Five NBA Stars that Hail from San Antonio


When basketball fans think of talent factories, places like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia typically come to mind. They think of the asphalt at Harlem’s Rucker Park or the hardwood of Philadelphia’s Palestra.

But they should also think of the gyms at Wagner and Cole High Schools in San Antonio. Indeed, any list of America’s best basketball towns ought to include the 210 area code. That’s because, over the years, San Antonio has consistently proven itself to be one of the best pound-for-pound producers of basketball talent in the country. Nearly 25 current or former NBA or WNBA players were born in San Antonio or hail from the city—including a handful of legitimate superstars in both the professional and collegiate ranks. So, if the basketball towns of America were facing off on the hardwood, here’s the all-stars who would make our starting five.

 

Shaquille O’Neal

 

Center

Orlando Magic (1992-1996)

Los Angeles Lakers (1996-2004)

Miami Heat (2004-2008)

Phoenix Suns (2008-2009)

Cleveland Cavaliers (2009-2010)

Boston Celtics (2010-2011)

In 1989, the 7-foot-1-inch son of an Army sergeant guided Cole High School to its first and only state championship before it brought home the title again this March. Born in Newark, O’Neal spent much of his youth on U.S. military bases in Germany before his father was transferred to Fort Sam Houston. In two seasons at Cole, O’Neal guided the military base’s high school to a 68-1 overall mark. Individually, he earned Mr. Texas Basketball honors in 1989, throwing down 31 points, snatching 22 rebounds, and registering nine blocks per game in his senior season.

From Cole, Shaq headed to Louisiana State University, where he became one of the most dominating forces in the history of college basketball. O’Neal was twice named the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Year, was selected Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year in 1991 and established himself as one of the greatest rebounders and shot blockers in NCAA history. In 1992, Shaq was selected by the Orlando Magic as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, kicking off a Hall of Fame career. He earned four championship rings, three NBA Finals MVPs, and, in 2000, league MVP honors. As part of the NBA’s 50th anniversary in 1996, O’Neal was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Off the court, the big kid from Cole High became one of the most recognized people on the planet with his rapid emergence as a media icon early in his NBA career. In the decades since, he’s made himself known as a rapper, a corporate pitchman, an actor, a reality television and video game star, and—of course—a basketball commentator.

 

 

Jeff Foster

 

Forward

Indiana Pacers (1999-2012)

Jeff Foster’s path to the NBA was an unlikely one. The 6-foot-11-inch forward played just one year of high school basketball at Madison High School, but showed enough promise (and size) to earn a scholarship offer from Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University). Bobcats head coach Mike Miller oversaw the transformation of Foster into a genuine low-post presence. Foster twice averaged better than 10 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Bobcats while earning All-Southland Conference honors. In 1999, the Golden State Warriors selected Foster in the first round but immediately traded him to Indiana, where he spent his entire distinguished NBA career. For more than a decade, Foster earned a reputation as one of the league’s best defenders and best rebounders. Pacers fans adored Foster for his hustle and grit. Following his retirement, Foster returned to Texas, settling his family in Austin. Foster was known for his frugality as a player and saved much of his earnings. In recent years, he has also been noted for his success as an investor in tech and biomedical startups. 

 

 

Charles “Bo” Outlaw

 

Forward

Los Angeles Clippers (1994-1997)

Orlando Magic (1997-2002, 2005-2007)

Phoenix Suns (2002-2003, 2004-2005)

Memphis Grizzlies (2003-2004)

Charles “Bo” Outlaw grew from just over 6 feet tall to 6-foot-7-inches over the course of his high school career at John Jay High School in Northwest San Antonio. Coached in high school by the legendary David Stelmazewski, Outlaw led the Mustangs to a 37-1 record and a trip to the state championship game in 1989. He starred at South Plains College in Levelland before bringing his talents to the University of Houston. In the 1992-93 season, Outlaw was named the Southwest Conference’s Player of the Year. He also led the nation in field goal percentage for the Cougars but was not selected in the 1993 NBA Draft. After brief interludes in the Continental Basketball Association and the Spanish professional league, Outlaw found a spot with the Clippers and spent the next decade-and-a-half in the NBA.

An elite athlete, Outlaw was one of the league’s best all-around players throughout his career. He was a consistent contributor on the offensive end and well-known for his lockdown defense and leaping ability. Though never a superstar and often a reserve, Outlaw is 61st all-time in career blocks and earned almost $40 million playing basketball. He retired in Orlando, where he enjoyed the prime years of his career with the Magic.

 

 

André Roberson

 

Guard

Oklahoma City Thunder (2013-2020)

Brooklyn Nets (2021)

Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but raised in Bexar County, Roberson attended the then-brand-new Karen Wagner High School just northeast of San Antonio’s city limits. At Wagner, Roberson joined forces with slick shooting guard and future NBAer Jordan Clarkson. Together, they transformed the Thunderbirds into a Texas high school basketball powerhouse. In both 2009 and 2010, Roberson and Clarkson led the Thunderbirds to the semifinals of the state basketball tournament. Wagner has since retired both of their high school numbers, and their jerseys now hang from the rafters in the high school’s gymnasium.

Roberson played college basketball for the Colorado Buffaloes. The 6-foot-7-inch Roberson was initially recruited as a power forward but was converted into a small forward and, eventually, a shooting guard over the course of his college career. The large and athletic Roberson earned All-PAC 12 honors as a junior, averaging in double figures in points and rebounds for the second straight season. He left Colorado after his junior year and was selected 26th overall in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. For seven seasons, Roberson was a stalwart in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s starting five, battling through injuries and becoming one of the league’s best defensive players in lineups alongside the likes of Russell Westbrook. In the 2016-17 season, Roberson was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team. In February 2021, Roberson signed with the Brooklyn Nets and played for them briefly; he is currently a free agent.

 

 

Jordan Clarkson

 

Guard

Los Angeles Lakers (2014-2018)

Cleveland Cavaliers (2018-2019)

Utah Jazz (2019-Present)

The son of two members of the U.S. Air Force, Clarkson moved to San Antonio in first grade. Co-starring with the aforementioned André Roberson, Clarkson led the Wagner Thunderbirds to the upper echelons of Texas prep basketball. While Roberson was a big leaper, Clarkson was an energetic scoring machine for the Thunderbirds, averaging nearly 20 points a game in both his junior and senior seasons. He was named San Antonio’s High School Player of the Year for the 2009-10 season.

Clarkson began his college career at Tulsa, where he earned All-Conference USA honors as a sophomore before transferring to the University of Missouri. At Mizzou, Clarkson continued to thrive, averaging 17.5 points per game and earning second-team All-SEC honors. The Washington Wizards drafted Clarkson 46th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft and traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers shortly thereafter. Clarkson’s prowess as a scorer became evident immediately. He averaged nearly 12 points a game in his first season and was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Team. Eight years into his NBA career, Clarkson has averaged better than 12 points per game every season. In the 2018-19 season, he enjoyed a career year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, posting nearly 17 points per night.





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