All-Time New York Basketball Team


Brett Jassey, Sports Editor

Going a bit outside of my comfort zone here. Usually I write about fantasy football, but with a bit of time here before my next article, I’m gonna go for a passion piece that has been on my mind. What is the greatest possible all-time lineup of basketball players from the New York area? 

Let’s begin with the starting lineup, led by Head Coach Red Auerbach (from Williamsburg, Brooklyn)…

PG: “Tiny” Nate Archibald (South Bronx, Bronx)

Archibald grew up on the basketball courts of the South Bronx and Harlem, quickly becoming a star in the New York basketball scene. He would attend Texas Western and enroll a year after that legendary March Madness run. He built a great career, especially with the Kings and Celtics organizations despite his small stature—he was 6’1—and was elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Averaging 18.8 points and 7.4 assists throughout his career, he’s the best point guard New York has to offer, and can be a great leader for this hypothetical team.  

SG: Stephon Marbury (Coney Island, Brooklyn)

Marbury is the second piece in this small backcourt. At 6’2, the Brooklyn native was a baller. Most of his playing career actually took place in the New York area, between both the (then) New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks. Marbury didn’t have the accolades of a guy like Nate Archibald, but he averaged a cool 19.3 points and 7.6 assists per game in his career. He can be a nice piece alongside Archibald. 

SF: Chris Mullin (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)

Mullin grew up in NY, and then stayed here for college, playing at St. Johns in Queens, where he became one of the best college basketball players ever, leading the Redmen to the Final Four in 1985. His success continued into the NBA with the Warriors and Pacers throughout his sixteen year career, in which he was a five-time All Star and a member of the USA’s Dream Team. His 18.2 points per game at a spectacular 51% field goal percentage throughout his career will provide much needed scoring and height to our team.

PF: Julius “Doc J” Erving (Roosevelt, Long Island)

Arguably Long Island’s greatest player ever, Erving gained notoriety playing on courts in Nassau County and New York City. He would eventually prosper for a great sixteen year career across the ABA and NBA, in which he played for a few years in New York for the Nets. He would win four MVPs, three championships, and additionally be an All Star every year of his career. At 6’7, he’s slightly undersized as a power forward but makes up for that by averaging a loaded 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals a game.

C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Harlem, Manhattan)

Kareem grew up in the projects of Harlem, back when he was known as Lew Alcindor. He dominated NYC high school basketball and established himself as a youth in New York City. Afterwards, he would obviously become one of the greatest basketball players ever, winning six championships and MVP awards while averaging 24.6 points, 11.2 boards, 3.6 assists, and 2 blocks a game. A case can be made for him to not only be the best bigman ever, but the greatest player ever, and he would surely be the focal point of this team. 

Now, onto the bench unit…

G: Bob Cousy (St. Albans, Queens)

Cousy grew up all around Queens in a poor family. He would grow to be one of the greatest point guards in the early era of professional basketball, being a crucial part of six champion Celtics teams.
G: Kenny Smith (Corona, Queens)

Smith grew up in NYC and would later play with Michael Jordan at UNC. He would have a ten year NBA career across various teams and is now a member of Inside the NBA on TNT. He’d be a nice guard off the bench.
F: Bernard King (Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

King was a great player out of Brooklyn, including three stints on NYC-area teams (Knicks, Nets x2). His 22.5 points per game would provide a big scorer with established success off the bench as this team’s sixth man.
F: Tobias Harris (Dix Hills, Long Island)

Tobias Harris is a current player for the 76ers, but he has had a solid career across the league. The LuHi and Half Hollow Hills alum would provide height and a knack for scoring off the bench.
C: Joakim Noah (Lenox Hill, Manhattan)

Joakim Noah was a great grit-and-grind player, especially for the Bulls in the mid-2010s. He was not a natural scorer, but his presence on the glass and in the paint makes him a great backup center for this team.

Honorable Mentions (born in New York, grew up elsewhere, a.k.a not native New Yorkers):

  • Michael Jordan (Brooklyn, New York -> Wilmington, North Carolina)
  • Carmelo Anthony (Brooklyn, New York -> Baltimore, Maryland)
  • Donovan Mitchell (Elmsford, New York -> Greenwich, Connecticut)