With the NBA playoffs fast approaching and the NCAA tournament well into Final Four-mania, it is a great time to think about those players both gifted and lucky enough to have played on both an NBA and an NCAA champion.
The NBA has been crowning champions since 1947 and the NCAA has been doing it even longer—since 1939. Certainly, there must have been lots of players who have become Double Champions, if you will.
In researching this piece, the list of Double Champions is not a vast one but it does include some of the greatest players (including Mr. Jordan, who is pictured) to ever grace the hardwood.
What follows is a ranking of the top 10 who have achieved this tremendous feat.
But this show does not end there.
I also wanted to recognize five other Double Champions who did not quite make my (subjective, but based on stats, and my "eye test" if they played during my fandom) Top 10. They would form a pretty impressive starting five in their own right.
The next step was to recognize some all-time greats who either won an NBA title and were runner-ups in the NCAA, or vice versa. Believe me, there are some amazing names on this list as well. Let's call them the Just Missed Team.
The requirements were so stringent that double runner-ups (such as Elgin Baylor, who was a perennial runner-up with the Lakers and an NCAA runner-up with Seattle University) didn't even qualify.
At the end of the show, I have added a mythical best-of-seven NBA-style series between the Double Champions and the Just Missed Team.
So, please enjoy this journey through NBA and NCAA finals history and pay homage to some of the all-time greatest basketball stars at both levels.