ability and high basketball IQ has him in the talks of being one of the greatest to ever play the game. One of the most mystifying factors of his game has been his durability. For the first time in his career, last season (2018-19), we saw Lebron James miss an extended period of playing time due to a groin injury.
Now, in his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers and the newly-acquired Anthony Davis by his side, will LBJ be able to win a title with every franchise he's played for? With three NBA Championships under his belt, three NBA Finals MVPs, and five MVPs in seventeen years of NBA action, these upcoming few years could define his legacy. But regardless of what may occur, Lebron James will be considered a top ten NBA player will it is all said and done.
While Mark Price and John Starks are both respectable Oklahoma representatives, they do not compare to the superstar talent that is Blake Griffin. Born in Oklahoma City, Blake Griffin all of his high school and collegiate basketball in his home state of Oklahoma. In his sophomore year as an Oklahoma Sooner, Blake Griffin earned the title of National Player of the Year, which led to him being picked first overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Tragically, during the final pre-season game of the 2009 season, Griffin broke his left knee cap and missed his entire rookie year. What could have derailed his trajectory later resulted in Griffin becoming a force of nature in the paint, racking up a Rookie of The Year Award in 2011 and six NBA All-Star nods through his decade-long career. Watching Griffin grow throughout the years has been a pleasure for any true basketball aficionado. He's developed a stable handle and jump shot that has made him more of a threat since he was initially introduced to the league. Now, he just needs a couple of rings for his trophy case.
A. C. Green is one of the most remarkable human beings alive. Born in Portland, Oregon, Green never missed a single day of class in high school. Later, he went on to play four years of basketball at the Oregon State University where he would finish fourth in scoring and second in rebounding in the school's history. Green went on to be selected 23rd overall in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is where he would earn his nickname 'Iron Man.' Throughout his entire NBA career, Green played 1278 out of 1281 games, missing only three games in the 1986-87 season. In his career, A.C. Green played 1,192 consecutive games where he won three NBA Championships with the Lakers (1987, 1988, 2000) and earned an NBA All-Star roster spot (1990) all before retiring with the Miami Heat in 2001. According to Green himself, he abstained from sex his entire NBA career for religious reasons. Could this be the key to his fountain of youth?
Any NBA list where you are forced to leave Kobe Bryant out is blasphemous, but this time around it has to be done in regards to who holds the NBA crown for their respective state and that's exactly what Wilt does for Pennsylvania. There is a good argument for the two being interchangeable or considered 'Pennsylvania 1A' and 'Pennsylvania 1B,' but we'll leave up to you to debate. Wilt Chamberlain was simply an anomaly for being 7'1 during his era of professional basketball. Prior to ever dunking a basketball in the NBA, he spent stints at the University of Kansas and as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters before being claimed as a territorial pick by the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959 NBA Draft.
Instantaneously, Wilt 'The Stilt' became a force becoming the only NBA player to average 40 and 50 points per game during a regular season, scoring an NBA's highest 100 points in a single game, and becoming the only NBA player to average 30 points and 20 rebounds a game in a single season. The Philadelphia-bred Chamberlain surprisingly only won two NBA titles in his career, one with the 76ers in 1967 and one with Lakers in 1972. With four MVP Awards and one Finals MVP (1972) under his belt, Chamberlain defined what it meant to dominate in the NBA.
Yes, this 6'0 man with a blowout hairstyle in sky blue short-shorts has made the list, and for a good reason too. Ernie DiGregorio usually isn't a common name brought up when it comes to some of the premier talents the league has uplifted over the past several decades. However, Ernie D. does have quite the compelling rise to prominence and fall from grace. Prior to entering the NBA, DiGregorio played collegiate ball at Providence College and was drafted by the American Basketball Association's Kentucky Colonels where he played for one season.
The following year, DiGregorio was selected third overall by the Buffalo Braves in the 1973 NBA Draft. In his very first season, he became an instant phenom breaking the record for most assists by a rookie in a game with 25. In his rookie season, DiGregorio led the league in assists per game and free throw percentage while averaging 15.2 points per game which earned him the Rookie of the Year Award for the 1973-74 NBA season. Unfortunately, DiGregorio's numbers would begin to decline and a major knee injury would end his pro-basketball career in just five seasons.
Both Jermaine O'neal and Larry Nance hail from South Carolina but they don't have the story, personality, or accolades to deny that Kevin Garnett is the king of South Carolina professional basketball. Garnett was one of the most-feared and intense athletes the NBA has ever seen. His diverse ability to interrupt a play on the defensive end than create a play for his teammates or himself standing at 6'11 as a true power forward is something that we've never seen before and probably won't for quite some time.
Garnett was so gifted that he was drafted fifth overall directly out of high school by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1995 NBA Draft. This was the first time someone had been drafted directly out of high school in two decades. Garnett is one of four players to earn an NBA MVP Award (2004) and NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (2008). The Mauldin, South Carolina-bred phenom is a 15x NBA All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team honoree, and one-time NBA Champion (2008). While he did play for both the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, he was always a Timberwolf. Garnett closed out his playing days in Minnesota after the 2015-16 NBA season.
There isn't a lot of pro-ball talent pouring out of South Dakota, but there is a worthy adversary to hold the crown for the Mount Rushmore State in Mike Miller. While Mike Miller wasn't wildly athletic, he quickly became known for his long-distance shooting ability during his collegiate stint at the University of Florida. After two years with the Florida Gators, Miller declared himself into the NBA Draft where he was selected fifth overall by the Orlando Magic in 2000.
It didn't take long for Mike Miller to become a sharp-shooting journeyman playing for the likes of the Magic, the Memphis Grizzlies (twice), Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Denver Nuggets where ended his career after the 2016-17 NBA season. Mike Miller snagged the Rookie of the Year honors in 200, won Sixth Man of the Year in 2006, and earned two back-to-back rings as a member of the Miami Heat (2012, 2013). These days Mike Miller is working as an assistant coach with the University of Memphis Tigers.
Tennesse has had some elite talent rise from the soil in Penny Hardaway, Bailey Howell, and others, but they can't compare to the basketball icon that is Oscar Robertson. Hailing from Charlotte, Tennesee, Robertson relocated to Ohio where he would play collegiate basketball at the University of Cincinnati. Throughout his three-year college career (1957-60), Robertson would go on to average a total of 33.8 points per game, the third-highest in United States college basketball history.
This trend would continue well into his professional NBA career where he became known as the original Mr. Triple-Double. In the 1960 NBA Draft, Robertson was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals where just two years later he would become the first NBA player ever to average a triple-double. Throughout his fourteen-year NBA career, the 6'5 point guard would be selected for the NBA All-Star game a total of twelve times, selected All-NBA First Team nine times, receive one MVP Award (1964), and become a contributing member to the Milwaukee Bucks one-and-only NBA Championship.
While Texas may be considered more of a football state, the Lone Star State has birthed some praise-worthy ballers like LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Bill Sharman, and more. But, while those individuals are great, the extremely-talented Grant Hill will be taking the throne for the state of Texas. Though Grant Hill was able to muster a total of nineteen seasons in the NBA, he's always going to be one of those 'what could have been' guys if his career wasn't plagued with injuries.
After being drafted third overall in 1994 NBA Draft, Grant Hill went on to win Rookie of the Year honors alongside Jason Kidd and became the first rookie ever to lead in fan-voting NBA All-Star ballots with over 1.2 million votes. He assumed the role as a point-forward type of player doing any and everything on the court to win. Unfortunately, his career was littered with ankle and knee injuries that interrupted his consistent playing time. However, he still is a 7x NBA All-Star and one-time All-NBA First Team representative for the year 1997. These days you can catch Grant Hill on NBA TV as an analyst.
It's somewhat of a toss-up between Tom Chambers and Byron Scott for the NBA king of Utah, but we think it's fair to say that Byron Scott's impact and name rings more of a bell with basketball fans than Chambers does. Hailing from Ogden, Utah, Byron Scott and his family relocated to Inglewood, California, which had to an intense culture shock. He played his collegiate ball at Arizona State for three years before declaring himself to the NBA Draft where he was selected fourth overall by the San Diego Clippers in 1983.
The Clippers went on to trade Byron to the Lakers for Norm Nixon and Scott instantaneously became a contributing member of the Showtime Era LA Lakers. Byron played a full decade with the Lakers racking up three NBA Championships (1985, 1987, 1988) before having stints as an Indiana Pacer and Vancouver Grizzlie before returning to the Lakers in 1996. In 1998, Byron hung up his sneakers for good and has made a career as an NBA head coach coaching for teams like the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and his former team Lakers from 2014-2016.
It took us 45 states to finally come to a state that doesn't have one single NBA alumni player born within its borders and honestly, we're not surprised that it is Vermont. However, we were able to discover that the state does have local basketball legend in Taylor Coppenrath. Born in the city of Barnet, Taylor Copenrath didn't play varsity basketball until his junior year of high school but somehow was able to become the Vermont Player of the Year his senior year in 2000.
Coppenrath then went on to play four years of college basketball at the University of Vermont where he led the team to three straight America East Conference titles averaging 21.4 points per game. Coppenrath is currently the all-time leader in field goals made at the university with 851 and second all-time leading scorer with a total of 2,442 points. During the 2004-05 season, Coppenrath led UVM to its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory over Syracuse. While he declared himself for the NBA Draft in 2005, he was not selected but did participate in the NBA Summer League as a member of the Boston Celtics. When he wasn't picked up by the team, he headed overseas where he played for a decade professionally.
While we do love and respect our elders and while Moses Malone and Alonzo Mourning are both from Virginia, we couldn't find it in our hearts to snub Allen Iverson as the NBA king of the Mother of States. Born in Hampton, Virginia, the 6'0 point guard redefined the game using his speed and dribbling ability to leave his defenders disoriented and embarrassed in front of millions of viewers. After all, Allen Iverson is one of the very few players to leave Michael Jordan on his heels and stumbling after utilizing his killer crossover.
After two years with Georgetown Hoyas, Allen Iverson declared himself to the NBA Draft where he was drafted first overall to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996. He would go on to earn eleven NBA All-Star honors, three All-NBA First Team roster spots, and one NBA MVP (2001). Unfortunately, his only opportunity to win an NBA title was stripped by Kobe and Shaq's Lakers during the 2000-01 NBA season. While he might have had his shortcomings, he is the reason why seven-footers today play face-up, dribble-first basketball. Allen Iverson single-handedly changed the game forever.
Sorry, Jamal Crawford and Jason Terry, we have to give this one to the short-shorts king himself, John Stockton. If there was one player that never changed during their tenure as a professional NBA player, it was John Stockton. Stockton's ability to run an offense and set up his teammates for success was uncanny, he's probably one of the most unselfish players to ever pick up a basketball. Hailing from Spokane, Washington, Stockton played both his high school and college ball in the state of Washington until he was drafted 13th overall by the Utah Jazz in 1984.
Stockton spent his entire nineteen-year career as a member of the Utah Jazz and led the team to their only two NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and '98. He also leads the NBA by wide margins in most assists (15,806) and steals (3,265) by an individual player. The now Hall of Famer is a 10x NBA All-Star and 2x All-NBA First Team performer (1994, 1995). If you're a point guard and want to know how to win, study John Stockton.
While both Deron Williams and Jason Williams are both NBA point guards worthy of notoriety, they can't top the contributions that 'Mr. Clutch' Jerry West has instilled throughout his career as NBA player and front office executive in the league. There's no denying the man that is the living embodiment of the NBA logo. The 6'2 point guard, born in Chelyan, West Virginia played three years of collegiate basketball at the University of West Virginia before being drafted 2nd overall by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1960 NBA Draft.
From there he went on to lead the Lakers to an NBA Championship in 1970 and he's the only NBA player to be named NBA Finals MVP after losing the series in 1967. Mr. West also notched a total of fourteen NBA All-Star honors and ten All-NBA First Team roster spots throughout his fourteen-year long NBA career. He's also quite the NBA executive, he's helped the Lakers win a total of six NBA Championships as a talent scout and general manager and he even set up the current Golden State Warriors dynasty up for success.
While we would have loved to give the Wisconsin NBA crown to Nick Van Exel, there's no denying that Latrell Sprewell shouldn't rep his home state to the fullest on this list. We understand that Sprewell's conflict with then Golden State Warriors head coach, P. J. Carlesimo, and might have stolen his thunder, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't one of the baddest two-guards in the game throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
After two years of playing college ball for the University of Alabama (1990-92), the 6'5 shooting guard was selected 24th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors where he would spend six seasons before taking his talents to the New York Knicks. This is where he led the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999. He also led the Timberwolves to Western Conference Finals during his tenure with the team. Throughout his thirteen-year NBA career, Sprewell was a 4x NBA All-Star and one-time All-NBA First Team honoree in 1994. While controversy surrounded him, he still is one of the NBA's greatest.
If you know who Vern Gardner or Floyd Volker is, congratulations, but they aren't notable enough to grant the Wyoming NBA home state throne, which is why we're giving it to current NBA alumni James Johnson. Though born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Johnson took his talents to Wake Forest University to play his collegiate ball where he had an instant impact.
After two years of playing for the Demon Deacons, Johnson declared himself for the 2009 NBA Draft where was picked 16th overall by the Chicago Bulls. Throughout his career, he's bounced back and forth from the NBA G-League to the several NBA teams including the Toronto Raptors (two stints), Sacramento Kings, and Memphis Grizzlies before finally finding a home in Miami with the Heat in 2016. Since the, he's been the team's backbone holding a black belt in karate and undefeated records in MMA (7-0) and kickboxing (20-0). Yeah... It wouldn't be wise to mess with James Johnson.