Top Historic NBA Players originally from Missoula

Did you know that there are a couple of the NBA’s top players who are originally from Missoula, Montana? In fact, both of them began their professional careers right here in our own backyard as they played their high school basketball in Missoula.

In this article, we will look to analyze the impact that each of them had during their careers in the NBA, and why we are proud to call them our own!

Mike Lewis and Larry Krystkowiak are two historic players to have made the NBA from Missoula

The little city of Missoula in the west of the state of Montana may only have a relatively small population of approximately 75,000 – small when compared to the 1 million or so said to live in the “Treasure State” – however, they have been able to provide their fair share of sporting icons.

Many of them appear to have been able to make a career for themselves in American Football, with some of them having been able to play in the NFL, however, there are two individuals who did manage to carve out some fame for their ability on a basketball court, too.

Indeed, the names Mike Lewis and Larry Krystkowiak might ring a bell or two with avid fans of the NBA, as both were able to enjoy successful stints as professional players. We thought we would take a look at each of these men in detail and highlight why they will be able to look back and reflect on their careers fondly.

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis is the first of the names to appear on this list, as he is a former professional basketball player who spent most of his career playing in the ABA. He was born and raised in Missoula, Montana, and played his college basketball at the University of Duke.

It was there where he was able to go on and play in the ABA after he was selected in the 1968 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics in the seventh round as the 88th overall pick. A 6’8″ power forward/center, he would go on to play for the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Pipers, Pittsburgh Pipers, Pittsburgh Condors, and Carolina Cougars between the years 1968 and 1974.

During this career, which had been ended prematurely after he suffered an Achilles tendon issue that he was unable to recover from, Lewis had managed to achieve a 12.1 points per game average, as well as an average of 11. 9 rebounds per game throughout his ABA career. He showed some promise throughout his career, with his ability being recognized in the 1971 season when he was included in that year’s edition of the All-Star Game.

Indeed, it was a shame that he did not manage to do as much as he clearly had the potential to achieve.

Larry Krystkowiak

Larry Krystkowiak was another NBA athlete to have been born and raised in Missoula, Montana. However, unlike Lewis, he played his collegiate basketball at the University of Montana. He was drafted in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls as the 28th overall pick and went on to have a solid NBA career on and off the court that he can be proud of.

Indeed, the team and its fans would be pretty proud to have a player like him on their team in the modern day, especially those who like to place a bet on the team achieving some success of some kind while on the basketball court.

For those who are interested, the Caesars Illinois Sportsbook has the odds for the upcoming NBA season for the Bulls where punters are able to enjoy prices that can be seen to be providing them with some value across a range of different markets.

While the team is listed at +5000 to win the NBA Championships, they are priced at -250 to make the playoffs (compared to +200 not to), thus potentially providing an option that is worth taking. However, those that do bet on the Bulls making the postseason may want to see players perform a little better than Krystkowiak did during his time as the modern game has moved on since he played.

During his 12-year career, Krystkowiak averaged 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, as well as providing 1.2 assists per game on average. He had only spent one season with the Bulls, as he had played 19 games and 4.4 points per game, as well as 3.1 rebounds per game, as he played for the San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers during his NBA career.

After his playing days were over, Larry Krystkowiak returned to his alma mater to become head coach of the men’s basketball team. However, it was not just the University of Montana that he coached, as he was a coach in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and also coached the Utah Utes for a decade between 2011/21.

Final Thoughts

As can be seen, Missoula may not have been able to produce a plethora of basketball stars to have played in the NBA over the years, unlike other states that appear to be able to dominate the sport at times in regard to new talent, however, the small town of Montana has certainly helped to contribute to the professional game.

There will have been some disappointment regarding the career of Mike Lewis as it perhaps did not turn out as many would have expected it to go because of the career-ending injury that he sustained. There will be some more positivity regarding Krystkowiak’s professional basketball career, though, as he clearly had a profound impact on the sport on and off the court.

One does wonder, though, will we see any other Missoula natives become legends of the NBA in the future? We certainly hope so, and we hope it will not be too long before this is the case! Of course, only time will tell, though!