It may not seem like it, but the Warriors have been around in the league for 70 years, when the NBA was first created and called the BAA. The Philadelphia Warriors moved to the West Coast in 1962 as the San Francisco Warriors. And in 1971 the team moved primarily to Oakland and became known as the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors lay claim to the first title in NBA history (1947), and have won a total of four championships.
A total of 493 players have so far played for the Dubs… including the immortal Uwe Blab and a pair of players named Cheese Johnson and Easy Parham. They have featured the two smallest players in league history in Muggsy Bogues and Earl Boykins, and the tallest player in history in Manute Bol. Of course with four titles and 493 players, there have managed to be more than a handful of pretty good players to breeze through town.
This article will establish, to-date, the 20 greatest players to have put on a Warriors jersey. It is important to note with some of these players that their greatness either came before or after their time as a Warrior. We could have changed the criteria and only factored in the seasons played in the gold and blue, but that would have meant putting the likes of Adonal Foyle on the list (we love you, Adonal… we hope you understand).
One last thing to note… we will not be counting players before the shot clock era. The game was very different back then and, quite frankly, it becomes especially hard to compare players from back then to more modern legends. Heck, “Pitchin” Paul Arizin is a Hall-Of-Famer who played for the Warriors and invented the freaking jump shot. The comparisons aren’t fair to any of the players, they’re not fair to you, the reader, and they’re not very fun to make.
There were some other very tough cuts, and not everyone will agree with the list. For example, we left 4-time All-Star and Hall-of-Famer Ralph Sampson off the list (mostly because he was impossibly overrated in the NBA). If you disagree with our selections... well, that’s what a Comments Section is for. Without further ado, The 20 Greatest Players to Wear a Warriors Jersey.
22 Honorable Mention: Draymond Green
Draymond Green is an absolute beast. His 2015-2016 season was absolutely spectacular, and was arguably all-time. He was an All-Star who was voted to 2nd Team All-NBA. He played as a center despite giving up at least four inches to his rival centers. He made All-Defensive 1st Team and finished 2nd in voting for Defensive Player of the Year. He was the vocal leader and beating heart of a team that broke the Bulls’ record for most wins in the regular season. Green totalled 13 triple-doubles in the season (2nd most in the league), and finished 7th in the league in assists and 8th in rebounds.
21 Honorable Mention: Klay Thompson
Klay is very similar to Draymond Green; just a tad too little in the experience department. Of course, in that time, he has been so phenomenal and his team has been so successful that he has leapfrogged several players who have had a full career to earn accolades in. Klay Thompson (one half of "The Splash Brothers" with backcourt-mate Stephen Curry), is very nearly deserving of a spot on the list and, if he retired now would actually make an interesting Hall Of Fame “does he/doesn’t he” argument along the lines of other players cut short in their primes.
20 Latrell Sprewell
Sprewell is perhaps now best remembered for being the player who choked his own coach. Or perhaps he’s best known for turning down a 3-year, $21 million contract by saying “I’ve got to feed my family” (and subsequently not getting another contract anywhere, and going into bankruptcy). What people don’t remember because he’s often just a living reminder of the loathsome “Gimme, Gimme” era of the NBA is that he was a really damn fine player.
19 Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas began his career as a 2nd round draft pick of the Warriors during a very down time in the franchise. He won the Most Improved Player award in his second season and was quickly swooped away by the Washington Wizards. The Warriors considered Gil a part of their core, but due to a fluke of the salary cap, they were unable to offer nearly as much money as other teams for their own player. There has since been a rule instituted that is actually called the Gilbert Arenas Provision, to prevent the same thing from happening again.
18 Mookie Blaylock
Full disclaimer, Mookie Blaylock might have jumped a few spots because of his nickname. Mookie finished the tail end of his career as a veteran Warrior on the spunky and hapless early 2000s teams. He did most of his damage as a Hawk, helping to transition from the Dominique Wilkins era to the memorable mid-90s Steve Smith Hawks.
Mookie was a defensive stalwart, having been named 1st or 2nd Team All-Defense for six years in a row. Although an All-Star only once (a common problem for guards in the East during that time thanks to one Mr. Michael Jeffrey Jordan), Blaylock sits 35th on the all-time assists list and 11th on the all-time steals list (and is ranked 4th in steals per game). He led the league in steals two years in a row. Mookie also owns the Hawks franchise records for 3-pointers made and steals.
Mookie is actually rated 177th all-time by Basketball-Reference.com’s eerily accurate Hall of Fame probability metric, well ahead of several current inductees like Connie Hawkins and Calvin Murphy.
17 Baron Davis
Baron Davis was only with the Warriors for three and a half years, but what a three and a half years they were! Davis, known to some as B-Diddy and others as Boom Dizzle, was the face of the “We Believe!” Warriors of the mid-2000s alongside Stephen Jackson. In 2007, the Warriors entered the playoffs as the 8th seed… and managed to dethrone the 67-win Dallas Mavericks (at the time, the 4th highest win total of all-time).
16 Marques Johnson
15 Jermaine O’Neal
O’Neal’s tenure with the Warriors was a forgettable 44 games in the final season of his 18 year career. The big man who was drafted out of high school spent the most memorable portion of his time in the league manning the middle for the Indiana Pacers. As a Pacer, O’Neal racked up 6 All-Star spots, one All-NBA 2nd Team nod, and two places on the All-NBA 3rd Team. In his first year with Indiana after being traded from the Portland Trailblazers (where he was seen as a bust after 4 years with the team), he won the Most Improved Player award.
14 Mark Price
Mark Price is probably the single-most overlooked and forgotten star of the 80s and 90s. A 4-time All-Star with Cleveland, he teamed with big man Brad Daugherty to make the Cavaliers a tough out in the playoffs for 7 seasons in 8 years. He spent one year with the Dubs, before moving on to the Orlando Magic for his final season. During his time in Oakland, he was still very effective: averaging 11 points and 5 assists in 27 minutes a game, shooting a blistering 39.6% on 3s and leading the league with a 90.6% free throw percentage.
13 Mitch Richmond
Mitch “The Rock” Richmond was one third of the exciting 80s/90s Warriors trio known as Run-TMC. Richmond was a solid, sturdy (hence the name) shooting guard drafted 5th overall by the Warriors in 1988. After his three year stint in Golden State, he became the franchise centerpiece of the Sacramento Kings for 7 seasons (where he has his jersey retired). Richmond then moved on to play three years with the Washington Wizards. He left the game after one season with the Lakers, where he won his only championship as a bench player and veteran presence.
12 Chris Webber
Chris Webber has a complicated relationship with the Warriors. Webber was selected 1st overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Magic and his rights were immediately traded to Golden State for the rights to Penny Hardaway and three future picks (that remarkably became Vince Carter and Mike Miller… and Todd Fuller). Chris lasted only one season in Oakland before butting heads with Don Nelson who, to be fair to Webber, is on the Mount Rushmore of Prickly Coaches/Front Office Personnel. Webber then inexplicably caught on with the Warriors to bookend his career for 17 games instead of re-signing with the Kings where he is royalty (pun intended).
Webber first gained international attention as a college player with Michigan as a part of the highly entertaining and highly influential Fab Five. Webber’s time in the league, however, was no less notable. He went from Golden State to a middling Washington Bullets that stayed middling during his tenure. He then made his true mark in the league, however, as a leading member of the Sacramento Kings; arguably the best team to never go to the Finals, and constant rival of the Shaq-Kobe Lakers.
11 Jo Jo White
The Warriors have made a habit of picking up great players at the very end or close to the very end of their career. Boston Celtic legend Jo Jo White is another prime example of that… spending 2 seasons with Golden State before a final 13 games for the then-Kansas City Kings after having spent 10 seasons in Celtic Green.
10 Tim Hardaway
Tim Hardaway, the sparkplug point guard, was the “T” in Run-TMC. Hardaway was drafted with the 14th pick in the 1989 draft, the very next year after Mitch Richmond. Timmy wound up playing with a total of 5 teams, but spent his first six seasons with the Warriors before moving on to the Miami Heat to lead them to their first era of meaningfulness in the league alongside Alonzo Mourning.
9 Bernard King
Bernard King is a player whose stats are not reflective of his talent or greatness, as both drug problems and major injuries robbed King of much of his longevity and productivity. The Warriors were King’s 3rd team, following two years in New Jersey and one in Utah. While he was only with Golden State for two years, it was where he was voted to his first (of four total) All-Star teams.
8 Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin spent 13 of his 16 years in the league as a member of the Golden State Warriors, and for many fans not old enough to remember the Thurmond, Lucas, or Barry teams, is more representative of the Warriors franchise than any other player (which might change with Curry’s dominance, but that’s another story for a different day). A sharpshooter with a military-grade buzzcut, Mullin was a part of the legendary Barcelona Olympic team known as The Dream Team (and also won the gold in Los Angeles in 1984). He also provided the “C” in Run-TMC.
7 Nate Thurmond
Thurmond was a power forward and center that lived his whole professional career in the shadow of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell and Willis Reed and Kareem. “Nate the Great” was picked 3rd overall by the Warriors in 1963 and played for the franchise for 10 years before a small stint in Chicago, followed by a couple years in Cleveland. He was the first player to officially record a quadruple double (in 1974 against the Hawks he tallied 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocks in 45 minutes of play). And Thurmond is the only player other than Wilt and Bill Russell to have pulled down 40 or more rebounds in one game.
6 Jerry Lucas
5 Robert Parish
Before his long and storied career with the Boston Celtics, “The Chief” was a member of the Warriors for 4 years. In his best season in blue and gold, in 1980, the stalwart center averaged 17 and 11 with a block and a half, nearly 2 assists, and nearly 1 steal per game. He then went on to Boston in a trade that also featured the draft pick that became Kevin McHale. In Boston, he teamed with Larry Bird and McHale en route to 3 championships in his 13 seasons with the franchise. He collected one more championship with the 1997 Bulls as a veteran bench player.
4 Rick Barry
Rick Barry, who carried with him one of the silliest nicknames ever in “The Miami Greyhound”, was a scoring machine from the small forward position. He had two separate stints with the Warriors because he jumped from the NBA to the ABA for contract reasons. After two seasons with the Warriors (where he won Rookie of the Year), he joined the ABA for four years (and lost one year due to contractual minutae). He then went back to Golden State for six more seasons before finishing with two in Houston. During his 2nd tour of duty with the Dubs, he led the team (along with Jamaal Wilkes, who narrowly missed this list) to a sweep of the Washington Bullets for the 1974-1975 NBA Title… where he was named Finals MVP.
3 Stephen Curry
Unless you have been living under a rock, you already know who Stephen Curry, the Baby-Faced Assassin, is. Curry has teamed with Klay Thompson the last few years to make the league’s most interesting and formidable backcourt arguably of all-time as the “Splash Brothers”. Curry is only 28 years old and has played in the league for 7 years, and yet is already considered one of the greatest players of all-time.
2 Kevin Durant
The Durantula has yet to play a game as a Warrior, but thanks to his media photos following his introductory press conference, he qualifies for this list. Like Curry, Kevin Durant is still in the middle of his playing prime. In fact, Kevin Durant is a year younger than Curry. Durant was voted Rookie of the Year as a member of the Seattle Supersonics.
1 Wilt Chamberlain
After having played for the Harlem Globetrotters, the first NBA team Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain played for was the Warriors (he spent the first three seasons in Philadelphia before moving with the franchise to San Francisco for two seasons). He then played for the 76ers for four seasons and the Lakers for five, retiring after 15 seasons. When talking about Wilt, nearly everything sounds hyperbolic but turns out to be factual...necessitating the use of italics. He is the only player to have scored 100 points in a single game. He once averaged over 50 points a game for a full season. He averaged over 20 rebounds for his whole career.
In 1960, Wilt Chamberlain was Rookie of the Year, the All-Star Game MVP, and the league MVP. Wilt won 2 championships (having missed out on assuredly more for having played at the same time as the Celtics Dynasty), one with the 76ers and one with the Lakers… where he was the Finals MVP. He was a 13-time All-Star and was voted to seven All-NBA 1st Teams and three All-NBA 2nd Teams. Chamberlain was voted to the 50th Anniversary Team, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978. He was the scoring champion for 7 straight years, starting with his rookie year. He led the league in rebounds 13 different times, and had the 2nd most assists in the league one season. For his career, he is the all-time leader in rebounds, 5th in points, and 70th in assists. He is ranked 5th highest on Basketball-Reference’s Hall of Fame index, and was named by Bill Simmons to be the 6th greatest player of all-time. His number 13 jersey is retired by four teams: The Harlem Globetrotters, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Golden State Warriors.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!