Five Days of List-Mas: Five Best NBA Players from North Carolina


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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 North Carolina.

Rodney Purvis and Braxton Ogbueze are standout basketball recruits who are headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. North Carolina 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 Tar Heel State to play in the NBA.

5. Dominique Wilkins

Credentials: Arguably the greatest dunker ever in games and dunk contests (He got robbed by the No. 1 player on this list in 1988!), Wilkins played prep ball Washington before moving on to the University of Georgia. There, he averaged 21.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in three seasons and was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks that same day. With the Hawks, 'Nique soared his way to career averages of 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and who knows how many dunks per game. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

4. Sam Jones

Credentials: This Laurinburg Institute alum stayed close to home by enrolling at N.C. Central, where he had an impressive four-year career. The Celtics drafted him in the first round in 1957 and he went on to win 10 championships and become one of the best shooting guards of his time. (They don't call him "The Shooter" for nothing.) After being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, Jones was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.

3. Pete Maravich

Credentials: Pistol Pete played at Edward Military Institute after growing up under the careful tutelage of his father Press. Maravich went on to average a record 44.2 points (No, that's not a typo) during his career LSU and was drafted in third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 1970. His majestic passes and high-scoring ability led to 10 impressive seasons in the league before dying of a heart attack at age 40, just a year after he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

2. James Worthy

Credentials: Big Game James started his clutch play Ashbrook before taking his talents to UNC. There, he won the 1982 NCAA title, thanks to a shot by some kid named Jordan but Worthy was the tournament MOP. He was drafted first overall by the Lakers in 1982 where he was a key piece to "Showtime" and won three titles in his 12 seasons. Worthy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 and named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.

1. Michael Jordan

Credentials: The Laney High alum is the GOAT. Nuff said.

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

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