The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has produced some of the greatest NBA players of all time. In fact, UCLA has sent more players to the NBA than any other college in the country. With a staggering total of 96 NBA players, it’s no surprise that some of the greatest basketball stars have emerged from UCLA. One interesting statistic is that four out of five NBA championships won by the Los Angeles Lakers between 1980 and 2010 were won with a UCLA alumni on their roster.
It’s clear that UCLA has an impressive track record when it comes to producing top-tier basketball talent for the professional leagues. But which players are considered the greatest among this illustrious group? This article takes a look at some of UCLA’s most famous alumni who have made their mark on professional basketball and become legends in their own right.
From superstars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Reggie Miller to lesser-known talents such as Arron Afflalo and Jrue Holiday, these UCLA Bruins have made their presence felt on both the collegiate level and in the pros. Their incredible skill, hard work, and determination make them a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes everywhere. Read on to learn more about these remarkable players and how they’ve shaped the history of UCLA basketball!
Bill Walton – The Hall Of Famer
Bill Walton is the greatest UCLA NBA player of all time, a Hall of Famer whose talents on the court were unmatched. A powerhouse in his own right, he was a man who could dominate the game with ease, sometimes single-handedly leading his teams to victory. His most impressive feat? He won two championships—one with the Portland Trail Blazers and one with the Boston Celtics—in back-to-back years.
Walton’s career was marked by many achievements. He was named MVP of the 1977 NBA Finals and that same year was awarded the MVP title for both the regular season and All-Star Game. He also earned five All-Star selections and three All-NBA First Team selections, making him one of the most decorated players in league history.
Off the court, Walton was equally as impressive. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA while playing college basketball, then went on to receive two master’s degrees from Stanford University and later a law degree from UCLA. This combination of talent, intelligence, drive, and determination make Walton an all-time great who will forever be remembered for his extraordinary accomplishments both on and off the court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – The All-Time Great
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is undoubtedly one of the greatest UCLA NBA players of all time. He was a six-time NBA champion, a six-time MVP, and a 19-time All-Star. His career accolades are unmatched, and his legacy continues to inspire future generations of basketball players.
Abdul-Jabbar’s signature “skyhook” shot captivated fans and opponents alike throughout his illustrious career. He used the patented move to score over 38,000 points in the regular season, and another 7,000 during playoffs. His immense skill on both sides of the court made him an unstoppable force.
What sets Abdul-Jabbar apart from other greats is his longevity in the game. Despite being drafted in 1969, he continued to play until 1989 at the age of 41 – far longer than most athletes are able to do so today. His dedication and commitment to the game will be remembered for many years to come. As we move onto discussing Reggie Miller – the three point shooter – it’s clear that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has cemented himself as an all-time great among UCLA NBA players.
Reggie Miller – The Three-Point Shooter
Reggie Miller is one of the greatest NBA players to ever come out of UCLA. His incredible shooting ability was his trademark, as he led the league in three-point shots made on five separate occasions. He was also a four-time All Star and an Olympic gold medalist, making him a very decorated player.
Miller’s shooting style was unique in that he rarely relied on screens or set plays to get open looks from beyond the arc. Instead, he used his quickness and agility to create separation for himself, allowing him to make deep shots with relative ease. This made him a nightmare for opposing teams, as he could make difficult shots from just about anywhere on the court.
Miller finished his career as one of the top ten all-time scorers in NBA history and holds many three-point shooting records that stand today. His ability to consistently knock down threes at crucial times during games earned him the nickname “Knick Killer” and cemented his legacy as one of UCLA’s most successful basketball players ever.
Russell Westbrook – A Modern Day Star
Russell Westbrook is a modern-day phenomenon, who has revolutionized the game of basketball. With his electrifying speed and incredible tenacity, he has been one of the most dominant players in the NBA over the last decade. It’s almost as if he’s come from a time machine, ready to take on any adversary with unparalleled enthusiasm.
Westbrook first made his mark with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was selected fourth overall in the 2008 NBA draft. During his time there, he would go on to become one of their most historic players, making six all-star appearances and recording nine triple-doubles in a single season. He also earned an MVP award in 2017 for a remarkable season that saw him average 31 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds per game – something no other player had done since Oscar Robertson in 1962.
Westbrook’s legacy is further cemented by his leadership on and off the court. He has been an outspoken advocate for social justice causes such as Black Lives Matter and racial equality. His willingness to speak out about these issues has inspired millions around the world, many of whom look up to him as a role model and leader.
With Westbrook’s phenomenal career already established, it will be interesting to see what heights he can reach next and what kind of impact he’ll have on future generations of basketball players. As we move forward into Kevin Love’s era of all-around play, it will be fascinating to compare their respective legacies and measure which one stands tall at the end of their careers.
Kevin Love – The All-Around Player
It’s said that life is a journey of discovery. Along this journey, we often come across great people who have achieved remarkable things. Kevin Love is one such person, who has proven to be an all-around player. He’s a modern day example of what it means to be a true professional athlete.
Love began his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008 and quickly established himself as one of the best players in the NBA. He was named an All-Star five times and also won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. His ability to make plays at both ends of the court and his tremendous rebounding prowess set him apart from other players.
His unique style of play led to him being nicknamed “The King of Double-Doubles,” as he averaged double-digit rebounds and points for seven straight seasons. His work ethic and dedication were unparalleled, as evidenced by his team first mentality which was evident on the court every night. For these reasons, Kevin Love will always be remembered as one of UCLA’s greatest NBA players ever.
Love’s accomplishments speak for themselves; however, there are still many more UCLA stars that deserve recognition for their greatness on the hardwood. Baron Davis is another one of those special players, who was known for his high flying showmanship and electrifying plays during his prime years in the league.
Baron Davis – The High Flying Showman
Baron Davis was one of the most electrifying players to ever come out of UCLA. His high-flying dunks and elite athleticism made him a fan favorite wherever he went. He was known for his ability to put on a show, dazzling crowds with incredible plays that left them cheering, and opposing teams shaking their heads in disbelief. The success he had at UCLA translated to the NBA as well, where he quickly established himself as one of the top point guards in the league. He was named an All-Star twice and won the dunk contest once during his storied career. His peak years came with the New Orleans Hornets, where he averaged over 20 points per game for three consecutive seasons. Davis’ highlight reel dunks will live on in highlight reels forever, and his place as one of the greatest UCLA NBA players is firmly cemented. His passion for the game and willingness to be creative were unmatched, making him a once in a lifetime player who could bring excitement night after night. His legacy lives on through those who watched him play, providing inspiration to young players hoping to follow in his footsteps. Gail Goodrich is next up among UCLA’s all-time greats; he was an instrumental part of some of the most memorable teams in basketball history.
Gail Goodrich – The Consummate Professional
Gail Goodrich is the consummate professional of UCLA NBA players. He was a five-time All-Star and a member of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers team that won the championship. Goodrich was known for his clutch shooting and ability to stay composed in stressful situations. He averaged over 17 points per game in his career, and twice led the league in free throw percentage.
Goodrich’s success was due to his hard work and mental toughness. He was a master strategist when it came to running plays, often using screens and cuts to create open looks for himself or others on the court. He also had an incredible ability to read defenses, which allowed him to find open teammates or make smart passes out of double teams.
The impressive career of Gail Goodrich is a testament to what can be achieved through dedication and practice. His accomplishments speak volumes about how essential it is to have a strong mental approach when playing basketball at any level. It’s no surprise he’s remembered as one of UCLA’s greatest NBA players of all time. As we move onto Jrue Holiday – the pass-first point guard – we will see another example of someone with an elite understanding of basketball strategy and an unwavering commitment to excellence.
Jrue Holiday – The Pass-First Point Guard
Jrue Holiday is the conductor of a NBA orchestra, orchestrating plays with his pass-first mentality like a maestro. His play style is akin to a chess master, always one step ahead of his opponents and never hesitating to make the correct decision. Like a masterful artist he paints the court with his passes, creating beautiful moments that can leave viewers speechless.
Holiday’s impressive basketball IQ has been on display since he entered the league as the 17th overall pick in 2009. He quickly established himself as one of the best point guards in the game, becoming an All-Star in 2013 and 2014. His ability to create for others makes him an invaluable asset to any team, allowing them to run their offense more efficiently.
Though Holiday’s raw talent sets him apart from others at his position, it is his work ethic and dedication that truly sets him apart. His commitment to improving every aspect of his game has enabled him to become one of the top players in the league today. From being named two-time All-Star, to winning gold with Team USA at the 2014 World Cup, he continues to be an inspiration for younger players who wish to play in the NBA someday.
Holiday’s consistent excellence on and off the court has earned him recognition as one of UCLA’s greatest NBA players ever. His ability to lead teams and make those around him better is what makes him truly special, and it’s why he’ll go down as one of UCLA’s all-time greats. As we now turn our attention towards Jamaal Wilkes – The Smooth Operator – we can only hope that he will be able to follow in Holiday’s footsteps and have an equally successful career in the NBA.
Jamaal Wilkes – The Smooth Operator
Jamaal Wilkes, also known as “Silk,” was one of the greatest players to come out of UCLA. He had a smooth, effortless style of play that made him a fan favorite and earned him the nickname. Wilkes was a four-time NBA All-Star, three-time All-NBA player, and two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. His legacy is cemented as one of the most successful and consistent players in UCLA history.
As an example of Wilkes’ greatness, during his rookie season in 1975 he averaged 17.9 points per game on 48% shooting from the field. This impressive performance earned him a spot on the All-Rookie Team and propelled him to become one of the league’s premier scorers for many years to come. Wilkes was also known for his ability to make clutch shots late in games, becoming someone who could always be counted on when it mattered most.
Wilkes’ impact on the game of basketball can still be seen today through his influence on players like Kobe Bryant, who modeled portions of his post game after Wilkes’. The smooth operator was not just a great shooter but also an excellent passer and defender who used his skill set to help teams win championships. His legacy lives on through those he influenced and generations of basketball fans who appreciate his contributions to the sport.
Marques Johnson – The Dynamic Forward
Marques Johnson was the dynamic force in the NBA. He was like a raging river that could not be stopped, pushing through the competition with his unstoppable drive and determination. His ability to make something out of nothing was truly remarkable, as he could create plays out of thin air and give hope to those around him. He was a beacon of light on the court, leading teams to victory no matter what odds were stacked against them.
Johnson’s style of play had an aura of natural grace about it, almost as if he had been born to play the game in this way. His agility made him look like an eagle soaring through the air, capable of making spectacular plays that nobody else could even dream of. His tenacity enabled him to seize opportunities when they presented themselves and capitalize on them in order to gain an advantage for his team.
The impact that Marques Johnson had on the sport is something that will live on for years to come. He showed everyone what it meant to have passion for basketball and how it can inspire greatness in others. As we move forward into the future, let us remember Marques Johnson as one who set a powerful example for generations to come and whose legacy will never fade away. It’s time now for us to turn our attention towards Sidney Wicks – the unstoppable force – and see what impact he has left behind.
Sidney Wicks – The Unstoppable Force
Investigating the truth of the theory that Sidney Wicks is one of the greatest UCLA NBA players of all time, it becomes apparent that he was indeed an unstoppable force on the court. His achievements speak for themselves, as he earned Rookie of the Year honours in 1972 and was selected to four All-Star Games. Wicks also made the All-NBA second team twice and had four consecutive seasons averaging over 20 points per game.
Wicks’s ability to dominate on both sides of the ball was legendary. He could score from anywhere on the court, but also possessed a keen eye for passing and setting up his teammates. His defensive presence was just as important, as he frequently blocked shots and grabbed rebounds to give his team extra possessions in crucial moments.
The impact Wicks had during his career with UCLA and in the NBA is undeniable. His accomplishments speak volumes about his abilities and place him among some of basketball’s all-time greats. With such impressive performances, it’s clear that Sidney Wicks was truly an unstoppable force on the court. Transitioning into Kiki Vandeweghe who followed in Wicks’ footsteps, he would go onto become a sniper known for his three-point shooting prowess.
Kiki Vandeweghe – The Sniper
The twelfth UCLA NBA great to be featured on this list is Kiki Vandeweghe, affectionately known as ‘the sniper’. As if being a Bruin wasn’t enough to make him stand out, Kiki added his own unique twist with his shooting prowess, turning him into an unstoppable force. His shots were so precise and accurate that it seemed like he could hit the bullseye from any distance.
Kiki was more than just a shooter though; he was also a great defender, using his length and athleticism to shut down opponents. He had the ability to read the game and anticipate where the ball would go next, allowing him to intercept passes or create turnovers with ease.
Unfortunately, Kiki’s career ended prematurely due to injuries and he was never able to reach his full potential. However, he still left behind a legacy of excellence in shooting and defense that will never be forgotten. As we move on to the next UCLA NBA great – Tracy Murray – let us remember Kiki Vandeweghe as ‘the sniper’, one of the greatest shooters of all time.
Tracy Murray – The Deadly Shooter
Tracy Murray was a basketball star who could electrify a crowd like no other. His deadly shooting was the stuff of legends, and he is remembered as one of the greatest UCLA NBA players of all time.
His game was simple yet awe-inspiring; with a flick of his wrist, fans watched in amazement as the ball swished through the net. He had an uncanny ability to read the court and make quick decisions on when to take his shots – always coming up with clutch plays that made him shine above the rest.
Murray’s skill set was impressive:
- He had a remarkable 3-point shot, regularly making baskets from beyond the arc.
- His layup precision was near-perfect, making it almost impossible for defenders to block or steal his shots.
- His passing skills were downright magical, finding open teammates no matter how difficult the situation seemed.
This combination of talents enabled Murray to become one of UCLA’s most successful NBA players ever, leaving behind an unforgettable legacy that continues to inspire current athletes today. It’s clear why he will always be remembered as one of UCLA’s greatest players – Tracy Murray truly was one of a kind.
Ed O’Bannon – The Rebounder
Ed O’Bannon is one of the best UCLA NBA players of all time. As a rebounder, he was a force to be reckoned with. He could grab boards on both ends of the court, outmuscling opponents and crashing the glass with authority. His athleticism and tenacity made him an excellent rebounder and a key contributor for his teams:
• He led the team in rebounding three times during his career • He grabbed double-digit rebounds in almost 30% of his games over nine seasons • He had five games with 20 or more rebounds during his career
O’Bannon was also an effective scorer off putbacks and hustle plays near the rim. His ability to grab offensive boards and finish at the rim gave his teams second-chance points in big moments. These efforts helped him make All-Rookie Second Team honors and become a key piece for numerous teams throughout his career.
O’Bannon’s contributions on both ends of the court were invaluable, making him one of UCLA’s top NBA players of all time. His tenacity on defense was matched only by his relentless pursuit on offense, giving teams extra opportunities to score points when they needed it most. With these skills, Ed O’Bannon will always be remembered as one of UCLA’s greatest basketball legends ever to play in the NBA. Transitioning now to Michael Warren – the scoring machine – who is another great example of UCLA alumni excelling in the Association.
Michael Warren – The Scoring Machine
Michael Warren is a name synonymous with UCLA basketball and NBA success. He was the scoring machine that set records for both the Bruins and the Los Angeles Lakers. Warren’s dominance on the court was unquestioned, as he led the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons from 1984 to 1986. He was also an All-Star for three years in a row and won two championships with the Lakers.
Warren was an absolute force on the court and his presence could be felt whenever he stepped on the hardwood. He was a fierce competitor who had no fear when it came to taking shots or attacking the basket. His ability to score at will made him one of the most feared players in the game during his heyday. He also had a remarkable ability to stay healthy throughout his career, playing in 836 games during his twelve-year career.
Warren’s accomplishments on and off the court are undeniable, making him one of UCLA’s greatest NBA players of all time. His impressive skill set, coupled with his never-ending dedication to excellence, make him one of basketball’s legends whose legacy will never be forgotten.
The UCLA Bruins have undoubtedly produced some of the greatest NBA players of all time. From Bill Walton to Russell Westbrook, each of these players have made their mark in basketball history. They’ve won championships, set records, and inspired generations with their talent and determination. As a collective, they represent the spirit of UCLA – excellence in competition and a commitment to success.
These players can serve as role models for anyone looking to achieve greatness in the world of sports or any other field. Just like them, we too can aim high and strive for excellence no matter the odds against us. The legacy left behind by these greats should be an inspiration to us all, showing us that hard work and dedication are essential ingredients for success.
Through their accomplishments on the court, UCLA’s all-time greats have become part of basketball folklore. Whether it’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook or Russell Westbrook’s explosive dunks, these legendary figures will forever be remembered by basketball fans around the world. With each generation bringing new stars from this university to join their ranks, there’s no doubt that UCLA will continue creating legends for years to come.