The Best Of North Carolina (And The ACC):

Duke’s Tatum Continues Rise Among
All-Time Elite ACC/NC Products In NBA

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

Jayson Tatum is only 26 years old, but he’s already joined the list of the most successful professional basketball players ever to come through the state of North Carolina and/or the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A one-and-done college star at Duke during the 2016-17 season, Tatum just made the (recently announced) All-NBA first team for the third consecutive season.

The #3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Tatum has been a full-time starter at forward for all seven of his years with the Boston Celtics, and he has been selected for five straight All-Star Games. With Tatum leading the way, Boston had the NBA’s best regular-season record (64-18) this season and is considered the favorite to capture the 2024 NBA title.

Under NBA rules, Tatum will be eligible this summer for the league’s so-called “supermax” contract extension. That means a five-year extension with the Celtics that’s worth more than $310 million, or an average of more than $62 million per season, beginning with the 2025-26 campaign.

Joining Tatum on the 2024 All-NBA first team were Dallas guard Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver center Nikola Jokic. Among those five honorees, only Gilgeous-Alexander (one season at Kentucky) and Tatum played college basketball.

There are more than 500 NBA players each season, and there are only five spots on the All-NBA first team. All-NBA voting, which is now conducted by a global panel of broadcasters and writers, started with the 1946-47 season.

Tatum was one of only four NBA players who averaged at least 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game this season. The others were Antetokounmpo, Doncic and Jokic.

Tatum led the Celtics in scoring (26.9 points per game), rebounding (8.1 rebounds per game), made field goals, made 3-pointers and made free throws, and he was second in assists and steals. He shot 47.1 percent from the field (his highest mark since his rookie campaign), 37.6 percent from 3-point range and 83.3 percent from the free throw line.

With his third first-team All-NBA honor, Tatum joined a prestigious list of former North Carolina-based high school and/or college stars led by living legends Michael Jordan (Wilmington Laney/UNC), Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Steph Curry (Charlotte Christian/Davidson), Chris Paul (Clemmons West Forsyth/Wake Forest) and Billy Cunningham (UNC).

First-Team All-NBA Honors
(Players With NC High School/College Ties)

10 — Michael Jordan, Wilmington Laney HS/UNC (15 NBA seasons)
10 — Tim Duncan, Wake Forest (19)
4 — Steph Curry*, Charlotte Christian HS/Davidson (15)
4 — Chris Paul*, Clemmons West Forsyth HS/Wake Forest (19)
3 — Billy Cunningham, UNC (11)
3 — Jayson Tatum*, Duke (7)
2 — Pete Maravich, Raleigh Broughton HS (10)
2 — Tracy McGrady, Durham Mt. Zion Christian (15)
2 — David Thompson, Shelby Crest HS/NC State (9)

*-active NBA player

The NBA players with the most all-time selections to the All-NBA first team are LeBron James (13), Kobe Bryant (11), Karl Malone (11), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10), Bob Cousy (10), Jerry West (10), Bob Pettit (10), Elgin Baylor (10), Jordan (10) and Duncan (10).

The other players with North Carolina ties who earned a single selection to the All-NBA first team are former Durham High School and NC State/UNC star and long-time Wake Forest coach Bones McKinney (Washington Capitols, 1947), former Winston-Salem State star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe (Baltimore Bullets, 1969), former UNC star Bob McAdoo (Buffalo Braves, 1975) and former Washington High School star Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta Hawks, 1986). Wilkins played collegiately at Georgia.

The other ACC players who earned a single selection to the All-NBA first team were former Maryland star Gene Shue (Detroit Pistons, 1960), former Georgia Tech star Mark Price (Cleveland Cavaliers, 1993) and former Duke star Grant Hill (Detroit Pistons, 1997).