The Milwaukee Bucks are the 2021 NBA Champions after defeating the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Tar Heel Justin Jackson, a member of the Bucks, joins a list of 17 other UNC basketball players to win an NBA championship as a player.
For Jackson to be in the NBA, much less an NBA champion, appeared to be a long shot just three months ago. Having begun the season for Oklahoma City (and appearing in 33 games), the Thunder released the Houston-area native on April 5.
After two weeks out of the NBA, Milwaukee signed Jackson to a two-way contract on April 21. He appeared in only one regular season game, the regular season finale against Chicago, but scored nine points while playing 32:37.
Jackson also appeared in five games throughout the Bucks’ playoff run, but only in mop-up duty. He unfortunately didn’t receive any playing time in the NBA Finals.
UNC has now produced 18 future NBA champions who have won a total of 36 NBA championships.
Jackson is the fourth Tar Heel to win both an NCAA (2017) and NBA Championship (2021). UCLA is the only school to produce more of these double champions – seven.
The other three Tar Heels on the list:
- Michael Jordan – 1982 (UNC); 1991-93, 1996-98 (Bulls)
- James Worthy – 1982 (UNC); 1985, 1987-88 (Lakers)
- Danny Green – 2009 (UNC); 2014 (Spurs), 2019 (Raptors), 2020 (Lakers)
The rest of the ACC has produced just three combined players who have won the NCAA / NBA championship double:
- Shane Battier - 2001 (Duke); 2012-13 (Heat)
- Quinn Cook – 2015 (Duke); 2018 (Warriors), 2020 (Lakers)
- Mamadi Diakite – 2019 (Virginia); 2021 (Bucks)
Congratulations are also in order to Cameron Johnson, who made the NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns in just his second year in the NBA.
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