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Norm Nixon

Basketball player and talent agent Norm Nixon was born on October 11, 1955 in Macon, Georgia to Mary Jo and Elmer Nixon. Nixon graduated from Southwest High School in 1973, where he and the basketball team won their first state championship the same year. He then attended and played basketball for Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1977.

Nixon was the twenty-second overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft, selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. His rookie season he was ranked fourth in the league in assists and was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team. In Nixon’s second season, he led the league in steals and ranked third in assists. In his third season with the Lakers, Nixon led the league in minutes played and ranked third again in assists, and the team won the 1980 Finals in six games against the Philadelphia 76ers. For the 1980-1981 season, Nixon ranked second in the league in assists. The following season, he played in the All-Star Game and the Lakers won the Finals against the 76ers in six games again. In the 1982-1983 season, the Lakers returned to the Finals where they faced the 76ers, but lost in four games. Nixon was then traded to the San Diego Clippers. In his first season here, he set a franchise record of an average of 17.2 points per game and 11.1 assists per game, making him lead the league in assists. During the 1984-1985 season, the Clippers moved to Los Angeles and Nixon played in the All-Star Game. After the 1985-1986 season, Nixon injured his left knee, which benched him for the 1986-1987 season. Nixon returned to the NBA for his final season in 1988, before retiring and briefly playing in Italy. He ended his career with 12,065 points (15.7 per game) and 6,386 assists (8.3 per game) in 768 games played. His assist average has him in the NBA’s top fifteen, and he shares the league’s record for most minutes played in a game, which was sixty-four. Nixon subsequently invested in properties, and became a sports agent with Premier Management Group Inc. He later co-founded his own agencies, Nixon-Katz Associates and Norm Nixon & Associates, where he also managed musical talent like LL Cool J and TLC. Nixon was a radio commentator for the Clippers briefly, and did analyst work for KABC-TV's NBA post-game shows. In 2010, he was hired as a color analyst for Lakers’ home games on Fox Sports West.

In 1979, Nixon was featured in the sports film, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, where he met actress Debbie Allen, whom he later married in 1984. He also attended real estate school.

Nixon resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife. He has a son, DeVaughn Nixon, and two children with Debbie, Vivian and Norman Nixon, Jr.

Norman Nixon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 15, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.110

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/15/2019

Last Name

Nixon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ellard

Schools

Southwest Magnet High School

Duquesne University

First Name

Norman

Birth City, State, Country

Macon

HM ID

NIX01

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Favorite Quote

God Bless The Child That Has His Own and If You Go Through Life And Have One Great Friend, You've Lived A Blessed Life

Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/11/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cornbread and Cabbage, Salmon Cakes, and Biscuits with Syrup

Short Description

Basketball player and talent agent Norm Nixon (1955 - ) played six seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won the 1980 and 1982 Finals, and six seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he led the league in assists, before becoming an agent and later an analyst with Fox Sports West.

Employment

Los Angeles Lakers (Basketball team)

San Diego Clippers (Basketball Team)

Los Angeles Clippers (Basketball Team)

Premier Management Group, Inc.

Nixon-Katz Associates

Norm Nixon & Associates

KABC-TV

Fox Sports West

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Chester "Chet" Walker

Basketball player Chester “Chet” Walker was born on February 22, 1940 in Bethlehem, Mississippi to John and Regenia Walker. He attended Benton High School in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where he played basketball and graduated from in 1958. Walker then attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois where his basketball team won the 1960 NIT Championship and he was named a two time All-American before graduating in 1962.

Walker was selected by the Syracuse Nationals in the 1962 NBA Draft as the twelfth overall pick; and in his first season, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. In 1963, the Nationals moved to Philadelphia and became the 76ers. Walker played in the 1964, 1966, and 1967 All-Star Games before winning his only NBA Finals Championship in six games in 1967 against the San Francisco Warriors. After two more seasons with the 76ers, Walker was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 1969. He played six seasons with the Bulls, playing in four more All-Star games in 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1974. He led the NBA with a free throw accuracy rate of 85.9 percent in the 1970–71 season, and ranked among the top ten free throw shooters five other times. Walker retired from professional basketball in 1975 after the Bulls refused to raise his salary or release or trade him. During his career, he scored 18,831 points and only twice did his scoring average drop below fifteen. He joined the short list of players appearing in more than 1,000 games, never missing the playoffs or more than six games in any season. After retiring from the NBA, Walker began producing films through his firm, Chet Walker Productions. His works include a 1980 NBC miniseries called “Freedom Road,” starring Kris Kristofferson and Muhammad Ali; a movie titled The Fiendish Plot of Fu Manchu, starring the late comedian Peter Sellers in 1983; and a 1989 made-for-TV movie called A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story, which detailed the life of the NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas’ mother and their struggles on the West Side of Chicago, and later won an Emmy. Walker also wrote a memoir called Long Time Coming: A Black Athlete's Coming-Of-Age in America, which was published in 1995.

In 1996, Walker was named amongst the NBA’s list of the fifty greatest players in history in honor of the league’s fiftieth anniversary. He was later inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 2012.

Walker resides in Los Angeles, California.

Chester “Chet” Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 14, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/14/2019

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Bard Junior High School

Benton Harbor High School

Bradley University

First Name

Chester

Birth City, State, Country

Bethlehem

HM ID

WAL28

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rome, Italy

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/22/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish, Pinto Beans, and Corn Bread

Short Description

Basketball player Chester “Chet” Walker (1940 - ) played seven seasons with the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers where he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, was a three time All-Star, and the 1967 NBA Finals Champion. Walker then played six seasons with the Chicago Bulls where he was a four time All-Star, before retiring to produce films, later winning and Emmy.

Employment

Syracuse Nationals

Philadelphia 76ers

Chicago Bulls

Chet Walker Productions

Favorite Color

Blue

Spencer Haywood

Basketball player Spencer Haywood was born on April 22, 1949 in Silver City, Mississippi. After graduating from Pershing High School in Detroit, Michigan in 1967, Haywood attended Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado. Haywood was selected to play on the United States men’s basketball team in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games and won a gold-medal for the United States. In 1969, Haywood transferred to the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan for his sophomore year. After experiencing racial discrimination on the University of Detroit basketball team, Haywood decided to leave college and play basketball professionally.

In 1969, Haywood played for the American Basketball Association’s (ABA) Denver Rockets. In 1970, at the age of twenty-one Haywood was voted ABA Rookie of the Year, Haywood signed with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Seattle Supersonics. At the time, the NBA prohibited teams from drafting players who were less than four years out of high school. Supersonics owner, Sam Schulman, and Haywood filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA. The cased reached the U.S. Supreme Court (Haywood v. National Basketball Association), which ruled in Haywood’s favor. The NBA subsequently changed their policy, allowing younger players to enter the NBA draft if they could provide evidence of “hardship.” Haywood played a total five seasons with the Seattle Supersonics. He was traded to the New York Knicks in 1975. In 1979, Haywood transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers, playing for a single season before moving to Italy to play basketball for an Italian league in 1980. After returning to the United States, Haywood played for the Washington Bullets. He retired from professional basketball in 1983. Haywood published his autobiography, entitled Spencer Haywood: The Rise, The Fall, The Recovery in 1992.

Over the course of his career with the NBA, Haywood made four NBA All-Star Teams, two All-NBA First Teams, and two All-NBA Second Teams. He retired from the NBA with a total of 14,592 career points and 7,038 rebounds. Haywood was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

Spencer Haywood has three daughters.

Spencer Haywood was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on October 11, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.180

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/11/2017

Last Name

Haywood

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Spencer

Birth City, State, Country

Silver City

HM ID

HAY16

Favorite Season

Autumn

Sponsor

Laura and George Bilicic

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Favorite Quote

He May Not Come When You Want Him, But He's Always Right On Time

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

4/22/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegan Greens

Short Description

Basketball player Spencer Haywood (1949 - ) was a four-time NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist and played on the Denver Rockets, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks, New Orleans Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and the Washington Bullets.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Lenny Wilkens

Basketball coach and player Lenny Wilkens was born on October 28, 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Boys High School in Brooklyn and received his B.A. degree from Providence College in 1960, where he was a two-time All-American on the men’s basketball team.

Wilkens was chosen by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1960 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. He spent eight years with the Hawks organization and between 1960 and 1970, he was voted to nine all-star teams and finished second to Wilt Chamberlain for the NBA’s MVP Award in 1968. That same year, Wilkens was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics becoming a player-coach. He led the Sonics to their first winning season in 1971 and 1972. He ranked among the all-time leaders in assists, free throws, and was named MVP in the 1971 All-Star game. Wilkens left coaching to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1972, and later became player-coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. In 1975, he retired from playing after fifteen seasons and remained as coach of the TrailBlazers for an additional season.

Wilkens returned to Seattle as head coach midway through the 1977 and 1978 season. He coached the Sonics to the NBA Finals that year. In his eight seasons with the Sonics, the team won its only NBA Championship in 1979, and compiled a record of 357-277 for a winning percentage 56.3. He served as the Sonic general manager for one season before accepting the head coach position for the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he coached for seven seasons. He later joined the Atlanta Hawks, coaching the team to the Central Division Championship and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1994. Wilkens remained with the Atlanta Hawks organization until 2000, and left to coach the Toronto Raptors from 2000 to 2003, and the New York Knicks from 2004 to 2005. The following year, Wilkens was hired as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics ownership group, and later became president of basketball operations. Wilkens retired from the organization in 2007.

Wilkens was the only person named one of the fifty greatest players and one of the top ten coaches in league history, and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a player and a coach. 

Wilkens and his wife, Marilyn have three children, Leesha, Randy and Jamee.

Lenny Wilkens was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.177

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/05/2017

Last Name

Wilkens

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Organizations
First Name

Lenny

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

WIL80

Favorite Season

Fall Into Winter

Sponsor

Laura and George Bilicic

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Be Consistent In What You Do And What You Say.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

10/28/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

USA

Favorite Food

My Wife's Fried Chicken

Short Description

Basketball coach and player (1937 - ) played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for fifteen years and transitioned to coaching where he won an NBA Championship and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame as a coach

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Gail A. Marquis

Basketball player and financial advisor Gail A. Marquis was born on November 18, 1954 in New York, New York. Marquis earned her B.A. degree in education and psychology from Queens College in 1980. She later received her M.B.A. degree from the University of Phoenix in 2007.

Marquis was a two-time all American at Queens College. The 1972-1973 Queens College Women’s Basketball Team made history as the first women’s team to be inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. As a member of Queens College Women’s Basketball, in 1975, they were the first women’s team ~college or pro~ to play basketball at Madison Square Garden.

Marquis played on the 1976 U.S.A. Olympic Team in Montreal, Canada; it was the first time that Women’s Basketball was played at the Olympic Games. The team won the silver medal. Marquis then travelled to Nice, France as one of only a few women, to play professional basketball in the French Federation of Basketball. She competed for an all-French team, Olympique d’Antibes Juan~les~Pins. From 1976-79, Marquis lived in the South of France where she also studied French at L’Universite de Nice in Nice, France. In 1977, Marquis represented Team U.S.A. at the World University Games in Sofia, Bulgaria. There, the U.S.A. National Team earned another silver medal.

Marquis returned to the U.S. to play for the New York Stars and later the New Jersey Gems of the Women’s Basketball League (W.B.L). Marquis’ N.Y. Stars set a league record for wins (28), and won the League Championship, as the first women’s pro team to call Madison Square Garden their home court.

Marquis entered the financial services industry and worked for firms including, Dean Witter Reynolds, PaineWebber, UBS, Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase in Operation, Information Technology, Sales and Wealth Management. In 2013, she launched her own company, G. Marquis~World Financial Services.

At the same time, Marquis was as a broad color commentator and sports analyst for the NCAA Division I games at Rutgers University and Penn State University, the American Basketball League (A.B.L) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (W.N.B.A.)

Marquis is an 11-time Hall of Famer having been inducted in 2009 to the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. She is the first woman of color inducted. She is part of the inaugural induction class into the Queens College Athletic Hall of Fame (2012), and has received numerous awards including, the Inaugural Title IX-Trailblazer Award from the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.
Marquis has served as trustee and representative to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, The Queens College Foundation, The Wellesley Centers for Women, The Women’s Sports Foundation, and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.
Currently, Marquis serves as the director of community outreach for the School of Business at New Jersey City University and is the regional director for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at New Jersey City University.

Gail A. Marquis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 4, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.099

Sex

Female

Interview Date

05/04/2017

Last Name

Marquis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Organizations
Schools

University of Phoenix

Queens College, City University of New York

First Name

Gail

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MAR20

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados

Favorite Quote

Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

11/18/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Basketball player and financial advisor Gail A. Marquis (1954- ) was on the 1976 Olympic women’s basketball team where she helped win a silver medal.

Favorite Color

Green

Oscar Robertson

Basketball player Oscar Robertson was born on November 24, 1938 in Charlotte, Tennessee to Mazell Bell Robertson and Bailey Robertson, Sr. During World War II, Robertson and his family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he played on the basketball team at Crispus Attucks High School. The team became the first all-black high school team to win a state championship in the United States in 1955; and in 1956, they secured their second title with an undefeated season. Robertson went on to attend the University of Cincinnati, where he played varsity basketball from 1957 to 1960. There, he led the nation in points per game for all three seasons, and became the all-time leading NCAA scorer by the end of his college career – twice leading the team to the NCAA Final Four. Robertson graduated from the University of Cincinnati with his B.S. degree in business in 1960.

Robertson won a gold medal as co-captain of the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. That same year, he was recruited to the NBA as the first overall draft pick. Playing for the Cincinnati Royals, he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award after scoring 30.5 points per game and leading the league in assists. In his second NBA season, Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double, also breaking the single-season record for assists. He was selected for the All-NBA First Team in each of his first nine seasons with the Royals. In 1970, Robertson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he played alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He won his only NBA title in 1971, and retired from basketball in 1974. Additionally, Robertson served as the president of the NBA Players Association from 1965 to 1974, making him the first African American man to head a nationwide labor union in professional sports. He represented the organization in the class-action case Robertson v. National Basketball Association in 1976. The subsequent settlement included the Oscar Robertson Rule, which started free agency in the NBA.

After retiring, Robertson started several businesses, including OR Solutions and Orchem, Inc. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. Robertson co-founded the National Basketball Retired Players Association in 1992, and was heavily involved in the Boys Club of New York and the National Kidney Foundation. He also started the Oscar & Yvonne Robertson Scholarship Fund to support minority students at the University of Cincinnati.

Robertson and his wife, Yvonne Crittenden, have three daughters: Shana, Tia, and Mari.

Oscar Robertson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 3, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.017

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/3/2016

Last Name

Robertson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Booker T. Washington School 17

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

University of Cincinnati

First Name

Oscar

Birth City, State, Country

Charlotte

HM ID

ROB29

Favorite Season

October

Sponsor

Laura and George Bilicic

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Colorado

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/24/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cincinnati

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salads, was pork chops, collard greens, cornbread

Short Description

Basketball player Oscar Robertson (1938- ) began his career with the Cincinnati Royals, and won an NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971. As president of the NBA Players Association, he negotiated the start of free agency in the NBA.

Employment

Cincinnati Royals

National Basketball Association Players' Association

Milwaukee Bucks

CBS

Orchem Corporation

OR Solutions LLC

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Beige and Brown

Dominique Wilkins

Basketball player Dominique Wilkins was born on January 12, 1960 in Paris, France to John Wilkins, a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and Gertrude Baker. Wilkins had seven siblings, including Gerald Wilkins, who also played professional basketball. Dominique Wilkins’ family eventually settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where he began playing basketball on the playground while attending Dunbar High School. As a high school sophomore, Wilkins relocated to Washington, North Carolina and played at Washington High School. There, he won two North Carolina Class 3-A Championships in 1978 and 1979, and was voted as state MVP in both seasons. Wilkins enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he played basketball for three years, and was awarded as SEC Player of the Year in 1981.

Wilkins was drafted third in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, and subsequently traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins was the Hawks’ leading scorer for most of his twelve seasons with the franchise. He was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game for nine consecutive years from 1986 to 1994, and led the league in scoring during the 1985-1986 season. Wilkins, nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film,” was particularly known for his dunking skills, especially his signature two-handed windmill dunk. He won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest twice, in 1985 and 1990, and placed second two other times. The Hawks qualified for the playoffs in nine of Wilkins’s twelve seasons with the team. Leaving the Atlanta Hawks in 1994, Wilkins went on to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and the Greek team Panathinaikos, with whom he won the 1996 Euroleague Final Four championship. When Wilkins retired from the NBA in 1999, he held the ninth position in total points scored in the league’s overall history. The Hawks retired Wilkins’ #21 jersey in 2001; and Wilkins became the team’s vice president of basketball in 2004.

Wilkins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, entered the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He has worked with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the National Diabetes Education Program to promote diabetes prevention, and was also active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Lung Foundation. He is also a diabetes ambassador for Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care. Wilkins is represented in front of State Farm Arena in the form of an 18,500-pound bronze statue erected in March, 2015.

Dominique Wilkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/5/2016

Last Name

Wilkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Patterson High School

Washington High School

University of Georgia

Hampstead Hill Academy

First Name

Dominique

Birth City, State, Country

Paris

HM ID

WIL75

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Laura and George Bilicic

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados

Favorite Quote

I Can Show You But I'm Not Going To Tell You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/12/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

France

Favorite Food

Italian

Short Description

Basketball player Dominique Wilkins (1960 - ) played for the Atlanta Hawks for most of his career. He was also a nine-time NBA All-Star, and inducted into The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Employment

Atlanta Hawks

Los Angeles Clippers

Boston Celtics

Panathinaikos Basketball Club

San Antonio Spurs

Fortitudo Pallacanestro Bologna 103

Orlando Magic

CBA Sports

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue, Black

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dominique Wilkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dominique Wilkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dominique Wilkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dominique Wilkins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dominique Wilkins talks about his father's military service

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dominique Wilkins lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dominique Wilkins describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dominique Wilkins remembers the Westport section of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dominique Wilkins describes his start as a basketball player

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dominique Wilkins remembers moving to North Carolina after his parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dominique Wilkins recalls playing basketball at Washington High School in Washington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dominique Wilkins remembers living with his basketball coach

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dominique Wilkins talks about his slam dunk and spin moves

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Dominique Wilkins describes his athletic training regimen

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his experiences as a high school basketball player

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his high school track record

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dominique Wilkins remembers being harassed for leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dominique Wilkins remembers the college basketball recruitment process

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dominique Wilkins remembers buying his mother's first home

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his teammates at the University of Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dominique Wilkins remembers his first slam dunk

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dominique Wilkins remembers Coach Hugh Durham at the University of Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his experiences in the NBA draft

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dominique Wilkins remembers being traded to the Atlanta Hawks

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dominique Wilkins remembers his early years with the Atlanta Hawks

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dominique Wilkins remembers playing with Spud Webb

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dominique Wilkins describes the origin of his nickname

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dominique Wilkins describes his favorite basketball move

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his favorite plays

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dominique Wilkins talks about scoring strategies in basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dominique Wilkins talks about the Atlanta Hawks' rivals

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dominique Wilkins remembers injuring his Achilles tendon

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dominique Wilkins remembers being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dominique Wilkins recalls his teammates on the Los Angeles Clippers

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dominique Wilkins talks about the owners of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dominique Wilkins remembers leaving the Los Angeles Clippers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dominique Wilkins talks about basketball shoes

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dominique Wilkins recalls the international players in the NBA

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dominique Wilkins remembers retiring from the Orlando Magic

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dominique Wilkins reflects upon the changes in basketball gameplay

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dominique Wilkins talks about the relationships between basketball players

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dominique Wilkins talks about the composition of the Golden State Warriors

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dominique Wilkins recalls becoming an executive of the Atlanta Hawks

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dominique Wilkins describes his work as a basketball court designer

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dominique Wilkins talks about the importance of the team environment

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dominique Wilkins describes his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dominique Wilkins talks about his diabetes advocacy

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Dominique Wilkins talks about his honorary statue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Dominique Wilkins shares his advice to young black men

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Dominique Wilkins describes his advice for aspiring basketball players

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Dominique Wilkins describes his ideal Dream Team

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dominique Wilkins describes his family

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dominique Wilkins reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
Dominique Wilkins describes his start as a basketball player
Dominique Wilkins recalls becoming an executive of the Atlanta Hawks
Transcript
You said your--your father [John Wilkins, Sr.] was into sports. He's 6'6".$$Um-hm.$$He plays with you and your brothers?$$Um-hm.$$And when did you know that you had, you know, potential basketball talent and that--?$$I knew when I was twelve that I was going to be a pro.$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I knew it. I mean I just, I was determined. And--$$What happened, was there an incident or something?$$Well, most of th- most of the older guys used to make me play against older kids for money. I was like twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old at the time playing against these kids who were fifteen and sixteen, one on one for money. And if I'd win, they would give me like three or four dollars every game I would win, and they'd keep the rest (laughter). But I never lost, because for me it was survival. You know, I'm trying to take money home to the family. So, that's when I knew. I'm like, I'm going to play in the pros one day. I knew it early on.$$Okay. So this is in Baltimore, Maryland?$$It's in Baltimore, Um-hm.$$Okay, all right. Now, I know your brother became a professional basketball player.$$Um-hm.$$Gerald [Gerald Wilkins].$$Right.$$He played with the Knicks [New York Knicks].$$Right.$$And there's somebody else.$$His son [Damien Wilkins] played for ten years as well.$$Okay.$$Yeah. So, basketball is a part of our family.$$So, were your other brothers talented to a degree?$$Yeah. Actually my brother John [John Wilkins, Jr.] who's a year younger than me, at the time he was better than Gerald. I'd never seen Gerald play until I was in the pros. Actually, my first year of college [University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia] was the first time I saw Gerald play. We never knew he played basketball, because Gerald was always doing his own thing. So, we never seen him play. And I looked up and he's playing on the high school team. And I'm like, Gerald can't play, you know (laughter). But he turned out to be a great player, you know, and played fourteen or fifteen years in the NBA [National Basketball Association].$$Yeah, a great defender.$$Oh, a super defender.$$Right, right. So, okay, so when did you leave Baltimore (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I left Baltimore when I was sixteen. That was 1976.$$So now, you were playing high school basketball then, I assume?$$Yeah. I was, I was on the Patterson High [Patterson High School] in Baltimore, and I left and caught a Greyhound bus to North Carolina.$$Okay, all right. So I'm trying to--now, when you were in--I see what people do now. But I wondered, when you were in junior high school, you were thirteen or fourteen, were people trying to recruit you?$$People didn't really start to recruit me until my, probably my first year of high school.$$Thirteen?$$Actually I was sixteen.$$Sixteen? Sixteen (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Sixteen. I was getting ready to turn seventeen--$$Okay.$$--when I had my first experience with recruiters. Because the high school team I played on was unbelievable. And we were seventy-six and one in three years on that high school team, so we had every scout in the nation at our high school games.$$So this is Patterson?$$No, this is at Washington High [Washington High School, Washington, North Carolina]. 'Cause I left Patterson (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Washington High.$$--after going to school there for a month--$$Okay.$$--and I went to, I caught a bus and went to North Carolina.$Now, now you made a--what happened after you retired? You were like thirty-eight to thirty-nine, and you retired from Orlando [Orlando Magic]. But were you still living in Atlanta [Georgia]?$$I lived between A- Orlando [Florida] and Atlanta, and finally moved to Atlanta. Once I became an executive for the Hawks [Atlanta Hawks], I moved here permanently.$$All right, 'cause I wondered about the sequence of it. You became an executive first, and you say that's what happened, actually.$$That's what happened. I became an executive first, right.$$All right, all right. How did that happen?$$Well, one of the things Stan Kasten, who's the GM [general manager], said, was that once I got traded, he said, "Dominique [HistoryMaker Dominique Wilkins] will always have a position in this franchise." And he held true to that, and so when I retired he brought me to Atlanta. I was the special assistant to the vice president, and I was part of the coaching staff as well. So, I've been part of the organization since I retired.$$Okay, okay.$$About seventeen years now.$$Yeah, well what's the primary role that you play?$$Well, now I'm vice president of basketball. So I wear a lot of different hats, from corporate sponsorships, from helping players, mainly on the business side as special assistant to the CEO--excuse me, special advisor to the CEO--on a lot of business related stuff. And Steve Koonin, which is our CEO, has been a major inspiration in the last few years on really elevating me in those positions.$$Okay. So you've been with the Hawks since 2000 and--$$I've been with the Hawks since 2000 and--$$Since 2000, okay?$$Um-hm, 2000.$$All right. That's like sixteen years, now (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Sixteen years.$$And you do some broadcasting, too?$$I'm actually an analyst for Fox [Fox Sports]. I've been doing that for twelve years. I'm the chairman for the alumni committee for the Hawks as well, so I have a team of guys who we collectively vote on who should be recognized in the arena, and continue to build our alumni around that arena. So, I was voted in by my peers as well as the owner, Tony Ressler, who's a wonderful owner for our franchise. And that has given me the ability to do some other things that I want to do for my own business ventures and partnership with things I have outside of that, like basketball floor design. I design my own basketball floors with CBA Sports [Norcross, Georgia], who--we are partners now. So, we do great stuff around the country as far as putting experiences in neighborhoods as far as safe environments and healthy environments. And also do college, professional--we do all their courts, too.

Wayne Embry

Basketball team manager and basketball player Wayne Richard Embry was born on March 26, 1937 in Springfield, Ohio. After graduating from Tecumseh High School, Embry attended Miami University and graduated in 1958 with his B.S. degree in education. While there, he was a star basketball player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In 1958, Embry was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks in the third round of the National Basketball Association (NBA) player draft. Embry went on to play in the NBA from 1959 to 1969 for several successful franchises, including the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks. He played with NBA Hall of Fame inductee Bill Russell and contributed significantly to the Boston Celtics team that won the 1968 NBA Championship. In 1972, Embry was named general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks and became the first African American general manager in NBA league history, as well as the first black general manager of a major U.S. team sport. From 1985 to 1992, Embry served as vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He went on to become the first African American NBA team president with the Cavaliers in 1994. Under the guidance of Embry, the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged forty-five wins and had nine playoff appearances over twelve seasons. Embry was appointed senior basketball advisor to the general manager for the Toronto Raptors in 2004, and then became the senior advisor to the president one year later. On January 26, 2006, Embry was named interim general manager for the Raptors.

Embry was selected to play on the National Basketball Association’s All-Pro team in five consecutive seasons between 1961 and 1965. He was chosen as “NBA Executive of the Year” by Sporting News magazine in 1992 and 1998. Embry was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor to the class of 1999. He was also inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the charter class. He is the 2013 recipient of the Ohio Heritage Award, which recognizes an Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame inductee for their contributions to the State of Ohio off the court.

Embry and his wife, Terri Embry, live in Scottsdale, Arizona. They have three children: Debbie, Jull, and Wayne, Jr.

Wayne Richard Embry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 17, 2013 and August 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2013.166

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/17/2013

08/18/2017

Last Name

Embry

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Miami University

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Wayne

Birth City, State, Country

Springfield

HM ID

EMB01

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arizona

Birth Date

3/26/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Phoenix

Country

USA

Short Description

Basketball team manager and basketball player Wayne Embry (1937 - ) was the general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the first African American general manager in the history of the National Basketball Association and the first African American general manager of any major U.S. team sport. He played for the Boston Celtics team that won the 1968 NBA Championship.

Employment

Cincinnati Royals

Boston Celtics

Milwaukee Bucks

Cleveland Cavaliers

Toronto Raptors

Sidney Green

Basketball player and college basketball coach Sidney Green was born on January 4, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He starred on his high school basketball team at Thomas Jefferson High School. In 1979, Green, a graduating senior, was a McDonald’s All-American selection and named the New York City Player of the Year. He chose to attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas with a four-year athletic scholarship where he played under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. In 1983, Green was an NCAA All-American selection and he graduated that year with his B.A. degree in sociology. Green was the all-time leading rebounder and second all-time scorer in the history of the UNLV men’s basketball team.

Green was the fifth pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, where he was chosen by the Chicago Bulls to play power forward and played alongside basketball super star Michael Jordan. Green had a successful career in the NBA and went on to play for the Detroit Pistons, the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Charlotte Hornets before retiring from the league in 1993. In 1995, Green returned to basketball as head coach of the men’s basketball team at Southampton College in Long Island, New York. Despite inheriting a team that had won just six games the year before, Green led his team to twenty-nine wins and twenty-seven losses during his two years as head coach. In 1997, Green went on to coach at the University of North Florida, where he increased the team’s winning percentage by more than thirty percent. Florida Atlantic University hired Green as its head coach in 1999. He took his team to the first Atlantic Sun Conference championship in 2002, where he was named the A-Sun Coach of the Year. Green was hired as an assistant coach at the University of Indiana in 2005 and in 2009, the Chicago Bulls named him the team ambassador.

While in college, Green co-founded Shoot for the Stars Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada. During his time with the Knicks in New York, Green participated in Governor Mario and Matilda Cuomo’s Mentor Program as a spokesperson in public schools. He also founded Sid’s Kids in Orlando, Florida while he played with the Orlando Magic. In 1989, Green received the NBA National Spirit of Love Award, given to the NBA player who has contributed significant time and energy to the community. Green’s jersey was retired by the UNLV basketball team, and he was inducted into the UNLV Hall of Fame in 1994.

Green and his wife, Deidra, have two children, LaShawn and Taurean. Taurean has also played in the NBA.

Sidney Green was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.115

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/18/2012

Last Name

Green

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

P.S. 158 Warwick School

I.S. 302 Rafael Cordero School

P.S. 64

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sidney

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

GRE15

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Palos Verdes, California, Ft Lauderdale, Florida

Favorite Quote

The Pain Of Discipline Is Much Less Than The Pain Of Regret.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/4/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Basketball player and college basketball coach Sidney Green (1961 - ) played in the NBA for ten years. After retirement, he head-coached several college teams before being appointed ambassador for the Chicago Bulls.

Employment

National Basketball Association

Southampton College

University of North Florida

Florida Atlantic University

University of Indiana

Chicago Bulls

Wynn Las Vegas

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sidney Green's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sidney Green lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sidney Green describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about his relatives in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sidney Green describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sidney Green recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sidney Green talks about his father's experiences in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sidney Green remembers his parents' education and occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sidney Green describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sidney Green talks about his family's move to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sidney Green describes his upbringing in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sidney Green remembers his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sidney Green describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sidney Green recalls the racial divide in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sidney Green describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers the influence of his older siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about Jim McMillian

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sidney Green remembers his brother's murder

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sidney Green recalls his early interest in basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sidney Green remembers James "Fly" Williams

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sidney Green talks about the basketball culture in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sidney Green remembers his favorite elementary school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sidney Green talks about the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sidney Green recalls the start of his basketball career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sidney Green describes his neighborhood baseball teams

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sidney Green recalls an incident that led to his interest in basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers his basketball mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sidney Green remembers his growing pains

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sidney Green recalls Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sidney Green remembers the guidance of his high school basketball coaches

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sidney Green recalls his decision to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sidney Green describes basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sidney Green recalls missing his high school prom to play in the McDonald's All-American Game

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sidney Green remembers the players at the 1979 McDonald's All-American Game

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Sidney Green talks about the prominent basketball players of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Sidney Green describes his discipline as a student athlete at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sidney Green describes Coach Jerry Tarkanian's basketball practices

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sidney Green remembers his physical training and diet regimen

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sidney Green talks about his basketball experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sidney Green describes the National Invitation Tournament game

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sidney Green talks about his college basketball statistics

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sidney Green recalls being drafted by the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sidney Green describes his first year with the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sidney Green remembers his teammates on the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sidney Green recalls Michael Jordan's first year with the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sidney Green talks about his experiences with the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sidney Green recalls being traded from the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sidney Green remembers playing for the Detroit Pistons

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sidney Green recalls buying a home for his mother in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about the accomplishments of the New York Knicks

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sidney Green remembers his strongest basketball opponents

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sidney Green describes his teammates on the New York Knicks

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sidney Green describes his relationship with his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sidney Green recalls playing for the Orlando Magic

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sidney Green remembers being traded to the San Antonio Spurs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sidney Green remembers coaches Larry Brown and Jerry Tarkanian

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sidney Green recalls being traded to the Charlotte Hornets

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers Alonzo Mourning

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about his retirement from the NBA

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sidney Green recalls his jersey retirement ceremony at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sidney Green talks about his philanthropic foundations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sidney Green recalls coaching at South Hampton College in South Hampton, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sidney Green talks about his coaching experiences at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sidney Green describes his coaching experiences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Sidney Green describes his coaching experiences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sidney Green describes the 2002 March Madness competition

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sidney Green recalls watching his son play for the University of Florida

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers becoming the Chicago Bulls team ambassador

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sidney Green shares his analysis of the 2012 Chicago Bulls

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sidney Green talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sidney Green describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sidney Green reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sidney Green reflects upon his life and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sidney Green narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

11$5

DATitle
Sidney Green describes his upbringing in Brooklyn, New York
Sidney Green remembers his strongest basketball opponents
Transcript
What was life like growing up for you? I mean can you describe where you lived, and then what were some of the sights, and sounds, and smells of growing up?$$Well, it was wonderful, you know. My--I lived in a six--well, let me start from scratch. Moving from Harlem [New York, New York] to Brooklyn [New York]--remember, we lived on Jerome Street in Brooklyn--East New York section of Brooklyn. We lived on Jerome Street for about a, a year, and then my mother [Lucretia Simmons Green] found a bigger apartment--bigger home for us--for nine of us that was living--well, it was ten of us that was living in a apartment; she found a six room apartment right around the corner on Pitkin Avenue, and I remember the story she told me. She, she was walking and the then landlord was doing some work outside the apartment, and he had a sign, you know, "Apartment for Rent," and she inquired about it and he asked her how many kids she had, and she said this is the only time she ever had to tell a different story--I don't wanna use the other word but, but she said she had to because she needed a bigger place, so he asked her how many kids that she had, and she said four (laughter), and he said, "Okay." And a few weeks after that, when we moved in, he noticed all the kids (laughter). It was four plus six more, and he was like--saying something in Spanish; he said she did not wanna hear what he was asking her in Spanish 'cause he didn't speak English. But his--the landlord wife told her, you know, that, you know, "I thought she said she only had four, and she bringing all these kids." (Laughter) But he accepted her, but one thing my mother always did is she always paid her rent on time, and she always kept a clean apartment and kept us in a respectful way. And after he saw my mother's characteristics on how she was raising us, he accepted her, and we wound up living there for seventeen years--eighteen years in that, in that apartment.$$Now this is--this is quite a job, you know, when you really think of--you know, when you reflect back on something like that. There is someone who's working as a domestic--$$Um-hm.$$--and she's gotta feed what--nine children? I mean she's got (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It was ten of us.$$Ten, yeah.$$Yeah, it was ten (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And--$$And my sister, my oldest sister [Essie Mae Walton], was living in the Bronx [New York]; she was married--she got married at that time (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay, so she wasn't there to help.$$She wasn't there, no, so it was ten of us.$$So, this is, this is really a, a--she did a--you know--a job!$$I think she did a phenomenal job, the best that--she always said she did the best she could and, as I've told my family, you know, to this day, it was up to us to take it to another level for her, to make it better. Unfortunately, some didn't--some decided to go a different route but, you know, she did a phenomenal job under the circumstances.$$Right. And this is New York City [New York, New York] where you don't necessarily have like the, the village kind of, you know, situation you might have in South Carolina or someplace where there are other relatives always around, and people you know (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) No, she, she did it--she did it on herself with her character, integrity, and she was able to win a lotta people over in regards on how she tried to raise us, and keep us all together. And our, our closest friends was our landlord--the ones who--and also the one--the, the residents who lived on the sec- we lived on the third floor. And also the surrounding neighborhood was, you know, a lotta Puerto Ricans, you know; they were our friends. They really brought us in and, and accepted us and made us feel like, you know, we were part of their family as well.$$Okay, okay. So, it was a lotta Puerto Ricans in the neighborhood where you grew up?$$That is correct.$$Okay, all right. Did you learn how to speak Spanish?$$Oh, yeah. I have a brother, I think, who--I wanna make sure (laughter)--Wilbert [Wilbert Green] is a--totally converted, and my brother Wilbert, he worked in a grocery store right downstairs and they, they brought him in like, like he was their family 'cause they liked him, and he wind up working in a grocery store, and learned how to speak Spanish better than how everyone else was speaking Spanish in the neighborhood, and to this day, we still, you know, say--kid him that he's a fully converted Puerto Rican, yeah so.$$(Laughter).$$It's in, it's in his blood wholeheartedly.$So, who is your--when you were playing, who was your toughest opponent that you faced, do you think?$$Individually?$$Well, as a team and as individual players, you know. Who were the toughest (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Celtics [Boston Celtics].$$The Celtics? Really?$$Kevin McHale was one of the toughest players I ever had to defend. He was so uncanny, he was so imposing; he had unbelievable post moves--up and under--just so, so good; he was just so good no matter, you know, our scout report was to be aggressive with him and deny him from his position on the box that he wanted, he always found a way to get there with his footwork, and long arms and--you know; it was like pick your poison playing against the Celtics 'cause you have--try to stop Kevin McHale from doing--and Parish [Robert Parish] doing their thing, and you have, of course, Bird [Larry Bird] out there, and you have a great point guard in Dennis Johnson, God bless him--his soul. It was tough, but they were one of my toughest teams that I've ever had to play against. I mean all--every team in the NBA [National Basketball Association] is tough, but in that year--those years with Bird and (unclear). And then, of course, the Lakers [Los Angeles Lakers], you know, with Magic [Magic Johnson], and Kareem [Kareem-Abdul Jabbar], and Worthy [James Worthy], and Jamaal Wilkes and, you know.$$Now here's Kareem; you--that, that must have been something to play against him--somebody that you've watched as a kid.$$Oh, yeah, oh, yeah (laughter). I remember my first year playing against Kareem was my rookie year; he--you know, I got in the game to defend Kareem and he, he knew I was in awe by him and, you know, first couple a possessions, you know--bang, bang, bang, and one time--next possession he--I went up for a rebound and he tried to go over me; went over my back and hit me on my head with his elbows and that woke me up quick, you know (laughter). That awe that I had of Kareem just evaporated after that hit, and I said, "Okay, I'm in a war now," (laughter) you know, so I always--when I see him, I always kid him about that experience I had with him on that, on that, on that game. But he was a remarkable player.$$Now, is he--do you think--I've often thought--now this is just me look--well, watching--I was at a game once with the Bulls [Chicago Bulls] and the, and the Lakers when they had Artis Gilmore, and if Artis Gilmore was 7'1", how tall was Kareem? Kareem seemed like he was taller--much taller than Artis Gilmore.$$I think they say he was 7'2"; he was about a inch taller than him.$$Yeah, but I don't know; seem like he was much taller, but I don't know if that's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Kareem, his physique was long and, you know--long, and Artis had a, you know, bigger body width wise.$$Okay.$$Yeah, width wise.$$Maybe just a optical thing--$$Correct.$$But, yeah, he looked a lot longer. He is made long, so he has longer arms and everything else--$$Um-hm.$$--so, yeah. So he just looked gigantic. I said, "Now, how in the world," (laughter). They're not even close to the same--they looked like they were close to the same size, you know, walking around, you know.$$Both great players.$$Yes, right.$$Both great players.$$And Gilmore was gone from the--he, he was--he was not playing with the Bulls anymore; he had just left, I guess, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No, he was with--he was with the Spurs [San Antonio Spurs].$$Right, right.$$With the Spurs, yeah, I think it was--yeah.$$Okay. Now, now, do you get a chance--when you're, when you're playing an opposing team, do you get a chance to know the players on the other teams in the NBA? Do y'all ever eat together after the game, or do they--or do, do the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The game is so--you know--well, certain players on certain teams you probably know from, you know, the summer, or going on your NBA trips during the summer, you know, but--yeah. Yeah, but it's--you know, it's part of the professional sports. As far as embracing and hugging and figuratively kissing each players before games, you know, I never unders- you know, my objective was to, to beat you.$$Okay. Now, I always wondered--we, we see certain teams play, and the guys come out and they act like they're, they're greatest friends in the world, you know. I just wonder if they hang out after the game, or what, you know--how, how well the--your team knows the opposition, you know; that's what--$$Yeah, I, I (unclear) now--I didn't wanna warm our hearts up to my opponents too much. If I knew somebody on the opposing team I just--I say, "Hi," but just leave me alone, 'cause I gotta focus on what I gotta do for my team.

Ralph Sampson

Basketball player Ralph Sampson was born on July 7, 1960 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Standing at 7’4’’, he was born with a natural talent for basketball. Sampson attended Harrisonburg High School, where he led the basketball team to victory in two State AA Championships in 1978 and 1979. Sampson then went on to attend the University of Virginia, where he received his B.A. degree and played for the university’s basketball team, the Cavaliers. During college, Sampson won three Naismith Awards for National Player of the Year and was only the second person to do so. He also received an unprecedented two Wooden Awards for Player of the Year. In 1980, Sampson and the Cavaliers won the National Invitation Tournament. In 1981, the Cavaliers made it to the NCAA Final Four.

Referred to as the most recruited college basketball player of all time, Sampson was the first pick in the 1983 NBA draft. Drafted by the Houston Rockets, Sampson won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and played in the NBA All-Star Game for the first of four times. In 1984, the Rockets drafted Hakeem Olajuwon and the two came to be known as the “Twin Towers,” an unstoppable basketball duo that played together in 1985’s NBA All-Star Game. Sampson was named MVP for that game, and earned a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. In 1986, Sampson injured his knee and was traded to the Golden State Warriors. He went on to play for the Sacramento Kings and the Washington Bullets. Unable to fully recover from several knee and back injuries, Sampson retired in 1992.

In 1996, Sampson was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. In 2002, Sampson was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Men’s Basketball Team, a position that honored him as one of the 50 best basketball players in the history of the ACC. Sampson founded The Sampson Group, a consulting group, in 2005. In 2006, he went on to found Winner’s Circle Community, an online community dedicated to providing a forum for open and informed communication. That same year, Sampson also founded the Winner’s Circle Foundation, an organization to help young athletes achieve success. In 2010, he published a book entitled Winner’s Circle: The Ralph Sampson Game Plan; What Great Players Do Before, During and After the Game to help young athletes mentally prepare for and achieve success.

Accession Number

A2010.073

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2010

Last Name

Sampson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Waterman Elementary School

Thomas Harrison Middle School

Harrisonburg High School

University of Virginia

University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ralph

Birth City, State, Country

Harrisonburg

HM ID

SAM04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

It Takes Team Work To Make A Dream Work.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/7/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pancakes, Bacon, Eggs

Short Description

Basketball player Ralph Sampson (1960 - ) was one of the most recruited college basketball players of all time. He won three Naismith Awards and an unprecedented two Wooden Awards in college, and was a four-time NBA All-Star with the Houston Rockets.

Employment

National Basketball Association

Baloncesto Malaga

James Madison University

Richmond Rhythm

Phoenix Suns

Ralph Sampson Sportswear Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ralph Sampson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ralph Sampson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ralph Sampson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ralph Sampson talks about learning about his maternal grandfather through stories

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ralph Sampson describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ralph Sampson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ralph Sampson talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ralph Sampson recalls his paternal grandfather's career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ralph Sampson remembers his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ralph Sampson describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ralph Sampson talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ralph Sampson describes his mother's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ralph Sampson describes his parents' early relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ralph Sampson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ralph Sampson remembers Christmas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ralph Sampson recalls his neighborhood in Harrisonburg, Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ralph Sampson recalls his neighborhood in Harrisonburg, Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ralph Sampson remembers Waterman Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ralph Sampson talks about his early growth spurts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ralph Sampson talks about his experiences at Thomas Harrison Junior High School in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ralph Sampson remembers his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ralph Sampson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ralph Sampson talks about his early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ralph Sampson recalls playing basketball at Thomas Harrison Junior High School in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ralph Sampson remembers the role of sports in his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ralph Sampson recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ralph Sampson remembers playing basketball at Harrisonburg High School in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ralph Sampson talks about his basketball teammates at Harrisonburg High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ralph Sampson recalls the college basketball recruitment process

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ralph Sampson remembers his senior year of high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ralph Sampson remembers his college decision process

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ralph Sampson recalls visiting his top four college campuses

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ralph Sampson describes his decision to attend the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ralph Sampson talks about LeBron James' career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ralph Sampson describes the collegiate basketball conferences

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ralph Sampson recalls his transition to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ralph Sampson remembers his sophomore year at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ralph Sampson describes his decision to complete his degree at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ralph Sampson talks about his academic experiences at the University of Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ralph Sampson describes his experience in the NBA draft

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ralph Sampson reflects upon the impact of the NBA on his life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ralph Sampson remembers his teammates on the Houston Rockets

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ralph Sampson talks about his career with the Houston Rockets

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ralph Sampson remembers playing in the NBA All-Star Weekend

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ralph Sampson talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ralph Sampson recalls being traded to the Golden State Warriors

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ralph Sampson remembers being traded to the Sacramento Kings

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ralph Sampson describes his transition to the EuroLeague

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ralph Sampson talks about his knee injuries

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ralph Sampson recalls playing against Michael Jordan

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ralph Sampson remembers coaching at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ralph Sampson recalls founding Ralph Sampson Sportswear, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ralph Sampson talks about the Winner's Circle Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ralph Sampson remembers Kristal Watson

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ralph Sampson talks about the Winner's Circle Foundation's after school program

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ralph Sampson describes his book projects

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ralph Sampson reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ralph Sampson shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Ralph Sampson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Ralph Sampson remembers Christmas
Ralph Sampson describes his decision to attend the University of Virginia
Transcript
And now, tell me why was that particular Christmas with the--sounds like a Charlie Brown tree--$$(Laughter).$$--(Laughter) why was that one of the best Christmases?$$Because we had, you know, you go down and cut down your own tree. I think that was that may have been the year that and probably was that we kind of found out there was no Santa Claus either. And I think back at it at this point because that tree was my sisters [Valerie Sampson and Joyce Sampson Franklin] remember that tree very well as well even today. And it just was one of those years that everything that, that if you look back at it now you realize that parents [Sarah Blakey Sampson and Ralph Sampson, Sr.] may have been a little stressed out financially and trying to get things done because, you know, it could have went down three blocks and bought a Christmas tree, but we went to the country and cut one down. So I think that type of symbolic adventure going to the country and cutting a tree down instead of going and picking one up, put it on your car dragging it home made it more special. As far as remembering how it was done because you can do that every year and go down to the lot and pick one out but if you go in the country and chop one down, I think that's more, you would remember that a little bit more so and realizing that you can kind of see how that kind of affects a young kid and chopping it down and bringing it home and putting it up and making sure it has water on it, make sure it still want to live a little bit and then you go through the Christmas not knowing, you know, as a kid what that all means but also that we can remember back I think we were in our car and mom and dad were shopping and we were all in the backseat and they were getting stuff for Christmas and I was a little bit older and I can see they put the trunk up. I looked under the back window and you can see toys and stuff in the bag and said, "Oh, that's our toys." And they would close the trunk pretty quickly and say, "Oh, no, that's just stuff, that's just stuff we got." So, you know, like okay is there a Santa Claus, is there not Santa Claus, well, kind of what's going on with that. So that whole Christmas had a lot of that around it, the food, just the, you know, the being home spirit back then where it was very peaceful, very quiet, very symbolic to me as far as cutting down a tree and then also having those toys there under that tree as well.$I was the--still didn't know where I was going to school. I had the ability to try out for the 1979 Pan American team which I made, first high school player to make that team. And that was in Indiana University [Bloomington, Indiana] with Bobby Knight [Bob Knight]. I still hadn't picked a school so now he's recruiting me again and I'm on the campus and he got me there for a month and I'm playing and training and working out and maybe go to Indiana. I said, "No, no I don't wanna go to Indiana," you know, Bobby Knight that whole thing I didn't wanna quite do that. So I still didn't know where I wanted to go to school and then when I got back from that training and I make the team and we go for the summer to play and my mom [Sarah Blakey Sampson] said, "You need to make a decision, you know, the time--." I said, "I just don't know where I wanna go to school." So we set a date and said, "You gotta make a decision by this date," so setting this date so we had all the meetings and all the press and fanfare, press conference such and such et cetera and I still didn't--that night before I didn't know where I wanted to go so there was a lady that was very close to my mother at work and her family whatever, almost like a godmother and I went to her house that night, spent the night and the next day didn't go to school 'cause I--nobody--he didn't want nobody harassing me. Like I said, I don't know where I'm going to school, I didn't really know. So if you can imagine being in the, in the field house in this high school gymnasium and the stands filled with people outside the door and not even the top four University of Maryland [College Park, Maryland] and Lefty Driesell knocking at the door, "Don't go to no school. Let me in. I need to talk to you one more time." He had a guy named John Lucas [John Lucas II] that I became friends with 'cause I, one of those years that I went to camp in Maryland and John Lucas became a friend of mine even after the fact played with him in the NBA [National Basketball Association] and don't go, don't go to Maryland, go to (unclear) we'll give you a job and all this. Okay, great. He was at the door beating at the door so I come in the back of the gym. By that time I was still debating where to go to school and then when I get to the gym, I get there and tell my mom, I said, "I wanna cancel this. I don't, I don't really know where I wanna go." And she said, "Look you make a decision today so you go back there and you figure it out." So when I get there, I come out, I start evaluating I said, "Okay, I'm going to University of Virginia [Charlottesville, Virginia]." So told my coach [Roger Bergey]. He called the other school and said, "This is where he going to school at and this is what he's gonna do." So I get to the podium and they introduce, introduce my mom and dad [Ralph Sampson, Sr.] sitting beside me and we were talking about it and I said to the media, I said, "I think I'm going to University of Virginia." That word, "I think" became "you don't know," you know. I gave my reason so I did that so this whole business so he thinks he's going to Virginia but there might be a chance that he won't. So anyway then after I signed the paper then it's, you know, I'm at Virginia. So that happened, big hoopla and radio station and all the stuff in the State of Virginia and things happened so now I'm (unclear) Virginia Cavalier and so on and so forth, and then after the fact a couple days later, the coaches came over, we signed the papers and, and I became a Cavalier.