Virginia has long been a breeding ground for exceptional basketball talent, with numerous NBA players hailing from the state. As a fan of the sport, you’ve likely watched some of these amazing athletes compete on the national stage. And, if you’re from Virginia, there’s undoubtedly a sense of pride and admiration towards your state’s sports legacy.
Throughout the years, many talented NBA players from Virginia have made their mark on the league. From Hall of Famers to rising stars, these athletes have consistently shown the world why Virginia is such a hub for basketball talent. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most celebrated and successful NBA players who call Virginia their home.
Overview of NBA Players from Virginia
Over the years, a number of great NBA players from Virginia have made a significant impact on the league. Let’s take a closer look at some key individuals and the legacy of Virginia-born athletes in the NBA.
For starters, RealGM lists 9 players originating from the University of Virginia currently or previously playing in the NBA. This shows just how much talent has emerged from this prestigious institution.
According to Ranker, there are over 50 NBA professionals hailing from the state of Virginia. Notable mentions among these athletes include Hall of Famers, important draft picks, and fan favorites. These rankings not only provide a snapshot of the best Virginia-born talents but also showcases their impact on NBA history.
In recent times, Virginia basketball has continued to produce prominent NBA players. As reported by dailyprogress.com, several former Virginia basketball players had a fruitful NBA season, gaining visibility and making a name for themselves. One of the names mentioned is Trey Murphy III who was drafted 17th overall in 2021. His impressive preseason performance is just one example of the ongoing Virginia-born success in the NBA.
It’s also worth mentioning that the 2019 NCAA Championship winning Virginia Cavaliers team boasted six members who went on to play in the NBA. This level of success indicates the potential for a bright future for the next generation of Virginia-born basketball stars.
Virginia’s NBA Legends
You must have come across some great NBA players from Virginia throughout the years. Here, we will discuss them, namely Ralph Sampson, Olden Polynice, and Bryant Stith, who have made their mark in the league.
Ralph Sampson is one of the most famous basketball players from Virginia. A three-time Naismith College Player of the Year, he was drafted first overall by the Houston Rockets in the 1983 NBA Draft. Sampson, a 7-foot-4 center, was known for his incredible agility and coordination. During his NBA career, he was a four-time All-Star and the Rookie of the Year in 1984. In 2012, Sampson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as a Virginia NBA legend source.
Olden Polynice, another impressive NBA player from Virginia, had a solid pro career spanning 15 seasons. Polynice, a 6-foot-11 center, was selected 8th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 1987 NBA Draft, although he was later traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. Known for his relentless rebounding and defensive abilities, Polynice played for various teams, such as the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, and Utah Jazz source.
Lastly, let’s talk about Bryant Stith, a well-regarded shooting guard from Virginia. Stith was drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1992 NBA Draft, and he was an integral member of the team for eight seasons. He was known for his sharp-shooting ability and steady presence on the court. Stith also had stints with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring in 2002 source.
Contemporary NBA Stars from Virginia
Now we’ll discuss some of the notable contemporary NBA players from Virginia who have made a mark in the league. Let’s dive into the world of these talented athletes.
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia’s own, has been a steady presence in the NBA. Drafted in 2016, Brogdon earned the NBA Rookie of the Year award that same year. A versatile guard for the Indiana Pacers, Brogdon possesses a strong basketball IQ, which contributes greatly to his team’s success.
Joe Harris, another outstanding athlete from Virginia, is known for his sharpshooting skills. Playing for the Brooklyn Nets, Harris has consistently ranked among the league’s elite three-point shooters and even won the NBA Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in 2019.
The talented De’Andre Hunter has quickly made a name for himself in the NBA. Drafted as the 4th overall pick in 2019, Hunter plays as a forward for the Atlanta Hawks. With his strong defensive skills and versatile scoring ability, he’s become an integral part of the Hawks’ roster.
Ty Jerome, another Virginia alum, has carved out a role as a solid role player and backup point guard in the NBA. Known for his playmaking abilities and shooting prowess, Jerome is a valuable asset for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Likewise, Braxton Key has had a brief stint in the NBA and continues to develop his game in hopes of being a regular contributor to a team.
Last but not least, Sam Hauser recently joined the ranks of NBA players from Virginia. As a forward, Hauser is known for his shooting touch and floor-spacing ability. Currently playing for the Boston Celtics, he is poised to be a valuable contributor as he gains more experience.
Promising Up and Comers
As a fan of NBA players from Virginia, you might be thrilled to know that there are several promising up-and-comers who have the potential to make a significant impact in the league. Some of these young talents include Trey Murphy, Courtney Alexander, Lance Blanks, Derrick Byars, Gary Forbes, and Marial Shayok. Let’s dive into learning more about these players and their unique skills.
Trey Murphy, a skilled sharpshooter, is making a name for himself in the NBA. His impressive three-point shooting and defensive skills make him a valuable asset to any team. Drafted in 2021, Murphy is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his smooth shooting and high basketball IQ.
Courtney Alexander is known for his strong scoring ability and athleticism. As a versatile guard, Alexander displays a natural talent for creating scoring opportunities and contributing on both ends of the floor. His potential for growth in the competitive NBA environment is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Lance Blanks brings a competitive edge and strong work ethic to the game. His determination and perseverance are what make him stand out among other young NBA players from Virginia. As a guard with a solid finesse in his playing style, Blanks is expected to make great strides in the coming years.
Derrick Byars is another promising talent with a versatile skill set. As a forward, Byars exhibits a strong ability to score, rebound, and make key plays, thanks to his impressive court vision. With dedication and the right guidance, Byars could certainly become an essential piece for any NBA team.
Gary Forbes showcases an impressive scoring talent and a knack for creating opportunities for his teammates. As a forward, Forbes’ ability to stretch the floor and contribute on defense adds to his overall value. With time and development, he could truly make his mark in the league.
Lastly, Marial Shayok is an offensive powerhouse who can score from all three levels. His ability to create shots for himself and his teammates makes him an exciting prospect to watch. With continued growth and refinement of his skills, Shayok could become a dominant force in the NBA.
Other Notable NBA Players from Virginia
This state has produced a considerable number of skilled athletes who have made their mark in the world of professional basketball. In this section, we will discuss a few notable names without delving too much into their career details.
Cory Alexander and Justin Anderson are two noteworthy players hailing from Virginia. Alexander, a former point guard, enjoyed a respectable NBA career playing for teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets. On the other hand, Anderson, a small forward, has had stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, among others.
Junior Burrough, Rick Carlisle, and John Crotty are also worth mentioning. Burrough, a power forward, played briefly in the NBA in the 90s, while Carlisle transitioned from being a player to becoming a successful NBA coach. Crotty, a former point guard, played for several teams throughout his career, most notably the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat.
Mamadi Diakite and Kenton Edelin, both power forwards, have contributed significantly to their respective teams. Diakite spent time with the Milwaukee Bucks, while Edelin had a brief career in the 80s. Gus Gerard, Kyle Guy, and Devon Hall are other standout talents with varying degrees of success in the NBA.
Marc Iavaroni, a well-traveled power forward, enjoyed a fruitful career in the NBA before transitioning to coaching. Jeff Lamp, a shooting guard, played for two NBA teams in the 80s, while Roger Mason had a more extended career as a shooting guard. London Perrantes and Jamal Robinson added value to their teams as point guards, showcasing their skills on the court.
Lastly, we have a few more players worth mentioning: Mike Scott, Sean Singletary, Mike Tobey, Wally Walker, and Othell Wilson. These players, able to perform in different positions, highlighted how Virginia has produced versatile and talented athletes.
In addition to these NBA stars, Virginia also boasts players who participated in the now-defunct ABA, further demonstrating the depth of basketball talent in the state.
My Personal Opinion
As a basketball enthusiast, I’ve always been fascinated by the incredible talent that has emerged from Virginia. From their unmatched skills to their unwavering dedication, the NBA players from Virginia have left an indelible mark on the sport. Their journey from local courts to the grand stages of the NBA is a testament to their hard work and determination. It’s inspiring to see how these players have not only excelled in the game but have also become role models for aspiring athletes across the state. Virginia’s basketball legacy is rich, and these players have contributed significantly to its greatness.
What NBA basketball team is from Virginia?
What state is NBA most popular?
There are more California-born players in the NBA than any other state by a wide margin. 52 players currently on NBA rosters were born there.
Which states don’t have a NBA team?
Those being: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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