Ever since the earliest existence of the National Basketball Association, Seattle has already been a hotbed of hoop talent. It has long established itself as a place where passion for the game carries well across communities, serving as a great nurturing ground for athletes to come into their own. So, it should come as no surprise that there is an abundance of NBA players from Seattle that left a lasting impact in the game over the years.
With that being said, here is a list of several notable players from Seattle that have and continue to leave a mark on the premier basketball league in the world.
With over a hundred annual festivals, there is no shortage of celebrations in Seattle. And no one seems to reflect that dazzling side of the city on the court better than Jamal Crawford, a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year who never fails to ignite the crowd whenever he picks up a basketball.
For starters, Crawford, who has played for nine professional teams over the course of two decades, has one of the slickest handles in the history of the game. A testament to this is his moniker, J Crossover — a nickname that dates back to his time at Rainier High School in Seattle, where his flashy, dribble-centric playstyle began to draw attention. His signature move is a shake-and-bake stunner, wherein he dribbles behind his back towards one direction before shifting to the other side through a hop.
In the game where Jamal Crawford is a masterful ball handler, Zach Lavine, one of the notable NBA players from Seattle, is an unparalleled high flyer. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard is a two-time Slam Dunk champion in the NBA, where he draws oohs and aahs from the crowd with his airborne artistry. From windmills, tomahawks to free throw line dunks, you name it! He has the physical makings and the talent to pull it off with the greatest of ease.
Make no mistake, though, Lavine is more than just a dunker on the court. He has a reliable jump shot, an elite handle package, and a scoring mentality to produce a basket whenever needed, making him the focal point of the Chicago Bulls offense in recent years. Without a doubt, he is a star from Seattle that you should keep an eye on for years to come.
Speaking of dunkers from Seattle, who could ever forget Nate Robinson? Standing at 5-foot-9, Robinson’s height paled in comparison with the rest of the league during his playing years, but his athleticism, skillset, and determination more than made up for it. The biggest proof of this is his three NBA Slam Dunk Contest trophies.
Beyond the dunk showcases, the former University of Washington standout was a spark plug for every team he played for, delivering the goods both on offense and defense despite the height disadvantage.
If there is anyone on this list that could relate to Nate Robinson’s hardships in the face of taller competition, that person would be Isaiah Thomas. His height only measures up to 5 feet 8 inches, as per The Players’ Tribune. Still, despite the disadvantage, the diminutive guard made the most out of his frame by relying on speed and shiftiness, even dominating the league when he was with the Boston Celtics while playing at the pink of his health.
Injuries have derailed his career right after his stint with Boston, but his heart for the game remains as strong as ever. So, do not be surprised if this small hooper from Seattle soon makes a resounding comeback and puts the league on notice yet again.
Brandon Roy’s NBA career may have been put to a screeching halt due to a slew of injuries, but the time he had spent in the league was more than enough to remind everyone that Seattle hoopers are the real deal.
Manning the helm of the Portland Trailblazers in his time, the 6-foot-6 Seattle native was a spitfire guard that can score in a plethora of ways. He proved to be an offensive juggernaut, standing his ground against premier scorers in the likes of Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant, who once claimed that Roy had “no weaknesses in his game.” Upon his physical decline, his name became a constant shoo-in among the biggest what-ifs in league history.
In stark contrast with Brandon Roy’s short-lived, six-season career in the NBA, Jason Eugene Terry played a total of 19 seasons, spanning from 1999 to 2018. He was as reliable as they come in the guard position throughout his stint, bringing marksmanship on the offensive end, tenacity on the defensive side, and a great sense of leadership in every team he suited up for.
Terry, one of the most notable NBA players from Seattle, who is often called by many as the JET based on the initials of his name, stayed true to his moniker, soaring as high as the league’s mountaintop when he and the Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks captured the title back in 2011. He also won NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2009. So, there is no denying that Seattle proved to be the wind underneath his wings.
Making the most out of his lanky, 6-foot-6 frame, Doug Christie emerged as a defensive stalwart in the NBA. He was a shooting guard that can produce buckets when he gets into his spots while embracing the role of clamping up opposing players. The willingness to impact the game on both ends of the floor allowed him to last in the league for 15 seasons.
More than his longevity in the league, Christie, who was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics before playing for seven other teams, cracked into the NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams in the early 2000s. Safe to say, he is one of the finest defenders Seattle has ever produced.
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Every basketball enthusiast knows that it takes a disciplined and skillful hooper to thrive in the system of Greg Popovich and his San Antonio Spurs. So, it goes without saying that Dejounte Murray fits the bill.
The University of Washington product was drafted into the league in 2016 by the Texas-based team. Since then, he has blossomed as a proficient defender that can also make his presence felt in the offensive department. Despite having suffered a torn ACL in his third season, he regained his bearings in the subsequent season, proving to be an instrumental piece to the Spurs’ humming, pass-heavy offense.
Kevin Porter Jr.
One of the well-known NBA players from Seattle is Kevin Porter Jr. He may be the youngest player on this list, but his performances on the court in recent times have been nothing short of remarkable, much to the delight of the basketball community in Seattle. One particular outing that cemented his place as one of the city’s promising products is his unreal double-double performance with the Houston Rockets against the Milwaukee Bucks, where he put up a whopping 50 points laced with 11 assists.
It was a performance fit for the history books, as the 21-year-old became the youngest player to record 50+ points and 10+ assists in a single game.
Speed, size, and athleticism. Tony Wroten, one the most notable NBA players from Seattle, had it all as a guard in his time in the NBA. He was a nightmare matchup for most players in his position, owing to the fact that he is a 6-foot-6 player who often plays the point. In other words, he has the physical edge over most guards in the league, making life hard for opponents to defend and score on him.
Aside from that, Wroten, who won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in his time with the University of Washington, can open the floodgates of scoring with his elite offensive arsenal. He has polished handles that can bust out a plethora of combo dribbles, a reliable jump shot, and a quick first step to penetrate even the toughest defense.
Resiliency. That had been the name of the game for Martell Webster when he was still wading the waters of the NBA. After all, he not only battled against formidable foes throughout the course of 10 seasons but also had to deal with a slew of injuries that could have sent anyone to a downward spiral.
In his run, the 6-foot-7 Seattle native, who was one of the last high school players drafted in the league, embraced the role of small forward and shooting guard. He suited up for three NBA ball clubs, all of which received a boost in firepower for his scoring exploits that revolved around precise marksmanship.
During his run as a basketball athlete, Marvin Williams, one of the most notable NBA players from Seattle, made his presence felt on and off the court. The 6-foot-8 hybrid forward emerged as a solid contributor for every team he became a part of, be it a rebuilding squad or a playoff contender. This rings true during his time as an amateur and as a pro hooper. He was a stalwart that can deliver the goods on offense, impact the game on defense, and crash the boards for rebounds.
However, the most impactful contribution he has ever dished out as a player came in the way of the community. He’s not one to shy away from extending a helping hand to the people, culminating in two Jason Collier Memorial trophies in Atlanta.
Though undersized in a league where height is might, Aaron Brooks let loose scoring outbursts when given the chance. Standing at 6-foot, the Seattle native served as an offensive spark plug for the majority of his career. He was a capable guard that can torch defenses from inside and out, enough to consider him a self-starting scoring machine.
A crushing Achilles tear has put him on the sideline in recent times, but he has found a way to contribute to the sport by becoming a two-way liaison for his former mentor Tom Thibodeau and the New York Knicks. He is assisting the rejuvenated ball club at the NBA and G-League levels.
Easily the tallest man on this list, Spencer Hawes is a towering stalwart from Seattle that commanded constant attention down the shaded area of the NBA. During his run in the big league, he posed a threat on both ends of the floor for big men as a center. His skillset and versatility, though, allowed him to fill up the power forward position when a team’s need arises.
A quick look at Hawes’ game would reveal that he is not afraid of contact and his fundamentals are as solid as it gets, drawing comparison to Spurs great Tim Duncan. So, if you are a Seattle native who is in search of a big man to pattern your game, the 7-foot-1 athlete is the one to look up to — in a literal and figurative sense.
When it comes to scoring at will in the NBA, Rodney Stuckey was just as good as anybody on this list, if not better. He was a high-volume scorer that can create shot opportunities on his own. His offensive potential was even put to the test early in his career when paired with a scoring machine in Allen Iverson in Detroit, which turned out great for him at that time as the competitive edge brought his game to greater heights.
Make no mistake, though, the 6-foot-5 guard was more than just a bucket. He can also do a little bit of everything, distributing the ball and snagging down rebounds on any given night. His career, however, hit a snag after injuries marred his game. This resulted in his departure from the league, which also kept him from making a comeback.
Last but not the least on this list of notable NBA players from Seattle is none other than Donald Earl “Slick” Watts. A legend in his own right, the 6-foot-1 point guard brought flare to the sport unlike no other. For one, he was an undrafted player who proved that hard work, determination, and self-belief can put anyone in a prime position for success. Proof of this is when he etched his name in the annals of sports history as the first player to ever lead the league in assists and steals in the same season.
Beyond the statistics of the game, though, Watts became a player to remember because of his personality, which reflected in the way he presented himself on the court. For those with no idea, he was the iconic player who shaved his head and donned a headband at an angle. It was a statement that rippled throughout generations, an impact of self-expression which can still be felt in the present age. Talk about “Slick”!
Seattle truly is a city of basketball. The game continues to grow in every corner of its streets, and these notable NBA players from Seattle that played and continue to represent the city in the NBA have given their people — young aspirants, in particular — hope and inspiration to realize their dreams through the sport.