Florida, the state of great beaches, pretty women and hard-nosed sports fans, has seen some great ballers grow in those streets on their way to the biggest basketball stages of them all: the National Basketball Association.
Everybody loves sports in Florida, and you just need to take a quick walk anywhere to see dozens of people proudly wearing Miami University, FSU or Miami Heat jerseys everywhere they go.
Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 players that were born and raised in Florida and made it to the NBA, having quite successful stints in the majors and leaving the state’s name way up high in basketball history.
10. Vin Baker
Vin Baker had a pretty decent 12 season NBA career, playing for the Bucks, Sonics, Celtics, Knicks, Rockets and Clippers, although constant injuries stalled him from becoming a much more impactful player.
Through that span, the power forward-center posted career averages of 15 points, almost 8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1 block per game, making it to 4 All-Stars and to the All-Rookie squad as well.
9. Eddie Johnson
Through his entire career, Eddie Johnson was one of the most dominant backcourt defenders the league had ever seen, spending his best years with the Atlanta Hawks before having a one year tenure with the Cavs and Sonics.
Johnson was a lockdown defender at the 2 spot and was also a very capable wing stopper as well, making a couple of All-Defensive squads as well as 2 All-Stars, and leaving career averages of 15.1 points, 5.1 dimes and 1.1 steals per game.
8. Truck Robinson
Leonard Eugene Robinson, AKA Truck Robinson was one of the most durable power forward in the league ever since the mid-70s, having a 10-year career in which he rarely lost a game and averaged almost 33 minutes per game.
Playing for the Bullets (Wizards), Hawks, Jazz, Suns and Knicks, the big man posted career averages of 15.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 dimes per game. On a side note, he retired with a 100% FG from three-point land, although he just took one three-pointer throughout his career. He also made it to 2 All-Stars.
7. Otis Birdsong
Otis Birdsong spent 12 seasons in the Association from 1978 to 1989, playing for the Kansas City Kings, New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics, and he was one of the most dominant scorers at the shooting guard spot during the early stages of his career.
“Bird” made it to the 1980-81 All-NBA team and to 4 All-Star games, retiring after a failed stint at Boston. Through his career, he posted career averages of 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 50.6% from the floor.
6. Amar’e Stoudemire
People tend to forget how much of a beast Amar’e Stoudemire was during his Phoenix Suns tenure besides Steve Nash, and if it weren’t for injuries, perhaps he would’ve been one of the most dominant players of the last couple of decades.
Also playing for the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks, S.T.A.T posted career averages of over 18 points, almost 8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game on 53% from the floor, winning the Rookie of the Year and making it to 6 All-Stars and 5 All-NBA teams.
5. Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore was one of the most skilled players in the league since day one, winning the 1971-72 Rookie of the Year Award after averaging almost 24 points and 18 rebounds per game for the Kentucky Colonels, also playing for the Bulls, Spurs and Celtics over a 16-year span.
The A-Train made it to the Hall of Fame and was one of the few players in basketball history to win the MVP award and the ROY in the same season, as well as winning 1 ABA Title and making it to 11 All-Stars and 5 All-Defensive teams, posting career averages of 18.8 points and 12.3 rebounds with 2.4 blocks per game.
4. Mitch Richmond
Mitch Richmond was a pure scorer out of the gate that you just couldn’t contain, and he played for the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards before finally retiring as an NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The shooting guard was a scoring machine through his entire 13-year career, posting career averages of 21 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 dimes and 1.2 steals per game on 45% from the floor and 38.8% from three. Also, he won the Rookie of the Year, made it to 6 All-Stars and also got inducted into the Hall of Fame.
3. Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was simply one of the most impressive players in the history of the league and ever since he made his debut, he became a huge influence for ballers all over the world with his fierce attitude, his handles, crossover and athleticism, being considered one of the hardest players to guard in basketball history.
McGrady became his own signature out of the gate and everybody wanted to be just like him, playing for the Raptors, Magic, Rockets, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks and Spurs, he won 2 scoring titles, the Most Improved Player award. Also, he made it to 7 All-Stars and the Hall of Fame, posting career averages of 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 dimes per game. Sadly, he was never able to top that with a ring.
2. David Robinson
The Admiral is one of the best players in the history of basketball and one of the main reasons why the San Antonio Spurs became such a huge dynasty, as he spent all his 13 seasons career there en route to 2 NBA Championships, 1 ROY, 1 DPOY, 1 scoring title, 1 MVP, 10 All-Stars, 10 All-NBA, 8 All-Defensive teams and the Hall of Fame.
David Robinson was just unstoppable in both ends of the floor and he’s even the all-time leading scorer born in Florida, posting career averages of 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game to go along with 1.4 steals and 3 blocks per contest as well.
1. Vince Carter
And the best and most influential player born in Florida has to be Vince Carter, a 20-year veteran that’s still capable of helping his teams off the bench with his great basketball IQ, leadership and an athleticism that never ceases to amaze despite him being 41 years old.
Carter was one of the most impressive players in the league in the early stages of his career and he’s even considered to be the best dunker in the history of the game. Playing for the Raptors, Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavs, Grizzlies and Kings, he’s won the ROY and made it to 8 All-Stars, and even if he retires without a Championship, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer for sure thanks to his durability. Through his career, he’s averaged 18 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1 steal per game.