New York City has long been the Mecca of basketball, and while other states like California, New Jersey and Illinois have more than caught up, New York will always have one thing, the point guard position.
Forged on the asphalt of neighborhood playgrounds, New York’s point guards play the game with a different level of pride, creativity, flair and showmanship.
Their stories come to life in NYC Point Gods, a new Showtime documentary produced by Kevin Durant.
From the high-octane Stephon Marbury to the Showtime rafer Alston, The Sporting News breaks down the best dot gods to come out of the Big Apple.
While some have long NBA careers behind them, others owe their legacy to the playground and their high school and college exploits. When compiling this list, we considered everything, including their impact on the city.
Ranking of New York City’s best point guards
1. Kenny Anderson, Queens
Anderson was a star at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, finishing his high school career as the state’s all-time leading scorer and three All-State selections.
Anderson became a fan favorite for his explosive play as a scoring point guard. He played two seasons at Georgia Tech before being drafted #2 overall by the New Jersey Nets in the 1991 NBA draft.
He played 14 seasons in the NBA and received an All-Star selection.
2.Stephon Marbury, Brooklyn
Marbury will forever be a New York legend. From the playground to Lincoln High School, he exuded NYC pride with his crossovers and no-look cents.
Named a 1995 McDonald’s All-American and New York City’s Mr. Basketball, Marbury followed in Anderson’s footsteps at Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 4 loaded pick in the 1996 NBA draft, second point guard Allen Iverson.
Over his 13-year career, Marbury averaged 19.3 points and 7.6 assists per game.
3. Bob Cousy, Queens
Cousy led Andrew Jackson High School to the Queens Division championship as the city’s top scorer before playing collegiately at Holy Cross, where he won the 1947 NCAA championship.
His NBA resume speaks for itself:
- Six-time NBA champion with the Celtics
- NBA Most Valuable Player (1957)
- 13-time NBA All-Star
- Two-time All-Star MVP
- 10 All-NBA First Team selections
- Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1971)
- Named to the NBA’s 25th, 35th, 50th, and 75th anniversary teams
4. Mark Jackson, Brooklyn
Jackson led Bishop Loughlin Memorial to a state championship in 1985 and went on to play for St. John’s, where he became the school’s all-time assistant director.
He was drafted by his hometown Knicks in 1987 and won Rookie of the Year honors. Jackson plays 17 seasons in the NBA and ranks fifth in NBA history on the total assists list.
5. Kenny Smith, Queens
Smith was a star with Archbishop Molloy and was named a 1983 McDonald’s All-American.
Smith played four years in North Carolina before being drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 6 pick in the 1987 NBA draft.
He then played for six teams in the NBA and won two championships with the Houston Rockets.
6.Sebastian Telfair, Brooklyn
The second coming of Marbury, his cousin “Bassy” forged a legendary legacy at Lincoln High School, winning three PSAL championships and becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer until Lance Stephenson broke his record in 2009.
A 2004 Naismith Award finalist, Telfair rose straight out of high school to the league, being selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as the No. 13 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.
In the wise words of Telfair, “If you’re not from New York, you’re from the country.”
7. Rafer Alston aka Skip to My Lou, Queens
“‘Cause when I spit, you hear more oohs than a Skip to My Lou move in the ruck” – Lloyd Banks.
Alston’s legend grew on the New York playground with his dizzying dribbling moves that bordered on the magic and drew crowds at every game.
A founding member of the And-1 Mixtape Tour, Alston is the only New York City streetball player to make it from the playground to the league. He played for six teams in 11 seasons, including a run to the NBA Finals with the Orlando Magic in 2009.
8.Lenny Wilkens, Brooklyn
Wilkens played for Boys High School in Brooklyn before attending Providence College, where he was a two-time All-American. He was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks in 1960 with the No. 6 overall pick.
Wilkens amassed nine All-Star appearances, led the NBA in assists in 1970, and was named All-Star Game MVP in 1971.
9.Rod Strickland, Bronx
Strickland was arguably one of the greatest ball handlers in NBA history and one of the most underrated players of the ’90s. He was as cold as they come.
Strickland was a star for the famous New York Gauchos and Truman High School before transferring to Oak Hill Academy as a senior.
He played 17 seasons in the NBA and led the league in assists in 1998, earning him a spot on the All-NBA Second Team
10. Nate Archibald, Bronx
Archibald received honors at DeWitt Clinton in 1966 and went on to play three seasons at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Archibald was picked by the Cincinnati Royals with the number 19 pick in the 1970 NBA draft. A six-time All-Star, Archibald led the NBA in points (34.0) and assists (11.4) in 1973.
He won an NBA championship with the Celtics in 1981, won three All-NBA first team selections and two All-NBA second team selections, was named to the NBA 50th and 75th anniversary teams, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recorded in 1991.
Kemba Walker, Bronx
A star at Rice High School in Harlem and for the AAU roster of NYC Gauchos, Walker arguably deserves a top 10 spot given his NBA accomplishments.
A four-time NBA All-Star, Walker led the University of Connecticut to the NCAA Championship and delivered one of the worst winners Madison Square Garden has seen along the way.
God Shammgod, Manhattan
If a train is named after you, you deserve a mention.
Shammgod played high school basketball at La Salle Academy with Ron Artest, where he was named a 1995 McDonald’s All-American. He played college ball at Providence College.
Lance Stephenson, Brooklyn
You’re official when you get a nickname on the asphalt. After lighting the playgrounds as a 15-year-old, Stephenson led Lincoln High School to four straight PSAL championships and earned him All-American honors.
Stephenson would finish as the school’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Telfair’s record for points in New York State.
A playground legend, Washington was the No. 1 player in 1983, playing for Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School.
A three-time member of the All-Big East First Team, Washington was drafted by the New Jersey Nets as the No. 13 draft in the 1986 NBA draft and only played three seasons in the NBA.