The Top 10 Left-Handed NBA Players Ever

By: 08.17.12

David Robinson, SI '96

Okay, so Monday was technically Left Hander’s Day. But you didn’t know that did you? I didn’t, not until about 10 p.m. that night because quite frankly, I never realized we had a Left Hander’s Day. So this post is a little late, but that doesn’t matter. You care about reading up on the 10 best lefties to ever put on a NBA uniform, not when you read about them.

I’ve always been a big fan of Sam Perkins. How can you not be? He was cooler than ice, dropped buckets with a nasty, line-drive jumper (he didn’t exact “jump”) and he nearly killed my Bulls by banging a game-winning triple in Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals.

When I broke two fingers in my right hand playing ball after my senior year of high school, Perkins got me through. I shot lefty, tried to be like him, and eventually went to college with a pretty decent left-handed shot. All it took was a few months of having my right hand back before I lost the touch with the opposite arm, but that’s beside the point.

Lefties are unique and different, and because they’re a rare bird, they leave a mark. Here are the 10 best lefties in NBA history.

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10. BOB LANIER
Lanier might be famous for having size 22 sneakers (When he finished his career after making eight All-Star Games, Lanier said he only retired because Milwaukee had finally found a player who could fill his shoes – Alton Lister. He meant it literally.), but he finished his career just shy of the 20,000-point, 10,000-rebound club (totals: 19,248 points, 9,698 rebounds).

Still, he left the game with a void: no championship. It wasn’t entirely his fault. He played for Detroit in the 1970s. At the time, they were just happy to make the playoffs. Later, he’d be granted a trade request to Milwaukee, and fall three times in the conference finals.

But besides the numbers and the memorable touch he had on hook shots and jumpers, Lanier might be remembered most for his pain tolerance. The dude began his rookie season almost immediately after having knee surgery, and then over the course of his 14-year career, he had seven more knees surgeries (No confirmation on whether his doctor later became Penny‘s).

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