Rajon Rondo. In 2008. That is the last Kentucky player to be on a NBA Championship roster. 10 years. With all of the guys from Kentucky now in the NBA, you would think that some would trip onto a title team but no, Rondo was the last guy to get a ring. With Boogie Cousins now a favorite to win a ring with Golden State next season, he will likely change that stat in 11 months but the fact that it has been 10 years since the last UK NBA Champion is actually pretty symbolic of the Cats success in the NBA in history. In fact, only 13 UK players have won NBA titles:
Rajon Rondo: 2008 Celtics (started every game in Finals)
Derek Anderson: 2006 Heat (didn’t play in Finals)
Antoine Walker: 2006 Heat (played in 3 of 6 Finals games)
Nazr Mohammed: 2005 Spurs (played in 3 of 7 Finals games)
Tayshuan Prince: 2004 Pistons (started every game in Finals)
Rick Robey: 1981 Celtics (played in all 6 Finals games)
Kevin Grevey: 1978 Bullets (started every game in Finals)
Larry Steele: 1977 Trail Blazers (played in 5 of 6 Finals games)
Pat Riley: 1972 Lakers (played in all 5 Finals games, started none)
Cliff Hagan: 1958 Hawks (started every game in Finals)
Frank Ramsey: 1957, 1959-64 Celtics (starter)
Lou Tsioropoulos: 1957, 1959 Celtics (did not play in either Finals)
Paul Noel: 1951 Royals (played in 4 of 5 Finals games)
In total, just 5 UK guys have ever started on a championship team and just 13 overall have ever been on roster for a championship. For a program so steeped in tradition and great players it hasn’t translated into NBA team success. Ramsey is the only contributor to multiple title teams and only 2 of the 13 players have won multiple titles.
So should Cousins take home a title next season for the Warriors, and maybe even crack the starting lineup once he returns from injury, it will truly be something to celebrate for this fanbase as it has been over a decade since we’ve experienced that and not very often before that.