NBA players who started their careers in college

Description: Explore the NBA players who began their professional careers after playing college basketball in this article.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), a prestigious professional basketball league in North America, comprises thirty exceptional teams. The NBA players are widely recognized as the most talented basketball athletes globally. Their unparalleled abilities and talents propelled them to household-name status.

Although numerous NBA players presently enter the league straight from high school or pursue a professional basketball career abroad, college basketball has historically played a critical role in fostering future NBA standouts. Aspiring athletes can refine their abilities and attain valuable experience contending against top-tier opponents while advancing their education by participating in college basketball.

The primary objective of this article is to present a compendium of the NBA’s most accomplished players who embarked on their career paths through college basketball while critically evaluating the consequential impact of college basketball on their developmental journeys.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson, a well-known basketball celebrity, rose to prominence as a member of the Michigan State University basketball team from 1977 to 1979. He displayed a surprising degree of ability as a marksman as well as an all-around athlete, which drew the attention of the Los Angeles Lakers. In turn, the Lakers utilized the first overall choice in the 1979 NBA Draft to acquire his talents. As a result, he won three Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and five championships throughout his long NBA career.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird played for State University in Indiana from 1976 to 1979 until the Boston Celtics picked him as the sixth overall discretion in the NBA Draft in 1978. Behind proving himself to be one of the finest shooters and all-around players in NBA history, Bird improved his prominence by winning three championships and three MVP honors over his extraordinary career.

Larry Bird may have faced challenges in finding the right balance between his athletic pursuits and academic responsibilities during his time. However, there are more effective ways to combine sports and studies in the modern era. Aspiring basketball players can order an essay from It can significantly increase their chances of success in upcoming matches by providing more time to focus on academic preparation.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal, the towering athlete, graced the basketball court of State University situated in Louisiana during the years spanning from 1989 to 1992. His time at the university conferred upon him an enviable set of skills, attracting the attention of Orlando Magic, who drafted him as their first pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Throughout his illustrious career, O’Neal went on to clinch four championship victories and a prestigious MVP award, cementing his status as a preeminent center in the annals of the NBA.

However, is it genuinely worthwhile to pursue both academics and athletics simultaneously? We firmly believe that it is. Dropping out of school is unnecessary, mainly if you are still determining your future career path. If you choose to pursue your studies, you can utilize online resources such as free essays online to compensate for any academic performance lost due to your athletic training.

Kobe Bryant

When Kobe Bryant graduated from Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, he didn’t play any collegiate basketball before signing with the NBA. He emerges on this list even though he only had a brief occupation playing college basketball in Italy since the Charlotte Hornets determined him in the 1996 NBA Draft (and then moved him to the Los Angeles Lakers). He won five championships and one MVP award throughout his distinguished career but tragically passed away suddenly in 2020.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant, an exceptional basketball athlete, engaged in the competitive collegiate basketball realm for one academic year under the University of Texas tutelage from 2006 to 2007. Shortly after, he was handpicked by the Seattle SuperSonics, which has now been rebranded as the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the 2007 NBA draft with the second overall selection.

Most enthusiasts widely acknowledge him as one of the world’s top basketball players and hail him for his innate scoring capacity, unwavering shooting precision, and multipurpose court capabilities.

Steph Curry

Steph Curry, a skilled basketball player, was selected by the Golden State Warriors as the seventh overall choice in the 2009 National Basketball Association draft. Before this, the athlete, as mentioned above, focused on honing his basketball skills from 2006 to 2009 while attending Davidson College. In addition, this Davidson College alumnus’ basketball prowess is likened to that of a former professional basketball player Larry Bird.


The significance of college basketball in shaping the careers of NBA players cannot be emphasized enough. College basketball is a pivotal platform for young athletes to cultivate fundamental abilities, contend against top-tier opponents, acquire a deeper understanding of teamwork dynamics, and increase visibility among NBA scouts. Moreover, it allows players to advance their education and develop into well-rounded individuals outside the court.