Thanks to the legendary John Wooden, UCLA will always be considered one of the most prestigious college basketball programs of all-time. Of course, the Bruins have done more than win titles over the years. They’ve also sent more than a few great players to the NBA. Frankly, there are more UCLA players who were a success in the NBA than we can name. However, we were able to pick out the best of the best.
5. Kevin Love
Love gets the slightest of nods over Bill Walton for the final spot in the top-5. While Walton has an MVP award on his trophy shelf, Love has averaged at least 20 points three times, something that Walton has never done.
Plus, Love is still going strong and is poised to show a lot more longevity than Walton in addition to already being a five-time all-star.
4. Gail Goodrich
Goodrich was a part of two championship teams at UCLA and was a consensus All-American when he led the Bruins to the title in 1965. His 14-year was equally impressive, as he was a five-time all-star and had six seasons averaging at least 20 points per game.
While he only won one NBA championship over two stints with the Lakers, he was one of the best shooting guards of his generation and has his number retired by both the Lakers and UCLA.
3. Reggie Miller
In the long history of the NBA, it’s hard to find a better shooter than Miller. After four outstanding seasons at UCLA, Miller loyally played his entire pro career with the Pacers, spending several seasons as a de facto one-man team. He was a five-time all-star and a proud member of the 50-40-90 club in 1994.
Over his career, Miller made close to 40% of his three-point shots and averaged more than 18 points per game. He also retired with the most made three-point field goals in league history, earning his place in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
2. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook helped guide UCLA to the Final Four in both of his seasons in Westwood and quickly blossomed into one of the best point guards in the NBA. His resume includes nine all-star selections (as of 2020), two scoring titles, and MVP honors in 2017.
Westbrook also led the NBA in assists twice and averaged a triple-double in three consecutive seasons at the end of his tenure in Oklahoma City. He somehow managed to outperform the lofty expectations when he left UCLA and will likely go down as one of the best point guards in league history.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
There’s clearly only one UCLA legend who can stop Westbrook. After helping the Bruins to three national championships, Abdul-Jabbar was an integral part of the Bucks winning an NBA title in his second season. He later won five more championships with the Lakers. Along the way, he was an all-star 19 times and league MVP six times.
Not only did he lead the NBA in scoring twice and have four seasons of at least 30 points per game but he was also a rebounding champion in 1976 and a five-time All-Defensive First Team selection. Abdul-Jabbar is one of the best of all-time at both ends of the floor and will always be the best player in UCLA history.