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Basketball in Jamaica: Top 5 Players in the NBA

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Sprinting success overshadows basketball in Jamaica. The country is globally known for its prowess in athletics but continuously produces players who feature in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Some of these players have left an indelible mark in the league. In this article, we list Jamaican players in the NBA.

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Jerome Jordan

Jerome was a late bloomer. He started playing basketball at age 16. A former Jamaican basketballer helped him to secure a place in Redemption Christian Academy in New York, but shortly after, traveled back to Kingston. 

He later went to Australia but couldn’t play basketball. He wrote a letter to Tulsa University expressing his intent to play basketball and he got a place and represented them between 2006 and 2010. 

In the NBA Draft in 2010, he was a second-round, 44th overall pick for the Milwaukee Bucks. 

However, the New York Knicks bought him. Jerome Jordan spent most of his time in the NBA G League and other basketball leagues. As of 2023, he plays for the Peñarol Mar del Plata. 

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Nick Richards

Nick Richards currently represents Jamaica in the NBA. Growing up, he played soccer, track & field and volleyball but switched to basketball after Andre Rickkets, a basketball scout noticed his abilities. 

Rickkets took him to the U.S. where he played for St. Mary’s High School, the Patrick School and later the University of Kentucky. He was a second-round, 42nd overall pick in the NBA draft 2020 for the New Orleans Pelicans. However, the Jamaican was traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

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Patrick Ewing

Ewing was the poster boy for basketball in Jamaica. He was born in the country but moved to the United States at age 13. He picked up basketball when he was in high school and then played for Georgetown University before the New York Knicks drafted him into the NBA. 

He was a first-round, first-overall pick. The center played for the team until 2000, then moved to the Seattle SuperSonics and the Orlando Magic. After his retirement, Patrick Ewing worked as an assistant coach for:

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Rumeal Robinson

Another player who represented basketball in Jamaica was Rumeal Robinson. He was born in Mandeville, but his mother abandoned him. His grandparents attempted to reunite him with her but she pushed him away. A couple adopted him in Boston. 

Robinson started playing basketball in school and was one of the best players in Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. He then played for Michigan for three years and the Atlanta Hawks drafted him in 1990. However, he was inconsistent and was sent to other leagues. 

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Samardo Samuels

Basketball in Jamaica: Top 5 Players in the NBA
Former Jamaican basketball player Samardo Samuels. Source: Wikimedia Commons  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Samardo Samuels originates from Trelawny, Jamaica. He played for St Benedict’s Prep School in New Jersey and then moved to the University of Louisville. Although he was available to be drafted in 2010, he was undrafted. 

However, Samuels played for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Summer League. After the league, he landed a three-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers but spent much time in the NBA development league

Basketball in Jamaica has come a long way and continues to do well. Although the number of players currently in the NBA isn’t so big, these players, past and present, are inspiring current and future players. 

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