NBA players love to rep their city. Whenever a fellow athlete from their hometown accomplishes something, you can be sure to see a tweet of congratulations with the area code or the city’s nickname mixed in. Over the years we’ve seen a few cities and their surrounding areas stand out for the quantity and quality of basketball players they’ve produced — namely Chicago, New York and Philadelphia — but what about recently? Which areas are producing the best NBA players right now?

Kevin Durant recently produced a documentary, “Basketball County: In the Water” about the talent coming out of his old stomping grounds of Prince George’s County. It got us thinking about how we might have some preconceived notions about where the best basketball players come from, so we thought we’d take a look.

We looked at major cities and their surrounding areas (tried to stay within an hour in any direction) and found the top NBA players who grew up there who entered the league in the Year 2000 or later. This was a difficult exercise since you can’t go by birth city because people move and, particularly recently, it’s hard to go by high school because players tend to transfer out of their hometown. So it took a little bit of detective work, but this should be a fairly comprehensive list and give us a good sense of where the talent is coming from. Because of the aforementioned reasons, we may have missed a player or two or misidentified a hometown here or there, but surely you’ll let us know in the comments.

We also added the player’s draft year (or the year of their rookie season if undrafted) after their name to get a sense of the trends coming out of each city, town and hotbed. Alright, let’s get going.

16. Portland, Oregon

Top five homegrown players:

  • Kevin Love (2008)
  • Mike Dunleavy Jr. (2002)
  • Terrence Ross (2012)
  • Terrence Jones (2012)
  • Fred Jones (2002)

Other notables:

  • Luke Jackson (2004)

Certainly not the deepest city on the list, Portland has produced some quality NBA talent in recent history. Love is obviously the gem, but Dunleavy and Ross are both solid rotation players — in fact, their career averages are eerily similar.

15. St. Louis, Missouri

Top five homegrown players:

  • Bradley Beal (2012)
  • Jayson Tatum (2017)
  • David Lee (2005)
  • Otto Porter Jr. (2013)
  • Ben McLemore (2013)

Other notables:

  • Patrick McCaw (2016)
  • Loren Woods (2001)

St. Louis doesn’t exactly come to mind when you think of basketball cities, so it might surprise you to see how many players it has produced over the years. Michael Porter Jr. is from Columbia, Missouri (about two hours from St. Louis), so we could include him if we’re being incredibly generous. Similarly, Andre Iguodala is from Springfield, Illinois, about 90 minutes from St. Louis.

14. Greater Toronto Area, Ontario

Top five homegrown players:  

  • Andrew Wiggins (2014)
  • Jamal Murray (2016)
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2018)
  • RJ Barrett (2019)
  • Tristan Thompson (2011)

Other notables:

  • Jamaal Magloire (2000)  
  • Dillon Brooks (2017)
  • Dwight Powell (2014)
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker (2019)
  • Cory Joseph (2011)
  • Anthony Bennett (2013)
  • Nik Stauskas (2014)

The GTA has produced some incredible talent in a very short amount of time, and many of the Canadian athletes credit Vince Carter and the Raptors for establishing a basketball culture in the country. This list would be much more impressive had Bennett lived up to his No. 1 overall selection, but it’s incredibly solid nonetheless, particularly if Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander and Barrett continue to progress. Kelly Olynyk moved to British Columbia in seventh grade (or Grade 7, as they say up north), otherwise we could have added him to the roster. 

13. Flint/Saginaw, Michigan

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Draymond Green (2012)
  • Jason Richardson (2001)
  • JaVale McGee (2008)
  • Kyle Kuzma (2017)
  • Morris Peterson (2000)

Other notables:

  • Miles Bridges (2018)
  • Monte Morris (2017)
  • Mateen Cleaves (2000)
  • Charlie Bell (2001)

The story of Flint and Saginaw has been told plenty of times, with many of these players having played for Michigan State, and it continues to this day. Kuzma, Bridges and Morris look like strong candidates to keep the tradition going well into the future.

12. Akron/Canton/Columbus, Ohio

Top five homegrown players:   

  • LeBron James (2003)
  • CJ McCollum (2013)
  • Michael Redd (2000)
  • Caris LeVert (2016)
  • Kevin Martin (2004)

Other notables:

  • Larry Nance, Jr. (2015)
  • Trey Burke (2013)
  • Kosta Koufos (2008)
  • Jared Sullinger (2012)

So, we definitely cheated by combining Akron, Canton and Columbus (Akron and Canton are close, but Columbus is about two hours away), but it’s our list so we can do what we want. LeBron is obviously the best player to ever come out of Ohio, but this is a pretty solid group of talent for three cities with a combined population of less than 1.5 million.

11. Atlanta, Georgia

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Dwight Howard (2004)
  • Lou Williams (2005)
  • Jaylen Brown (2016)
  • Derrick Favors (2010)
  • Malcolm Brogdon (2016)

Other notables:

  • Collin Sexton (2018)
  • Wendell Carter Jr. (2018)
  • Jae Crowder (2012)
  • Josh Smith (2004)
  • Al-Farouq Aminu (2010)
  • Jeremy Lamb (2012)

The ATL is certainly on the come-up. The impressive thing about this list is how young most of the players are, anchored by veterans Howard and Williams. Depending on how the younger players pan out, Atlanta could move up the rankings in a few seasons.

10. New York City

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Kemba Walker (2011)
  • Donovan Mitchell (2017)
  • Joakim Noah (2007)
  • Tobias Harris (2011)
  • Lance Stephenson (2010)  

Other notables:

  • Taj Gibson (2009)
  • Charlie Villanueva (2005)
  • Danny Green (2009)
  • Moe Harkless (2012)
  • Sebastian Telfair (2004)
  • Kyle O’Quinn (2012)
  • Mo Bamba (2018)
  • Hamidou Diallo (2018)

Lamar Odom and Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace aka Metta Ford-Attest would have beefed things up a bit, but both were drafted in 1999 so they didn’t qualify. Mitchell’s immediate NBA impact really helps this list, which gets pretty dry once you get to some of the lower names.

9. Indianapolis, Indiana

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Mike Conley (2007)
  • Zach Randolph (2001)
  • Gordon Hayward (2010)
  • Eric Gordon (2008)
  • Jeff Teague (2009)

Other notables:

  • Jaren Jackson Jr. (2018)
  • George Hill (2008)
  • Gary Harris (2014)
  • Greg Oden (2007)
  • Courtney Lee (2008)

Nobody does high school basketball like Indiana, and they’ve got the players to prove it. Oden is obviously the biggest “what if” on the list, with his career being stifled by injuries, but that top five is legit with a couple of nice, young players coming up behind them in Jackson and Harris. 

8. Prince George’s County, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Kevin Durant (2007)
  • Michael Beasley (2008)
  • Victor Oladipo (2013)
  • Markelle Fultz (2017)
  • Jeff Green (2007)

Other notables:

  • Ty Lawson (2009)
  • Roy Hibbert (2008)
  • Quinn Cook (2016)
  • Jerami Grant (2014)
  • Rodney McGruder (2016)
  • Treveon Graham (2016)
  • Keith Bogans (2003)
  • Roger Mason Jr. (2002)

Durant’s documentary about PG County highlighted this deep group of NBA talent that comes from a county of less than a million people. Oladipo and Fultz are still young enough to add a couple more superstars to the list.

7. New Jersey

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Kyrie Irving (2011)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (2015)
  • Luol Deng (2004)
  • Andrew Bynum (2005)
  • J.R. Smith (2004)

Other notables:

  • Kyle Anderson (2014)
  • Kenneth Faried (2011)
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2012)
  • Jay Williams (2002)
  • Dahntay Jones (2003)
  • Troy Murphy (2001)
  • Randy Foye (2006)

The entire state of New Jersey is less than 9,000 square miles (Los Angeles County alone is over half its size and has a larger population), so we just counted it as a whole. That being said, this is an impressive squad led by Irving and Towns, who could be Hall of Famers when all is said and done.

6. Houston, Texas

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Jimmy Butler (2011)
  • DeAndre Jordan (2008)
  • De’Aaron Fox (2017)
  • Emeka Okafor (2004)
  • Justise Winslow (2015)

Other notables:

  • Gerald Green (2005)
  • TJ Ford (2003)
  • Justin Jackson (2017)
  • Danuel House (2016)
  • Jonathon Simmons (2015)
  • Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (2006)
  • Carsen Edwards (2019)

The talent that has come out of Houston over the last 20 years is undeniable, with Butler leading the way. If you stretch the range to include Port Arthur, about 90 minutes away, you could include Stephen Jackson in this list as well. Depending on the ceiling of Fox and Winslow, this could end up being a really good top five.

5. Seattle, Washington

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Brandon Roy (2006)
  • Jamal Crawford (2000)
  • Isaiah Thomas (2011)
  • Zach LaVine (2014)
  • Avery Bradley (2010)  

Other notables:

  • Marvin Williams (2005)  
  • Nate Robinson (2005)
  • Aaron Brooks (2007)
  • Spencer Hawes (2007)
  • Rodney Stuckey (2007)
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (2019)

Seattle has gotten a lot of publicity in recent years for its basketball talent, and with good reason. Jason Terry narrowly missed the cut since he was drafted in 1999, but that still leaves the Emerald City with a solid roster of NBA players.

4. Dallas, Texas

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Chris Bosh (2003)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (2006)
  • Deron Williams (2005)
  • Marcus Smart (2014)
  • Kenyon Martin (2000)

Other notables:

  • Myles Turner (2015)
  • Julius Randle (2014)
  • C.J. Miles (2005)
  • Darrell Arthur (2008)

It may not have the depth of other cities, but Dallas is pretty top-heavy with Bosh, Aldridge and Williams leading the way. Smart, Turner and Randle are all off to promising starts to their careers, so this could look even better in a few years.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Kyle Lowry (2006)
  • Jameer Nelson (2004)
  • Tyreke Evans (2009)
  • Marcus Morris (2011)
  • Markieff Morris (2011)

Other notables:

  • Dion Waiters (2012)
  • Rasual Butler (2002)
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (2015)
  • Derrick Jones Jr. (2016)
  • Mikal Bridges (2018)
  • Cam Reddish (2019)
  • De’Andre Hunter (2019)
  • Wayne Ellington (2009)
  • Brad Wanamaker (2018)
  • Gerald Henderson Jr. (2009)
  • John Salmons (2002)
  • Ronald “Flip” Murray (2002)
  • Hakim Warrick (2005)

It’s safe to say that A LOT of NBA talent comes out of Philly. The city doesn’t have the star power at the top, with Lowry probably the best NBA player from Philadelphia since 2000, but the list is riddled with quality rotation players. With a basketball tradition that boasts the likes of Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain, this city isn’t going to stop producing talent any time soon.

2. Chicago, Illinois

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Dwyane Wade (2003)
  • Anthony Davis (2012)
  • Derrick Rose (2008)
  • Tony Allen (2004)
  • Patrick Beverley (2009)

Other notables:

  • Quentin Richardson (2000)
  • Evan Turner (2010)
  • Jabari Parker (2014)
  • Jahlil Okafor (2015)
  • Kendrick Nunn (2019)
  • Iman Shumpert (2011)
  • Robert Covington (2014)

Even with players like Corey Maggette, Michael Finley and Antoine Walker missing the cut, Chicago’s list of alumni is no joke. The Windy City basketball tradition has included greats like Isiah Thomas, Mo Cheeks, Tim Hardaway — all the way back to George Mikan — and it continues today with players like Rose and Davis carrying the torch. 

1. Los Angeles, California

Top five homegrown players:   

  • Kawhi Leonard (2011)
  • James Harden (2009)
  • Russell Westbrook (2008)  
  • Klay Thompson (2011)  
  • Paul George (2010)

Other notables:

  • DeMar DeRozan (2009)
  • Gilbert Arenas (2001)
  • Jrue Holiday (2009)
  • Lonzo Ball (2017)
  • Tyson Chandler (2001)
  • Tayshaun Prince (2002)
  • Trevor Ariza (2004)
  • Spencer Dinwiddie (2014)
  • Jason Collins (2001)
  • Jarron Collins (2001)
  • Nick Young (2007)
  • Aaron Afflalo (2007)
  • Darren Collison (2009)
  • Brandon Jennings (2009)

Let’s get this out of the way first — Los Angeles County has a population of over 10 million people, and if you throw in Orange County and Ventura County, you’re looking at approximately 15 million people to choose from. That’s a higher population than all but three other states, according to the 2019 census. So it stands to reason that with so many players to pick from, Los Angeles should have a lot of the best players. And it does.

It’s really not close to any other city over the last 20 years when it comes to both depth and star power, with Leonard, Harden, Westbrook, Thompson and George leading the way. Players like DeRozan, Arenas and Holiday would probably crack the top five for most other cities, but here they have no chance. So, at least for now, it’s pretty indisputable that Los Angeles is king when it comes to producing basketball talent.