Adrian Delano Dantley (born February 28, 1955) is an American former professional basketball player and coach. He played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and was a six-time NBA All-Star. Dantley finished ninth on the all-time NBA scoring list at the time of his retirement and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. He served as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets of the NBA from 2003 to 2011.
High school and college careerEdit
Dantley was a forward at Notre Dame from 1973 to 1976. He was a consensus first-team All-American in 1974–75 and 1975–76. He ranks second on Notre Dame's career scoring list with 2,223 points and holds the school record for free throws made (615) and free throws attempted (769).
Dantley had a stellar collegiate career for the Fighting Irish. As a freshman, he played an important role in one of the biggest games in college basketball history, Notre Dame's 1974 upset to end UCLA's record 88-game winning streak. That UCLA team, coached by John Wooden, featured Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes (then known as Keith Wilkes), and Dave Meyer.
Dantley led Notre Dame in scoring in 1974–75 (30.4 points per game) and 1975–76 (28.6 points per game), while also leading the team in rebounding those two seasons with marks of 10.2 and 10.1 rebounds per game, respectively. He was also the leading scorer on the 1976 US Olympic team that captured the gold medal in Montreal.
Dantley turned pro in 1976 after his third season at Notre Dame. He graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in economics in August 1978.
In the 1976 NBA draft Dantley was drafted sixth overall by the Buffalo Braves. He became the third Buffalo player in five years to receive the NBA Rookie of the Year Award when he won it after the 1977 season.
Buffalo traded Dantley to the Indiana Pacers before the 1977–78 NBA season, making him the first NBA Rookie of the Year to be traded following his rookie season. Indiana traded him after 23 games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles LakersEdit
He stayed with the Lakers through the following season before being traded again, this time to the Utah Jazz. It was the third time in two years that he had been traded; the Jazz were his fourth team in as many years in the league.
In Utah, Dantley reached his peak establishing his reputation as a prolific scorer, twice leading the league in scoring (in 1981 and 1984). He averaged over 30 points per game each season between 1981 and 1984, though he missed 60 games in 1983 after tearing ligaments in his right wrist. In his seven years with the Jazz, Dantley picked up all six of his All-Star appearances and two All-NBA second-team honors. Dantley's 1980–1984 seasons include two of the top three and four of the top seven spots in true shooting percentage for players averaging at least 30 points per game.
Utah traded Dantley to the Detroit Pistons after the 1986 season. Dantley was still an effective scorer but did not get as many shots with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Vinnie Johnson, and Bill Laimbeer all averaging at least 10 points per game. Dantley was knocked unconscious while diving for a loose ball in Game 7 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals. By starting the season with the 1988-89 Pistons, he is listed as a member of one of the top 10 teams in NBA history. Midway through the 1989 season Detroit traded Dantley to the Dallas Mavericks for Mark Aguirre due to what Dantley maintained were conflicts with Isiah Thomas, but also reflected Dantley's clashes with Chuck Daly and Jack McCloskey over his demand for a focal point role on offense and more minutes than Dennis Rodman.
Final years and retirementEdit
Although listed as a small forward due to his size, Dantley played primarily in the low post, similar to a power forward. Dantley finished his NBA career with an average of 24.3 points per game. He scored his points with a mix of flat-footed mid-range jump shots, high-percentage opportunities close to the basket, and frequent trips to the free throw line. For his career, he shot .540 from the floor—16th in NBA history—and .818 from the free throw line. He led the league in free throws six times and ranks ninth all-time in that category. He shares the record with Wilt Chamberlain for most free throws made in a regular-season NBA game with 28.
One of the all-time great free throw shooters, he had a set routine of four two-handed dribbles and two spins of the ball before every free throw. In addition, "prior to each free throw, he would recite his mantra from junior high that adept lip readers couldn’t mistake: “Over the front rim, backspin, follow through.” Fundamentals were not lip service but a way of life for Dantley.
His ability to score in the low post was even more remarkable considering one of his legs is significantly shorter than the other. To compensate for the nearly 2 inch difference in leg length, he wore custom-made inserts in his shoes.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|*||Led the league|
Utah retired Dantley's uniform number (#4) on April 11, 2007.
Dantley enjoyed outstanding success at every level of basketball, including high school, college, Olympics, and the NBA. On April 7, 2008, he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dantley later worked for the Denver Nuggets as an assistant coach for eight seasons. He briefly served as the team's head coach during the 2009–10 NBA season, filling in for George Karl, who was fighting cancer.
In addition to playing professionally, in his spare time, Dantley coaches basketball to aspiring players in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Since 2013 Dantley has been working part-time as a crossing guard for Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools. He has said that he likes both the job and the fact that it provides health benefits.
Dantley also works as a referee for high school and receational league games in the DC area.
- List of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career turnovers leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- List of individual National Basketball Association scoring leaders by season
- List of National Basketball Association annual minutes leaders
- Aschburner, Steve (March 1, 2013). "NBA Legend Dantley Celebrates B-Day With Extra Candle". NBA.com.
- "Dantley named assistant for Towson basketball". The Baltimore Sun. August 20, 1993. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
Truax was an assistant to Morgan Wootten at DeMatha in 1969-70, during Dantley's career with the Stags.
- Somogyi, Lou (March 12, 2016). "Notre Dame's Adrian Dantley Honored As ACC Legend". BlueAndGold.com. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
- "Best true shooting percentage with more than 30 PPG". StatMuse.
- Adrian Dantley Knocked Out Cold During Game 7 vs. Celtics (1987), retrieved January 25, 2020
- "50 Greatest Players in NBA History", Wikipedia, November 5, 2019, retrieved January 25, 2020
- "Ex-Piston Adrian Dantley calls Isiah Thomas 'con man' on 105.1-FM show". mlive. April 19, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- Pedrick, Clare (January 2, 1992). "Dantley Makes Himself at Home in the Italian Game, Lifestyle". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
- Staff, NBA com. "Legends profile: Adrian Dantley". NBA.com. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
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- Company, Johnson Publishing (July 11, 1988). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company.
- "Towson Mourns Loss of Legendary Basketball Coach Terry Truax". TowsonTigers.com. Towson Athletics. February 17, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- Hochman, Benjamin (June 26, 2011). "Nuggets do not renew Dantley's contract". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- "Train with Adrian, a Basketball coach on CoachUp". CoachUp.
- Berman, Zach (April 3, 2007). "Berman: Dark horse Dantley making name for himself after earning scholarship". The Daily Orange. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- Cloherty, Megan (March 18, 2013). "Former NBA great Adrian Dantley works as crossing guard in Montgomery Co". WTOP. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- Doren, Jenny (March 20, 2013). "Adrian Dantley, NBA Hall of Famer, loves being a school crossing guard in Silver Spring". WJLA. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- McKenna, Dave (March 8, 2019). "Adrian Dantley Returned To The Site Of A Legendary Prep Hoops Debacle, This Time As A Kids' Rec League Ref". Deadspin. Retrieved March 8, 2019.