The NBA is the best league in the world. Nearly every basketball player"s dream is to play on the large stage, and also there is nobody bigger than the NBA. The football player on this list have a wide variety of

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The NBA is the biggest league in the world. Almost every basketball player"s dream is come play top top the large stage, and also there is nobody bigger than the NBA. The football player on this list have actually a wide range of factor for no playing in the NBA. Some died tragic deaths, got into the drug world, if others believed that castle were better fits on the roads of brand-new York City. Everything the reason, these players can have been perennial All-Stars in the biggest league in the world. Part players also turned under the opportunity. Ago when the ABA to be around, it was a legitimate choice for aspiring pro basketball players. Players today additionally have the option of going to Europe or Asia come ply their trade if lock deem the NBA life is also demanding.

several of these football player you may have heard of yet I"m sure few of these players will surprise you. Even if it is they have actually played professionally overseas or simply played in college and also pickup games on the streets, or also in prison, the biggest players that never ever played in the NBA could have been good anywhere lock played. Without more delay, below are the greatest football player that never played in the NBA.


Haynes is really the dad of dribbling. That is claimed that he can dribble the ball 6 time in one second. That played because that the Harlem Globetrotters and also started his very own team called the Harlem Magicians. The played because that 46 years professionally however I think it"s pretty apparent that the wouldn"t have had the very same career longevity had he play in the NBA. Through the end of his career, Haynes was approximated to have played over 12,000 games. Regardless of never playing v the world"s elite, in 1998 he to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball room of Fame. Haynes passed away last year in ~ the period of 89. His tradition on the video game of basketball will constantly leave behind the question of "what if Haynes had actually pursued one NBA career?".

How great was the on the court? wilt Chamberlain, arguably the best of all time said: "I could do noþeles on the basketball court, however I could never execute what that did."

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Joe Hammond collection Harlem"s Rucker Park record by scoring 82 point out in a solitary game. Hammond determined the NBA life wasn"t for him by decreasing an sell from the Lakers. He was a huge drug dealer and also thought he would certainly make an ext money act that than playing in the NBA. The only place drug dealing take it Hammond was to prison.

"I to be stupid for not signing, yet I loved the highways too much, and also I figured I could play sphere in mine spare time," stated Hammond to the new York Times. "The streets are wherein I spent most of mine time, and that"s whereby I made every one of my money."

There space still legends the Hammond through crazy stories like lighting increase Dr. J for 50 clues in the second half of a Rucker Park game, yet there is no proof. If he really did do every one of these things, that is clear the he can have remained in the NBA.


13 13. Angelo Cruz

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Angelo Cruz was a Puerto Rican that overcame the court in NYC. He to be a quick guy yet he might play with the best of them. He had a big rivalry with Nate Archibald and also played versus Drazen Petrovic. He average 15 points and also 5 assists per video game in Puerto Rico. He played in two FIBA human being tournaments, including the 1986 and also 1990 games in Spain and Argentina.

Cruz retired from basketball in 1993 and found a job at Yankee Stadium, whereby he befriended Jose Valentin.

Cruz went lacking in 1998 and has never ever been viewed since. However, he lives on to this particular day in the storage of plenty of basketball fans around the world. His family created a scholarship in his surname in 2011. The Cruz family members is tho seeking answers concerning Angelo"s loss nearly 20 years ago.

it will constantly remain a an enig as come what his possible NBA career might have to be like.

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everyone knows LeBron James" dominance at the high college level and he was intended to be an NBA superstar prior to his career even started, however I"d bet you don"t understand who Lenny Cooke is. Allow me call you, Lenny Cooke to be a player the was a year older than LeBron, and also was actually ranked higher. He truly was a good player but when he played LeBron in ~ the 2001 ABCD camp, LeBron conquered him and also Cooke shed aspirations come play in the NBA and also that began his life under the dorn path.

Cooke looks earlier on whereby his life went and says the for therefore long, that hurt the to also watch a video game of basketball. “At an initial it to be difficult,” that told the new York Times. “I saw males I prospered up playing with, males I was better than. I couldn’t watch anything LeBron would perform — understand what ns saying? I thought I should have actually been where he is.”


11 11. Dejan Bodiroga

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Bodiroga play his entire career overseas. He has played in numerous different leagues and also has won an ext than his fair share the MVP awards. His career is emphasize by his tenures in Yugoslavia, Italy, Spain, and Greece. His ideal season was v Panathinaikos in 2001 once he averaged 20 points and 5 rebounds every game. He to be drafted by the queens in 1995 through the 51st pick however never ended up coming over and also never played for them. Nicknamed, "White Magic" had a ton that hype roughly him once it appeared he was collection for the NBA. Bodiroga could"ve offered as a solid player at the NBA level if he want to.

"He was an unbelievably tires player for his age," said his old coach Bogdan Tanjevic. "He was a really generous man, always worried about the team. He had actually no selfishness in him... It to be a privilege to have actually him on my team."

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Ed Smith was a streetballer and gangster. Standing at only 5"10, naught on the basketball court was provided to him, he had to work-related for every shot. Smith even had a movie made about him once he to be 17 year old called "Soul in the Hole." His ball-handling and his pass abilities room what he is famed for. You may be saying, "how an excellent could he be, that was only a streetball player," well Sports shown thought that he was an excellent enough to grace the covering of your magazine. Over there is no doubt the Ed Smith can have play in the NBA if the wasn"t associated in the drug game.

Teams gained scared the the possibility of signing Smith, because he was out front about his backup plan if the NBA didn"t work out: “I think that as soon as I stated that if i didn’t do the NBA I’d be a medicine dealer, people got scared of that,” claimed Booger. “But it to be a real story. I mean, that’s what ns was going to do. Go they desire me come lie and also say ns was going to be an architect or something? i don’t regret saying it. She just told me to be myself, however I never ever really liked acquiring too much attention.


9 9. Theodoros Papaloukas

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Theodoros Papaloukas was considered the world"s best playmaker through some. When that may be a stretch with men like man Stockton and Magic Johnson on this earth, Papaloukas was definitely an amazing playmaker. In two separate seasons, "Greek Magic" led the league in assists as a 6"6 shooting guard/small forward. Papaloukas is a basketball legend that would fit in the NBA as an important spark turn off of the bench. Papaloukas went undrafted in the 1999 NBA draft which currently seems crazy.

There"s no doubt the Papaloukas is a legend in the game of basketball end in Europe and also it"s a dead he never gained a possibility in the NBA. Papaloukas stated that part of why he prospered to be so effective that he always was playing through a chip on his shoulder: "I to be never taken into consideration a first-class player as soon as I to be young. Ns was a good player, but there were constantly players better than me on my teams. That situation always gave me an ideas to work difficult to try to make it come the top."

If you space a fan of the Euroleague or Greek organization you surely know and are probably a fan of Dimitris Diamantidis. The EuroLeague legend played for Panathinaikos Athens for his whole 12-year career. His achievements are endless and also he has actually won ripe Greek league championships. Dimitris has won 6 Greek organization MVPs was also the "Greek Athlete the the Year" in 2007. Dimitris go undrafted in the 2002 NBA draft, but that was prior to word was out that he can play ball. I"m sure that if teams had actually a do-over, the would have actually been drafted.

Diamantidis stood for the Greek nationwide team on several occasions and also even won the FIBA Eurobasket Championships in 2005. He made a great living for self over in Greece, as Panathinaikos paid him millions of Euros. It simply goes to show you the just because you don"t make it in the NBA, it doesn"t average you can"t have a an excellent basketball career.


7 7. Nikos Galis

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we come to another Greek player, albeit a Greek-American. Galis was painted together the greatest scorer in europe history. That"s specifically what that was, a scorer. He had every facet come his scoring the you can think of. Galis would conquer the Greek league, winning 5 MVPs and also finishing together the league"s height scorer on 11 occasions. In 2007, Galis was inducted right into the FIBA room of Fame, which mirrors you how revered he remained in the game.

To put in view how great of a scorer that was, there are stories that Galis play Michael Jordan and dropping 50 ~ above him. Currently there are no videos of this or factual evidence, that is possible. Galis had actually a killer mentality as with Jordan. It would certainly be great to go ago and watch the two of them go at it. Ns still have actually my money ~ above Jordan however.

Benji Wilson was just a kid from Chicago. He was supposed to it is in the best basketball player the city the Chicago ever before produced. He yes, really was special. He was the #1 high college player in the country and he was marketed as "Magic Johnson with a jump shot". Wilson was 6"7 and he might play lot of positions much like Magic. Then one day right near his high school, Wilson was shot and killed. The civilization got robbed of a substantial talent. His loss to be mourned through the entire city that Chicago and the entire civilization of basketball mourned together they every knew just how huge of a star he was going to be. His fatality remains among the many tragic in all of sports history.

It"s painful to think about how good he might have been.


5 5. Hank Gathers

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Gathers to be a Philadelphia hoops legend that played because that Loyola Marymount. He and also Bo Kimble led your high-powered offense. Gathers to be a dominant college player. He was the 2nd player in D1 background to command the NCAA in scoring and also rebounding in the same season. He was projected to be the very first overall pick in the NBA draft. Unfortunately, this entry is one more case of tragedy.

Gathers, who was being treated for a love condition, happen out during a game on march 4, 1990. Tragically, that passed away later on that evening at simply 23 years old. His story is damaging as he was a fine guy destined for NBA stardom. His brothers Derrick recalls just how beloved Hank was. "Really, the died before his time," Gathers said. "I really desire them to understand that if he had actually stuck around, the would have blessed a the majority of the youth. He to be a giving guy."

Earl Manigault was another guy who got caught up through the not correct crowd. That was together gifted as could be and even scored 57 clues in a center school basketball game. Manigault gained recognition native greats in ~ Rucker Park such as Connie Hawkins and also Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, that went as far as to say the he to be the greatest basketball player castle had ever before played against. Legend has actually it that "The Goat" had actually a 52" upright leap, which would certainly be 4" greater than Michael Jordan"s NBA-record 48. The was famous for gift able to grab coins indigenous the peak of the backboard. With these hops, Manigault surely would"ve been an extremely popular player throughout the NBA.

Manigault arisen a heroin addiction in Harlem and spent several years behind bars early on in his adult years. He turned under an chance to play v the Harlem Globetrotters, electing to start his own summer tour. Manigault"s health and wellness eventually began to deteriorate as result of heart problems and in 1998, he passed away at the period of 53.


3 3. Oscar Schmidt

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Oscar Schmidt was merely the greatest Brazilian basketball player ever. He additionally played a section of his job in Italy and also Spain. The 6"9 Schmidt is thought about by numerous to it is in the ideal basketball player to never ever play in the NBA. He has unofficially score 49,737 job points, top in history. Through such an remarkable scoring ability, it"s tough to think that Schmidt couldn"t have had actually a role in the NBA, also if his career synchronized with the NBA"s many star studded years. Schmidt to be in truth drafted by the Nets in the 6th round that the 1984 draft, however turned under a spot in the NBA to continue playing in Brazil.

He play 29 professional seasons (1974-2003), the longest professional career on record. Additionally, the is the just basketball player ever before to score 1,000 points in the Olympics. Schmidt was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball hall of reputation in 2013.

urine Wee Kirkland to be a streetball legend. He almost invented every move you view in the NBA, the spin move, the crossover and also the 360 dunk. The Bulls drafted him in 1969 however he turned under their offer due to the fact that he might make an ext money hustling unsuspecting ballers, and also selling drugs. Kirkland obtained in trouble with the law, yet that didn"t protect against him from play basketball. Kirkland play in the prison league at commonwealth Correctional Institution, La Tuna. It was reported that number of times the scored an ext than 100 points in a game. He was unstoppable yet he never wanted to be in the NBA because he did just fine top top his own. That rolled as much as Rucker Park gamings in a rolfes Royce.

Today, Kirkland is 71 years old and also has come to be a motivational speaker, trying to inform children of his previous mistakes and how they can learn indigenous his errors.


1 1. Len Bias

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Len predisposition is most likely someone that you have actually heard of. When predisposition was at the university of Maryland, he was supposed to be among the biggest NBA players of every time. The even drew comparisons come Michael Jordan. Predisposition was the second overall pick in the 1986 draft, taken by the Boston Celtics, yet he never put ~ above a Celtics jersey. He never ever put on any type of team"s jersey for that matter. The job after he to be drafted, bias overdosed top top cocaine. His death was yes, really a wake up up call for every one of America, as cocaine was at its optimal in consumption, yet Bias"s death highlighted the risks of it.

He would certainly have had an immediate influence and arguably be the best player top top the Celtics roster. His fatality was a real tragedy, not just for his family and the Celtics, yet hoops pan everywhere.

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