Xavier Tillman Sr. Joins Select Company of Spartans to Win NBA Title

Former Michigan State star forward Xavier Tillman Sr. is now among some Spartan legends to have won an NBA championship.
Jun 14, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Boston Celtics forward Xavier Tillman (26) arrives before game four of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Boston Celtics forward Xavier Tillman (26) arrives before game four of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

With the Boston Celtics winning this year's NBA title, Celtics forward and former Michigan State star Xavier Tillman Sr. can add his name to the list of Spartans who have gone on to win a ring in the NBA.

Here are the other former Michigan State men's basketball players who have won a championship.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson (5x Champion)

Johnson was not only the greatest player to ever come through Michigan State's men's basketball program, but he is one of the best and most winningest NBA players of all time as well.

The former Spartan point guard and perhaps greatest point guard in the history of basketball won five titles in his 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Johnson's championship journey began in just his rookie season when he was fresh off of winning the 1979 NCAA championship with Michigan State. He and his Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers to win the 1980 NBA Finals.

Johnson won the Finals MVP for the series, largely due to his iconic Game 6 performance when he started at center in place of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Johnson would post 42 points and 15 rebounds, helping will the Lakers to the title with the series-clinching victory.

The Laker legend would win four more titles as the leader of the "Showtime Lakers," as he and his Boston Celtic rival Larry Bird helped bring the NBA back to relevance in the 1980s.

Draymond Green (4x Champion)

Green has been the X-factor of the Golden State Warriors over the past decade, helping lead them to the top of the basketball world four times, establishing the latest dynasty in the modern era.

Green and the Warriors won three titles in the span of four years before winning their latest in 2022. The former Spartan forward was also a key part of the Warriors' record-breaking 73-9 regular-season record in 2015-16.

Shannon Brown (2x Champion)

Brown was part of the Lakers' back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, which were led by the late legend Kobe Bryant. He was also part of LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers team that went to the NBA Finals in 2007, Brown's rookie season.

He played in all 82 games in the 2010 season, averaging 20.7 minutes per game. Brown averaged just over 8 points per game that season.

The former Spartan guard played nine NBA seasons.

Sam Vincent (1x Champion)

Vincent won an NBA title with the Celtics in 1986, his rookie season. He played nine games in that playoff run, averaging 2.4 points per game.

Vincent played seven NBA seasons, and was the seventh player to be pick in the Orlando Magic's expansion draft.

Steve Smith (1x Champion)

Smith won his title as a member of the 2003 San Antonio Spurs' championship team. The Spartan legend played 14 NBA seasons.

Kevin Willis (1x Champion)

Willis was also a member of the 2003 Spurs title team. He played 18 games that postseason, averaging 2.6 points per game.

Willis was the longest-tenured NBA player of the aforementioned Spartans, having played 21 NBA seasons.

Bryn Forbes (1x Champion)

Forbes was part of the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks NBA title team that defeated the Pheonix Suns in six games. It happened to be his only season in Milwaukee.

Matt Steigenga (1x Champion)

Steigenga played two games for the Chicago Bulls during their 1996-97 championship season.

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