Five Days of List-Mas: Five Best NBA players from New York

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
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Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The five best NBA players ever to come out of New York.

Dajuan Coleman and Omar Calhoun are standout basketball recruits who are headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. New York has a long history of sending top high school players to the NBA. But who's been the best? Here's our list of the five best players from the Empire State to play in the NBA.

5. Bob Lanier
Credentials: And so your history begins with one of the NBA's best big men. Lanier played at Bennett before moving on to star at St. Bonaventure University, averaging 29.1 points and 16.0 boards as a senior. The Detroit Pistons drafted him first overall in 1970 and he didn't disappoint, becoming a monster in points (20.1 ppg) and on the glass (10.1 rpg) in 14 seasons with Detroit and Milwaukee. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.


4. Nate "Tiny" Archibald
Credentials: Archibald had big game for somebody just 6-1 and 150 pounds. After starring at DeWitt Clinton, he went to play at UTEP in Texas, where he put up 21.6 points per game. The Cincinnati Royals drafted him 19th overall in 1970. His best years came in Kansas City, where he once averaged 34 points and 11.4 assists, and Boston, where he helped win the 1981 NBA title. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

3. Bob Cousy
Credentials: Known to most as the first magician with the basketball, Cousy played his high school ball at Andrew Jackson before enrolling at Holy Cross. There he averaged 15.4 points in four years, leading the Boston Celtics to draft him third overall in 1950. Cousy teamed with some of Boston's greatest players to win six NBA titles while leading the league in assists eight times. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.

2. Julius Erving
Credentials: Dr. J first used his high-flying moves at Roosevelt High before playing at UMass, where he averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds. He first played in the ABA for the Virginia Squires and New York Nets, winning two titles before joining the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers in 1976. While dunking on every cat in sight, Erving won the 1980 MVP, a NBA title in 1983 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Credentials: The NBA's all-time leading scorer netted his first meaningful points at Power Memorial before enrolling at UCLA. There, he became arguably the greatest college player ever, averaging 26.4 points and 15.5 rebounds despite the NCAA outlawing dunks to slow him down. The player then known as Lew Alcindor was drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 and went on to win the 1971 NBA title alongside Oscar Robertson. He then was traded to the Lakers in 1975 and won five more rings with Magic Johnson as well as a league-record six MVPs. Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 career points and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

Tomorrow: Wild Card! Check back tomorrow to find out what our list is.

Brandon Parker covers New York for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter@brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

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