The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are doing battle on the biggest stage in the NBA Finals, but how many former NBL players can you name that have pulled on a singlet for both outfits?
13 players have suited up both in the NBL and for the Golden State Warriors, while five one-time Raptors have had stints in the League – based on players who have taken the court in regular season games (sorry to Julian Khazzouh and all others who played preseason).
Highlights from the NBLxNBA Toronto and Golden State ties:
Before being a member of the ‘We Believe’ Warriors, Stephen Jackson was in the Harbour City with the Sydney Kings as a 19 year-old, the youngest ever import recruited to the League at the time. In just his fourth game in the NBL, Jackson broke his foot, landing on Kevin Brooks ruling him out for the rest of the season. You can read more about that story here.
Jackson would go on to play 930 NBA games, many alongside another one-time Sydney Kings import in Al Harrington, another member of the ‘We Believe’ Warriors who knocked off the #1 ranked Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs. Harrington played six games for the Kings standing in for an injured Josh Childress averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Ray Owes left the University of Arizona to take his first professional job at the Geelong Supercats in 1996 and made an immediate impact on the NBL by leading the League in offensive rebounding and was named in the All NBL first team. Owes averaged 22.2 points and 14 rebounds per game in what was the Supercats final season in the NBL.
Just six weeks later, Owes began the new NBA season as a member of the Golden State Warriors and recorded his first start in his second game and first double/double in his third game. After completing the season with the Warriors, Owes returned to the NBL in 1998, this time with the Townsville Suns and led the League in total rebounds and was again named to the All-NBL first team.
Owes had two team-mates in that 1997 Warriors team that also would have links to the NBL. Mark Price and Todd Fuller both were foundation members of the South Dragons when they launched in September 2006.
Fuller was selected at number 11 in the 1996 NBA draft – higher than both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash – and at that time was the highest draft pick ever to play in the NBL. (Since been overtaken by Jonny Flynn and Josh Childress who were both selected at number six in later drafts).
Mark Price’s stellar 12-year NBA career as a player was highlighted as a four time NBA All-Star and a jersey retired at Cleveland. However his coaching career at the Dragons was not as successful and both he and Fuller departed the franchise after a horror 0-5 start.
When the Toronto Raptors played their first ever NBA game against the New Jersey Nets in 1995, they saw a young Acie Earl post 14 first half points, finishing with 16 points in the game.
Fast forward to 1999 and Earl was a Sydney King, taking the League by storm in his first campaign averaging 21.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Returning to the team in 2000 under new head coach Brett Brown, Earl disappointed and was released after just one game.
Nate Jawai became the first ever Indigenous Australian to play in the NBA when he made his debut with the Toronto Raptors in 2009 against the Detroit Pistons. Jawai would go on to take the court in six games for the Raptors before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves (via the Dallas Mavericks).
The Houston Rockets traded David Andersen to Toronto in July 2o10, where he would play a total of 11 games for the Raptors with his high of nine points coming in the final game that he played for the Canadian franchise. Andersen was traded in November of 2010 to the New Orleans Hornets.
The final name is the most obvious, given he is currently partaking in the Finals. Andrew Bogut has already won a championship with the Warriors and is targeting another against the Raptors following his debut season with the Sydney Kings in the NBL, claiming both Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year honours before re-joining Golden State for the final month of the regular season and playoffs.
Full list of NBL players who have played in a regular season game for the Golden State Warriors or Toronto Raptors below.
Golden State Warriors
Andrew Bogut – Golden State Warriors (2012-16, 2019), Sydney Kings (2018-2019)
Steve Blake – Golden State Warriors (2014), Sydney Kings (2016)
Ray Owes – Geelong Supercats (1996), Golden State Warriors (1996-97), Townsville Crocodiles (1998, 2001)
Stephen Jackson – Sydney Kings (1998), Golden State Warriors (2007-09)
Al Harrington – Golden State Warriors (2007-08), Sydney Kings (2015)
Drew Barry – Sydney Kings (1999), Golden State Warriors (1999-2000)
Jeremy Tyler – Golden State Warriors (2011-13), Sydney Kings (2017-18)
Todd Fuller – Golden State Warriors (1996-98), South Dragons (2006)
Todd Lichti – Golden State Warriors (1994), Perth Wildcats (1996-99)
Sean Lampley – Golden State Warriors (2003), Melbourne Tigers (2007-08)
Mark Price – Golden State Warriors (1996-97), South Dragons (2006 – Head Coach)
Mickell Gladness – Golden State Warriors (2012), Townsville Crocodiles (2014-15)
Josh Powell – Golden State Warriors (2007), Sydney Kings (2016-17)
Nate Jawai – Cairns Taipans (2007-08, 2016-19), Toronto Raptors (2008-09), Perth Wildcats (2016-17)
David Andersen – Wollongong/Illawarra Hawks (1998-99, 2018-19), Toronto Raptors (2010), Melbourne United (2016-18)
Acie Earl – Toronto Raptors (1995-97), Sydney Kings (1998-99)
Donald Whiteside – Hobart Devils (1992-93), Toronto Raptors (1996-97)
Rick Brunson – Adelaide 36ers (1995-96), Toronto Raptors (2003)