The Chicago Sun-Times recently posted a story about five local players who had success in high school, but no one predicted their rise to NBA stardom. The story included Alfonzo McKinnie, who played for the Green Bay Phoenix:
Alfonzo McKinnie, Marshall
Road to the NBA: This is a long and incredible road to the NBA, one that no one could have imagined, even during his college years.
The little-known McKinnie was scooped up by Eastern Illinois after a relatively quiet high school career, which started at Curie and ended playing as a senior at Marshall.
After two seasons at EIU, where he averaged 10.2 points and seven rebounds as a sophomore, he transferred to Wisconsin-Green Bay.
While at UW-Green Bay, McKinnie suffered injuries and setbacks, twice tearing his meniscus. He played just nine games as a redshirt junior and then averaged an underwhelming eight points in 21 minutes as a senior. McKinnie finished his college career averaging 7.2 points.
McKinnie went undrafted in the 2015 draft. With options limited, the 6-7 forward headed overseas to join a semipro team in Luxembourg’s second division that played in middle school gymnasiums. He then signed with a Mexican team, Rayos de Hermosillo, in 2016.
McKinnie then paid for his own tryout with the Windy City Bulls. He made the team and in the 2016-17 season became a G League All-Star.
NBA career: The Raptors gave McKinnie a shot in 2017. He floated between the Raptors and the franchise’s G League affiliate. He did appear in 14 NBA games in his debut season but played sparingly.
After being cut by the Raptors, McKinnie signed with the Warriors. Following an impressive Summer League, McKinnie grabbed the final roster spot that season for the two-time defending NBA champions. He ultimately became a key member of the second team, playing in 72 games and averaging 14 minutes.
McKinnie was instrumental in the Warriors’ playoff run that ultimately ended with a 2019 NBA Finals loss to the Raptors.
The Cavaliers eventually signed McKinnie to a multiyear contract. He played 40 games for the Cavaliers in the 2019-20 season, averaging 15 minutes in 40 games, before being traded to the Lakers. He played in 39 games for the Lakers last season.
McKinnie’s career NBA numbers: four points and 2.4 rebounds a game.