Even though most of the world’s most famous athletes were drafted early or late, a small number of great athletes were not drafted at all.
In football, players like Kurt Warner and John Randle were virtually disregarded after completing their college careers, but once the NFL gave them a chance, they became immediate stars.
Basketball greats like John Starks and Ben Wallace, who were undrafted and overlooked before blossoming into NBA All-Stars, can attest to this.
Sportsmen like Dino Ciccarelli and Martin St. Louis, two premier goal scorers who became hockey legends despite external uncertainty and struggle, have also defied the odds in the NHL.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the Best undrafted NBA players in sports history with each of these extraordinary athletes in mind.
QB Jake Delhomme
Delhomme, who went undrafted out of Southwestern Louisiana in 1997, spent time with the Saints and NFL Europe before joining the Panthers in 2003. From 2003 until 2009, he was the franchise’s starting quarterback, appearing in one Pro Bowl and led the team to a Super Bowl appearance.
Fletcher, an undersized linebacker from John Carroll, had a 16-year NFL career that featured four Pro Bowl selections. In his second season as the Rams’ starting middle linebacker, he won the Super Bowl and had productive seasons with Buffalo and Washington.
RB Arian Foster
Even though Foster was a three-year starter at Tennessee, he went undrafted in 2009. Houston signed him, and the following year he led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He quickly rose to prominence, appearing in three straight Pro Bowls and four in total, but injuries cut short his career. He is still one of the Best undrafted NBA players in sports today.
TE Antonio Gates
Gates, arguably the best tight end in the NFL, went undrafted after his basketball career at Kent State. He quickly rose to prominence in the NFL, with 81 receptions for 964 yards and 13 touchdowns in his second season. In 16 seasons, he was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and racked up nearly 12,000 yards and 116 touchdowns.
CB Chris Harris Jr.
After arriving in the league in 2011, Harris switched from an undersized safety at Kansas to a cornerback. He enjoyed a fantastic nine-year career in Denver, garnering four Pro Bowl appearances before signing with the Chargers.
LB James Harrison
Because of his lack of size, Harrison has not considered an NFL potential coming out of Kent State, but his hard work eventually paid off. After spending time in NFL Europe as a late bloomer, he received considerable playing time in 2004. During his career, he was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 (16 sacks) and appeared in five Pro Bowls (84.5 sacks).
RB Priest Holmes
Holmes went undrafted in 1997 due to injuries and playing alongside Ricky Williams in Texas. He carried for more than 1,000 yards for Baltimore in 1998, but it wasn’t until he joined the Chiefs in 2001 that he made his biggest impression. With three straight seasons of over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and 61 touchdowns, he enjoyed one of the best three-year runs by any running back. After the 2007 season, he was forced to retire due to injuries.
Lane, Richard “Night Train,” CB
Lane played with the Rams, Cardinals, and Lions after going undrafted in 1952. The Pro Football Hall of Famer had seven Pro Bowl appearances and twice led the league in interceptions, including 14 picks in his debut season.
Jim Langer is in the center
In 1972, Langer was Miami’s center during the team’s unprecedented flawless season. He was named to the team’s All-Pro team four times. He was also a two-time Super Bowl champion.
LB Sam Mills
Mills, an undersized linebacker out of Montclair State, joined the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 1981 but began his professional career in the USFL until joining the Saints as a starter in 1986. Mills appeared in five Pro Bowls and had over 100 tackles in 12 NFL seasons with the Saints and Panthers.
QB Warren Moon
Moon was a brilliant quarterback at the University of Washington, but he didn’t wow the NFL with his performance. Instead, Moon won five Grey Cups with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League before joining the Houston Oilers in 1984. Moon was the 1990 Offensive Player of the Year and earned nine Pro Bowls during his 17-year NFL career.
Drew Pearson, Wide Receiver
Pearson joined Dallas as an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa in 1973, and he quickly established himself as a top wide receiver. With the Cowboys, he was an All-Pro three times and had two 1,000-yard seasons.
RB Joe Perry
Perry signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 1948 for $4,500 and went on to enjoy a 16-year Hall of Fame career. He was an All-Pro in 1953 and 1954 and led the league in rushing yards three times.
DT John Randle
Randle, one of the best defensive linemen of all time, went undrafted out of Texas A&M Kingsville and never made the Buccaneers a free agent. The Vikings gave Randle a chance in 1990, and he went on to be an All-Pro for six straight seasons, from 1993 to 1998. During his 14-year career, he had 137.5 tackles.
Finally, the above are some of the Best undrafted NBA players you should know in the world.
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