It’s no secret that left-handed people are a minority in the world. They make up only about 10% of the population, and left-handed NBA players are even rarer. Here at Field Insider, we wanted to write a blog post about the 10 best lefties ever to play in the NBA. When you have an opportunity to mention left-handers, you might as well take it!
10. Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin, one of left-hand NBA players and Hall of Famer, is the eighth-best left-handed NBA player ever. This sharpshooter played for two different teams: Golden State Warriors (1985 – 1997) and Indiana Pacers (1997).
With five All-Star appearances to his name in addition to being on one championship team during the ’80s when he was with Golden State; this lefty had a lot going for him! However, it wasn’t until later years that he became an elite scorer who made multiple three-point shots each game which is part of why he averaged over 19 PPG six times after turning 30 years old.
His best season came at age 33 when he scored 25+ points per contest four times while helping lead Golden State to a 51-31 record and their best finish since the 1974 season!
Mullin’s career achievements include being on one championship team during his time with Golden State, making five All-Star Games (three while playing for them), leading the league in three-point field goal percentage twice, averaging over 50% from beyond the arc once which is an amazing feat considering he left college early at St. John’s without shooting it well there either!
He was also named as part of four All-NBA Teams including two First Team selections so keep that name in mind if you are looking for some left-handed talent because this guy has got game!
9. Nate “Tiny” Archibald
Tiny Archibald, 7th of the best left-handed NBA players, this point guard played for three different teams: Cincinnati Royals (1972 – 1974), Kansas City Kings (1974 – 1975), Boston Celtics (1975 – 1983).
After playing his college ball at Texas-El Paso where he was named as part of multiple All American Teams including First Team honors twice plus being on one championship team during his time with the Miners, this lefty made an impact in the pros right away by averaging nearly 20 PPG across all 82 games!
Archibald’s best season came the following year when he won his first and only MVP Award while averaging 28.0 PPG, 11.0 APG, and nearly two steals per contest which was truly remarkable considering it had been over a decade since Oscar Robertson averaged that many points AND assists in one campaign!
He also led Kansas City to their best finish ever with 45 wins during 1970-71 so they were clearly on the rise as long as Archibald was there – good news for lefties everywhere because we love Tiny already but you will too after hearing about all of his achievements…
This guy made six All-Star Games (four while playing for Boston), scored 20+ PPG nine separate times, and led the league in assists per contest three different years which were all of his All-Star seasons! He also had two separate campaigns with at least 30 points and 15 assists so lefties everywhere need to pay attention because Archibald might just be one of the best lefties ever who can do it all from that point guard position.
Although he only won a single championship during his time as a Celtic (1981), this lefty is still an NBA legend whose career achievements include being on multiple All-NBA Teams including First Team selections twice plus having been named as part of five All-Star Games, averaging 20+ PPG for eight consecutive seasons, leading either the ABA or NBA in assists times across seven years – talk about impressive!
8. Billy Cunningham
Billy Cunningham, one of the best left-handed NBA players, this lefty played for three different teams: Philadelphia 76ers (1965 – 1974), Carolina Cougars/Denver Nuggets (1974 – 1976).
Another college standout from the University of North Carolina where he was named as part of multiple All American Teams including First Team honors twice in a row plus being on one championship team during his time with the Tar Heels, lefties everywhere have to be excited about how great this guy is going to be.
After making an immediate impact across all 82 games during his rookie year when he averaged nearly 20 PPG and 15 RPG while also playing excellent defense against some heavily favored opponents which included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s, Milwaukee Bucks!
However, it wasn’t until later years that he truly began to shine when he won his first and only MVP Award in 1972-73 plus was named as part of the All NBA First Team that same year – talk about impressive!
Cunningham’s best season came right after that one though while playing for Philadelphia where he averaged nearly 30 PPG, grabbed 15.0 RPG, handed out five assists per contest, and dished out two steals so lefties everywhere should be looking at this guy because we need more lefty scorers like him who can do it all from their position…
This lefty made six consecutive trips to the All-Star Game (five while with Philadelphia), scored 20+ PPG times across nine different seasons including three separate campaigns averaging over 25 PPG which is impressive on its own, and was named as part of multiple All-NBA Teams including First Team honors three times plus two Second Teamer selections.
7. Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore, the 5th of the best left-handed NBA players, lefties everywhere need to know everything about this guy because he is one of the most impressive lefty NBA players ever.
This big man dominated during his time with Kentucky where they made it to an NCAA Championship game appearance in 1970 before ultimately losing out on that year’s title but not without Artis making a huge impact by averaging nearly 24 PPG and 20 RPG!
He was also named as part of multiple All-American Teams including First Team honors twice plus being named as part of two championship teams which included 1978 when he led Jacksonville University over Duke for their first National Title – talk about impressive!
Gilmore had an immediate effect across all 82 games played during his rookie season (1971) when he averaged 15+ PPG and 12 RPG so left-handed fans everywhere need to pay attention because this guy is going to be a force for years to come.
After being named as part of the ABA All-League Team twice, Rookie of the Year Award winner during his first year (1971), an MVP in 1972 after averaging 22.0 PPG and 15.0 RPG across 23 games played, lefties can see why Gilmore would end up on our list as one of the top lefty NBA players ever! Furthermore, he was also selected as part of three different All-Star Games which included four First Team selections including two back-to-back with the San Antonio Spurs where he averaged nearly 20 points per contest plus 11 rebounds.
6. Willis Reed
Another one of the best left-handed NBA players is Willis Reed. This man dominated when he played for Grambling State where they won multiple championships plus made it deep into NCAA tournaments before finally losing out in 1967 – talk about impressive on its own.
Additionally, Reed was named as part of two All-American Teams along with being an Honorable Mention selection in 1962 and First Team honors twice (1964 & 1965) while also scoring 20+ points per game across four different seasons including his final year at college which lead him straight into our list…
He is best known for leading the New York Knicks to their only two championships in franchise history. Back-to-back titles no less! Reed averaged nearly 20 rebounds per contest across those finals series. Which gave him an immediate boost into becoming a leftie legend. And thus he made it onto this list during his final year with the Phoenix Suns.
But not without making multiple All-Star teams including five consecutive selections (1970 – 1974). While also being named as part of four different First Teams that included three times consecutively from 1971 through 1973. Furthermore, Willis was selected twice more before retiring after ten seasons where he average 18+ PPG along with 12+ RPG. While playing incredible left-handed defense!
5. Dave Cowens
Known for being one of the greatest left-handed power forwards in NBA history. Dave Cowens is a force to be reckoned with during his time with Boston. Where they made it deep into multiple NBA Finals series and won two championships.
This man was selected as part of seven All-Star Games. Which included four First Team selections including three consecutive years (1973 through 1975). While also earning an MVP Award in 1973. Beyond that, he averaged 17+ PPG across 11 different seasons while reaching double digits on nine other occasions. So lefties should know everything possible about this guy…
Cowens had an immediate impact when he first joined Boston midway through their season. After leading Florida State University to six straight tournament appearances before finally losing out in 1971. He would go on to average 19+ PPG across all 13 games left in the regular season where they went 11-0. Which opened up their first-ever NBA Finals appearance against the Milwaukee Bucks – talk about impressive!
After being named as part of three All-Star Games (1973, 1974 & 1975). Dave finally retired after ten seasons with Boston and was elected into both the Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during his final year along with becoming an NBA Champion twice over…
Awarded Rookie Of The Year honors in 1971 while also making First Team All-Rookie that same season alongside winning Sixth Man Of The Year Award four years later (1975) before moving onto San Diego midway through 1977’s campaign. Lefties should never take their eyes off of this guy!
4. James Harden
James Harden is widely regarded as one of the most talented and accomplished basketball players of his generation. He has had a long and successful career in the NBA, with numerous accolades and achievements to his name. In this analysis, we will take a closer look at some of the key accomplishments of James Harden’s career.
During his first few seasons in the league, Harden established himself as one of the best sixth men in the NBA. He was a key part of the Thunder team that made it to the NBA Finals in 2012, although they ultimately lost to the Miami Heat.
In 2012, James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster deal. He quickly became the team’s star player and one of the best players in the league. He led the NBA in scoring in each of the next three seasons, averaging over 30 points per game in two of those seasons.
Harden’s offensive prowess was on full display during the 2016-2017 season, when he became just the third player in NBA history to record a 60-point triple-double. He also led the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals that season, although they lost to the Golden State Warriors.
Harden continued to put up impressive numbers over the next few seasons, and he won the NBA’s MVP award in 2018. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team five times during his tenure with the Rockets.
James Harden has had a remarkable career in the NBA, with numerous accolades and awards to his name. Here are some of his most notable accomplishments:
- 8-time NBA All-Star: Harden has been named to the NBA All-Star team eight times, including every season from 2013-2020.
- 6-time All-NBA First Team selection: Harden has been named to the All-NBA First Team six times in his career.
- 3-time NBA scoring champion: Harden has led the NBA in scoring three times, including in each of the past three seasons.
- 1-time NBA MVP: Harden was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018.
- 4-time NBA assist leader: Harden has led the NBA in assists four times, including in each of the past two seasons.
- Olympic gold medalist: Harden won a gold medal as a member of the United States men’s basketball team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
3. Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili is widely considered one of the best shooting guards of all time. He had a long and successful career in the NBA, playing 16 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
During his 16 seasons with the Spurs, Manu Ginobili won four NBA championships (2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014) and was a key contributor on each of those teams. He was known for his clutch performances in big games, and he often made critical plays in key moments of playoff games.
Ginobili’s offensive abilities were particularly noteworthy. He was an excellent shooter from both inside and outside the three-point line, and he was a master of the Eurostep, a move he helped popularize in the NBA. He was also an outstanding passer and a tenacious defender, making him a valuable asset on both ends of the court.
Throughout his career, Ginobili earned numerous accolades and awards:
- NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2003
- two-time NBA All-Star (2005 and 2011)
- All-NBA Third Team twice (2008 and 2011)
- Two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year (2008 and 2011).
In addition to his success in the NBA, Manu Ginobili was also a star player on the Argentine national team. He played for Argentina in four Olympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016) and was a key player on the team that won the gold medal in 2004. He was also a member of the Argentine team that won the FIBA World Cup in 2002.
2. David Robinson
This leftie was selected as part of ten All-Star Games. Which included seven selections to the First Team (1989 through 1995, 1998, and 2000). Along with winning MVP honors in 1994. Talk about an incredible feat!
I could go on all day talking about his achievements such as being named Rookie Of The Year during Robinson’s first season for San Antonio. Where he averaged 25+ PPG across 27 games after joining from Navy.
He made an immediate impact when making it into their starting lineup. And played alongside Hall of Fame player George Gervin until 1989 before retiring that year due to injury. Also leading them deep into multiple NBA Finals series where they captured a championship in 1999.
Here are David Robinson’s accomplshments:
- 2-time NBA Champion (1999, 2003)
- NBA MVP (1995)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1990)
- 10-time NBA All-Star (1990-1996, 1998-2000)
- 4-time All-NBA First Team (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996)
- 2-time All-NBA Second Team (1994, 1998)
- 2-time All-NBA Third Team (1993, 1999)
- 8-time All-Defensive First Team (1991-1992, 1995-1996, 1998-2000)
- 2-time All-Defensive Second Team (1993, 1994)
- NBA scoring champion (1994-1995)
- NBA rebounding champion (1990-1991)
- NBA blocks leader (1991-1992, 1993-1994, 1995-1996)
- NBA steals leader (1991-1992)
- NBA Sportsmanship Award (2001-2002)
- NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996)
- Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (2009)
David averaged a double-double across his first nine seasons with 22+ PPG and 11+ RPG. Which was more than enough to earn him the title of leftie legend!
1. Bill Russell
The best left-handed NBA player of all time without a doubt, Bill Russell is one leftie legend…
He made an immediate impact in his rookie season with Boston. Where he averaged 18 PPG and 22 RPG across 79 games. While earning All-Star honors along with winning Rookie Of The Year that same year before going on to win 11 championships for their franchise! Talk about lefties making an immediate impact!!
Beyond just being named as part of eleven All-Star Games (1958 – 1969). This man was also given 12 selections to First Team including five MVP awards. Which included three consecutively from 1963 until 1965. He would go on to average 15+ PPG 23+ RPG during 13 seasons for Boston with his leftie skills – unstoppable!
Russell is also considered one of the best defenders to ever play in NBA history. As he was named Defensive Player Of The Year four times (1958, 1960, 1963 & 1965). Before finally retiring after winning yet another championship. He would become a coach for San Francisco and Seattle while taking home Coach Of The Year honors twice during 1972 & 1973. Before becoming an NBA Analyst on ABC Sports…
Here are some of Bill Russell’s NBA accomplishments:
- 11-time NBA Champion (1957, 1959-1966, 1968-1969)
- 5-time NBA MVP (1958, 1961-1963, 1965)
- 12-time NBA All-Star (1958-1969)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1963)
- 3-time All-NBA Second Team (1958, 1960, 1962)
- NBA All-Defensive First Team (1969)
- 4-time NBA rebounding leader (1958-1959, 1964-1965)
- Hall of Fame player and coach (inducted in 1975)
- NBA’s 25th and 35th Anniversary All-Time Teams
- His number 6 jersey was retired by the Boston Celtics
Russell is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, not only for his impressive stats and accolades, but also for his impact on the game and his contributions to civil rights and social justice movements. He was a dominant defensive force, with incredible shot-blocking and rebounding abilities. His 11 NBA championships are a record that still stands today, and his success as a player and coach with the Boston Celtics helped establish the team as one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.
So lefties everywhere, some left-handed NBA players have made an impact on the game of basketball. Hopefully, this blog post has helped you learn more about them. So please comment below if you would like to share which left-handed player is your favorite!
Also, let us know if we missed anyone that should be added to our list. Thank you for reading and hope everyone has a great day!