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MORE SPORTS | Mar 21

Basketball Players With Both NBA and NCAA Championships

Interestingly Enough, Not Many Players Have Achieved This Feat

Basketball Players With Both NBA and NCAA Championships
Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats - Ronald Martinez/Getty Images via AFP

March Madness Elite

It’s become very rare for modern players to hoist a trophy in both sports.

The NCAA tournament is upon us and we’re going to watch a lot of future NBA players try to join an exclusive club. Over the last decade or so, there haven’t been as many top prospects who are playing for the top programs in NCAA men’s basketball.

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Last year’s No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama didn’t even play NCAAB games. In fact, the list of players who won a championship in NCAA basketball and in the NBA is quite exclusive. We’re going to tell you about some of the most iconic players who won a trophy in both sports.

 

Basketball Legends

You can’t talk about players who were legendary in both college and the NBA without mentioning Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He won three NCAA championships at UCLA and then another six in the NBA. There’s an argument that he’s the greatest winner in basketball history.


The only player who has won more is Bill Russell, who has 11 NBA championships and two at the NCAA level at the University of San Francisco. Basketball was a lot more competitive during Abdul-Jabbar’s reign but there’s no denying that Russell had the NBA and NCAA on lockdown during his prime.

We would also be remiss to not talk about Michael Jordan. Before he won six championships with the Chicago Bulls, he won an NCAA championship with North Carolina. Magic Johnson also had a similar career as he won one NCAA championship in college and another five once he went to the NBA.


What’s interesting is that many of the greatest old-school players won NCAA championships and NBA championships. James Worthy, John Havlicek, and Bill Walton are also part of the exclusive club.

 

Currently in the NBA

However, it’s become very rare for modern players to hoist a trophy in both sports. In fact, there are only two players who are currently on an NBA roster who have won both trophies and they used to be teammates.

Lakers star Anthony Davis won a championship at Kentucky and then was able to win an NBA championship with Los Angeles. Danny Green won a North Carolina and was part of the same Lakers team when Davis won his NBA championship. It’s pretty wild how few modern players have been able to win it all at both levels.


It just shows how far the college game has fallen with the rise of international players. This isn’t great college basketball news and there may need to be some changes if there are going to be more players who have success at both levels.

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