A basketball prodigy renowned for his hard work, Trajan Langdon single-handedly raised the profile of Alaska high school basketball in the Lower 48 states with his prowess as a 6-foot-3, barrier-breaking guard for East High School in Anchorage during the 1990s.
In his four seasons starting for the Thunderbirds, Langdon led his team to three consecutive Alaska large-school state championships and became the first player in state history to be selected player-of-the-year three times.
Regarded as a deadly three-point jump shooter, Langdon, whose first name was gleaned from a Roman emperor, was nicknamed “The Alaskan Assassin.” With Langdon as a talented scorer and passer, yet appreciated simultaneously as an unselfish player, East gained national recognition and faced some of the nation’s top talent in games against powerhouse schools.
In an unprecedented accomplishment for an Alaskan, Langdon was invited to participate in national summer camps for undergraduate players. He played in the McDonald’s All-America game and won the 3-point shooting contest. Langdon became the most heavily recruited Alaskan in history before selecting traditional power Duke University for his collegiate play.
During his Blue Devils career, Langdon was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer, an All-American and played in the NCAA championship game. A 90 percent free-throw shooter, Langdon set Duke records for 3-point shooting. Over summers while in college, Langdon played minor league baseball in the San Diego Padres organization.
In 1998, Langdon was a member of the United States team that won a bronze medal at the FIBA World Championships.
A lottery draft pick, Langdon became the first Alaskan to play in the NBA when he was chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers and made his pro debut in 1999. Langdon spent parts of three seasons with the Cavaliers and then played professionally in Europe, including seven successful years with Russia’s Moscow CSKA.
Langdon then returned stateside and became an NBA executive. He worked in the front office for the San Antonio Spurs (three seasons) and Cavaliers (one season) before becoming the assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets in 2016.
– Lew Freedman