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Derek Ricardo Harper

 

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Derek Ricardo Harper

Derek Ricardo Harper (1961- ) from Elberton, Georgia, graduated in 1980 from North Shore High School, West Palm Beach, where he led the basketball team as point guard to the 1980 state championship. As a junior, Harper was chosen MVP in the annual Palm Beach Times Holiday Invitational. In 1987 Harper became a sponsor of the tournament, renamed the Derek Harper Holiday Basketball Classic, and then the D-Hop Classic.

At the University of Illinois, Harper set a school record for field goals and led the Big Ten in steals in 1982 and 1983. He declared himself eligible for the 1983 NBA Draft after his junior year, when he averaged 15.4 points per game. The Dallas Mavericks chose him in the first round.

After eleven seasons with Dallas (1984-94), Harper was their all-time leader in assists, steals, and three-pointers. He ranked third in points and seventh in rebounds. Harper was also the first Dallas player ever to be named to the NBA All-Defensive Team (1986-87 and 1989-90).

In 1994 Harper was traded to the New York Knicks, who he helped reach the NBA Finals. Dallas brought him back as a free agent 1996-97 to mentor their younger players, then traded him to the Orlando Magic. After one year, Harper signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, providing leadership for younger teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. The next season Harper retired.

Harper was only the second player in NBA history with 15,000 career points, 6,000 assists and 1,800 steals. He appeared in 90 playoff games.

Harper moved into broadcasting in Dallas, co-hosting Mavericks pre- and post-game shows. He has a ticket section in Dallas called "Harper's House," which donates Mavericks tickets to non-profit groups.

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