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