Ranking All 50 States Based on NBA Talent Produced
The 50 states have produced a ton of talent in the NBA, but which state has the most talent in the league?
Some have argued that New York is king, while those on the west coast have clamored that California is a step ahead of their east coast counterparts.
But could there be another state that outdoes them both?
Just how talented are the NBA ballers emerging from your state?
50. North Dakota
Notable Names: Mark Landsberger
There have only been four players from North Dakota, and Landsberger had the longest tenure of any of them in the league.
With career numbers of 5.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists, it’s easy to see that the choices weren’t exactly glamorous.
49. New Hampshire
Notable Names: Matt Bonner
Bonner’s three-point stroke is almost as tight as his off-court swag as a Vice President of the NBPA.
Notable Names: Jeff Turner
Turner played 10 seasons in the league, and that’s an impressive enough effort for him to represent Maine.
Notable Names: Joey and Stephen Graham
Some might want to bag on the Graham brothers, but it takes serious skill to make it to the professional ranks.
Notable Names: Luke Ridnour
The definition of a reliable veteran, Ridnour has played in any role asked of him and has taken it in stride no matter what has happened.
Notable Names: James Johnson
Johnson is finally getting a chance to show his stuff in Toronto, and it’s about time.
He’s got a ton of skill and athleticism, and he was truly stuck on Chicago’s bench since being selected.
Notable Names: Mario Chalmers, Carlos Boozer
Boozer and Chalmers might draw the ire of some, but there's no doubting either player's place in the league.
There’s no doubt that each makes Alaska proud.
Notable Names: Ricky Davis
Not everyone was a fan, but there was no denying Davis’ inclination for finding the bottom of the bucket.
Notable Names: Cedric Ceballos
Most wouldn’t imagine Ceballos being from Hawaii, but he was born on the island of Maui.
He had serious skill during the prime of his career, and he remains one of my personal favorites of all time.
41. South Dakota
Notable Names: Mike Miller
Miller didn’t look like much for Miami in his inaugural season with the team, but he’s been a proven contributor for a variety of clubs.
40. New Mexico
Notable Names: Bill Bridges
Bridges was a double-double machine in the mid 1960s, and that’s an impressive feat.
However, it’s about time that New Mexico got a new player to claim as their own in the NBA’s talent pool.
Notable Names: Phil Jackson
Only the Zen Master could represent the great state of Montana.
The Hall of Fame coach remains the owner of the most dangerous elbows in league history.
38. Rhode Island
Notable Names: Marvin Barnes
Lamar Odom and Cuttino Mobley both went to the University of Rhode Island, but they were born elsewhere.
That leaves Marvin Barnes as the sole notable name to represent the tiny state.
Notable Names: Fred Hoiberg, Bob Boozer
Believe it or not, Nebraska just isn’t about producing talent on the gridiron.
Hoiberg was a solid piece on the perimeter before being forced into retirement.
Notable Names: Chauncey Billups, Charles Williams
When Billups was playing for the Nuggets, it must’ve been nice to be able to play in one’s home state.
Someone has to put in an effort to put Colorado on the map.
Notable Names: Kirk Hinrich, Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison
LaFrentz was a valuable commodity in the NBA for all of the wrong reasons when his behemoth contract was expiring, but he did harbor talent.
However, it’s pretty clear that the pride of Iowa has to be Kirk Hinrich.
Notable Names: Sean Elliott, Paul Silas, Jerryd Bayless
Elliott was a critical piece of a San Antonio Spurs team that had immense success.
Bayless is an intriguing point guard who has the potential to really contribute for a team that commits to him, but he hasn't received a serious opportunity to thrive just yet.
Notable Names: Byron Scott, Tom Chambers
Scott had a nice career with the Lakers, and he’s turned his league success into a career in coaching.
Utah has gotten a lot of praise for its BYU ballers, but the state needs some more home-grown talent.
Notable Names: Lionel Hollins, Warren Jabali, Larry Drew, Mo Evans
Like Utah, the collegiate success in Kansas has trumped those players who were born in the state.
It’s a bit surprising, considering the emphasis on basketball.
Notable Names: Kevin McHale, Kris Humphries, Devean George
Humphries has become a hot name over the last year, but he’s got a long gap to bridge before he can be mentioned in the same breath as McHale.
Let’s hope that the state produces some more notable NBA talent in the future.
Notable Names: Bill Laimbeer, Dana Barros, Vinny Del Negro
Laimbeer was one tough player, and he made sure that everybody on the court knew it.
The beantown ballers have plenty of time to make an impression on this list, but right now, the crew has got some work to do.
Notable Names: Calvin Murphy, Sly Williams, Ryan Gomes, Marcus Camby
Despite the lack of notable names, Connecticut has obviously contributed to the game.
Camby’s career has been marred by constant injury of late, but he’s one big man who has largely escaped public attention despite his defensive prominence.
Notable Names: David Lee, Jo Jo White, Tyler Hansbrough, Larry Hughes, Kareem Rush, Brandon Rush, Anthony Tolliver
This may not exactly be a standout group of talent, but they’ve all achieved some success in the league.
Jo Jo White is one player who really set the tone for this group.
Notable Names: A.C. Green, Terrell Brandon, Danny Ainge, Ronnie Brewer, Damon Stoudamire
The league’s iron man in A.C. Green is one that should never be forgotten.
Additionally, it’s a shame that more aren’t fully aware of the unbelievable legend of Mighty Mouse Stoudamire.
Notable Names: Latrell Sprewell, Caron Butler, Devin Harris, Carl Landry, Terry Porter, Nick Van Exel
Van Exel had one of the most memorable free-throw strokes ever, as he basically shot it from just a couple steps inside the three-point arc.
Although Sprewell left the league on some uncomfortable terms, there’s no doubting his contributions during his prime.
25. West Virginia
Notable Names: Jerry West, Deron Williams, OJ Mayo, Rod Thorn, Jason Williams
If a state is going to be defined by its “big two,” West and Williams are certainly pretty good candidates to fill that role.
There’s plenty of room for growth here.
Notable Names: Penny Hardaway, Oscar Robertson, Vincent Askew, Corey Brewer, Tony Delk, Ron Mercer, Louis Williams
The greatest "what if" in a long time, Hardaway’s career would’ve been unbelievably prolific had it not been derailed by injury.
Fortunately, the same can’t be said for Oscar Robertson, who was a walking triple-double.
Notable Names: Blake Griffin, Mark Price, Ron Boone, John Starks, Wayman Tisdale, Jake Voskuhl
The Oklahoma talent pool will go as far as Blake Griffin’s broad shoulders will carry them.
Having said that, Starks’ dunk over Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen definitely belongs in the state’s Hall of Fame.
Notable Names: Charles Barkley, Derrick Coleman, DeMarcus Cousins, Robert Horry, Jeff Malone, Chuck Person, Ben Wallace, Gerald Wallace
Barkley and Coleman should have some fans feeling nostalgic about the days of the old school power forward.
When this group also includes Big Shot Rob, there’s no doubting the talent that has come from Alabama.
Notable Names: Dave Cowens, Allan Houston, Derek Anderson, Rex Chapman, Rajon Rondo, Wes Unseld
Chapman was a beast on the perimeter, and the play of Cowens and Unseld speaks for itself.
However, it’s very possible that the most notable name to emerge from this crop is Rajon Rondo when it’s all said and done.
Notable Names: Fat Lever, Sidney Moncrief, James Anderson, Joe Barry Carroll, Joe Johnson, Fred Jones, Scottie Pippen, Bryant Reeves, Sonny Weems, Corliss Williamson
While some might not appreciate Big Country Reeves like I do, he’s not the reason that Arkansas comes in at No. 20.
Instead, let’s take a look at fantastic ballers like Lever, Moncrief and Pippen.
19. District of Columbia
Notable Names: Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley, Dave Bing, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson, Delonte West, Kermit Washington, Sam Young
The District of Columbia has some great historical names on the list, but it’s going to be an uphill battle going forward.
They’re going to need a serious influx of talent in an effort to elevate in the rankings.
Notable Names: LeBron James, John Havlicek, Steph Curry, Daequan Cook, Brian Grant, Ron Harper, Tyrone Hill, Jim Jackson, Kerry Kittles, Kevin Martin, Charles Oakley, Eric Piatkowski, John Paxson, Michael Redd, Alvin Robertson, Nate Thurmond, Eric Snow, Herb Williams
Some would like to argue that Ohio deserves to be higher up on this list due to LeBron alone, but I’m not one of them.
The state has a promising future with guys like James and Stephen Curry leading the way, but they’ve got a lot to live up to if they want to follow in the footsteps of John Havlicek and Alvin Robertson.
Notable Names: Allen Iverson, Moses Malone, Bimbo Coles, Dell Curry, Bob Dandridge, Jerome Kersey, Alonzo Mourning, Ralph Sampson, Joe Smith, Reggie Williams, Monty Williams
Alonzo Mourning and Moses Malone makes Virginia seem like a haven for big men down low.
However, it’s pretty clear that there’s some serious talent on the perimeter with names like Allen Iverson and Dell Curry as well.
Notable Names: Monta Ellis, Spencer Haywood, Al Jefferson, Lindsey Hunter, Danny Manning, Antonio McDyess, Travis Outlaw, Purvis Short, Clarence Weatherspoon, Mo Williams
There’s a serious competition brewing between southern states vying for position on this list.
In Mississippi, Ellis and Jefferson really represent the state proudly in the NBA today.
Notable Names: Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Aaron Brooks, Doug Christie, Spencer Hawes, Nate Robinson, John Stockton, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Terry, Marvin Williams
When some argue that Washington still deserves a top spot, I find it difficult to make a legitimate case.
There have been some solid contributions over recent seasons to the league, but not nearly as much as the states that came prior.
14. South Carolina
Notable Names: Alex English, Kevin Garnett, Raymond Felton, Xavier McDaniel, Jermaine O’Neal, Clifford Ray, Ramon Sessions
McDaniel was a tough guy in the NBA, but it’s probably fair to say that Garnett is the most intense of any of these guys mentioned here.
English was a player who was constantly under appreciated when he played, and it’s about time that he got some respect for his sweet mid-range game.
Notable Names: Dwight Howard, Walt Frazier, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Dale Ellis, World B. Free, Horace Grant, Derek Harper, Norm Nixon, Josh Smith
Georgia is a great place for basketball talent, and the three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Dwight Howard has shown that pretty rapidly.
A front-court pairing of Smith and Howard would not only make the state proud, but it would be downright nasty to watch.
Notable Names: Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp, Mike Conley, Eric Gordon, George Hill, George McGinnis, Zach Randolph, Glenn Robinson, Scott Skiles
There’s a lot to like about the Indiana crew, but they’ve got to have more names on the list before the state can move up in the rankings.
Bird and Kemp elevates the talent pool considerably, and Eric Gordon should really be able to make a sizable impression very, very soon as he’s on the verge of a full-fledged breakout.
Notable Names: Dave DeBusschere, George Gervin, Shane Battier, Wilson Chandler, Jordan Crawford, Magic Johnson, Chris Kaman, Voshon Lenard, Dan Majerle, Kenyon Martin, JaVale McGee, Glen Rice, Jason Richardson, Jalen Rose, Steve Smith, Rudy Tomjanovich, Chris Webber
When a state has hidden gems like Voshon Lenard, Dan Majerle and Jalen Rose, it’s pretty important to seed it in the top 15.
DeBusschere was a stout defender before the term was readily applied, and George Gervin continues to be under appreciated to this day.
10. North Carolina
Notable Names: Chris Paul, Walt Bellamy, Sleepy Floyd, Happy Hairston, Josh Howard, Sam Jones, Bob McAdoo, Rodney Rogers, Anthony Morrow, Jerry Stackhouse, David Thompson, John Wall, Buck Williams, James Worthy
First Chris Paul, then John Wall, so who’s going to be the next impressive point guard to come from North Carolina?
It’s fairly notable that the group includes guys who flew under the radar like Walt Bellamy, Sleepy Floyd and Happy Hairston, as it doesn’t take a superstar to have your game be appreciated in the league.
Notable Names: Vince Carter, David Robinson, Vin Baker, Dee Brown, Darryl Dawkins, Artis Gilmore, Udonis Haslem, Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, Vernon Maxwell, Tracy McGrady, Mitch Richmond, Tree Rollins, Amar’e Stoudemire
It’s not often that Florida gets hyped up as a basketball state, but I don’t really understand why that’s the case.
There have been some phenomenal contributors to the hardwood from the state, and that’s not something that just recently started.
8. New Jersey
Notable Names: Rick Barry, Tom Heinsohn, Mike Bibby, Andrew Bynum, Randy Foye, Chris Gatling, Al Harrington, Shaquille O’Neal, J.R. Smith, David West
People often forget that The Diesel hails from New Jersey, but he’s not the only major talent from the state.
There have been some players of major impact to emerge from the ranks, and it’ll be interesting to see how these ballers stack up head-to-head against New York into the future.
Notable Names: Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Michael Beasley, Muggsy Bogues, Sam Cassell, Steve Francis, Jeff Green, Ty Lawson, Dennis Scott
There aren’t a ton of notable names under the Maryland umbrella, but they all carry some serious weight behind them.
With Durant looking to put Maryland on the map, it shouldn’t be long before this group expands with an even greater amount of talent on the hardwood.
Notable Names: LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Mookie Blaylock, Grant Hill, Stephen Jackson, Larry Johnson, Wesley Johnson, DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews, Desmond Mason, Emeka Okafor, Michael Ray Richardson, Bill Sharman
There’s a lot of talent emerging from Texas, and it’s obvious that it isn’t just a football hub any longer.
It’s going to be interesting to see what further talent comes from the enormous state, as they have really contributed recently to the league’s talent base.
Notable Names: Kobe Bryant, Paul Arizin, DeJuan Blair, Sam Bowie, Wilt Chamberlain, Tyreke Evans, Richard Hamilton, Pete Maravich, Donyell Marshall, Cuttino Mobley, Jameer Nelson, Earl Monroe, Maurice Stokes, Rasheed Wallace
Some may believe that a state with Bryant, Maravich and Chamberlain deserves to be even higher than this.
Although they’ve had some very notable names emerge, there needs to be a greater quantity produced who achieve success before I’m ready to move them up.
Notable Names: Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes, D.J. Augustin, Glen Davis, Danny Granger, Rod Higgins, Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, Karl Malone, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Willis Reed, Bill Russell, Marcus Thornton, Tyrus Thomas, Hot Rod Williams, Thaddeus Young
Louisiana is left out of the conversation with far too much regularity when discussing where the best NBA talent comes from.
When a state has guys like Drexler, Hayes, Malone and Parish, it is about time that we gave them proper due as a legitimate source for basketball skill.
Notable Names: Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Mark Aguirre, Mo Cheeks, Doug Collins, Terry Cummings, Mike Finley, Tim Hardaway, Hersey Hawkins, Jeff Hornacek, Juwan Howard, Andre Iguodala, Dan Issel, Corey Maggette, Shawn Marion, George Mikan, Jack Sikma, Isiah Thomas, Antoine Walker
Illinois comes close to cracking the top of these rankings, and the state has really had an influx of talent land in the NBA.
A backcourt of Wade and Rose would really be a dream come true for fans of Illinois basketball, but it’s one that will have to wait—at least for now.
2. New York
Notable Names: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Ron Artest, Elton Brand, Bob Cousy, Dr. J, Connie Hawkins, Roy Hibbert, Bernard King, Stephon Marbury, Jamal Mashburn, Chris Mullin, Lamar Odom, Dolph Schayes, Randy Smith, Lenny Wilkens
Some refer to it as the mecca of basketball, and it’s fairly easy to see why that’s the case.
When the same state produces both His Airness and the inventor of the sky hook, it’s going to be tough to compete with the crew.
Notable Names: Ray Allen, Kevin Love, Gil Arenas, Elden Campbell, Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Mark Eaton, Gail Goodrich, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Jennings, Dennis Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, Brook Lopez, Reggie Miller, Andre Miller, Gary Payton, Paul Pierce, Isaiah Rider, Cliff Robinson, Reggie Theus, Bill Walton, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Willis
It’s kind of crazy that California continues to get brushed off as a serious talent pool for basketball talent, because that’s clearly not the case.
There has been an amazing group of players to have come to the NBA from California, and the pipeline doesn’t appear to be slowing down at any point soon.