30 Best basketball players who NEVER played in the NBA

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Can you name the 30 Best basketball players who NEVER played in the NBA?

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1Center. 1968 ABA ROY, 2x ABA MVP, 3x ABA Champion. Number retired by The Pacers. Will be enshrined to the Basketball Hall of Fame this year.
2Forward. At 6'8, had the quickness, ballhandling and passing of a guard. Played college ball at Long Island University. Led the nation in scoring his senior year in 1951 with 27.7 pts/g. Was easily on pace to break the nation all time scoring record. Destined to be a top pick or NY territorial pick in the 1951 Draft. Caught in the LIU point shaving scandal, was banned for life from the NBA and recieved the harshest penalty from all players involved, serving a 9 months prison sentence due to racism. 1950 2nd Team All American. 1951 Sporting News 1st Team All American despite not finishing the year. Would have been a monster in the 50's and the first player of his kind in the NBA, a bigger Maurice Stokes before Maurice Stokes.
3Forward. Maryland Star. 1st Team All-American. N°2 pick of the 1986 NBA Draft. Died two days later from cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose.
4Center. Kentucky Star. Widely considered the best college center in the nation his Junior season in 1951. Averaged 19.2 points and 17.3 rebounds. Dominated Hall of Fame Forward/Center Clyde Lovellette on a regular basis in college. Would have been drafted early (n°1 ?) in the 1952 NBA draft, one of the weakest ever. Banned for life from the NBA due to the Kentucky point-shaving scandal. Convicted without proofs, only on guilty players testimonies. Claimed his innocence and screamed for injustice until his death in 1995. Would have battled George Mikan and Neil Johnston for best center in the game during the 50's.
5Shooting Guard. Russian Legend, flag bearer at the 1980 Olympics. Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. Named Best FIBA player ever by FIBA in 1991. 1969 Euro Basket MVP, 1970 World Cup MVP, 3x Euroleague MVP. 1972 Olympic Champion, top scorer in the final against the US. Shutdown defender, fantastic ballhandler with great court awareness, he's considered the best Russian player ever.
6Shooting Guard/ Small Forward. Played college ball at Utah State. Heading into his senior season was always mentioned alongside Rick Barry, Bill Bradley, Gail Goodrich and Billy Cunningham, 4 hall of famers, when devising All-American teams. Holds Utah State records for career pts/g (26.7), pts/g in a season (33.7), pts in a game (52), and rebounds in a game (28). Averaged 33.7 points and 13.7 rebounds per game his senior season, second leading scorer in the nation behind Rick Barry. AP first team All American. Though two years younger, averaged 35 points and 9 boards against Joe Caldwell, the 1964 NBA Draft n°2 pick. N°1 target of the Lakers before the draft. Heading into the last game of the season against Denver University, he needed 47 points to reach the exclusive 2000 college points mark and scored 48. Just two hours after the game, on his way back to the campus alongside his roommate and two teammates, he stopped at the scene of a car accident near campus. While crossing the street, Wayne brushed aga
7Guard. Legendary LA street ball player. Drafted in the first round by the Sixers in 1973. Scored 73 in a game at LA State. In rookie camp he dominated Doug Collins, the 1st pick overall that year, by scoring 60 points in the 1st half. The 2nd half was called off by coach Gene Shue. Scored 56 on defensive stud Michael Cooper ten years later in a 1983 Summer Pro League game. Never played in the NBA due to a contract dispute. Marques Johnson : 'Without exception, the best player ever to come out of L.A.'
8Guard. Greek-american, played his college career at Seton Hall. 3rd leading scorer in the nation his senior year. Drafted by the Celtics in 1979, Celtics legend Red Auerbach later said that the single biggest mistake he ever made in his career was not keeping Galis. Then refused to play in the NBA to maintain his 'amateur' status. FIBA Hall of Fame inaugural member. 11x Greek League top scorer. 4x Eurobasket Top Scorer. 8x Euroleague Top Scorer. Scored 50 on Michael Jordan during a 1983 Greece - North Carolina game. FIBA World Championship single game scoring record (53) and career scoring average record. Averaged 32.8 pts/game for his career (40 minutes games)
9Forward. Nicknamed 'The Bank'. Played college ball at Loyola Marimount. He was the second player in NCAA Division I history to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding in the same season, averaging 32.7 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. Highly efficient player, rarely shot beyond 10 feet. Most scouts and GMs in the NBA penciled him as a first round pick for the 1990 NBA Draft. Despite standing at 6-7 his heart and hustle routinely allowed him to outplay most, including young freshman phenom Shaquille O’Neal where he dropped 42 points and 18 rebounds on the then 7-1, 296 pound future NBA superstar. WCC Player of the decade for the 80s. Averaged 28 points while shooting 59% from the field for his career. Consensus 1990 second team All America. On March 4, 1990, while playing in the West Coast Conference tournament semifinal against Portland University, he started sprinting, celebrating on the floor after a thunderous alley-oop dunk. But suddenly, he collapsed and medical personnel rushed in. His b
10Shooting Guard/ Small Forward. Brazilian Legend. FIBA Hall of Fame. One of the most gifted scorers ever, but couldn't defend a chair. Unofficially considered to be the all-time leading scorer in the history of basketball. Refused to play in the NBA to maintain his 'amateur' status. 7x Italian League Top Scorer. 3x Olympic Games Top Scorer (1988, 92, 96). All-time career leader in points scored in the FIBA World Championship. Scored 46 on the David Robinson led US team in the 87 Pan American games. Olympic Games single game scoring record (55 against Spain in 88). 'If I have one guy guarding me, I’m free. If I have two, maybe I am free. That’s the way I think my whole life.”
11Croatian center. Played college ball at Brigham Young University, where he converted to mormonism. Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. First foreign player to garner an All American selection. Fantastic passer and shooter from the Center position. 1970 and 1978 World Champion, 1980 Olympic champion. 1971 and 1975 Eurobasket MVP. In 2006, became the second player to have his number retired by BYU (after Danny Ainge). Turned down NBA and ABA offers to keep on playing for his country.
12Street Basketball player. The Goat. NYC junior High School record (57 points). 6'1' guard with a 50 inches vertical leap. Amazing dunker and shooter. Famous for his 'double-dunk', a left handed then a right handed dunk in one jump. Expelled from school for smoking marijuana. Played with some of the best players of his day, such as Earl Monroe, Connie Hawkins, Willis Reed and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. When Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and had his number retired, he was asked who was the greatest player he had played with or against. After a long silence, he answered, 'That would have to be 'The Goat''.
13Guard/Small Forward. ABA Star. All time ABA playoff leader. Number retired by the Pacers. Banned from the NCAA and NBA because of a connection with a point shaver.
14Serbian Shooting Guard. 1981 and 1982 European Player of the year. Scored 41 points in the 1979 Korac Cup final with Partizan Belgrade. 1978 World Champion, 1980 Olympic Champion. 1982 World Championship Top scorer. FIBA Hall of Fame. Named Best athlete of Yugoslavia of the 20th century.
15Forward. Yugoslavian League Top scorer of the 60's, 7x Yugoslavian League scoring champion, Italian and Belgian League scoring champion, 3x Eurobasket top scorer. Holds the highest single game Euroleague scoring record (99 points in 1964). A Power Forward in Europe, he would have played small forward in the NBA, but his agressiveness to the basket and marvelous shooting skills would have made him a deadly scorer in the NBA. Died in a car crash in 1969, one of the European Cups was named in his honor.
16Power Forward/Center. All American at Drake University. 'Broadway Joe Namath of the ABA'. Known for his 'mod' lifestyle and owning exotic pets (including a lion, a boa and an ocelot). 4x ABA All Star. 2x ABA Champion with the Pacers. 16 pts/g and 9 rebs/g in his ABA Career. Great help defender. Only basketball player ever to have played for both teams in the same game (Spurs and Pacers in 1973).
17Point Guard. Played college ball at Bradley. Fantastic passer, was drafted first overall by the Baltimore Bullets in the 1951 Draft despite his diminutive size (5-foot-8). Reached the NIT and NCAA tournament, losing both times to n°22's CCNY. AP 1951 First Team All American, considered one of the two best offensive players in the country. Banned for life from the NBA for the 1951 NCAA point-shaving scandal.
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18Point Guard. Greek legend. Widely considered the best Euroleague point guard ever, ahead of Sarunas Jasikevicius. A 6-foot-5 PG, he can also play the shooting guard position, and plays as a point forward for the Greek national team. Played 39 of the 40 minutes in the Greek upset of the Lebron led USA Team in the 2006 World Championship semi-final. 2x Euroleague Final Four MVP. 5x Greek League MVP. 6x Euroleague Defender of the Year. Widely considered the best european perimeter defender of all time.
19Forward. Bosnian Legend. European Player of the Year 1977, 78, 80. Nicknamed Praja. Scored 48 pts with Partizan against Bosna Sarajevo in the 1977 Korac Cup Final. 1978 World Champion and 1980 Olympic Champion. Basketball Hall of Fame. Turned down NBA teams to keep on playing with Yugoslavia.
205 feet 10 Oakland street ball legend. Nicknamed 'Hook'. Subject of the documentary film 'Hooked', from 2003, a must see. Fantastic dunker and one-on-one star. He is considered by many NBA players from the Oakland area who played against him (Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Antonio Davis, Brian Shaw and Drew Gooden) to be the greatest player to never reach the NBA.
21Small Forward. Serbian Legend. True Point Forward. Amazing Passer. 2x Euroleague Final Four MVP (2002, 03). 1998 FIBA World Championship MVP.
22Forward. Played college ball at the City College of New York, the only team to win the NCAA and NIT Championship in the same year, he was the MVP of the NIT tournament. Blessed with a quick step, body control, and toughness that few could match. He was on track as a 1952 first round draft pick with most NBA teams rumored to be eyeing his talents, including the Celtics. Banned for life from the NBA for a point-shaving scandal.
23Guard. Nicknamed 'Benji'. First player in Chicago history to ever be named top high school player in the nation in 1983-84. In his 1985 recruiting class he was perceived to be better than Glen Rice, Danny Ferry, Sean Elliott, Pervis Ellison, Rod Strickland and Roy Marble - all who went on to have NBA careers. Gunned down at the age of 17 in 84. Nick Anderson, Juwan Howard and Derrick Rose have been wearing n°25 in the NBA in honor of 'Benji'.
24Guard. Bosnian Legend. Led Bosna Sarajevo to the Euroleague Title in 1979. 1978 World Champion and 1980 Olympic champion. Amazing ballhandler with a wide array of fakes, great defender with quick hands. FIBA Hall of Fame. Bosna Sarajevo renamed its arena in his honor. Voted one of Real Madrid 5 best players of all time (alongside Drazen Petrovic and Arvydas Sabonis).
25Center. Italian legend, considered the best italian player of all time. Basketball Hall of Fame. 2nd European to be drafted in the NBA, with a late round pick in 1970. 3x European Player of the Year. Played in 10 consecutive Euroleague Finals. 28 years professional career. Played against his son, an international, in the Italian League.
26Guard. 1969 ABA ROY. 1969 ABA Finals MVP. Changed his name to reflect his african roots.
27Guard. 'The Flying Mexican'. One of the first athletic guards to play in Europe, he was way ahead of his era. In 1970, he was the first player from an international league to be drafted to the NBA, when selected by the Atlanta Hawks, one round before his teammate, the Italian legend of this list. He never signed with the Hawks as they couldn't buy out his 35000 $ contract. 3x Euroleague winner, he averaged over 20 pts/g in two different Olympics (1968 and 1972). Quick, agile, with a deadly shot, he was one of Europe top scorer throughout his career and would have been good in the 60s NBA.
28Center. Considered the 2nd best Soviet center of all time. 1979 European player of the year. Fairly mobile for his incredible size (7-foot-3 and 310 pouns), he was a fantastic team defender and rim protector. Effective post moves on offense, and amazing shooting range for his size. Would have been a good center in the NBA. 1982 World champion.
29Shooting Guard/Small Forward. Nicknamed 'the Lebanese tiger'. Qualified Lebanon 3 times for the World Championship in the 2000s. Incredible scorer, intelligent passer. Considered by some to be too slow to play guard, to small to play forward in the NBA, but Michael Jordan disagrees. Michael Jordan's personal trainer Tim Grover personally invited him to work out with Michael Jordan, Michael Finley, Ray Allen, Charles Oakley, Sam Mack and Juwan Howard. They were all very impressed and told him he should be in the NBA. Jordan was quoted in Time Magazine that 'he may be the strongest player at the moment we just need to see him play in the NBA against players like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan... and I'm sure he'll impress us big time. I personally see that he may even be able to achieve results against me (laughs)'.
30Small Forward/Power Forward. Russian Legend. Very good finisher, good defender. 6 feet 10 with great length, an amazing wingspan and fantastic quickness for his size. Terrorized european defenders with his unique skill set. Would have had to bulk up for the NBA. 1982 World Champion.
HMCenter. 7-foot-8 'Great Wall of China'. Highly responsible for the development of basketball in China. Yao Ming looked up to him as he did with Wilt Chamberlain. Could dunk without jumping. Part of the Bayi basketball team that beat the NBA champions Washington Bullets twice in the 1978 offseason. Would have been drafted in 1972, but no teams would engage in talks with a player from communist China at the time.
HMShooting Guard. Lithuanian Legend. Absolutely deadly, robotic 3-Point shooter, knew how to get open. 1982 World Champion and 1988 Olympic Champion with USSR. Only non-NBA player to participate in the NBA All-Star Three Point Contest in 1989, invited as the best european shooter. Finished dead last though, with the NBA 3 point-line further than the FIBA one.
HMCenter. At 7-foot-3, he was the first giant center dominating under the European baskets. 3rd most popular Soviet basketball player of all time (behind Arvydas Sabonis and another member of this list). 3x Silver medalist at the Olympics in 1956, 60 and 64. Slow footed, he was still a mountain of a man and a fantastic rim protector, while his post moves were simple but very efficient due to his size. He was a rare good FT shooting center, averaging close to 90% over his career, shooting in a very unusual way, from his belt. Led Riga to three consecutive Euroleague titles from 1958 to 1960. Would have been a useful player in the late 50s NBA.
HMHarlem Globetrotters Legend. Many consider him the premier ballhandler who ever lived, and his game influenced players such as Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich, and Fred 'Curly' Neal. Played for the Globetrotters from 1947 to 1953, while the NBA was a white boys league. Upon leaving in 1953, he turned down a $35,000 a year offer from the Philadelphia Warriors that would have made him the second-highest paid player in the NBA, to found his own barnstorming team, the Harlem Magicians. Kept playing with the Magicians until he was over 60 years old.

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Created Aug 29, 2012ReportNominate
Tags:Basketball, NBA, 30 Best, fiba, player