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  NJ's All-time NBA Superstars

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NJ's All-time NBA Superstars
February 2002

As members of teams ranging from the dominant Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s to the 2001 defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey players have made a huge impact on the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn was one of New Jersey's first pro basketball stars. The Union City native won ten championships with the Celtics. Heinsohn played on eight of the championship teams and coached the other two.

In the early 1970s, Hall of Famer Bill Bradley of the New York Knicks won two NBA titles. Before joining the Knicks, Bradley attended Princeton University and was one of college basketball's all-time greats. After his playing days were over, Bradley became a U.S. Senator for New Jersey. Bradley ran for president in 2000 but lost to Al Gore in the Democratic primary.

Cedar Grove's Willis Reed was captain of those New York Knicks teams with Bradley. The Hall of Famer made one of the most dramatic returns in NBA history. Hobbled by injury, Reed limped onto the court for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. While he scored only four points, he inspired his team to victory. Reed coached the New Jersey Nets in 1988 and was Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations for the team.

Newark's Al Attles, who starred at Weequahic High School, had an outstanding career with the Philadelphia/Golden State Warriors. He played for the Warriors for 11 years and coached for 14 years. Attles coached the Warriors to the NBA Championship in 1974-75.

Hall of Famer Rick Barry, a graduate of Roselle Catholic High School, was the playoff's Most Valuable Player during that Warriors championship season (1974-75). The 12-time All-Star was the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA, and NBA in scoring.

Today, sixteen players born in New Jersey are on NBA rosters. Born in Cherry Hill, Mike Bibby of the Sacramento Kings is among the league's top point guards. The Indiana Pacers' Al Harrington, who won a state championship at St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, successfully made the jump to the NBA straight from high school. Paterson's Tim Thomas of the Milwaukee Bucks is one of the NBA's top sixth men.

Finally, there is New Jersey's most famous basketball player, Shaquille O'Neal of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq, who was born in Newark, has been the league's leading scorer, NBA MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and Rookie of the Year. These are just some of his many accomplishments. Shaq is recognized as one of the most outstanding players ever to play the game.

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