The state of Virginia has always been extremely tied with Basketball, especially during the good old days when this beautiful sport was still taking shape, with youngsters from all over the state hitting the YMCA and school yard to spend hours and hours balling with his buddies.
Over the course of history, this state has provided some top-tier athletes that have taken both the ABA and the NBA for assault, leaving their blueprint in the history of this game we all love and cherish so much.
Today, we’re going to let you know who are the best 10 players ever to lace them up that were born in the state of Virginia, as well as giving you a couple of history lessons along the way. So buckle up and enjoy!
Honorable Mention: Skeeter Swift
10. Joe Smith
Joe Smith spent 16 seasons as a pro, born and raised in Norfolk, VA. The big man made it to the 1995-96 All-Rookie squad and even though he wasn’t the most skilled guy in the post, he had a very decent career for the Warriors, Sixers, Wolves, Pistons, Bucks, Nuggets, Bulls, Cavs, Thunder, Hawks, Nets and Lakers.
Despite not being able to find a consistent home, Joe Smith was always productive no matter where he was, posting career averages of 10 points, 6.4 rebounds and almost 2 dimes per game in over 45% from the floor at either forward spot and center as well.
9. Johnny Newman
Johnny Newman was an instant offensive spark off the bench no matter where he played, and he could torch opposing defenders with great ease as a guard / forward, constantly being in the Sixth Man of the Year considerations despite never actually taking home the accolade.
Through 15 seasons, Newman played for the Cavs, Knicks, Hornets, Nets, Bucks, Nuggets, and Dallas Mavericks, averaging 11 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game with 0.9 steals in 46% shooting and over 33% from three-point territory.
8. Jimmy Walker
Durability was an issue for Jimmy Walker but he still managed to play for 9 seasons in the league, retiring at 31 years old after making it to a couple of All-Stars due to his incredible scoring ability at both guard spots.
Walker was a fierce offensive player that could light it up in a huge variety of ways, averaging 16.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game to go along with 1.1 steals on 46% from the floor on an era where the three-pointer wasn’t a factor, playing for the Pistons, Rockets and Kansas City Kings
7. Gerald Henderson
Most young basketball fans are pretty likely to think this Gerald Henderson is the one that was still playing not so long ago, but we’re actually talking about his father, Gerald Henderson Sr; a three-time NBA Champion who played for the Celtics, Sonics, Knicks, Sixers, Bucks, Pistons and Rockets between 1980 and 1992.
Over that 12 year span, Henderson was a major factor off the bench for each one of those squads, being mostly remembered for a clutch steal against James Worthy before hitting the game-tying shot and helping Boston win a couple of rings before winning another with the Rockets despite barely touching the hardwood. Through his career, the point guard averaged almost 9 points and 4 dimes.
6. Jerome Kersey
Jerome Kersey was one of the most underrated scorers in the Association during his prime, torching defenders at Rip City with averages of over 19 points, 8 boards and a trio of dimes per game during his time at Portland.
Eventually, he would go on to win the 1998-99 NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs, but truth to be told, his contribution to the title was pretty much nonexistent. Still, he averaged 10.3 points and almost 6 rebounds per game through 16 seasons. On February 18, 2015, Kersey died suddenly at the age of 52.
According to the Wikipedia: Just days prior to his death, Kersey underwent knee surgery. On the day of his death, he left the Trail Blazers' Rose Quarter office because he was not feeling well. Medical examiners linked his death to a blood clot that traveled to his lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
5. Dell Curry
Long before Stephen Curry, there was Dell Curry, a fundamental piece of the “good” Charlotte Hornets, and a guy that had one of the quickest releases in the nation, so you can tell where Steph got his talents from.
Playing for the Jazz, Cavs, Hornets, Bucks and Raptors, Curry managed to win the 1993-94 Sixth Man of the Year, posting career averages of 11.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 dimes per game on 45% from the floor and 40% from three, as well as being the father of a 2 time NBA Champion and MVP.
4. Bob Dandridge
Not many people remember Bob Dandridge, but he was one of the most versatile and dominant scorers in the league during basketball’s early days, winning a couple of NBA Championships, making it to 4 All-Stars and even to one All-Defensive squad.
The Greyhound played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Bullets between 1970 and 1982, averaging 18.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in almost 50% from the floor with a 16.7 PER at the small forward spot.
3. Alonzo Mourning
Now that we reach the podium, we’ve got to talk about Alonzo Mourning, one of the strongest and most dominant players down low in the history of the game, constantly making the most of his physical presence to get the best of the matchups with his rivals, and you just couldn’t get past him without paying the price.
Mourning won a couple of Defensive Player of the Year awards and made it to 7 All-Star games as a two-way star. Throughout his career, he played for the Hornets, Heat and Nets, winning a ring with Miami and averaging 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game as a power forward and center, also making it to the Hall of Fame.
2. Moses Malone
Moses Malone is actually all-time leading scorer born in Virginia, recording almost 30 thousand career points over his 20 years professional career for the Utah Stars, Spirits of Saint Louis, Buffalo Braves, Rockets, Sixers, Bullets, Hawks, Bucks and Spurs, and he was one of the most influential players of his generation.
Big Mo was a dominant beast in both ends of the floor, and he managed to win 3 MVPs, 1 Finals MVP, make it to 13 All-Stars and 2 All-Defensive squads, as well as winning a Championship with the Sixers. Through his career, the Hall of Famer averaged 20.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
1. Allen Iverson
And obviously, Allen Iverson, AKA the Answer, has to be the most talented player ever to be born in Virginia, growing up on a very tough environment that shaped him into the controversial athlete he was throughout his career, and considered to be one of the most skilled players in the history of the game.
The Hall of Famer was the face of the Philadelphia 76ers and made two generations fall in love with this game, posting career averages of 26.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 steals and 2.2 steals per game, winning 4 Scoring Titles, the Rookie of the Year and 1 MVP despite never being able to take home an NBA Championship.