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How many North Carolina players have won an NBA championship? Tar Heels’ history and achievements explored


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The North Carolina Tar Heels have produced some of the finest NBA talent in the country over the last six decades. The Tar Heels have 50 NCAA Division I team national championships under their belts in eight different sports, which is eighth all-time. Along with that, they have an additional 52 individual national championships.

But when it comes to the league and its champions specifically, UNC also has a fair few of those. Tar Heels’ athletes being drafted into the NBA dates way back to Lennie Rosenbluth in 1957, who was the sixth overall pick that year.

But how many UNC players have won the NBA title?

How many UNC players have won the NBA championship?

The Tar Heels basketball program has had some of the best results over the last few decades. They have churned out outstanding basketball talent, with 15 players in their history who have gone on to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy.

The most recent player to track onto this pattern was small forward Harrison Barnes, who won the ring with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. The other names in the 15-player list aren’t that bad, either.

Quite obviously, the biggest name on this list is Michael Jeffrey Jordan, who not only won the NBA championship multiple times with the Chicago Bulls but also went on to become arguably the greatest player ever to play the game. Drafted in 1984 as the third overall pick, Jordan won the title six times, being named the Finals MVP on all six occasions.

Other notable names on the list include Bob McAdoo and James Worthy, two of the finest players of the 70s and the 80s, respectively. McAdoo was the league MVP in 1975, winning the title twice (in 1982 and 1985). Meanwhile, Worthy was a vital part of the show-time LA Lakers in the late 80s, winning three championships (in 1985, 1988 and 1989).

But Worthy isn’t the only UNC player to win three titles. Most recently, former San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green also joined the list when he helped LeBron James and the Lakers win the title in the bubble in 2020.

The other names:

  • Billy Cunningham
  • Charles Scott
  • Bobby Jones
  • Rasheed Wallace
  • Mitch Kupchak
  • Tommy LaGarde
  • Kenny Smith
  • Rock Fox
  • Pete Chilcutt
  • Brendan Haywood

Among the current crop of players, Day’Ron Sharpe and Cole Anthony are the most recent draftees into the NBA. However, Nassir Little, currently on the Phoenix Suns, has the most likely chance of joining the players mentioned above as he continues to battle it out alongside the Suns’ big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

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