Iowa isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for NBA talent. However, there have still been a number of players who have made the leap from being a hometown hero, at either or both of the high school and collegiate ranks to the NBA.
While few have had both team and individual success, there is still a place in NBA and basketball history for players who are known as Iowans. Here are the best NBA players from Iowa.
Best NBA Players from Iowa
10. Harrison Barnes
Home Town: Ames
Teams: Golden State, Dallas, Sacramento
Career Stats: (Currently Active)10 Years, Games – 747, PPG – 14.1, APG – 1.8, RPG – 5.1
Achievements: 2015 NBA Champion, 2013 All-Rookie Team
Harrison Barnes is undeniably one of the best basketball players born in Iowa. A true Iowan, Barnes was born and raised in Ames, where he would become a high school basketball hero as one of the leaders of the Ames Little Cyclones team which captured back to back 4A state championships in two undefeated seasons. As the number one high school recruit, Barnes was named Mr. Basketball USA and Iowa Mr. Basketball in 2010 before heading to North Carolina for a two-year stay prior to the NBA.
Drafted seventh overall in 2012 by the Golden State Warriors, Barnes started all eighty-one games he played in his rookie season before being brought off the bench for most of his second season. During his third NBA season, Barnes would help the Warriors to their fourth NBA Championship after a forty-year drought. As one of the veterans on a young Sacramento Kings team hoping to make a run at the playoffs, Barnes may find himself once again on the move to a title contender at some point during this NBA season.
— Harrison Barnes (@hbarnes) March 28, 2021
9. Kyle Korver
Home Town: Paramount (California)
Teams: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Utah (2x), Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee
Career Stats: 17 Years, Games – 1232, PPG – 9.7, APG – 1.7, RPG – 3
Achievements: 2015 NBA All-Star
Although he was born in Paramount, California, Korver and his family made Pella, Iowa their home from the age of twelve onwards. Following a standout career at Pella High School, Korver would go on to have an award-winning collegiate career as a member of the Creighton Bluejays, becoming back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, a Second Team All-American and following his four-year run with the team, his #25 jersey would be retired.
Drafted 51st overall by the New Jersey Nets in 2003, Korver was traded to the 76ers for a photocopier. Aside from his time in Atlanta, Korver would spend most of his NBA career coming off the bench as a “hired gun” with his primary talent being his three-point shooting. A career 42.9% shooter from downtown, Korver led the league in three-point shooting percentage four times, including his 2009-10 season when he hit a record-setting 53.6% (59/110).
Kyle Korver took a shot to the face. pic.twitter.com/SG5g6MCj7Q
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 11, 2020
8. Kirk Hinrich
Home Town: Sioux City
Teams: Chicago (2x), Washington, Atlanta (2x)
Career Stats: 13 years, Games – 879, PPG – 10.9, APG – 4.8, RPG – 2.9
Achievements: 2007 All-Defensive Team, 2004 All-Rookie Team
Hailing from Sioux City, Iowa, Hinrich was an all-around high school sports star, playing basketball, football and baseball. After leading the Sioux City West High School Wolverines to the state championship as a senior, Hinrich left the school as the all-time leading in points, assists, and steals.
While his original plan was to head to Iowa State to play for Tim Floyd and the Cyclones, Hinrich would ultimately become a Kansas Jayhawk after Floyd left the NCAA for the NBA. Although he would lead his team to the final game of March Madness, Hinrich left Kansas without an NCAA championship.
Drafted seventh by the Chicago Bulls in 2003, Hinrich would be a full-time starter for his first five years in the league, those being the best five seasons of his career. Combining his two stints with the Bulls, Hinrich would become the team’s all-time leader in three-pointers made with 1,049.
Kirk wasn’t scared of nobody.
Kirk tackling LeBron 😤 pic.twitter.com/A6fmzjZrX9
— MELchael Jordan (@MsMeliss) February 19, 2022
7. Nick Collison
Home Town: Orange City
Teams: Seattle / Oklahoma City
Career Stats: 14 years, Games – 910, PPG – 5.9, APG – 1.0, RPG – 5.2
He doesn’t have the numbers or the individual or team accolades that some of his fellow Iowans have, but that doesn’t mean that Collison didn’t have an impact on the game of basketball. Born in Orange City, Iowa, Collison lived in both Fort Dodge and Iowa Falls, where he played high school ball, leading his team to two straight 2A state championships on route to becoming a McDonald’s All-American in 1999.
Along with Kirk Hinrich, Collison ventured to Kansas to become a Jayhawk. After two Final Four appearances in four years, Collison would be drafted twelfth overall in 2003 by the Seattle Sonics. Following fourteen seasons of blue-collar work, Collison would have his number retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 1, 2014
6. Ricky Davis
Home Town: Davenport
Teams: Charlotte, Miami (2x), Cleveland, Boston, Minnesota, LA Clippers
Career Stats: 12 years, Games – 736, PPG – 13.5, APG – 3.3, RPG – 3.5
Achievements: Infamous Triple-Double
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Davis’s family relocated to Davenport, Iowa where he would attend Davenport North High School. After finishing with more than 1,600 points during his career with the Wildcats, Davis would play just one year with the Iowa Hawkeyes before being picked by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1998 NBA Draft.
Davis would struggle for games and minutes during his first three seasons, but upon being traded to the Cavaliers, he would find a role in the regular rotation. While he would be known for his high-flying poster dunks, Davis’s NBA career might be most remembered for his attempt at a triple-double. After being waived by the Clippers in 2010, Davis would find action overseas and in the NBA D-League.
— BIG3 (@thebig3) June 9, 2017
5. Bob Hansen
Home Town: Des Moines
Teams: Utah, Sacramento, Chicago
Career Stats: 9 years, Games – 575, PPG – 6.9, APG – 1.6, RPG – 2.2
Achievements: 1992 NBA Champion
Hansen, who was born in Des Moines, Iowa, bookended his basketball career with championships. As a starter throughout his four years with the Dowling Catholic High School Maroons, Hansen led the team to the Iowa 4A championship. Averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds in his final high school season, Hansen was heavily recruited by Lute Olsen and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Following a collegiate career that saw the Hawkeyes reach the Final Four and the Sweet Sixteen, Hansen was selected 54th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1983 NBA Draft. While Hansen would have his best years in Utah, three of which he played the starting shooting guard alongside Hall of Famers, John Stockton and Karl Malone, it would be his final NBA season in 1991-92 as a member of the Chicago Bulls, again playing with Hall of Famers, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen that Hansen would cap off his basketball career with an NBA Championship.
— Mikey – Observe uplifting things. (@Mikeyvp) October 12, 2020
4. Fred Hoiberg
Home Town: Lincoln (Nebraska).
Teams: Indiana, Chicago, Minnesota
Career Stats: 10 years, Games – 541, PPG – 5.4, APG – 1.6, RPG – 2.7
Achievements: One of the best nicknames in basketball
While he was officially born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Hoiberg would become an adopted Iowan having relocated at a young age. As Mr. Iowa Basketball in 1991, Hoiberg would lead the Ames High School Little Cyclones to the state title before moving on to play four seasons for the Iowa State Cyclones.
In 1995, Hoiberg would be drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 54th pick in the NBA Draft. After struggling to find playing time during his four seasons in Indiana, Hoiberg saw most of his success come during his first two years as a member of the Chicago Bulls. Considered a three-point specialist, Hoiberg led the NBA in three-point percentage during his final season with 48.3% as a member of the Timberwolves. Life would come full circle (almost) for “The Mayor” as following his retirement, he would become the head coach of Iowa State and then the Bulls before his current position with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Welcome to Star City. pic.twitter.com/BkWxuDRgm7
— Fred Hoiberg (@CoachHoiberg) November 9, 2021
3. Raef LaFrentz
Teams: Denver, Dallas, Boston, Portland
Career Stats: 10 years, Games – 563, PPG – 10.1, APG – 1.1, RPG – 6.1
Born in Hampton, Iowa, LaFrentz moved to Monona, Iowa during his high school years where he would finish with 2,148 points for the MFL MarMac Bulldogs and a McDonald’s All-American. As a two-time All-American during his four years with the Kansas Jayhawks, LaFrentz was a starter from day one of his freshman seasons.
Selected third behind Michael Olowokandi and Mike Bibby in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, LaFrentz would see his promising rookie year come to an end after just a dozen games as the result of a torn ACL. Following his tenure in the NBA, which came to an end, coming off the bench for spot minutes with the Trailblazers, LaFrentz would return to Iowa and become a high school assistant coach with the Decorah Vikings.
— Iowa Prep Sports (@iowaprepsports) January 30, 2020
2. Ryan Bowen
Home Town: Fort Madison
Teams: Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma
Career Stats: 10 years, Games – 507, PPG – 2.6, APG – .5, RPG – 2.1
One of the lesser known names on this list, Bowen played for the Fort Madison Bloodhounds in his hometown of Fort Madison, Iowa before moving on to play at the University of Iowa. As a four-year member of the Hawkeyes, Bowen finished as the career leader in steals and top ten in rebounds and blocks, numbers that still stand to this day.
Drafted late in the second round by the Denver Nuggets, Bowen found himself playing double-digit minutes during the first four years in the NBA, including a career-high 22.5 minutes in the 2001-02 season. After struggling to find minutes with the Rockets, Bowen stepped away from the NBA to play overseas before returning to play three more seasons. Since 2011, Bowen has been an assistant coach with both the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings.
20 years ago, former #Hawkeyes Ricky Davis and Ryan Bowen were selected in the NBA Draft. Davis was picked by Charlotte in the first round, while Denver chose Bowen in the second round. #TBT pic.twitter.com/euAolkQcUh
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) June 21, 2018
1. Matt Bullard
Home Town: Des Moines
Teams: Houston (2x), Atlanta, Charlotte
Career Stats: 11 years, Games – 615, PPG – 5.3, APG – .9, RPG – 2.0
Achievements:1994 NBA Champion
Standing 6’10” Bullard was a player before his time as, despite his height, he had the ability to knock down the long-range shot. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Bullard attended Valley High School where he helped the Tigers to a second-place finish in the state championship tournament.
After playing for the University of Colorado for two years, Bullard returned home to finish his collegiate career with the Hawkeyes. Undrafted out of college, Bullard signed with the Rockets as a free agent in 1990. In the Rockets’ run to the 1994 NBA title, Bullard would play just fifty-five minutes off the bench during the playoffs.
— Mitch Smith (@MitchS91) March 12, 2015
Credits on Featured Image: Angelo Favia/New Orleans 2013