Dion Waiters and Marty Byrnes are the only two former SU basketball players to have won an NBA Title. That won’t change this year, as neither the Boston Celtics nor the Golden State Warriors currently have a player who called the 315 home in college. But there are plenty of former SU players in both the NBA and the NFL. Two of them have rings in Chandler Jones and Waiters. Here are three former Orange currently playing professionally in America that have a legitimate chance to win a ring soon.
Wait… what? Yes, Syracuse Football didn’t have any players selected in April’s NFL Draft. That didn’t stop one team from giving the former SU D-Lineman a shot in the pros:
Not only does Jonathan get a shot, he only has to move about two hours west on I-90 too. Not a bad deal. Jonathan is also joining one of the best teams in the league right now. The Bills have won back-to-back AFC East titles and are currently the betting favorite on numerous sites to take home the Super Bowl 57 trophy. Jonathan may not play a huge role, but everyone on the team gets a ring! A successful training camp could lead to a roster spot for him. Then, if the odds prove correct, tables will be broken and Jonathan will be a champion.
From the court to the gridiron. The Fizz wondered if the City of Angels would provide a storybook ending for arguably the greatest player in SU history. The Lakers’ season was nothing short of a trainwreck. Anthony turned 38 a few days ago and is a free agent. He averaged 13.3 PPG over 26 MPG in 69 games. Not too shabby, but given how unfriendly the Lakers’ situation is, he’d be better off elsewhere. As chastized as ring-chasing is in sports, that may be his best bet if he wants to take home a title before retiring. Anthony could potentially provide a young team like Dallas the boost it needs to get over the hump. Another option could be the Suns. Phoenix had the best record in the NBA before coming up short in the playoffs. Not only would Anthony be quite the scoring boost, but he’d be playing with his friend Chris Paul. What a storybook ending it would be if the two ended their careers by finally winning a title, bringing some bragging rights to Central New York in the process.
After getting picked in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the former SU defensive end has been floating around practice squads since then. The Packers claimed him off waivers from the 49ers just over a week ago. Slayton hasn’t seen a single snap of NFL action, but he doesn’t exactly need to. If he keeps his spot on Green Bay’s practice squad and the team wins it all, he’ll get his ring. Given that Aaron Rodgers is the Packers’ signal-caller, they’ll be in the running for the Super Bowl all season long. If Slayton keeps his spot, he has a good shot.
There are 15 other former SU players in the NFL and three other ones in the NBA, so it isn’t just limited to this list. But keep an eye on these three. Pay close attention to if Jonathan and Slayton can crack their respective team’s roster and where Anthony signs this offseason. Those decisions could lead to another SU alum winning a ring.