Basketball players, and indeed competitors across all athletic fields, carry a badge of honor for their birthplaces. It could be their home state, the neighborhood they grew up in, or the area code they associate with; there’s always a noticeable desire to represent one’s beginnings.
The same holds true for the fan base. There’s an added thrill in supporting a player who shares your state lines or even the same local stomping grounds, especially when that athlete plays for the team you root for above all others.
Bearing this in mind, we scoured through NBA.com to extract the home states or, in some instances, the home countries of every player listed on the active rosters of each team.
Our findings included 44 players originating from the state of California.
NBA Players from California
Below is a list of all 44 players on NBA rosters at the commencement of the 2023 season, detailing their hometowns and the respective teams they represent.
|Jrue Holiday||Los Angeles||California||Boston Celtics|
|Spencer Dinwiddie||Los Angeles||California||Brooklyn Nets|
|Kenyon Martin Jr.||Los Angeles||California||Philadelphia 76ers|
|De’Anthony Melton||North Hollywood||California||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Lonzo Ball||Anaheim||California||Chicago Bulls|
|DeMar DeRozan||Compton||California||Chicago Bulls|
|Evan Mobley||San Diego||California||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Isaiah Mobley||San Diego||California||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Jarrett Allen||San Diego||California||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Ausar Thompson||Oakland||California||Detroit Pistons|
|Damian Lillard||Oakland||California||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Brook Lopez||Los Angeles||California||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Robin Lopez||Los Angeles||California||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Miles Norris||San Francisco||California||Atlanta Hawks|
|Onyeka Okongwu||Los Angeles||California||Atlanta Hawks|
|LaMelo Ball||Anaheim||California||Charlotte Hornets|
|Jaime Jaquez Jr.||Irvine||California||Miami Heat|
|Kevin Love||Santa Monica||California||Miami Heat|
|Delon Wright||Los Angeles||California||Washington Wizards|
|Peyton Watson||Beverly Hills||California||Denver Nuggets|
|Justin Holiday||Mission Hills||California||Denver Nuggets|
|Aaron Gordon||San Jose||California||Denver Nuggets|
|Jaylen Clark||Riverside||California||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Jordan McLaughlin||Pasadena||California||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Josh Christopher||Carson||California||Utah Jazz|
|Johnny Juzang||Los Angeles||California||Utah Jazz|
|Klay Thompson||Los Angeles||California||Golden State Warriors|
|Russell Westbrook||Long Beach||California||Los Angeles Clippers|
|James Harden||Los Angeles||California||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Kawhi Leonard||Los Angeles||California||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Jordan Miller||Anaheim||California||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Paul George||Palmdale||California||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Norman Powell||San Diego||California||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Gabe Vincent||Modesto||California||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Christian Wood||Long Beach||California||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Chimezie Metu||Los Angeles||California||Phoenix Suns|
|Keita Bates-Diop||Sacramento||California||Phoenix Suns|
|Kessler Edwards||Glendale||California||Sacramento Kings|
|Jordan Ford||Citrus Heights||California||Sacramento Kings|
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||Alameda||California||Dallas Mavericks|
|Amen Thompson||Oakland||California||Houston Rockets|
|Jalen Green||Merced||California||Houston Rockets|
|Jake LaRavia||Pasadena||California||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Ziaire Williams||Lancaster||California||Memphis Grizzlies|
Here is a closer look at a few of the standout players from the state of California:
Kawhi Leonard has established himself as one of the NBA’s premier two-way players. Leonard grew up in Moreno Valley, California, and showcased his basketball talents at Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, leading his team to a 30–3 record in his senior year and earning the title of California Mr. Basketball.
He played two seasons of college basketball for the San Diego State Aztecs, earning consensus second-team All-American honors as a sophomore. Leonard was drafted 15th overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers but was traded to the San Antonio Spurs on draft night.
Known for his exceptional defensive skills and large hands, earning him the nickname “The Claw,” Leonard is a two-time NBA champion, a five-time NBA All-Star, and has received seven All-Defensive Team selections. In 2021, he was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
Klay Thompson is recognized as one of the greatest three-point shooters in NBA history. The son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson, Klay was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and later in Ladera Ranch, California, where he attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School.
At Santa Margarita, he led his team to a Division III State Championship appearance and set a state finals record with seven 3-pointers in a game. Thompson played college basketball for the Washington State Cougars, where he was a two-time first-team all-conference selection in the Pac-10.
Drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Thompson, alongside Stephen Curry, formed the “Splash Brothers” duo, known for their record-breaking three-point shooting.
A four-time NBA champion and five-time NBA All-Star, Thompson has also been successful internationally, winning gold medals with the United States national team in both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Damian Lillard, born in Oakland, California, is known for his clutch performances, earning the nickname “Dame Time.” Lillard began his high school career at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, California, and eventually transferred to Oakland High School, where he excelled and led the team to a 23–9 record as a senior.
Despite being only a two-star prospect, Lillard accepted a scholarship offer to play for Weber State University in Utah. He earned third-team All-American honors in 2012 while playing for the Weber State Wildcats.
Lillard was drafted sixth overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and was unanimously voted the NBA Rookie of the Year. He is a seven-time NBA All-Star and has been selected for the All-NBA Team seven times, the only player in Trail Blazers history to achieve this feat.
From the local courts of California to the gleaming hardwood of NBA arenas, these players carry with them a piece of their home state, a testament to the talent and determination that California instills in its athletes.
Whether they are rookies making their debut or seasoned veterans known by every fan, the pride of California continues to shine on the national stage. To the fans back home, these players are more than just athletes; they are local heroes, each with a story that resonates with the dreams of young ballers across the state.
As the season unfolds, we will watch their stories develop further, cheering for not only the skills they display but also the communities they represent. The spirit of California basketball is alive and well in the NBA, and perhaps, in the cheers of the crowd, the players can hear a little bit of home calling back to them.