Kansas Well Represented in NBA Finals
June 5, 2007
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second straight season a former Kansas men’s basketball player or players will have an NBA championship ring. Former Jayhawks Jacque Vaughn of the San Antonio Spurs and Drew Gooden and Scot Pollard of the Cleveland Cavaliers will square off in the NBA Finals starting Thursday.
KU’s representation in the NBA Finals is the most of any school. Michigan State is the only other school with multiple players on either roster with two. The Big 12 has five total reps with Daniel Gibson of Texas and David Wesley of Baylor joining the trio of Jayhawks.
This marks the second time in the last three NBA championships a former KU player will win the title. 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year and All-American Wayne Simien was a member of the Miami Heat and won the NBA title his rookie season in 2006.
In addition to the aforementioned Jayhawks, San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford was an assistant coach under Larry Brown at Kansas from 1984-88, including the 1988 NCAA title season. Additionally, San Antonio head coach Greg Popovich spent a year with Brown in Lawrence when he was head coach at Pamona-Pitzer, and then joined Brown on the Spurs staff in 1988.
Vaughn or Gooden and Pollard will join an elite group of former Kansas players who have won NBA championships. In addition to Simien, Jo Jo White won three titles as a guard for the Boston Celtics in 1969, 1974 and 1976. Wilt Chamberlain claimed two – with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 and the L.A. Lakers in 1972.
Kansas Players who have won NBA titles
Wilt Chamberlain (1957-58 at KU), Philadelphia 76ers – 1967; L.A. Lakers – 1972
Jo Jo White (1966-69 at KU), Boston Celtics – 1969, 1974, 1976
Wayne Simien (2002-05 at KU), Miami Heat – 2006