Ralph Sampson is a former American basketball player, who played for the Houston Rockets. The 7-foot-4 native of Harrisonburg and now residing in suburban Atlanta was the first overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. Learn more about his bio, family, height, and more.
Ralph Sampson – Bio
Ralph Sampson Jr. was born on July 7, 1960 in Harrisonburg, Virginia as Ralph Lee Sampson. Her astrological sign is Cancer and her nationality is American. He was born to father, sister Ralph Sampson and mother, Sarah Sampson, and grew up with his siblings. Little is known about his academic background, but it is known that he graduated from the University of Virginia. New to the world of American basketball, Sampson is 7-foot-4. The NBA has raised many expectations.
Sampson played three seasons for the Houston Rockets before injuries began to take their toll. Over those three seasons, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds. He then underwent three knee surgeries, resulting in his retirement from the game as a four-star player. His career highlight will likely be when he dethroned the Los Angeles Lakers as Western Conference champions with one last second. The hard-hitting blow not only ended the Lakers’ reign as champions, but also dashed their hopes of winning the NBA title two-by-two.
The career of Ralph Sampson
Ralph Sampson’s basketball career began in high school. He was already 6 feet 7 inches tall in ninth grade and by the time he got to high school in Harrisonburg, Virginia, he was already 7 feet 3 inches tall. Averaging 19 points and 17 rebounds as a junior and 14 points and 11 rebounds as a sophomore, as a senior at Harrisonburg High, Sampson led the team to two-time National AA Basketball Championships (in 1978 and 1979) averaged 30 points, 19 rebounds and 7 blocked shots.
In 1983, Ralph Sampson led the Cavaliers to an NCAA Elite 8 appearance as a center for the University of Virginia, losing only in the regional final to Team North Carolina led by Jim Valvano. The Houston Rockets drafted him into the 1983 NBA Draft and he averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds. He also appeared in the All-Star Game and won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was known for his fast dribbling and fast running – thanks to his size and agility. He could dribble past guards and run the floor as well as anyone. He was advantaged for greatness before turning pro. Sampson was to reach the heights of basketball before him like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and others.
In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Rockets chose to pick another giant – the 7-foot Hakeem Olajuwon from the University of Houston. The selection was met with mixed reviews. While some thought combining two players over 7 feet on the same team wouldn’t work, others thought it was a hugely positive move. And to be able to accommodate the new ‘giant’, Olajuwon, Sampson had to change the game a bit by playing a new style of striker and it worked out really well. In the 1984–85 season, Sampson had his best individual campaign, and the Rockets made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. He averaged 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds, earning him a spot on the NBA’s All-Star Second Team.
It didn’t stop there. The Rockets won the Midwest Division by beating Los Angeles four times to one out of five in the Western Conference Finals the following season. The best part is Sampson’s miracle in Game 5 of this series in Los Angeles. With a score of 112 for both teams and less than a second on the clock (after the Rockets were opposed to a losing position), Ralph Sampson revolutionized the game by providing the highlight of the game and one of the moments most memorable in NBA playoff history by throwing a killer strike that went through and into the hoop at the sound of the buzzer, giving his team a 114-112 victory over the Lakers (a team that had the likes of Magic Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar) to death,
Ralph Sampson is the only athlete to receive an unprecedented pair of wooden awards and also the second to receive three Naismith awards as National Player of the Year. This is arguably the most recruited prospect in college and professional basketball. His generation appeared an unprecedented six times on the cover of Sports Illustrated in less than four years.
Ralph Sampson was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. He was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Men’s Basketball Team as one of the top fifty players in the Atlantic Coast Conference history in 2002. Only three Virginia Cavaliers have received this honor.
Ralph Sampson injuries, decline
Like every great story, Ralph Sampson’s story of greatness on the basketball courts was fading. His general participation in the game began to decline as injuries began to take their toll on the ‘giant’. Sampson suffered a back injury following a fall in the NBA Finals against Boston. His season wasn’t the same after that. Consequently, in the 1986–87 season, he fell out of favor with Rockets coach Bill Fitch, which led to him joining the Golden State Warriors on a trade deal. that Eric “Sleepy” Floyd was moving in the opposite direction. Despite the move, his injury problems continued and he never played fully in the next four seasons. He would later be traded Jim Petersen to the Sacramento Kings before the 1989-90 season. But a total of 51 games in two seasons with an average of 7.2 points can only be called a disappointment.
After being released by the Kings in 1991, Sampson joined the Washington Bullets where he could only play 10 games before being eliminated. He continued the rest of the season playing eight games for Unicaja Ronda in the Spanish League.
But he had had enough as Ralph Sampson called In 1993, at the age of 32, he had been a professional player. In total, the man was considered the greatest basketball player in history, playing just 441 games in 10 NBA seasons, just over half of the 820 scheduled games. Looking back on his career, Sampson admitted that he accelerated his recovery process and returned too quickly from his three career-characteristic knee surgeries, decisions he considered rash and cost him his career.
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The married life of Ralph Sampson / his family
Ralph Sampson married his wife, Aleize R. Dial in 1986 when he was 26 years old. The wedding ceremony took place in Anniston, Ala, and the couple exchanged vows in front of 200 guests. However, the marriage fizzled out and it ended in divorce in 2003. But although the marriage ended, Sampson had to face several charges in court to get his wife and other women to pay him alimony. Although their relationship only lasted 17 years, she had four children – two sons and two daughters. Both sons are basketball players, while the eldest daughter works at ESPN and the youngest assists her father.
His first son, Ralph Lee Sampson III, played college basketball for Minnesota. His second son, Robert Alan Sampson, transferred to Georgia Tech after playing his first three seasons (2010-2013) of college basketball for East Carolina University. His first daughter, Rachel Lee Sampson, graduated from Stanford University and works at ESPN. The youngest is Anna Aleize Sampson.
Sampson is said to have children by Sampson claims that while the rumors have not been confirmed or even denied, one woman claimed he had a daughter in 1985 and another in 1988 with an unnamed woman.
Ralph Sampson Height, Body Stats
Ralph Sampson’s net worth
Ralph Sampson’s current net worth is estimated to be around $6 million as he seems to be living a quiet and enjoyable life after retirement.