Five Days of List-Mas: NBA Players from Michigan


Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

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 Michigan.

Matt Costello, Denzel Valentine and James Young are all standout basketball recruits who are likely headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. Michigan has sent its share of school players to the NBA. But who’s been the best? Here’s our list of the five best players from the state to play in the NBA.

5. Kevin Willis

Credentials: Born in Los Angeles, Willis graduated from Detroit Pershing in 1980 and went on to Michigan State before being drafted No. 11 overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Willis played more than 1,400 games in his NBA career, won an NBA title in 2003 and made one All-Star game in 1992. He scored more than 17,000 points and had nearly 12,000 rebounds.

4. Glen Rice

Credentials: A 1985 graduate of Flint Northwestern, Rice spent four years at Michigan and won an NCAA title before being drafted No. 4 overall by the Miami Heat in the 1989 Draft. Rice won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000 and played in three All-Star games, being named All-Star MVP in 1997.

3. Chris Webber

Credentials: Webber graduated from Detroit Country Day in 1991 and spent two years at Michigan before being selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Orlando Magic. Webber went on to win the Rookie of the Year award, make five All-Star teams and make one All-NBA First Team. He retired with more than 17,000 points and more than 8,000 rebounds.

2. George Gervin

Credentials: The 1970 graduate of Detroit Martin Luther King went to Eastern Michigan. He wasn’t selected until the third round (No. 40 overall) but went on to be a nine-time All-Star (and a three-time ABA All-Star), a four-time scoring champ and a Hall-of-Famer. He finished his career with more than 26,000 points.

1. Magic Johnson

Credentials: Earvin “Magic” Johnson graduated from Lansing Everett in 1977 and went on to Michigan State before being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson won 5 NBA titles, won three MVP awards and played in 12 All-Star games. He is currently in the NBA Hall of Fame.

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