If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” you’d learn why January is a memorable month for Canadian hockey players. Can we say the same about the NBA? You be the judge. Whatever the case may be, you can put up a pretty good all-time starting five using all the popular NBA players born in January. From a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year and four-time NBA champion, check out all the January babies in the NBA, then and now.
What Month Has the Most NBA Players Birthdays?
According to an article by FanSided, the most common birthday month for NBA players is March and then followed by February.
The same piece continues: “The Relative Age Effect is clearly present in the NBA to some degree. Looking at the birthdays of all players drafted in the last 25 years, we find that there are a disproportionate number of February and March birthdays relative to the birth trends of the general population. This difference is statistically significant, meaning that it is likely more than pure chance.” The reason why such is the case is harder to explain and may depend on various factors.
Active NBA Players Born in January
- Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers (born January 26, 2000)
Garland is probably the best active NBA player born in January. He was recently named an All-Star in just his third season. When you’re currently averaging 21.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 8.3 assists on 47/38/91 shooting splits, it’s easy to see why.
- Tyler Herro, Miami Heat (January 20, 2000)
Herro is the best sixth man in the league right now, bar none. He averages 20.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on 44/39/87 shooting split for Heat, who is currently sitting atop the East.
- Will Barton, Denver Nuggets (January 6, 1991)
Will “the Thrill” is not a superstar by any stretch of the imagination, but he has been a steady contributor throughout his career. He is averaging 14.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on a Nuggets team without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr.
- Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors (January 11, 1993)
Boucher was a late basketball bloomer, but he is a difference-maker on both ends of the floor for the Raptors. The lanky big man began his NBA career as a 25-year-old rookie but eventually became one of the better bigs off the bench. He is good for nine points, six rebounds, and a block as a reserve playing 20 minutes a night.
- Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (January 22, 1996)
Brooks was the Grizzlies’ starting small forward for the first 22 games before getting hurt. He has just returned for Memphis after two months. He is a hard-nosed defender and an underrated scorer averaging 18.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists before his ankle injury.
- Montrezl Harrell, Charlotte Hornets (January 26, 1994)
Trez already had a Sixth Man of the Year award under his belt when he torched other bench units to the tune of 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds on 58% shooting back in 2020. He already played for two teams this year, but he is still a reliable double-digit contributor off the bench.
- Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (January 4, 1999)
Sexton is Garland’s backcourt mate in Cleveland, but the former has played only 11 games this season. He may not be at the forefront of the Cavaliers’ turnaround this season, but he is a legit 20-point scorer when healthy.
- Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks (January 6, 1993)
Connaughton was a key contributor to the Bucks 2021 championship run, coming off the bench for almost 24 minutes a night. His numbers are not flashy, but he gets the job done on both ends of the floor.
- Gary Trent, Jr., Toronto Raptors (January 18, 1999)
GTJ is a second-generation NBA player that’s as streaky a shooter as anyone. He averages over 18 points this season, making three long-range shots a night.
- JaVale McGee, Phoenix Suns (January 19, 1988)
McGee became the league’s laughingstock for many years because of his boneheaded plays. The turning point of his career was when the Warriors gave him a chance, which eventually earned him two championships. McGee won another one in 2020 with the Lakers, and he may be on his way to another for the league-leading Phoenix Suns.
- Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors (January 28, 1984)
Iggy did not make it as a franchise player in Philly, but he carved a niche as a versatile defender and a veteran presence. He earned himself multiple championships and a Finals MVP in 2015.
Other active NBA basketball players born in January:
- Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks (January 29, 1992)
- Donte DiVincenzo, Sacramento Kings (January 31, 1997)
- Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets (January 31, 1988)
- Keita Bates-Diop, San Antonio Spurs (January 23, 1996)
- Ignas Brazdeikis, Orlando Magic (Januray 8, 1999)
- Larry Nance, Jr., New Orleans Pelicans (January 1, 1993)
- Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls (January 8, 1998)
- Gorgui Dieng, Atlanta Hawks (January 18, 1990)
- Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks (January 17, 1996)
- Deonte Burton, OKC Thunder (January 31, 1994)
Retired NBA Players Born in January
- Hakeem Olajuwon (January 21, 1963)
The Dream is one of the all-time greats and possibly the best center in the 1990s. He has won two championships, two DPOYs, two Finals MVPs, and a league MVP. He was also a 12-time All-Star, an All-NBA first team member six times, and a five-time All-Defensive first team selection.
- Dwyane Wade (January 17, 1982)
D-Wade was universally recognized as the best shooting guard outside of Kobe Bryant in the 2000s. Like Olajuwon, Wade had no shortage of individual accolades outside of a DPOY and a league MVP. Of course, that shouldn’t take away anything out of his star-studded career– three rings, one Finals MVP, 13-time All-Star, and 8-time All-NBA.
- Dominique Wilkins (January 12, 1960)
At one point, Nique averaged at least 25 points for ten consecutive seasons, joining only seven others to form that elite company. He was named to nine straight All-Star teams, seven All-NBA teams, a scoring championship, and a trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Vince Carter (January 26, 1977)
Half man, half amazing. The high-flying UNC alum was probably the best dunker ever, but he was more than that as a player. He was named to two All-NBA teams and an All-Star for eight consecutive years.
- Alex English (January 4, 1954)
English was one of the most underrated scorers in the NBA. How good was he at putting the ball in the basket? Well, he scored more points in the 80s than Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He scored at least 2,000 points for eight straight seasons and made the All-Star team in that same span. English was also named an All-NBA guard three times in the 80s.
Other notable retired NBA players born in January:
- Mark Eaton (January 24, 1957)
- Detlef Schrempf (January 21, 1963)
- Gilbert Arenas (January 6, 1982)
- Jalen Rose (January 30, 1973)
How Do NBA Players Celebrate Their Birthdays?
NBA players make a lot of money, so it’s only natural for them to spend a ridiculous amount of money to celebrate their birthdays. Here are some Instagram posts and birthday stories from NBA players born in January:
Gilbert Arenas’ $1 Million Party
If you know Gil, he’s one of the craziest personalities in social media. The guy has no filter and wouldn’t hesitate to poke fun at anyone and in any situation. Still, this story about how he got an eight-figure contract with Adidas was outrageous even by his standards.
Dwyane Wade Bares All
When you are as rich as D-Wade, you have probably tasted the best food and gone to the world’s best resorts. The only thing left to do is take a picture– naked.
VC’s Ode to Mamba
Vince Carter and Kobe Bryant played on the same AAU team growing up, and they have remained close ever since. Tragically, Bryant met a tragic death on Carter’s 43rd birthday, January 26, 2020. Two years later, VC posted this heartfelt message to Kobe on Twitter.
I’m thankful to see another year of life but it’s really tough to celebrate when the world lost a great human being on this same day. Rest well Kobe the world is truly missing a great one.
So on this day I celebrate you & I say thank you for the battles & the friendship.#8/24 pic.twitter.com/3eLr9cT6gS
— Vince Carter (@mrvincecarter15) January 26, 2022
Trez Remembers Kobe
Montrezl Harrell also shares the same birth date with Vince Carter. In his lone season with the Lakers, Harrell reflected on Kobe Bryant’s death on his birthday.
Wrapping Things Up: Popular NBA Players Born in January
It’s crazy to think that January produced the least amount of players in NBA history. With that being said, the month does not lack star power, even among the retired NBA players born in January. Hakeem Olajuwon, Dwyane Wade, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, and Alex English are some of the most notable names.
For active players, Andre Iguodala, Darius Garland, Tyler Herro, and JaVale McGee are among the most popular NBA players born in January. Garland is having a breakout season at only 22 years old, while Iguodala and McGee have multiple championship rings. On top of that, the Sixth Man of the Year award is Tyler Herro’s to lose.
Cover photo by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / modified from original