The State of New York is one of the most representative places on earth, with New York City being pretty much considered the capital of the world, a place where people from all over the globe collide night in and night out trying to make it in the US.
As Frank Sinatra once said, it truly is the city that never sleeps, from Brooklyn to Atlantic City, everything about New York is just so fast, so aggressive and so full of entertainment, just like the beautiful game of basketball.
The State of New York has been closely tied with basketball since day one, with the Buffalo Braves, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets and of course; the New York Knicks making fans flood their stadiums to watch the best players in the world take the hardwood.
And, being a basketball city as it is, obviously there has been thousands of young ballers that grew up on those streets to go on and become huge NBA superstars, and today we’re going to let you know about the top 10 NBA and ABA players born there.
10. Lenny Wilkens
Born in Brooklyn in 1937, Leonard “Lenny” Wilkens was one of the best scoring point guards in the Association during his prime, even being the second all-time leader in assists behind Oscar Robertson at the time of his retirement.
He played for the Hawks, Cavs, Sonics and Blazers. On a side-note, he was a player-coach during his Sonics and Blazers stint, and he took Seattle to their lone title in franchise history after his retirement. Through his career, he averaged 16.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, and he made it to 9 All-Stars.
9. Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin was a 5-time All-Star and one of the key members of the original Team USA Dream Team, although he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves because he played at the same time as Michael Jordan.
The Hall of Famer was a deadly wing scorer either at the 2 or the 3 spots, and he’s considered to be one of the greatest players in Golden State Warriors history. Over 16 seasons, the Hall of Famer averaged 18.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 dimes per game on 50% from the floor and over 38% from deep.
8. Dolph Schayes
Dolph Schayes was one of the most durable players in the history of the game, retiring with 1059 appearances, more than any single player at that time, and he was even drafted by two different teams when he first got out of the NCAA, the New York Knicks and the Tri City Hawks, who eventually dealt his rights to the Syracuse Nationals (Philadelphia 76ers).
Schayes spent his entire 15-year professional tenure with the same franchise and he even led them to the Championship in 1955 against George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers. Through his career, the Hall of Famer posted averages of 18.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists
7. Bob Lanier
Coming out of St Bonaventure’s University, Bob Lanier looked like one of the most NBA ready prospects at the time, earning the right to be the 1st overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in 1970, where he’d stay for 10 seasons before heading to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Center was strong, dominant and physique, and his career averages of 21 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists,1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks proved his true impact in both ends of the hardwood, granting him a spot in the Hall of Fame, as well as making 8 All-Star appearances.
6. Clifford Robinson
Clifford Robinson was a synonym for durability and a reliable source of points off the bench through 18 NBA seasons, playing for the Blazers, Suns, Pistons, Warriors and Nets at both forward spots and even at center.
Robinson won the 1992-93 Sixth Man of the Year and posted career averages of 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists 1 steal and 1 block per game on 43% from the floor and 35% from deep, being a complete overall player and a stat sheet stuffer throughout his career.
5. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is a deadly scorer and one of the best offensive players in NBA history despite what his detractors would like you to think, posting career averages of 24.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists on 45% from the floor and 36% from three-point territory for the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now, the future Hall of Famer is still trying to win his first NBA Championship after going the distance with Team USA as their all-time leading scorer, so let’s hope he continues to develop that great chemistry with Paul George and Russell Westbrook to make a nice playoff push.
4. Bernard King
Bernard King was the King of New York City during his prime and one of the most influential players in Knicks history, although he also played for the Nets, Jazz, Warriors and Bullets (Wizards) over his 14 season NBA career.
The Small forward was a deadly scorer from all over the hardwood, winning 1 scoring title and making it to 4 All-Stars. Throughout his career, the Hall of Famer left averages of 22.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 dimes per contest on over 50% from the floor, although he was never the same after suffering a knee injury following his scoring champion campaign.
3. Julius Erving
Julius Erving influenced a lot of young ballers back in the day, Michael Jordan included; as his freakish athleticism and ability to put the ball in the floor and then just take off from the ground were something quite stunning at the time, and his skill set seemed limitless throughout his entire career with the Virginia Squires, Nets and Sixers.
DR J won a couple of ABA Championships and 1 NBA Championship, made it to 16 All-Stars, won 4 MVP and obviously was a Hall of Fame inductee, posting career averages of 24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.2 dimes per game on 50.6% from the floor.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a top 5 and arguably top 3 basketball player in the history of this sport, one of the most skilled big men this game has ever seen, and the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer with 38387 career points in almost 56% from the floor through 20 seasons (6 with Milwaukee and 14 with the Los Angeles Lakers).
The main responsibility for the Showtime dynasty won 6 NBA Championships, 2 Scoring titles, 6 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, the ROY, made it to 19 All-Stars in 20 seasons and also to 11 All-Defensive teams, averaging 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 dimes and 2.6 blocks per game.
1. Michael Jordan
And the State of New York has the honor of having the greatest basketball player in history: Michael Jeffrey Jordan. MJ is the undisputed GOAT and his personal accolades can definitely lock down this debate, as he won 10 Scoring titles, 6 Championships, 6 Finals MVPs, 1 Defensive Player of the Year, 1 ROY, 5 MVPs and made it to 14 All-Stars with 3 All-Star MVPs and 9 All-Defensive squads.
There simply won’t be another Michael Jordan, regardless of whatever the media may say about LeBron James or any overhyped prospect we find nowadays. Playing for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, His Airness left career averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game as the ultimate two-way player, also shooting 49.7% from the floor.