Basketball is a big part of LDS culture, what with a basketball court in so many buildings. And some of our players have made it to the game’s biggest stage: the NBA. Let’s look back at the best Mormons to ever be drafted into the NBA.
Danny was chosen by the Boston Celtics in the 2nd round, 31st overall in 1981. He was the second person in NBA history to hit 900 three-point shots. Today he continues to work in the NBA as the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations.
Tom was chosen by the San Diego Clippers in 1981 with the 8th pick. In his rookie year he was the team’s top scorer. He is also known for defying gravity
Shawn carries the distinction of being tied as the highest drafted Mormon ever. He was selected #2 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 93 draft. Shawn never lived up to his initial billing but still played a long, productive career
, reaching #16 on the league’s all time blocks list.
Thurl Bailey came into the NBA as an NCAA champion, fresh off one of the greatest cinderella runs in the history of college basketball. He was selected 7th overall by the Utah Jazz and played an efficient career, averaging over 19 points per game for two seasons. Although Thurl was not a Mormon when he was drafted, he converted later on in life
Greg was selected 21st overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1983 draft. He won two championship rings in 1987 and 1986.
Devin was selected by the Indiana Pacers, 25th pick in 1984 draft. In July, after finishing a mission in Texas, he will start his service as the second counselor in the general presidency of the Sunday School
Michael was picked 13th overall in 1989, when he was 24-years-old, and played two seasons with the Boston Celtics.
Mark “Mad Dog” Madsen
Mark was picked up in the first round, 29th overall pick in 2000 by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was on the team when they won championships in 2001 and 2002.
Travis was drafted in the 2nd round 37th overall in 2003 by the Hawks. He went on to found the Sunshine Heroes
, a foundation that funds and runs different projects that help children all over the world live better lives.
James “Jimmer” Fredette
Jimmer was drafted #8 in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2011. When he was traded to the Sacramento Kings the sales in their merchandise
went up 540 percent.
Jabari Parker was drafted #2, tied for the highest of all the players on the list. He won Eastern Conference Rookie of the month honors, his first month in the league, and then went down with a year long injury.
He’s had a rebound Sophomore campaign improving his all-around performance and was chosen for the Rising Stars Challenge of the league’s best first and second year players.