Philly's Phinest: The Best Ballers From the City Of Brotherly Love
With New York City the so called "east coast basketball capital" and California dubbed a "basketball mecca," Philadelphia never gets its just deserts.
This compilation of the best players born and raised in "The City Of Brotherly Love" proves that Philly is the true home of basketball.
Here's our starting five, a special group of players that cannot be matched anywhere in the U.S.
From the "Big Dipper" to the "Black Mamba," the greatest players start here.
1. (G) Earl Monroe
This John Bartram grad is known as one of the most creative and dynamic guards in basketball history.
Monroe was taken second overall by the Baltimore Bullets in the 1967 NBA draft and quickly became one of the best players in the league.
He was the 1968 Rookie of the Year and averaged more than 24 ppg in his first season.
At only 6'3" and just above 185 lbs, Monroe was one of the first combo guards that flourished with the development of the modern jump shot.
Monroe's teammates nicknamed him "Black Magic" because of his incredible ball control abilities.
And at a young age, he was nicknamed "Black Jesus" by Philadelphia street ballers, a tribute to Monroe's knack of confusing defenders.
Monroe played 13 NBA seasons and was a four-time All-Star. With Walt Frazier, they created the "Rolls Royce Backcout" and led the New York Knicks to the 1973 NBA title.
Monroe was a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary Team in 1996 and continues to be an ambassador for the game.
2. (G) Kobe Bryant
Beyond the fact that Kobe has won four NBA titles and could be on his way to number five, the "Black Mamba", a 12-time All-Star, is one of the most dynamic players in basketball history.
It says a lot about the player's character and ability when Jerry West mentions that Bryant may be the best Laker ever.
Kobe came into the league in 1996 out of Lower Merion High School. Since then, he has created one of the game's greatest legacies.
Kobe is a two-time scoring champion (2006 & 2007). He was named league MVP in 2008 and earned Finals MVP honors last season.
It's astounding, but Bryant seems to get better every year, which only makes him more historically significant.
Kobe has deep Philly roots, despite his ongoing animosity with the city's fans.
His father, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant, was a Sixer from 1975-78. Following his professional career, the elder Bryant became a high school coach and collegiate assistant in the city.
Kobe may not be the most loved Philly alumnus, but we have to admit he is one of the most dynamic—and he may go down as the league's all-time greatest player.
3. (F) Paul Arizin
Paul Arizin is one of the greatest homegrown talents in this city's history and made his entire career within city limits.
Arizin, a Villanova alumni, was a Philadelphia Warriors territorial pick in 1950.
Arizin played all 12 of his professional seasons with the Warriors and ended his career with 16,266 points, an outstanding number considering he never played in the three-point era.
He was the 1951-52 and 1956-57 NBA scoring champion.
Arizin's career stands out even more because of his military service.
He selflessly gave up two seasons while in his prime (1952-1954) to serve in the Korean War as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Arizin is acclaimed for his jump-shot and is remembered for one of the sweetest shots in NBA history.
He was a 10-time All-Star and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1978. Arizin was also named to the first Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame class in 2004.
4. (G/F) Richard Hamilton
Hamilton isn't technically from Philadelphia (Coatesville). But if we are going to consider Kobe, then I think Rip deserves his place on this list.
Hamilton is a three-time All-Star and was the leader of the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons.
He is the Pistons' all-time leading playoff scorer and has been the hands-down leader for the franchise since joining Detroit in 2002.
Rip also has the distinction of winning both an NBA and a NCAA title.
Hamilton was the team leader on the 1999 UConn Huskies and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game.
5. (C) Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain is, by many opinions, the greatest basketball player of all time—and he learned the game in Philadelphia.
Coming out of Overbrook High School, Wilt quickly became one of the most dominant forces in the league after the Philadelphia Warriors selected him in the 1959 NBA Draft.
Wilt's accolades list is almost as big as "The Bigger Dipper" himself.
At 7'1", Chamberlain used his powerful frame to claim rookie of the year, MVP, and scoring champion accolades in 1960.
Just two years later, Wilt accomplished a feat which may never be duplicated by any player in history. He scored 100 point on March 2, 1962, in a 169-147 effort against the New York Knicks.
Wilt won two NBA championships, first with the Sixers in 1967 and again in 1972 with the L.A. Lakers.
Chamberlain was a four-time league MVP and won the rebounding title an astounding 11 times.
Wilt was also one of the last player-coach combos. He coached the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA in 1973.
Three different franchises (Philadelphia, LA Lakers & Harlem Globetrotters) retired Wilt's number 13.
And he is a legend off the court, with his claim that he slept with over 10,000 women.
He finished his career with an astounding 31,419 points and averaged 30.1 ppg as well as an unthinkable 22.9 rebounds a game.
Wilt was a member of the league's 35th anniversary team and ranks as one of the top 50 players of all time. He was enshrined in the pro basketball Hall of Fame in 1968.
I think the following quote by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says enough: "Wilt was one of the greatest ever, and we will never see another one like him."
Head Coach: Dr. Jack Ramsey
Although this Upper Darby native has the distinction of trading Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers and was the main reason for the worst team in NBA history (1973 Sixers), Ramsey won a title with Portland in 1977.
He is the seventh winningest coach in league history, but more than anything, Ramsey should make this list for his incredible fashion sense.
Dr. Jack epitomized the plaid bell bottoms of the 70's.
Ramsey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 and when the NBA created their 10 best coaches list in 1996, Dr. Jack was ranked eighth.
Honorable Mention: Rasheed Wallace
Wallace is one player from a line of productive NBA performers that hail from Simon Gratz (Mardy Collins, Aaron McKie). "Sheed" is a four-time All-Star and won a title with Detroit in 2004.
Wallace is currently a member of the Boston Celtics and could become a two-time NBA champion this month.
Honorable Mention: Tyreke Evans
It's too soon to say what type of long-term impact Evans will have on the NBA, but he did win the 2010 Rookie of the Year award.
Evans averaged 20.1 ppg in his first season.
Evans is also just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in his rookie year. This short list also includes Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James.
Evans is a graduate of Chester High School.
Honorable Mention: Jameer Nelson
Nelson is a Chester High alumnus and was a member of the 2009 Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.
He was an All-American at Philadelphia's St. Joseph's University and won the Wooden, Naismith, and Oscar Robertson Awards in 2004.
Nelson has averaged 12.4 ppg and 4.6 apg for his career.