The Best and Worst Basketball States in 2021

The Best (and Worst) Basketball States in 2022

We all brag about the star athletes from our hometown, even if we never had any association with them.

There’s a sense of pride evoked when somebody makes it out of your community and does something special, and we all tend to be biased toward the place we grew up in.

To determine which are the best basketball states in the U.S., we went through every NBA and WNBA player’s place of birth via Basketball Reference and tallied up the numbers.

Of course, certain players actually grew up and attended school in other states (or countries), but I’m not being paid nearly enough to do all that research. Actually, I’m not getting paid at all – feel free to click on one of the ads and support the site.

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Which State Produces the Most NBA Players?

There are more California-born players in the NBA than any other state by a wide margin. 52 players currently on NBA rosters were born there. Additionally, 18 Californians are active on WNBA rosters, which is more than any other state.

However, when population size is taken into account, California ranks 20th.

Which State Produces the Most Pro Basketball Players Per Capita?

The District of Columbia produces more professional basketball players per capita than any state in the US. While not officially considered a state at this point, debates are ongoing in congress and it seems inevitable. These five states produce the most NBA and WNBA players per capita:

  1. DC
  2. Delaware
  3. Louisiana
  4. North Carolina
  5. Arkansas

In the basketball state rankings below, tie-breakers go to the state with the lower overall population.

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Basketball State Rankings in 2022

State NBA Players WNBA Players Total
1. California 52 18 70
2. Texas 30 15 45
3. New York 26 12 38
4. North Carolina 30 2 32
5. Illinois 25 5 30
6. Florida 20 9 29
7. Georgia 21 3 24
8. Pennsylvania 16 4 20
9. Indiana 16 3 19
10. Louisiana 14 3 17
11. Washington 14 3 17
12. Maryland 10 6 16
13. Missouri 13 2 15
14. New Jersey 9 5 14
15. Michigan 11 3 14
16. Ohio 11 2 13
17. Minnesota 10 2 12
18. South Carolina 8 2 10
19. Virginia 7 3 10
20. Arkansas 8 1 9
21. Oregon 7 2 9
22. Tennessee 6 3 9
23. Massachusetts 8 1 9

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State NBA Players WNBA Players Total
24. Oklahoma 5 3 8
25. Alabama 6 2 8
26. Wisconsin 6 2 8
27. Mississippi 6 1 7
28. Kentucky 7 0 7
29. District of Columbia 4 1 5
30. Delaware 2 2 4
31. Arizona 3 1 4
32. Nebraska 2 1 3
33. Kansas 3 0 3
34. Nevada 3 0 3
35. Connecticut 2 1 3
36. Colorado 1 2 3
37. Alaska 0 2 2
38. North Dakota 2 0 2
39. Iowa 2 0 2
40. Utah 2 0 2
41. Wyoming 1 0 1
42. Rhode Island 0 1 1
43. Maine 1 0 1
44. New Hampshire 1 0 1
45. Idaho 0 1 1

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Which are the Worst Basketball States?

There are six states that have zero active NBA or WNBA players:

  • Hawaii
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Among the states with no active players, New Mexico has the highest population, making it the worst basketball state in 2022.2 Get it together, New Mexico!

Related: The Tallest (and Shortest) Starting Lineups in the NBA 2021-22

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Founder of HoopSocial. Girl Dad. WNBA stan. Syracuse Orange and Charlotte Hornets fan. Sarcasm is my native tongue. You can follow me on Twitter at @mike_hoopsocial.

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