In honor of the Nets moving to Brooklyn, I am in the process of putting together a list of the Top 25 basketball players of all-time from Brooklyn.

Before you start coming up with names, here’s the criteria:

The player had to either live in Brooklyn and/or play high school basketball in Brooklyn (for 2 years).

If you were born in Brooklyn and moved away like Michael Jordan and Carmelo Anthony, you are not eligible.

If a player lived in Brooklyn and attended high school outside of Brooklyn, that is fine. If the player lived in the other 4 boroughs and attended high school in Brooklyn, that too is acceptable.

The top 25 list will be based on their overall career. Not just what they did in grammar school, AAU, high school or the schoolyards. I’m not looking for a guy who was a park legend. We’ll leave that to Slam Magazine.

We’re looking for the top players over the long haul from the greatest city in the world!

Feel free to suggest/nominate anyone you like.




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41 Responses to BROOKLYN B-BALL

  1. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    Stephon Marberry?? You can’t beat having a contract signing party in Junior’s. ( I think he did ) 🙂

  2. johnnyboy says:

    lenny wilkens

  3. johnnyboy says:

    bernard king
    doug moe
    ed conlin

    • hoopscoach says:


      Great choice with Ed Conlin; the pride of St. Michael’s HS.


      • johnnyboy says:

        conlin played for the Syracuse Nationals and during the off season he would play at the 83rd st playground just up the block from Ft.Hamilton High.
        my uncle use to go there every Wednesday and play against him and John Andres, the knick announcer,who I believe also went to St. Michaels

  4. jimmy vac says:

    Chris Mullin, Lenny Wilkens, Connie Hawkins, Bernard King, Doug Moe,
    Marbury, Albert King, Dick and Al McGuire

  5. jimmy vac says:

    Honorable mention: Chuck Connors better known as “The Rifleman”,,, first man to take down a backboard.. played a few years in the NBA. also played MLB….

    • hoopscoach says:

      Connors is a good name; I think he went to Adelphi HS. But again, his pro career lasted 1 year. Looking for Brooklyn players that had solid years at the pro level…

  6. Mr. Guest says:

    Mike Dunleavy, Billy Cunningham, Roger Brown Mark Jackson Pearl, Albert King Rolando Blackman and, if you are talking about life achievment…….Red Holtzman.
    Chuck Connors also played for the Dodgers. He was related to my dad’s cousin

    • hoopscoach says:

      Mr. Guest,

      Love your selections. But numbers-wise, Pearl may not make the Top 25. Sure he had great HS and college years but his numbers in the NBA were not as impressive.

      Thanks for your input.

  7. Dan Mahoney says:

    Great names so far ! Cant leave off the “Prince of midair” LLoyd Free or another Canarsie High player John Salley. Armond Hill is on my list too.

    • hoopscoach says:

      Danny, World B. Free put up great numbers – twice he finished runner-up to Ice in scoring. I think Free is going to make 2nd team all-Brooklyn. Salley didn’t score much in the NBA but he defended, rebounded and won! As for Armond, great guy, but will probably be around 20-25ish on list.

  8. Guest 2 - From 10th Ave says:

    What about:
    Sydney Greene Thomas Jefferson High School & All American at UNLV
    Played 10yrs in NBA a couple with the Knicks and also coached at LIU
    Big BKLYN chops……..gotta make the list coach.

    • hoopscoach says:

      Sid is in the running for Top 25…so-so NBA career. Not a big scorer like he was in HS and college. 7PPG and 5RPG in the NBA.

  9. TonyF16thst says:

    What about Kareem Abdul Jabar aka Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor
    Power Memorial H.S.

  10. TonyF16thst says:

    Didn’t realize he was born in Manhattan

  11. David Cullen says:

    It was interesting that someone did mention Rolando Blackman. He was a graduate of Grady, and was the original all-time leading scorer in Dallas Maverick history (not that he had much competition; Aguirre was not there long enough) until Dirk Nowitzki. Did Chris Mullin sit out his junior year when he transferred from Power Memorial to Xaverian? Yes, John Salley came out of Carnesie, but he’s more of a celebrity than a basketball player. Whie he was always just good enough to keep around, I’ll remember him more for his appearances on TV, as a panelist on the more recent version of the Hollywood Squares game show than I will for anything he did on the court, though. A bit of trivia here. I’ve been reviewing some hoops stats and history here. I’ve learned that Wilt Chamberlain (despite some controversial remarks when he got older) was the Michael Jordan of his time, in terms of media publicity. He had a guest appearance on the TV show Laugh-In, when he was winding down his career with the Lakers. The appearance is hysterical. Sammy Davis Jr. was the guest host and the skit includes Sammy Davis (5 ft 4 in tall) in a boxing ring with Wilt (7 feet, 1 in., despite other speculations). In addition, Wilt appeared on the original “What’s My Line” back in 1962 when he was 25 years old after he scored 100 points. Since pro hoops was WAY behing baseball and football in overall popularity at the time, this is pretty impressive.

    I was teaching at Brooklyn Automotive HS when Stephon Marbury was doing his thing at Abraham Lincoln High out on Ocean Parkway. What ever happened to him? He was having a fine career, entering the league at 19 years old, but I don’t remember seeing or hearing much about him after he was about 28 years old. The last time he was in the top in league leaders in Assists when he was 27yo and playing with the Knicks. Always wondered what happened to him. I guess, injuries.

    I’m glad someone mentioned Lenny Wilkens, who was probably under-rated as a player playing in the shadows of Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, but one of the better pure point guards, and a graduate of the old Boys High.

    Excellent post, hoopscoach

    • hoopscoach says:

      Great stuff Dave…

      Marbury was able to score 19PPG in the NBA.

      Made some poor decisions late in his NBA career.

      Hear he is doing fine over in China.

      Heck of a talent.

  12. Dan Mahoney says:

    Just thought of a few more that have noit been mentioned for consideration to your top 25. Happy Hariston and Jim McMillian.

  13. Tom says:

    Connie Hawkins and Sonny Dove.

  14. Tom says:

    Red Auerbach is another worth mentioning.

  15. Jim Rallis says:

    How about Phil Sellers – going with my Brooklyn and Rutgers roots

  16. BL says:

    Funny story about a Pro Brooklyn guy. A few year’s back I’m golfing and meet a real sweet Heart of a guy. He was in his 80’s and was in really good shape for his age. As the conversation finished someone comes over to me and say’s that guy is Sonny Hertzberg he was a Captain on the Knicks. He was also a star at Tilden and CCNY. I’m giving some prop’s to a loooong forgotten Brooklyn Baller.Hertzberg, Sonny

    Sidney Hertzberg

    A legend of the game, Sonny Hertzberg was a member of the New York Knicks in the first season of the Basketball Association of America (the predecessor of the NBA). The Knicks’ first captain and a slick two-handed set-shooter, Hertzberg died in July 2005 at the age of 82, only four days shy of his 83rd birthday. Teammate and fellow NBA alumnus, Ralph Kaplowitz said upon Hertzberg’s death, “He was a top guy, no question. He never gave anybody any trouble. He was always helpful on the court. We’ve been friends since 1945 and would talk every day.” Carl Braun, a member of the 1947 Knicks team, said, “The thing I remember is that he was a very fine person. He had a good set shot and adequate defense, but more important than ball-playing, he was a gentleman.”
    Hertzberg often spoke of his days with the Knicks and said, “Looking back, I’m still thrilled that I was at that first training camp and that I signed with the Knicks. I wanted to play in New York. It was a new major league. It was a game of speed with no 24-second clock when we played. I didn’t know if it was going to be a full-time thing.”

    While the Knicks were getting ready for the opener, college basketball still dominated New York, where teams like CCNY (City College of New York), LIU (Long Island University, and NYU (New York University) were revered. The Knicks gained newspaper notoriety only after they had success scrimmaging the local college teams. With this new-found respect, the Knicks took the train for Toronto to play in what is considered the first game in NBA history. “It was interesting playing before Canadians,” recalled Hertzberg. “The fans really didn’t understand the game at first. To them, a jump ball was like a face-off in hockey. But they started to catch on and seemed to like the action.” The Knicks won the game, 68-66.

    After his pro career, Sonny worked as a scout and assistant coach for the Knicks, then became an analyst for NBC and WPIX television stations. He also worked as Managing Director of Bear Stearns, Inc., a leading New York brokerage firm and watched pro games whenever he could. “I love the sport. Always have,” he told Frederick C. Klein of The Wall Street Journal in an interview on January 12, 2001. “If there’s ever been a better one, it’s escaped my notice.” He regards today’s game with mixed feelings. “Players today get to the basket better than we did, but we took better care of the ball,” he said. “I think we moved it better, too. Before the 24-second clock came in (in 1954), it wasn’t uncommon for everyone on the team to handle the ball before a shot was taken. Today, there’s one or two touches, and up it goes.”

    Into his 80’s, Hertzberg maintained his ties to the game and counselled NBAers on investing and on their post-basketball careers. He was also often asked for autographs, “by youngsters sometimes,” he told Klein. “But when that happens I always look around to see where the kid’s grandfather is hiding.”

    Birth and Death Dates:
    b. July 29, 1922 – d. July 25, 2005

    Career Highlights:
    An all-city star at Samuel J. Tilden High in Brooklyn, New York, Sonny played for the great Nat Holman at City College of New York in the early 1940s. After spending the 1940 season on the City College JV, Sonny started and starred for the Beavers in 1941. Described by Holman as “one of the five best players I ever coached,” Hertzberg teamed with classmate Red Holzman to lead the 1940-41 CCNY team to a record of 15-4 regular season record, including a 47-43 victory over arch-rival NYU in the final game of the season. The victory gave CCNY the mythological metropolitan title and propelled them in the NIT (National Invitational Tournament), the most prestigious postseason tournament at the time.

    In the NIT, Hertzberg helped lead the Beavers defeat Virginia in the first round by a score of 64-35. In the semifinals, Hertzberg was held to three points as CCNY lost to Ohio, 45-43. He then scored two points in the third-place game against Seton Hall, which City won 42-27.

    During the 1941-42 season, Hertzberg was outstanding as he was named first team All-Metropolitan and finished 18th in the Met area in scoring with 143 points. That season, he led the Beavers to a 16-2 record and a second consecutive appearance in the NIT. In the first round, he was held to eight points as the Beavers were upset by Western Kentucky, 49-46. Following the NIT, CCNY played city rival LIU (Long Island University) in an exhibition game and won 42-34.

    After graduating, Hertzberg turned professional and played in the only major pro league in the East at the time, the ABL (American Basketball League). A semi-pro league, the ABL had some of the top players in the country and the competition was fierce. For four seasons, Sonny played for the New York team (called the Jewels, Americans, and Gothams during his tenure with the squad) and was the team’s captain and high scorer. He once scored 38 points in a 40-minute game — this in an era when teams averaged slightly more than 40 points for an entire game! During the 1943-44 season, he led the team in scoring with 9.2 points per game; two years later, he again was the leading scorer with 11.8 points per game.

    Prior to the 1946-47 season, Hertzberg joined a new franchise, the New York Knicks, in a new league called the BAA (Basketball Association of America). The precursor of the NBA, the BAA was the first attempt at a national league and the New York franchise stocked itself with homegrown talent like Hertzberg who fans knew from his exploits at CCNY. The team captain that first season, he helped the Knicks finish with a record of 33-27. In the playoffs, they lost in the semifinals to the eventual NBA champion Philadelphia Warriors, 2-0.

    After being sent to the Washington Capitols the following season, Sonny played in all 60 regular season games, averaged 7.4 points per game, and helped the Capitols win the Eastern Division in 1948-49, with a record of 38-22. In the NBA Finals that year, Sonny and the Capitols lost to the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers, 4-2. In 1949-50, Sonny joined the lowly Boston Celtics, which finished last in the Eastern Division with a record of 22-46. In 1950-51, Hertzberg finished tenth in the league in assists per game (3.8 — a career high), and seventh in free throw percentage (223-270 for 82.3%). The Celtics vastly improved and finished second in the Eastern Division with a record of 39-30. They were swept in the Conference semifinals by the New York Knicks, 2-0. Hertzberg retired following the 1950-51 season after playing in 293 career NBA games.

    Sonny is a member of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, the Old-Timers Basketball Hall of Fame, the City College Hall of Fame, and the National Jewish-American Hall of Fame.

    New York City

    Career Dates:
    Sonny played guard at CCNY, 1940-1942. He played with New York in the ABL, 1943-1946. He played in the NBA with the New York Knicks in 1946-47, the Washington Capitols in 1947-49, and the Boston Celtics in 1949-51.

    Physical description:
    6’0″, 175 pounds

    Career Statistics:
    In the NBA:
    Games: 293
    Points: 2,563
    Points Per Game: 5.9

    Field Goals Made: 946
    Field Goals Attempted: 3,166
    Field Goal Percentage: .299

    Free Throws Made: 671
    Free Throws Attempted: 847
    Free Throw Percentage: .792

    Rebounds: not available
    Assists: 618
    Assists Per Game: 2.1

    Personal Fouls: 619
    Disqualifications: 4 (incomplete record)

    NBA playoffs:
    Games: 18
    Points: 164
    Points Per Game: 9.1

    Field Goals Made: 57
    Field Goals Attempted: 194
    Field Goal Percentage: .294

    Free Throws Made: 50
    Free Throws Attempted: 60
    Free Throw Percentage: .833
    Rebounds: not available
    Assists: 35
    Assists Per Game: 1.9

    Personal Fouls: 55
    Disqualifications: 1 (incomplete record)

  17. jimmy vac says:

    One thing about Salley not a great player but a valuble role player as a defender adn rebounder. Robert Horry and he are the only guys to win three titles with different teams. Horry wound up with 7 rings, most of any non Celtic and Sally won his three plus titles over the 80s, 90s, & 00s.
    FYI: Recently emailed Pete Vecsey complaining about Bernard King not being in the Hall of Fame. He had some nasty things to say about his off court activites. I know he was a HOFer on the court..

    • hoopscoach says:


      Role players are important.

      As for King not being elected to the HOF, he has better stats than Jamaal Wilkes who is going in this summer. It’s a disgrace.

      • David Cullen says:

        Hats off to that guy who knew all those stats about Sonny Hertzberg, one of the forerunners in the NBA. And a Brooklyn guy to boot. People forget that there were a lot of Jewish players in the early NBA. Dolph Schayes comes to mind, but he was a graduate of DeWitt Clinton (Nate Archibald’s alma mater in the Bronx).
        While I respect Robert Horry as a post-season clutch player, it is what is done during the regular season that gets a team INTO the playoffs to begin with. They would criticize Elvin Hayes occasionally for not “showing up” in the playoffs, but if it wasn’t for Elvin’s play during the regular season, the Bullets might not have been in the running to begin with. And that includes their only title in 1978.

  18. Don C says:

    I know he was already mentioned but Armond Hill should be near the top of the list for being the only NBA player evere tocome out of Bishop Ford

    • hoopscoach says:


      Armond was solid; his numbers from the NBA were not enough to make the Top 25 list; he was close.

  19. G Trapp says:

    Bernard King
    Chris Mullin
    Billy Cunningham
    Lenny Wilkins
    Connie Hawkins

    Always open for revision upon hearing of someone I may have forgotten about.

  20. carl manco says:


  21. Lenny says:

    The best Brooklyn HS player I ever saw was my friend Roger Brown who played for Wingate.

    • hoopscoach says:


      Thanks so much for your comment.

      What school did you attend?

      I hear Roger was great in high school.

      Wish I could have seen him play at Wingate.

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