Top 5 NBA players who won a championship in their rookie year

Magic Johnson won a ring in his debut season
Magic Johnson won a ring in his debut season
Evan Tiwari
Modified 29 Apr 2021

The NBA Championship is a coveted prize every player in the league wishes to get his hands on, but there are only a few who succeed over the course of their careers. The 'super-team era' has made it even more difficult for stars to win the Larry O'Brien trophy, but there are some players in league history who have managed to win the elusive title in their rookie season itself.

5 NBA players who won a championship in their debut season

Winning an NBA Championship at the first attempt requires a stacked roster with a competent coach who can outline a well-defined role for a rookie. Some budding stars have been fortunate to be in such a situation, leading to success in their rookie year.

On that note, let's look at 5 players who an NBA Championship in their rookie year.

#5 Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics (1980-81)

Kevin McHale
Kevin McHale

In a lopsided trade that took place right before the 1980 NBA Draft, Celtics president Red Auerbach managed to deal the then No.1 overall pick and additional pick for center Robert Parish and third overall pick from the Golden State Warriors. The Boston Celtics used that pick to draft forward Kevin McHale, who went on to win the NBA Championship in his debut season.

Playing a bench role, McHale made a useful contribution despite being a rookie, putting up 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. He deputized for starting forward Cedric Maxwell effectively, doing his work in the paint on both ends.

#4 Jamaal Wilkes, Golden State Warriors (1974-75)

Jamaal Wilkes
Jamaal Wilkes

Jamaal Wilkes had a rookie year most NBA players can only dream of, as the small forward won two distinguished honors in his first season - the Rookie of the Year award and an NBA Championship. Nicknamed 'Silk', Wilkes averaged a solid 14 points, 8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

Wilkes won the ring with the Golden State Warriors, and then went on to win three more with the LA Lakers in 1980, 1982, and 1985. He entered the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2012, and his number 52 jersey has been retired by the LA Lakers.

Also Read: 5 biggest NBA MVP snubs of the 21st century

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Published 29 Apr 2021
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