- All 30 NBA head coaches were once players at various levels.
- Of the 30 coaches, nine played in the NBA and several more played professionally in Europe.
- We collected photos and images of 24 current NBA head coaches from their playing days.
All NBA head coaches are former players and it can be a bit jarring to see what they looked like when they were the ones in jerseys, shorts, and sneakers.
Of the 30 head coaches in the NBA during the 2018-19 season, nine are former NBA players. Five others played professional basketball in Europe, and all played hoops in college.
Below, we collected photos and images of 24 coaches from their playing days.
Mike D’Antoni — Houston Rockets
D’Antoni played at Marshall University. He also played four seasons in the NBA and ABA with the Kings, Spurs, and Spirits, as well as several seasons in Europe.
- YouTube/Olimpia MilanoTV
Larry Drew — Cleveland Cavaliers
Drew played college basketball at the University of Missouri and then 10 seasons in the NBA with the Pistons, Kings, Clippers, and Lakers.
Rick Carlisle — Dallas Mavericks
Carlisle played at the University of Maine before five seasons in the NBA with the Celtics, Knicks, and Nets. He won an NBA championship with the Celtics in 1986.
Steve Kerr — Golden State Warriors
Kerr played at the University of Arizona and then spent 15 seasons in the NBA with six teams. He won five championship rings as a player.
Nate McMillan — Indiana Pacers
McMillan played at North Carolina State and then spent 12 seasons with the SuperSonics.
- Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Erik Spoelstra — Miami Heat
Spoelstra played at the University of Portland.
- University of Portland
Spoelstra was also on the court against Loyola-Marymount the night Hank Gathers died.
Doc Rivers — Los Angeles Clippers
Rivers played at Marquette followed by 13 seasons in the NBA with four clubs. He was an All-Star in 1988 with the Hawks.
- Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Luke Walton — Los Angeles Lakers
Walton played college hoops at the University of Arizona and then spent 11 seasons in the NBA with the Lakers and Cavs. He won two rings as a player.
- Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Billy Donovan — Oklahoma City Thunder
Donovan led sixth-seeded Providence to the Final Four in 1987. He later spent one season in the NBA with the Knicks, playing under his former college coach, Rick Pitino.
Scott Brooks — Washington Wizards
- Nick Wass
Brooks played at TCU and UC-Irvine. He spent 10 seasons in the NBA with six teams.
- Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Brad Stevens — Boston Celtics
Stevens played college hoops at DePauw.
- DePauw University
Kenny Atkinson — Brooklyn Nets
Atkinson played at Richmond and then spent more than a decade playing for several clubs in Europe.
- PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
David Fizdale — New York Knicks
Fizdale played at the University of San Diego where he was a 3-year starting point guard. He was all-conference his senior season, averaging 9 points and 7 assists per game. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in assists.
- University of San Diego
Gregg Popovich — San Antonio Spurs
Popovich played basketball at the Air Force Academy. He was later a member of an All-Star US Armed Forces Team that toured Eastern Europe and Russia.
- Air Force Academy
Dwane Casey — Detroit Pistons
Casey played at Kentucky and won an NCAA championship in 1978.
- Getty Images
J. B. Bickerstaff — Memphis Grizzlies
Bickerstaff played college ball at Oregon State and Minnesota.
Mike Budenholzer — Milwaukee Bucks
Budenholzer played at Pomona Pitzer.
- Pomona College
Brett Brown — Philadelphia 76ers
Brown played at Boston University.
- TNT via YouTube/The NBeye Official
Nick Nurse — Toronto Raptors
Nurse played at the University of Northern Iowa.
- Northern Iowa
Quin Snyder — Utah Jazz
Snyder played in three Final Fours at Duke.
- Rich Clarkson/NCAA via Getty Images
Alvin Gentry — New Orleans Pelicans
Gentry played at Appalachian State.
- Appalachian State
Lloyd Pierce — Atlanta Hawks
- John Amis
Pierce played at Santa Clara and later spent a few seasons in Europe before beginning his coaching career.
- Santa Clara University
Michael Malone — Denver Nuggets
Malone played at Loyola-Maryland.
- Loyola Athletics
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Jim Boylen — Chicago Bulls
- Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Boylen played for the Maine Black Bears where he averaged 21.1 points per game as a senior. It was the second-best scoring season in school history.
- Maine Black Bears