South Carolina Basketball: Former Gamecock to play in NBA Finals

South Carolina basketball alum AJ Lawson and his Dallas Mavericks team will play in the NBA Finals. The Finals begin on Thursday night.
Former South Carolina basketball guard AJ Lawson
Former South Carolina basketball guard AJ Lawson / Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals are set to begin on Thursday night, and professional basketball fans are thankful that the championship matchup is between two teams that haven't won recent titles as the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics will vie for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. It continues the trend of parity in the league after a long stretch without it. One of the new faces hoping to win the title is a South Carolina basketball alum.

Former Gamecock great AJ Lawson plays for the Dallas Mavericks and has found his first full-time gig in the Association with the Mavs. He hasn't been part of the condensed playoff rotation, but Lawson played in over half of Dallas' games this season and saw a little bit of action in the Western Conference Finals-clinching win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If the Mavericks win the title, Lawson will be the first South Carolina basketball star to win an NBA championship while on an active roster since the '90s when JoJo English won two titles with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

During his Gamecock career, AJ Lawson was an athletic perimeter player who played minutes at point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. Spending most of his time on the wing at shooting guard, he was both an effective shooter and slasher, and his athleticism often wowed USC fans at Colonial Life Arena as he routinely outraced entire defenses as a one-man fastbreak and threw down more than a few thunderous dunks.

After enrolling early with the Gamecocks ahead of the 2018-2019 season, he made the SEC All-Freshman team and then was an All-SEC performer as a junior. He left school early to pursue an NBA career, and after a few years of toiling in the G League, he seems to have done enough to stick in the league for a little while.

The NBA Finals begin on Thursday night with an 8:30 PM ET tip. All games of the series will be broadcast on ABC and streamed on the ESPN app.

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