North Carolina is one of the most populous states in USA and over the course of the last few years it has become a hub of engineering, biotechnology, and finance sectors. The state has a rich history of producing prominent figures, related to every field of life, and basketball is not an exception.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most prominent players who emerged from North Carolina and went on to rule the National Basketball Association or NBA.
This is the man believe is the best player ever to have graced the basketball court. Winner of countless awards and accolades, MJ accomplished two three peats in his illustrious career, during which he took three retirements.
Jordan was a beast on the offense – a 30.1 point scoring average at the end of his career is a fair testament to that. His offensive skill set, athleticism, intensity, passion, flair and raw commitment to winning was at a level unseen before and even after him. He is the only reason may greats like Karl Malone and Charles Barkley were never able to win the championship in their careers. The 14 time NBA All Star won five regular season MVP award and won the Finals MVP in all of his six appearances.
He retired from basketball in 2002 as a Washington Wizard and the ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. He is presently the majority owner of the North Carolina based franchise Charlotte Bobcats.
A North Carolina Tar Heel standout, James Worthy was a seven-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers for the entire 12 year NBA career. The seven times NBA All-Star was one of the best wingers of his era and his ability to close out games earned him the nickname of the “Big Game James”.
Worthy is presently serving as an NBA Analyst and a TV show host. After retiring from NBA, he also ventured in acting and has made appearance on popular TV shows – Star Trek and Everybody Loves Raymond.
Jerry Stackhouse was selected as the number third pick in the 1995 NBA draft. During a well travelled career Stackhouse has been part of eight franchises and has won two All-Star berths. He has a career average of 17.4 points and it was his experience and scoring ability as a reserve which prompted the newly formed Brooklyn Nets to include him in their star studded roster.
The present head coach of the Phoenix Suns has led four teams in his NBA coaching career, which started way back in 1989 when he was selected as an assistant to San Antonio Spurs legendary coach Larry Brown. Gentry grew in ranks gradually at the back end of the 1995 season, he was appointed as the interim coach of Miami Heat. In the years to come, Gentry went on to coach the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons before heading to the Desert city franchise in 2009-10. In his very first yea incharge he led the Suns into the Western Conference Finals where his team to the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
Gentry is still going strong at Phoenix and now has the responsibility of re-building the team after Steve Nash left for the Los Angeles Lakers in the off season.
Nate McMillan is a retired NBA coach and player, who played for the Seattle Supersonic throughout his entire 12 years career, recording averages of 5.9 points, 6.1 assists and 1.9 steals. After his retirement, McMillan immediately joined as the assistant coach of the Sonics and was promoted to the interim head coach position in 2000. He was the catalyst for a major improvement in the Sonic performance that season and was eventually made the head coach of the franchise, a position he held till 2005.
For nearly the next seven years, McMillan served as the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and was one of the main inspirations behind the uplift of the franchise. McMillan also served as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski for the US national team in the 2006 FIBA World Championship and in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, winning bronze and gold medals, respectively.