The University of California Golden Bears men’s basketball team is one of the many great programs of the Pacific-10 Conference. Cal has been to the NCAA Tournament 16 times, the Final Four three times, and they have won one national championship. The best NBA players from the University of California include two of the top point guards in NBA history: Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson.
Future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd is the greatest active NBA player from the University of California. Kidd led the Golden Bears to the NCAA Tournament in each of his two collegiate seasons before entering the NBA as the second overall pick of the 1994 draft by Dallas. He began his career by sharing the 1995 NBA Rookie of the Year Award with Grant Hill. Kidd earned his first All-Star selection in 1996 before being traded to Phoenix where he became a perennial All-Star and the best point guard in basketball.
Kidd led the NBA in assists for the first time in 1999 and he did so five times in a six-year stretch. When he joined the Nets in 2002, he turned one of the worst teams in basketball into a a team that reached back-to-back NBA Finals. He led the Nets to the playoffs six straight times and they haven’t been back since trading him to Dallas in 2007. The Nets’ all-time assists leader, Kidd trails only John Stockton on the NBA’s all-time assists list with a career total of 10,923 entering the 2010-11 season. His 2,343 steals are up to fourth in NBA history. The ten-time All-Star and ten-time All-Defensive guard has career averages of 13.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 2.0 steals per game through 16 seasons.
Former All-Star point guard and current Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson was a top NBA player from the University of California. Johnson was drafted by Cleveland with the seventh overall pick in 1987, but like Kidd he became a great player in Phoenix. In his first full year with the Suns, Johnson averaged 20.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 12.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game to win the 1989 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
Johnson spent nearly a decade as the Suns’ starting point guard while earning five All-NBA honors and three All-Star selections. He averaged double-digit assists for four straight seasons and notched a career average of 9.1 per game, the seventh highest in NBA history. KJ played 12 seasons and amassed career totals of 13,127 points, 2,404 rebounds, and 6,711 assists. He retired in 2000 as the Suns’ all-time assists leader.
One of the best recent NBA players from the University of California, one-time All-Star forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim spent 12 seasons in the pros from 1996 to 2008. Abdur-Rahim was drafted by the Grizzlies entering their second season in existence and he instantly became their franchise player. He averaged more than 20 points per game in four of his five seasons with the Grizzlies including a double-double year of 20.3 points and 10.1 rebounds in 1999-00. Later an All-Star with the Hawks, Abdur-Rahim totaled 15,028 points, 6,239 rebounds, and 2,109 assists in the NBA.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended University of California. Basketball-Reference.com