DimeMag

The Best Current NBA Player From Each Of The 50 States

We all have a hometown. Whether you loved it or couldn’t wait to leave it, it’s a part of who you are. There’s something about your hometown that just sticks with you, whether it’s the people you meet, the lessons you learn, or the sheer pride you might have for it.

Just like the rest of us, NBA players don’t forget their roots. It’s where they first picked up a basketball, threw down their first dunk, and led their school on a run to the state title. It’s where they fell in love with the game, and it’s important they recognize that.

We at Dime thought it’d be nice if we gave readers a little geography lesson. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of the best CURRENT player from each state. Sorry to all the foreigners, maybe we’ll put out a country list soon enough. As for now though, take a look below and get a little bit of background on some of your favorite players. As always, feel free to discuss in the comments if you think someone got snubbed.

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ALABAMA: DeMARCUS COUSINS
Boogie Cousins hails from Mobile, where he was born and raised. He fell under the national spotlight while playing for LeFlore Magnet High School and was named to the McDonald’s All-American Game. Cousins led LeFlore to the Class 6A Final in his senior season, where they lost to Eric Bledsoe‘s Parker High School (Birmingham).
Other Notables: Gerald Wallace, Bledsoe

ALASKA: CARLOS BOOZER
After Boozer was born on a military base in Germany, his family relocated to Juneau, Alaska, where he spent the rest of his childhood. Booz compiled a solid enough high school career to catch the eye of Mike Krzyzewski all the way in Durham, N.C. He was a Parade All-American while playing for Juneau-Douglas High School, where he led the Crimson Bears to two straight state championships.
Other Notables: Mario Chalmers

ARIZONA: RICHARD JEFFERSON
Although Jefferson moved around a lot in his childhood because of his missionary parents, he was an Arizona boy through and through. He spent his high school years in Phoenix, won a state championship and moved onto the University of Arizona. He’s on the tail end of his long career, but he’s always been true to his home state.
Other Notables: Channing Frye, Jerryd Bayless

ARKANSAS: JOE JOHNSON
The Nets guard was born and raised in Little Rock and spent his first 20 years in Arkansas. He received scholarship offers from storied schools like UNC and Duke, but chose to play at the University of Arkansas because it was his childhood dream. That’s loyalty epitomized.
Other notables: Ronnie Brewer

CALIFORNIA: RUSSELL WESTBROOK
There’s an influx of great players from California, but we took Westbrook over the rest because of his ties to UCLA. Russ grew up Hawthorne, but attended Leuzinger High School in Farmdale. He hadn’t missed a game since middle school before tearing his meniscus in the first round of the playoffs last year. Let’s hope he can return to form, because he sure is a thrill to watch.
Other notables: Paul Pierce, Paul George, James Harden, Brook Lopez

COLORADO: CHAUNCEY BILLUPS
This one was easy. The former Finals MVP won the first three Colorado Mr. Basketball awards ever and went on to play for the Buffaloes of the U of C in Boulder. His jersey hangs from the rafters and a mural depicts him at the Coors Events Center on campus.
Other notables: Reggie Jackson

CONNECTICUT: ANDRE DRUMMOND
Drummond moved to Middletown at a young age, a big boy in a cozy little New England city. He went into Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford as an ungraceful freshman. He remained there for two seasons before moving on to St. Thomas More in Oakdale. There, he set himself apart, earning the prestigious honor of being named the top overall prospect for his high school class. He then went on to play for UConn, a fitting end to an amateur career in the Nutmeg State.
Other notables: n/a

DELAWARE: no active players
The last player to come from Delaware was Laron Profit, who last played for the Lakers in 2006.
Other notables: n/a

FLORIDA: AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE
Stoudemire was born in Lake Wales and moved around the state quite a bit during his childhood. His mother was in and out of jail, while his only father figures were his coaches. You could say he was raised by the state in a way. Through it all, he became one of the most successful prep-to-pro players ever. From a place known for the fruit, Stoudemire now dons orange for the Knicks.
Other notables: Vince Carter, Chandler Parsons, Larry Sanders

GEORGIA: DWIGHT HOWARD
Howard is likely the greatest high school basketball player in Georgia history, compiling an amateur career that is as impressive as his inability to make decisions. He won nearly every national award during his senior season at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. The former No. 1 pick may be polarizing to say the least, but there’s no denying his track record.
Other notables: J.J. Hickson, Derrick Favors, Lou Williams

HAWAII: no active players
Hawaii’s not exactly a hotbed of basketball talent, having only produced one NBA player ever, Red Rocha. Rocha passed away in 2010.
Other notables: n/a

IDAHO: no active players
Although Luke Ridnour was born there, he grew up in Blaine, Washington. I guess they’re too busy growing potatoes to shoot hoops.
Other notables: n/a

ILLINOIS: DERRICK ROSE and DWYANE WADE
I know I’m cheating a bit here, but both of these guys deserve recognition. They were both born on Chicago’s South Side. They have both enjoyed fantastic careers. Wade is fresh off his third ring, cementing his legacy. Derrick Rose’s return may feel like more of a soap opera every day, but he’s en route to the rafters in Chicago if his knee holds up.
Other notables: Andre Iguodala, Anthony Davis

INDIANA: ZACH RANDOLPH
On to the Hoosier State. Randolph was born and raised in Marion. He spent his whole childhood in the relatively small town until shipping off to Michigan State, but not before leaving his mark. He helped lead Marion High School to a Class 4A State Championship in his senior season.
Other notables: Eric Gordon, Mike Conley, Gordon Hayward

IOWA: HARRISON BARNES
Barnes isn’t too far removed from his Ames, Iowa roots. After finishing his rookie season with an impressive showing in the playoffs, he’s ready to take it up a notch. Unfortunately, his minutes will be affected by the Andre Iguodala signing, but a little competition should only make him a better player.
Other notables: Kyle Korver, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison

KANSAS: EARL WATSON
Even though the Jayhawks may have one of the most storied programs in history, the state itself hasn’t produced too many players. One of two active Kansans, Watson was born in Kansas City and attended Washington High School, where he nearly posted a triple-double in his senior season. He put up a ridiculous 23 points per game, to go along with eight assists and 14 rebounds.
Other notables: Maurice Evans

KENTUCKY: RAJON RONDO
Rondo calls Louisville his home. He was raised with his three siblings by his single mother and played three years of ball at Eastern High School in Middletown. He finished up his high school career at the famed Oak Hill Academy, but returned to the Bluegrass state for his college years.
Other notables: D-Leaguers Nolan Smith and Shelvin Mack

LOUISIANA: GREG MONROE
Monroe hails from the small New Orleans suburb of Harvey, where he honed his big man skills before taking his talents to Georgetown. Monroe is the glue of the Pistons frontcourt, but he came from humble beginnings at the gym of Helen Cox High School. He was selected to the McDonald’s All-American game during his senior season.
Other notables: Danny Granger, Paul Millsap

MAINE: no active players
While there are two recent players who attended high school in Maine — Brad Miller and Caron Butler — neither spent more than two years in the state.
Other notables: n/a

MARYLAND: KEVIN DURANT
The Thunder star was born and raised just outside of Washington, D.C., in the town of Seat Pleasant. Durant spent countless hours at the Fairmont Heights basketball courts perfecting his game. You also might have noticed that Durant reps a giant Maryland tattoo across his back, so you know he’s proud of where he’s from.
Other notables: Roy Hibbert, Rudy Gay, Carmelo Anthony

MASSACHUSETTS: JEFF ADRIEN
The Basketball Hall of Fame might be in Springfield, but you won’t find mind much talent coming out of Massachusetts. Adrien is our winner by default, since he’s the only native of the state who’s currently playing in the league. A handful have come through to attend preparatory schools and the like, but none could really claim to be from the Bay State.
Other notables: Patrick Ewing, Jr. I guess.

MICHIGAN: WILSON CHANDLER
Chandler grew up in southwest Michigan in the town of Benton Harbor. He stayed loyal to his hometown, winning Mr. Basketball of Michigan during his senior season at BHHS. He still lists Benton Harbor as his location on Twitter, so he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
Other notables: Chris Kaman, Shane Battier, JaVale McGee

MINNESOTA: KRIS HUMPHRIES
When most around him were focused on the NHL, Humphries had different ideas coming out of Hopkins High School in Minnetonka. He led the Royals to their first ever state championship in 2002 and was named Minnesota Mr. Basketball in 2003. He then stayed true to his state, de-committing from Duke to play college ball for the Golden Gophers.
Other notables: Joel Przybilla, Cole Aldrich, Jon Leuer

MISSISSIPPI: AL JEFFERSON
Big Al came from humble beginnings. He was raised in the tiny town of Prentiss, with a population of just 1,500. Jefferson didn’t abandon his roots by heading to some powerhouse school to gain more recognition; he let his game do the talking. He averaged a monstrous 42 points and 18 rebounds for Prentiss High School in 2004, and was in the NBA just a few months later.
Other notables: Monta Ellis, Mo Williams

MISSOURI: DAVID LEE
Lee grew up in and around St. Louis, playing high school ball for Chaminade College Preparatory School. The All-Star raked in accolades as an amateur, making the McDonald’s All-American team and winning the 2001 High School Slam Dunk Contest.
Other notables: Bradley Beal, Tyler Hansbrough

MONTANA: no active players
While Montana doesn’t have much stake in the NBA nowadays, it was the birthplace of legends like Phil Jackson and Adam Morrison.
Other notables: n/a

NEBRASKA: no active players
I guess there’s not much room for basketball in a state where football and corn are the top priorities.
Other notables: n/a

NEVADA: C.J. WATSON
Watson hails from Las Vegas, where he attended Bishop Gorman High School. While there, Watson was Nevada’s Player of the Year in both his junior and senior season and led BGHS to a state title.
Other notables: Luke Babbitt

NEW HAMPSHIRE: MATT BONNER
The Red Rocket is the only NBA player ever to be born in New Hampshire. He honed his patented three-point shot on the mean streets of Concord, leading his high school team to three straight state championships. He graduated at the top of his class at Concord High School and routinely goes back to his hometown to run camps and help local kids stay on track.
Other notables: n/a

NEW JERSEY: KYRIE IRVING
Home to some of the best high school basketball in the country, New Jersey has produced his fair share of NBA talent. Kyrie Irving, although born in Australia, was raised in West Orange. Irving went on to play alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick’s High School, where he was ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the nation.
Other notables: Andrew Bynum, Kenneth Faried, J.R. Smith

NEW MEXICO: JEFF TAYLOR
Well, sort of. He spent nearly all of his childhood in Sweden before moving to Hobbs, New Mexico prior to the start of high school, where his dad was a star hoops player in the 1970s. Taylor put up gaudy numbers on his way to Vanderbilt University, averaging over 30 points per game.
Other notables: n/a

NEW YORK: METTA WORLD PEACE
Of all the players to make it out of the Empire State, World Peace gets the nod here thanks to his consistency and longevity. He was raised in the dangerous Queensbridge Projects but was able to hone his skills and focus on basketball. He attended La Salle Academy in Manhattan and then St. John’s University in his home borough of Queens. Many Knicks fans were upset when New York passed up on their native son in the 1999 Draft in favor of Frederic Weis.
Other notables: Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Elton Brand

NORTH CAROLINA: CHRIS PAUL
Paul was raised in Lewisville, North Carolina and followed his brother C.J.’s footsteps by attending West Forsyth High School in Clemmons. Paul didn’t make varsity until his senior season because of his short stature, but became a state legend in no time. He starred at nearby Wake Forest University, where his jersey hangs from the rafters. Paul is still active in the Winston-Salem community.
Other notables: Stephen Curry, John Wall, Antawn Jamison

NORTH DAKOTA: no active players
North Dakota hasn’t produced an NBA player since Les Jepsen in the early ’90s.
Other notables: n/a

OHIO: LeBRON JAMES
Born in Akron, James has been in the spotlight since his days at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School. He was a three-time winner of Ohio’s Mr. Basketball award, featured on magazine covers, and took the country by storm before being selected with the first overall pick in 2003. Of course, he was selected by the nearby Cleveland Cavaliers, where he wrote the first chapter of his already legendary career.
Other notables: Kevin Martin, Jared Sullinger, Norris Cole

OKLAHOMA: BLAKE GRIFFIN
The premier dunks you see on SportsCenter were first attempted at Griffin’s hometown gym in Oklahoma City. The Clippers forward lived there his entire childhood, eventually going off to high school in Edmond and then college in Norman at the University of Oklahoma. Griffin won a state championship in all four of his seasons in high school, and was selected by Gatorade as Oklahoma’s player of the year as a senior.
Other notables: Ekpe Udoh, Shelden Williams

OREGON: KEVIN LOVE
Love moved to Lake Oswego at a young age and learned the game from his father Stan, a former pro himself. He finished his high school career as the all-time point leader in state history and even took home a Gatorade National Player of the Year trophy in 2007.
Other notables: Kyle Singler, Terrence Ross

PENNSYLVANIA: KOBE BRYANT
A 1996 graduate of Lower Merion High School in a suburb of Philly, Kobe rose to prominence at a young age. He led his team to their first high school title in over 50 years and was a unanimous selection for player of the year by numerous publications. Kobe really raised his profile by declaring for the NBA Draft, an act that still wasn’t typical for high school kids. Although the relationship between Bryant and the city is strained, he’s still arguably the best that Pennsylvania’s ever produced.
Other notables: Rip Hamilton, Tyreke Evans

RHODE ISLAND: no active players
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that a NBA player hasn’t come out of the smallest state in the country since 1988.
Other notables: n/a

SOUTH CAROLINA: KEVIN GARNETT
Garnett was born in Greenville and then moved to Mauldin when he was 12. It was there that he fell in love with the sport, going on to play for his hometown Mauldin High School. He led them to a state title as a junior and was named Mr. Basketball of South Carolina before controversy forced him to transfer elsewhere.
Other notables: Jermaine O’Neal

SOUTH DAKOTA: MIKE MILLER
Hyped as the most heavily recruited basketball player in South Dakota history, Miller was also the first McDonald’s All-American from the state. He won back-to-back state championships with Mitchell High School in Mitchell, where Miller was born and raised.
Other notables: n/a

TENNESSEE: THADDEUS YOUNG
Young’s family relocated to Memphis when Thad was is fourth grade, and his knack for basketball began to show soon after. Young made a significant impact on the court and in the classroom. Aside from his selections to the McDonald’s All-American Game and as Tennessee’s Gatorade Player of the Year, he earned a 4.3 GPA during his tenure at Mitchell High School.
Other notables: Corey Brewer, Shawn Marion

TEXAS: DERON WILLIAMS
Williams grew up just outside Dallas, in the suburb of Carrollton. He learned the game from his single mother and quickly began to show potential. He went on to play at The Colony High School, where he helped his team to a 61-4 record over his final two seasons. D-Will may have been overshadowed a bit by teammate Bracey Wright, but he’s clearly found more success as his career has progressed.
Other notables: Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge

UTAH: no active players
Utah hasn’t had a relevant NBA player since Shawn Bradley roamed the hardwood.
Other notables: n/a

VERMONT: no active players
There has never been a Vermonter to play in a NBA game. Too much Ben & Jerry’s, I guess.
Other notables: n/a

VIRGINIA: J.J. REDICK
While many hopeful NBA players end up attending high school in Virginia by way of powerhouse schools like Oak Hill Academy, Redick was actually raised in the state. He went to Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, where he won a state championship as a senior in 2002. Redick earned MVP honors at the McDonald’s All-American game that year as well.
Other notables: Ed Davis, Kendall Marshall

WASHINGTON: NATE ROBINSON
We should be talking about Brandon Roy here, but injuries suck. Nate Rob is not a bad second choice for the best active player to come out of Washington. Born and raised in Seattle, he attended Rainier Beach High School, where he led the school to a Class AAA state championship. He stayed local, going on to play at the University of Washington,
Other notables: Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry

WEST VIRGINIA: O.J. MAYO
Mayo actually took an interesting route on his way to college. He was raised in Huntington, West Virginia, but when he was in seventh grade, he decided to play for a high school team in Kentucky, which is permitted in the state. Mayo then transferred to North College Hill High School in Ohio, where he enjoyed immense success. He then chose to come home to Huntington and represent his town for his senior season, where he won a state championship.
Other notables: n/a

WISCONSIN: DEVIN HARRIS
Straight outta Wauwatosa, Harris didn’t really show up on anyone’s radar until his senior season. He led his Wauwatosa East High School on a remarkable run, earning a flawless regular season record and a Mr. Basketball award for the state. Harris then went on to play at the University of Wisconsin under Bo Ryan.
Other notables: Carl Landry, Wesley Matthews

WYOMING: JAMES JOHNSON
As the only active player in the NBA to hail from Wyoming, Johnson won this spot by default. That’s not to say he isn’t a good player, because he’s already enjoyed moderate success at the pro level. Johnson is the pride of Cheyenne and the first Wyomingite in the NBA since the 1960s. He had to work hard to get any looks from major programs in his remote part of the U.S., but he’s accomplished all that he could’ve dreamed of thus far.
Other notables: n/a

What area produces the best ballplayers?

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