The state of North Carolina has long been a powerhouse in the world of basketball, producing some of the greatest NBA players to ever grace the court. Like a beacon of light, these star players draw our attention to their feats and accomplishments, illuminating the history and future of basketball in our nation. From Michael Jordan to Vince Carter, North Carolina has provided an all-star cast that takes center stage when discussing the greatest NBA players of all time.

In this article we will explore these remarkable athletes and their place within the history books. We will examine how their presence on and off the court has shaped not only basketball but also our culture as a whole. Through analyzing their achievements, we can gain insight into why North Carolina is such an integral part of professional basketball.

So sit back, relax and prepare yourself for a journey through time as we take you on a tour through some of the best NBA players North Carolina has ever seen and find out who is truly considered “the greatest” among them all!

Steve Smith

Who is the greatest North Carolina NBA player of all time? Many would say that it is Steve Smith.

A native of Miami, Florida, Smith began his collegiate career at Michigan State before transferring to the University of Georgia following a coaching change. He was drafted by the Miami Heat in 1991 and quickly established himself as one of the league’s top shooters. In his first season with the Heat, he made an impressive 44% of his three-point attempts on the way to averaging 15 points per game.

Smith continued to be a dominant force in the NBA throughout his career. He had five seasons where he averaged more than 20 points while shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc. His best season came in 1997-98 when he averaged 22 points and 5 assists per game while shooting 45% from three-point range. He was also a two-time All-Star and won an Olympic gold medal as part of Team USA in 2000.

Steve Smith has earned a well-deserved spot among some of the greatest North Carolina NBA players of all time due to his impressive individual achievements and contributions to championship teams throughout his career. And although there are many other outstanding players who have come out of North Carolina, Smith stands out for his skill set, longevity and overall impact on the game. Jerry Stackhouse is another name who deserves recognition for his accomplishments during his time in the NBA…

Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse has had an impressive NBA career, especially when considering that he has made two All-Star teams. He’s also scored over 17,000 points in his career and averaged over 17 points per game for his 16 seasons in the NBA. In addition to this, Stackhouse has played for seven different teams during those 16 years, making him one of the most versatile and experienced players of all time.

Stackhouse was drafted third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1995 and immediately made an impact as a rookie. He was selected to the All-Rookie team and averaged 15.5 points per game while starting all 82 games that season. Stackhouse continued to have success in Philadelphia until 2000 when he was traded to Detroit Pistons.

Stackhouse’s best season came with Detroit in 2001–02 when he averaged 29.8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal per game while playing over 37 minutes a night — an impressive feat for anyone. This season earned him a spot on his second All-Star team and led to him becoming one of only two players from North Carolina to make multiple All-Star appearances (the other being Michael Jordan). His ability to adapt his game to fit any situation is what makes him such an incredible player and why he will remain one of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players ever. With that said, let’s move on to discuss James Worthy next.

James Worthy

James Worthy is a North Carolina native who is widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1982 NBA draft and went on to have a successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He won three championships, earned seven All-Star selections, and was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.

Here are four reasons why James Worthy deserves to be mentioned among other great NC NBA players:

  1. His impressive performance during college, where he averaged 17 points per game and earned the nickname “Big Game James”;
  2. His immense success in the NBA, including an MVP award and three championship rings;
  3. His ability to play both forward positions effectively, allowing him to excel at either end of the court; and
  4. His passionate devotion to his team and home state of North Carolina, demonstrated by his philanthropic efforts over the years.

The impact that James Worthy had on basketball is undeniable. He is one of many NC players who have made their mark in professional sports and left an indelible impression on fans around the world. With his success comes a sense of pride for North Carolinians everywhere that they can call him one of their own. As we move onto discussing Antawn Jamison next, we can only hope that he too will join this list of elite Tar Heels who have achieved greatness in basketball.

Antawn Jamison

Coming in fourth place on the list of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players of all time is Antawn Jamison. A six-time All Star, Jamison was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 1998 NBA draft. During his 16-year career, he played for the Warriors, Mavericks, Wizards, Lakers, and Cavaliers. He had a knack for scoring and averaged 19.0 points per game during his career.

Jamison was also an excellent rebounder and holds the record for most rebounds in a season by a UNC player during his rookie year with the Warriors (998). He was named to four All-NBA Teams before retiring in 2014 with over 19,000 total points scored across his career.

Overall, Antawn Jamison made an indelible mark on the game of basketball and proved himself as one of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players of all time. His ability to score combined with his prowess on the boards make him a truly remarkable player who deserves recognition for his contributions to the game. With this recognition, it is easy to see why Jamison ranks fourth on this list. As we move forward, we will now take a look at Vince Carter’s impressive career in the NBA.

Vince Carter

Vince Carter is the soaring eagle of North Carolina NBA players. He has flown high and far in his career, dazzling everyone with jaw-dropping feats of athleticism. His exploits have earned him a place among the greatest North Carolina NBA players of all time.

Carter was drafted fifth overall by the Golden State Warriors in 1998, then traded to the Toronto Raptors on draft day. It was there that he earned the nickname “Air Canada” as he put on gravity-defying slam dunk displays night after night. His rookie season saw him average 18 points per game, which earned him co-Rookie of The Year honors alongside fellow Tar Heel Antawn Jamison.

Carter has since gone on to play for eight other teams across two decades, most recently joining the Atlanta Hawks for the 2019-20 season at age 42. Along the way he’s been selected to eight All-Star games, won an Olympic gold medal in 2000 and scored more than 24,000 points over his career – good enough for 22nd in NBA history and top among all North Carolina players ever. With such accomplishments, it’s no surprise Vince Carter is considered one of UNC’s greatest NBA exports ever.

In addition to being a basketball star, Carter is also known for his philanthropic efforts off the court. He has made generous donations to several charities throughout his career and regularly visits schools and hospitals to meet with kids who look up to him as an inspiration. His commitment to giving back has further cemented his legacy as one of the best North Carolina basketball players of all time. Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see what Rasheed Wallace can do to join their ranks going forward.

Rasheed Wallace

Rasheed Wallace is the 6th greatest NBA player from North Carolina. He was born in Philadelphia and attended Simon Gratz High School. Throughout his career, Wallace was known as a great three-point shooter and for his strong defense.

Wallace had an illustrious career in both college and the NBA. At the University of North Carolina, he was part of the 1995 National Championship team alongside future NBA stars Jerry Stackhouse and Antawn Jamison. In the NBA, he had a 14-year playing career with stints at Washington, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston and New York.

During his time in the league, Wallace earned four All-Star selections and won one championship with the Pistons in 2004. He also made an appearance on the All-Defensive First Team twice during his career and averaged 14 points per game over his entire career.

His accomplishments speak volumes about his ability as a player and make him one of the greatest North Carolina players of all time. He is a testament to hard work and dedication that paid off during both college and professional basketball careers. As we move forward to discuss Sam Perkins’ contributions next, it’s clear that Rasheed Wallace will always be remembered for his greatness on the court.

Sam Perkins

It’s no secret that North Carolina has produced some of the greatest NBA players of all time. In fact, you could say they’ve taken it to another level when it comes to producing some of the most talented basketball stars in history. The seventh greatest player from North Carolina is Sam Perkins.

Often dubbed ‘Big Smooth’, Sam Perkins was a household name during his playing days with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. He won an Olympic gold medal when he played for Team USA in 1984 and he was also part of the team that won the NCAA National Championship in 1982 while attending UNC. During his NBA career, Perkins averaged 12.6 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game over 17 seasons spanning from 1984 to 2001. He was also a four-time All-Star throughout his career, making him one of the most recognizable faces in North Carolina basketball history.

Perkins’ impact on the game is undeniable; his ability to play both inside and outside helped launch a new era for big men in basketball and paved the way for future stars like Rasheed Wallace, Larry Johnson, and others. His broad range of skills allowed him to become one of the most versatile players in NBA history, as well as a leader on every team he played for throughout his career. It’s safe to say that Sam Perkins will always be remembered as one of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players ever – and rightly so!

Larry Brown

Once upon a time there was an athlete who dreamt of greatness in the NBA. He had trained for years and worked hard to hone his skills, but he wondered if he would ever reach the heights of the greats before him. Then one day, that athlete was Larry Brown.

Larry Brown was a major part of North Carolina’s basketball legacy, and one of the greatest players to come out of the state. From his time as a student-athlete at UNC to his career in the NBA, Larry Brown made an impact every step of the way. His talent on the court led him to being named Rookie of the Year after he joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 1977 and winning an NBA championship with them in 1983. He was also selected as an All-Star twice during his career, won two Coach of the Year awards, and is currently inducted into both the College Basketball Hall of Fame and Basketball Hall of Fame.

As one of North Carolina’s greatest players ever, Larry Brown set a high bar for others to follow. His accomplishments are still revered today, and his legacy will live on through future generations who aspire to be just like him. As we move forward into examining one more exceptional player from this great state, it is important to remember Larry Brown and all that he achieved throughout his career – a true testament to what can be accomplished when you put your heart into something completely .

Michael Jordan

The ninth greatest North Carolina NBA player of all time is Michael Jordan. In the annals of basketball history, few players are more iconic than Jordan. He began his career with the Chicago Bulls and made an immediate impact, leading his team to three consecutive championships from 1991-1993. His individual accolades include five MVP awards and ten scoring titles. He also set numerous records, including most points in a single playoff game (63) and most consecutive seasons leading the league in scoring (seven).

Jordan retired after the 1998 season but returned to basketball in 2001 when he joined the Washington Wizards. Though he failed to lead them to a championship, his play was still impressive: he averaged over 20 points per game and was one of only two players in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points at age 40 or older.

Jordan’s legacy as one of the all-time greats is undeniable. He achieved unprecedented success both on and off the court, establishing himself as one of the most popular athletes ever. With six championships and countless other accomplishments, Jordan has cemented his place among North Carolina’s top NBA players of all time.

As we move on from Jordan to Brad Daugherty, it is clear that North Carolina has produced some of basketball’s greatest talents throughout its history.

Brad Daugherty

Brad Daugherty does not have the same name recognition as Michael Jordan, who is often considered the greatest basketball player of all time. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy of being included on a list of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players. Daugherty was a five-time All Star and one of the most consistent performers in the league throughout his career.

Daugherty was drafted by Cleveland Cavaliers with first overall pick in 1986 and made an immediate impact on their team. He averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds per game during his rookie season, leading the Cavs to their first ever playoff appearance in his second year. For the next several seasons, Brad would be one of Cleveland’s top players, averaging at least 17 points and 8 rebounds every year until 1995. His ability to score from inside and out made him a difficult matchup for opposing teams.

In addition to his individual accomplishments, Brad was also part of some successful Cavs teams during his time there. In 1992-93, Cleveland reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1976 – with Daugherty providing strong inside scoring and rebounding to complement Mark Price’s outside shooting. Ultimately, Brad went on to become one of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players ever due to his sustained excellence over an eight-year career with the Cavs.

Though he may not have achieved the same level of success as Michael Jordan or other well-known greats from North Carolina, Daugherty still deserves recognition for his contributions to basketball in the state. As we move forward into Bob McAdoo’s discussion – another great player from NC – it is important to remember that Brad Daugherty played a pivotal role in elevating North Carolina’s basketball scene over two decades ago.

Bob Mcadoo

Bob McAdoo is a towering figure in the North Carolina NBA player ranks, reaching heights that are hard to ignore. His 6-foot-9 frame and broad shoulders made him an imposing presence on the court. Like a giant among men, his presence was often intimidating to opponents and he was a formidable force to be reckoned with.

McAdoo’s strength was in his ability to score consistently at all three levels of the court. He could finish strong at the rim, shoot from mid-range, and launch deep shots from beyond the arc. His offensive prowess earned him five All-Star selections and two scoring titles during his illustrious career. McAdoo also won an NBA title in 1982 as part of the Los Angeles Lakers team.

The fact that McAdoo was able to remain competitive for over a decade speaks volumes about his dedication and endurance as an athlete. He had to battle through injuries throughout his career but still managed to perform at a high level until he retired in 1985 at 33 years old. His legacy as one of the greatest players ever from North Carolina remains intact today and his impact on basketball can still be felt across the nation.

McAdoo’s impressive resume makes it clear why he is remembered so fondly by fans of the game, setting an example for future generations of NBA players from North Carolina to strive for greatness. Now it’s time to look at another NBA player who has made their mark on the game – Kenny Smith.

Kenny Smith

Kenny Smith is the 12th greatest North Carolina NBA player of all time. He was an electrifying guard and one of the best ball-handlers in the league, who could be counted on for big plays and clutch shots. Here are three highlights of his career:

  1. During his time with the Houston Rockets, Smith was a threat from beyond the arc and a key member of the team that won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995.

  2. On top of his offensive capabilities, he was also a great defender whose ability to stay in front of opposing guards made him a valuable asset to any team he played for.

  3. Smith was selected to two All-Star teams during his 10 seasons in the NBA and finished his career as one of only five players to score more than 10,000 points and dish out 5,000 assists.

Smith’s impressive resume speaks for itself; he truly was one of North Carolina’s finest exports to the NBA. As we move on from this all-time great Tar Heel, let’s take a look at George Lynch next – another outstanding player from UNC who excelled in professional basketball.

George Lynch

George Lynch was like a Swiss Army knife for the NBA; he could do it all. He was an excellent defender, capable of guarding any position on the court and out hustling his opponents to loose balls. His offensive game was diverse too; he could shoot from range, put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim, or even post up in a pinch.

Lynch’s career as a Tarheel was quite successful; he helped lead North Carolina to two Final Fours, one Elite Eight, and two ACC championships. After college he enjoyed 11 seasons in the league with four different teams. While his numbers were never particularly gaudy, Lynch still made a name for himself with his hard-nosed style of play and relentless effort.

His ability to fill up all aspects of the stat sheet made him an invaluable asset to whatever team he played for, and during his tenure in the NBA he won two championships: one with Houston in 1994 and one with San Antonio in 2003. George Lynch is remembered fondly by many fans of North Carolina basketball and as one of their greatest ever NBA players. With his wide array of skills, Lynch truly embodied what it meant to be a Tarheel legend on the court. Moving forward, we will now take a look at Raymond Felton’s career.

Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton, the fourteenth entry on this list of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players of all time, is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina. He played for the Tar Heels from 2002-2005 and was selected fifth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. His professional career has spanned over a decade with stints at six different teams including the Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Felton is best known for his time with the Knicks where he was part of a team that made it to two consecutive playoff appearances in 2012 and 2013. During this period he averaged 17 points and nine assists per game while shooting 42 percent from three-point range. He also set a career high in three-pointers made with 179 during this period. This helped him earn an All Star selection in 2010 as well as being named to All NBA Third Team in 2011.

His impressive playmaking abilities have been key to other teams’ success as well making him one of the most sought after point guards in recent years. As a result he signed a two year contract with Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017 and continues to be a valuable asset for them today averaging 12 points and 4 assists per game during his tenure there.

Felton has had an illustrious career both during college and professionally showcasing his immense talent on both ends of the court. His impact on basketball cannot be understated as his contributions to multiple teams have helped shape their success over more than a decade now.

Shammond Williams

Fifteen. Shammond Williams. A man who achieved success against the odds, but is not always remembered in the same breath as some of North Carolina’s greatest NBA players. Yet his career was remarkable and deserves recognition.

From humble beginnings, Williams made it to the NBA by sheer determination and hard work. An undrafted free agent out of UNC in 1998, he went on to play nine seasons in the league, averaging 8.3 points per game and 4.2 assists over that period with five different teams. His best season came in 2001-02 when he averaged 11 points and 5 assists with the Atlanta Hawks.

Williams never won any major awards or championships, but his resilience is something to be admired for sure. He may not be remembered alongside Michael Jordan or Vince Carter when it comes to North Carolina’s greatest NBA players, but his career should be respected nonetheless – a true testament to what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.


The state of North Carolina has certainly produced their fair share of NBA stars over the years. From Steve Smith to Vince Carter, each one brought something different to the table. Each player could be considered a great in some way but there were some that stood out more than others.

Jerry Stackhouse and James Worthy are two of the greatest North Carolina players to ever hit the court. They both have impressive resumes and have been part of championships teams. Antawn Jamison also deserves recognition for his offensive prowess and consistent scoring ability throughout his career.

Finally, we can’t ignore Kenny Smith, George Lynch, Raymond Felton and Shammond Williams who all left an indelible mark on the game with their incredible athletic ability and determination. It’s no wonder why North Carolina continues to produce some of the most prodigious basketball talent in the country – they truly are a basketball powerhouse beyond compare!

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