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Top 3 NBA Players from Alaska


Carlos Boozer
Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Typically, when you see a "Top ___" article, they usually list five or ten different players. Even in our other articles, most of our "Top ___" articles include either five or ten different NBA teams/players.


However, it's hard to make a Top 5 article when the state has only had THREE NBA Players throughout NBA history... The three NBA players from Alaska are:

  • Carlos Boozer

  • Mario Chalmers

  • Trajan Langdon

Also, to be honest, out of the three, only ONE player was born IN Alaska, Mario Chalmers. The other two, Carlos Boozer and Trajan Langdon, were born in different states/countries. Boozer and Langdon would move to Alaska shortly after being born.

Fun Fact: In 2019, the population of Alaska was 731,545. That means, only 0.0000041% of the Alaskan population has been in the NBA. That's lower, MUCH lower than the odds of being a millionaire (3%). Even the odds of being struck by lightning (0.000007%) are higher than being an NBA Player from Alaska.

 

Table of Contents:

 

Carlos Boozer (Juneau, Alaska)

The best NBA player from Alaska is Carlos Boozer, and it's by a long shot. While researching this article, I wasn't expecting to know a single NBA player from Alaska, but I surprisingly know 2/3rds of the NBA players from Alaska; Carlos Boozer and Mario Chalmers.


I also wasn't expecting the NBA players from Alaska to be good. How do you train in a state where the average temperature during the Summer is only 40-60 Fahrenheit. Also, this might be cheating, but Boozer wasn't born in Alaska. He was born in a military base in Germany but grew up in Juneau, Alaska.


Cleveland Cavaliers

Carlos Boozer was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2002 NBA Draft in the Second Round as the 35th pick. Boozer was, without a doubt, the steal of the draft. In defense of every other team that didn't draft Boozer, this draft class was pretty bad. The only other All-Stars (besides Boozer) were:

  • Yao Ming (1st Pick)

  • Amar'e Stoudemire (9th Pick)

  • Caron Butler (10th Pick)

In his rookie season with the Cavaliers, Boozer and the Cavs went 17-65. They were tied with the Denver Nuggets for the worst team in the NBA. Not a good start to Boozer's career! I don't blame him, though. The only good player on this team was Zydrunas Ilgauskas.


The only other decent players were Dajuan Wagner, the 6th pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, and Ricky Davis. Wagner played pretty well in his rookie season. He averaged 13/2/3 in 47 games. Unfortunately, due to injuries, we never got to see Wagner's peak.


If you look at Ricky Davis' Basketball Reference, you would think that he was more than decent, but honestly, the only reason he played so well with the Cavs was due to inflated minutes. In the previous season, he only played 24 minutes and averaged 12 points. This season, he played, on average, 40 MINUTES and averaged 21 points!


Davis was playing sixteen more minutes a game! Of course, he was going to have a better stat-line.

As for Boozer, for a second-round pick, he had a fantastic rookie season. He averaged:

10.0 Points, 7.5 Rebounds, 1.3 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.6 Blocks

53.6 FG%, 77.1 FT%

25 Minutes


As a result, Boozer was selected to be a part of the All-Rookie Second Team. In my opinion, Boozer should have been on the First-Team. Boozer could have replaced Nene as I think that Boozer played slightly better than Nene.

In the 2003-04 season, the Cavaliers would draft arguably, one of the best players in NBA history, LeBron James. Unfortunately, this was the only season we got to see LeBron and Boozer play with each other.


During this season, Boozer would improve A LOT. He averaged:


15.5 Points, 11.4 Rebounds, 2.0 Assists, 1.0 Steals, and 0.7 Blocks

52.3 FG%, 16.7 3P%, 76.8 FT%

34.6 Minutes


This was the only season in which Boozer hit a three-pointer.


Besides that, due to Boozer's improved play, he was second in Most Improved Player voting. He won 166 points, but he was nowhere near the winner of the MIP award, Zach Randolph (379), who rightfully deserved the award.


By the end of the season, the Cavaliers offered Boozer a six year, $39 million contract. However, Boozer would decline the offer after the Utah Jazz would offer a $70 million contract over the same amount of time.


If I was in Boozer's shoes, I would have also gone to the Jazz, but could the Cavaliers potentially won a Championship with a frontcourt of LeBron James, Carlos Boozer, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas? It honestly would have been the best frontcourt in the NBA.


Utah Jazz

We're going to ignore Carlos Boozer's first two seasons with the Utah Jazz because he never played near the whole season in 2004-05 and 2005-06 due to injuries.


However, I will point out that in the 2004-05 NBA season, the owner of the Utah Jazz, Larry Miiller, called out Boozer for being lazy. This was probably because the 2004-05 season was the second time in 22 years that the Utah Jazz had not been in the playoffs.

The 2006-07 and 2007-08 NBA season was the prime of Carlos Boozer's career. In both seasons, he was named an All-Star, and in the 2007-08 NBA season, he was a part of the All-NBA Third Team. The Third Team is the 'worst' team, but Boozer was up against Forwards like:

  • Kevin Garnett and LeBron James (First-Team)

  • Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki (Second-Team)

  • Paul Pierce (Third-Team)

In my opinion, Boozer should have won Most Improved Player in the 2006-07 NBA season. He somehow only received one first-point vote for MIP even though he went from:


2005-06:

16.3 Points, 8.6 Rebounds, 2.7 Assists, 0.9 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

54.9 FG%, 72.3 FT%

31 Minutes

2006-07:

20.9 Points, 11.7 Rebounds, 3.0 Assists, 0.9 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

56.1 FG%, 68.5 FT%

34 Minutes

Besides the free-throw percentage, Boozer improved in every stat.


Going back to Boozer's All-Star selections, he couldn't play in his first All-Star selection due to another injury. In his second All-Star Game, Boozer put up:


14 Points, 10 Rebounds

7/15 FG

19 Minutes


From the 2006-07 NBA season up until he left the Utah Jazz, Carlos Boozer would make the playoffs each time. Boozer's most impressive playoff performance was probably during his first playoff appearance in 2006-07. The Jazz would make it to the Western Conference Finals but would lose to the San Antonio Spurs, 1-4. During the 2006-07 Playoffs, Boozer averaged:


23.5 Points, 12.2 Rebounds, 2.9 Assists, 1.0 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

53.6 FG%, 73.8 FT%

38.5 Minutes

Boozer's best performance was in Game 2 against the Houston Rockets. He put up:

41 Points, 12 Rebounds, 6 Assists

17/30 FG, 7/9 FT

42 Minutes

Boozer, out of the seventeen games he played throughout this playoff run, scored more than twenty points in seven of them! This was the farthest Boozer would go in the playoffs with the Jazz.

Boozer's best season with the Jazz was in the 2007-08 NBA season when they went 54-28. Although their defensive rating was average (106.5), the Jazz led the league in offensive rating (113.8).

It's surprising how the Jazz was able to make the playoffs for four seasons with the duo of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. Although both were terrific players, they weren't the most outstanding duo. For example, just in the Western Conference, you had:

  • Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol

  • Chris Paul and David West

  • Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker

  • Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash

  • Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard

  • Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson

In addition, outside of Williams and Boozer, the only other good/decent players were Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko.

Besides that, on February 23th, 2008, against the Seattle Supersonics, Boozer recorded his first triple-double:

22 Points, 11 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 5 Steals

9/17 FG, 4/6 FT

38 Minutes


Chicago Bulls

After six seasons with the Utah Jazz, the best NBA player from Alaska went to the Chicago Bulls through a sign-and-trade. Boozer would play for the Bulls from 2010-14, and like during his time with the Jazz, went to the playoffs four times. However, Boozer wouldn't play as well as he did with the Jazz while on the Bulls. This was due to just an accumulation of injuries.


For Boozer's first season with the Bulls, he primarily played Center. This was the only season Boozer played more games as a Center (55%) than Power Forward (45%). I don't know why Boozer played more as a Center when the Bulls had Joakim Noah, but whatever.


Boozer's best playoff performance was during his third playoff appearance with the Bulls (2012-13). In the 2012-13 Playoffs, Boozer averaged:


16.4 Points, 9.6 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 0.1 Blocks

49.4 FG%, 68.9 FT%

35.9 Minutes


Nowhere near as good as his best playoff performance with the Utah Jazz, but still outstanding stats for a starting Power Forward/Center.


His best performance in the playoffs with the Chicago Bulls was in the 2011 Playoffs against the Miami Heat in Game 3. He put up:


26 Points, 17 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Blocks

8/19 FG, 10/12 FT

39 Minutes


After four years with the Chicago Bulls, Boozer would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2014-2015 NBA season. Not much happened that season, and it was also happened to be his last season. Honestly, if Boozer didn't get injured so frequently, he would have retired so early.


Mario Chalmers (Anchorage, Alaska)

No offense to Mario Chalmers, but the dropoff from the best NBA player from Alaska to the second-best NBA player from Alaska is astronomical. This isn't to say Chalmers is terrible. He's just bad relative to Boozer. Chalmers was just known for being an above-average guard defender. He's Kris Dunn, but better.

Also, that Boozer section was long because these following two sections will be pretty short since they either only played on one team their whole career (Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat) or just had short careers (Trajan Langdon).

Now, back to where we started. The second-best NBA player from Alaska is Mario Chalmers. Unlike Carlos Boozer, Mario Chalmers was born and grew up in Alaska.

Although he was up in Alaska, Chalmers was destined to play professional basketball. Chalmers' dad was an assistant coach of the University of Kansas and head coach of the High School that Chalmers went to, Bartlett High School.


In addition, Chalmers' mom coached numerous basketball camps and even wrote a book about raising a basketball-oriented family, The Ball is in Your Court: Embracing Your Child's Dreams.


Also, to get this out of the way, Trajan Langdon, the other NBA player from Alaska, wasn't born in Alaska. Like Boozer, Langdon was born somewhere else (California) and, after being born, moved and grew up in Alaska.

Technically, this means that Mario Chalmers is the ONLY NBA player from Alaska! Chalmers is also the only NBA player from Alaska to win a Championship in High School, College, and the NBA!


Miami Heat

Mario Chalmers was drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 34th pick. Just one pick higher than Carlos Boozer. However, the rights to Mario Chalmers were later traded to the Miami Heat, who would sign Chalmers.


His rookie season with the Miami Heat was pretty impressive. Again, he was nowhere near Boozer's level, but Chalmers showed that he was an amazing defensive guard. In the 2008-09 NBA season, Chalmers averaged:


10.0 Points, 2.8 Rebounds, 4.9 Assists, 2.0 Steals, and 0.1 Blocks

42.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 76.7 FT%

32.0 Minutes


Chalmers led rookies in steals per game and had the fourth-most steals per game amongst the league! Also, in his fourth NBA game, against the Phoenix Suns, Chalmers recorded NINE STEALS, a franchise record!


As a result of his impressive rookie season, like Boozer, Chalmers would be selected to the All-Rookie Second Team. There was no way Chalmers would have been on the All-Rookie First Team, considering that his competition was Derrick Rose and OJ Mayo (who was good back then).


Since his rookie season, Chalmers had a "downfall." Downfall is in quotation marks because Chalmers didn't get worse. It's just that he received less playing time and wasn't getting as many touches since he was playing with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.


Also, if you didn't know, Chalmers didn't have the best on-court relationship with the Big 3. Considering that Chalmers was the floor general of the Heat, if Chalmers messes up a play, he would always get scolded by the Big 3.




In 2013, LeBron James and Mario Chalmers almost got into a physical altercation on the bench when Chalmers told LeBron to "stop playing like a bitch."


Besides that, nothing significant happens in Chalmers' career until the 2011-12 Playoffs. This was Mario Chalmers' best playoff performance. Through the 2011-12 Playoffs, Chalmers averaged:

11.3 Points, 3.7 Rebounds, 3.9 Assists, 1.2 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

44.2 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 71.7 FT%

35.6 Minutes

Mario Chalmers' best performance in the 2011-12 Playoffs was in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He put up:

25 Points, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals

9/15 FG, 3/9 3P, 4/5 FT

34 Minutes


If Chalmers' put up his average numbers, the Heat would have lost the game against the OKC Thunder. Chalmers also had the highest offensive rating in this game (144). In some games during the 2011-12 Playoffs, Chalmers would serve as the third-best player!

  • Round 1, Game 3: 19 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Steals

  • Round 2, Game 3: 25 Points, 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Block

  • Round 3, Game 2: 22 Points, 4 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 2 Steals

There are many more games, but Chalmers stepped up for Chris Bosh after Bosh's injury.


Chalmers and the Miami Heat won the 2011-12 Playoffs and the 2012-2013 Playoffs. However, after that, the only other notable event in Chalmers' career is when he scored his career-high on January 12th, 2013, against the Sacramento Kings:

34 Points, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals

12/16 FG, 10/13 3P

30 Minutes

After the 2014 NBA season, Mario Chalmers would be traded away to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jamell Stokes and Beno Udrih.


Not much happened. Unfortunately, Chalmers ruptured his Achilles tendon in 2016. Afterward, the Grizzlies would waive him, and Chalmers would go unsigned for the 2016-17 NBA season. Chalmers was back with the Grizzlies in the 2017-18 season, but Chalmers has not been back in the NBA since then.


Trajan Langdon (Anchorage, Alaska)

Last but not least, the third-best NBA player from Alaska is Trajan Langdon. Now... it's not hard to be the third-best NBA player from a state with only three NBA players, but making the NBA is already a feat in itself.


Although you may have never heard of Trajan Langdon, he's the most interesting out of the three Alaskan NBA Players. That's because, during college, Langdon played for Duke University AND played in the MLB (Minor League).


The San Diego Padres chose Trajan Langdon in the 1994 MLB Draft as the sixth pick! However, because the NCAA didn't allow players to receive a scholarship while playing a professional sport, Langdon played for Duke University without a scholarship. At the same time, he played in Minor League Baseball for the Spokane Indians and Idaho Fall Braves.


In the end, Langdon chose to play in the NBA over the MLB. Langdon would be drafted in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the 11th pick.


For some reason, in his rookie season, Langdon only played ten games. In those ten games, his best performance was on November 13th, 1999, against the Milwaukee Bucks. He put up:


12 Points, 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals

3/6 FG, 3/5 3P, 3/3 FT

22 Minutes


As a shooting guard, Langdon was a pretty horrible shooter. In his rookie season, he averaged 37.5% from the field.



Langdon would play for another two seasons (2000-02) and didn't improve. Throughout his career, Langdon averaged:


5.4 Points, 1.3 Rebounds, 1.3 Assists, 0.5 Steals, and 0.1 Blocks

41.6 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 91.0 FT%

14.6 Minutes


Langdon's best game throughout his career was on November 21st, 2000, against the Detroit Pistons. He put up:


31 Points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Steals

11/13 FG, 6/6 3P, 3/3 FT

35 Minutes


After the 2001-02 NBA season, Langdon would leave the NBA and play in Italy, Turkey, and Russia.


If we weren't talking about the best NBA players from Alaska, no offense to Trajan Langdon, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't even be Top 100 if we were talking about New York or California.


 

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