Ralph Sampson is a former American basketball player who played for The Houston Rockets. Now living in an Atlanta suburb, Harrisonburg was the first player selected by The Houston Rockets for the NBA in 1983. Read more about his biography, his family, his height, etc.
Ralph Sampson – Bio
Ralph Sampson Jr. was born Ralph Lee Sampson on July 7, 1960, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. His horoscope sign is cancer and his nationality is American. He was born to Sr. Ralph Sampson and his mother, Sarah Sampson, and grew up with his siblings. Not much is known about his academic background, but what is known is that he graduated from the University of Virginia. With a height of 1,20 m (7 ft 4 inch), Sampson’s entry into the world of American basketball was – the NBA brought a lot of expectations.
Sampson played three seasons for the Houston Rockets before injuries took their toll. During these three seasons, the NBA Rookie of the Year averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds. He then had three knee surgeries, which eventually led to his retirement from the game as a four-time All-Star. His career highlight will probably be the moment when he dethroned the Los Angeles Lakers as Western Conference Champions with a last-second shot. The buzzer shot not only ended the Lakers’ reign as champions but also dashed their hopes of a consecutive NBA title.
Ralph Sampson’s basketball career began in high school. In ninth grade he was already 6’8″ and when he attended high school in Harrisonburg, Virginia, he was already 6’8″. After an average of 19 points and 17 setbacks as a junior and 14 points and 11 setbacks as a student, Sampson led the school team at Harrisonburg High as a senior, averaging nearly 30 points, 19 setbacks, and 7 blocked shots, winning the state AA basketball championships twice (1978 and 1979).
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In 1983, Ralph Sampson led the Cavaliers to an NCAA Elite 8 outing while playing as a center for the University of Virginia and only lost to the North Carolina state team led by Jim Valvano in the regional finals. The Houston Rockets used him in the 1983 NBA draft and he averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds. He also played in the All-Star Game and won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was notorious for fast dribblings and racy runs – thanks to his size and agility. He could dribble with guards and run the ground as well as anyone else. Before he went pro, he was known for his size. Sampson was expected to reach the heights of basketball greats like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and others before him.
In the 1984 NBA draft, the Rockets chose another giant – 7-foot Hakeem Olajuwon of the University of Houston. The selection met with mixed reviews. While some felt that combining two 7-foot-plus players on the same team would not work, there were others who saw it as a devastatingly positive move. And to accommodate the new “giant” Olajuwon, Sampson had to change his game a little by playing a new style of power forward, and that worked really well. In the 1984-85 season, Sampson had his best single campaign and the Rockets made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. He scored an average of 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds, earning him a place on the All-NBA Second Team. The “Twin Giants” played in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game, and Sampson received the MVP Award.
But that wasn’t the end of it. The Rockets won the Midwest Division and defeated Los Angeles the next season, four games against a more than five-match final in the Western Conference. The best part is the miracle of Sampson 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 had fought back from a lost position), Ralph Sampson turned the game around in his mind, setting the high point of the match and one of the most memorable moments in NBA playoff history by starting a time-stop shot that sailed through the buzzer and into the basket, with a 114th place finish: 112 victories over the Lakers (a team that could compete with Magic Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar), ending the LA Lakers’ quest for another championship.
Ralph Sampson is the only athlete to win an unprecedented pair of wood awards, and only the second to receive three Naismith National Player of the Year awards. He is arguably the most recruited college and professional basketball player of his generation, appearing 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. In 2002, he was inducted into the ACC 50th Anniversary Men’s Basketball Team as one of the fifty best players in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Only three Virginia Cavaliers have received this recognition.
Ralph Sampson’s Injuries, Decline
Like any great story, the story of Ralph Sampson’s height came to an end on the basketball courts. His general contribution to the game began to decline as the “Giant”‘s injuries began to take their toll. Sampson suffered an injury on his back due to a fall during the NBA final against Boston. His season was not the same after that. As a result, he fell out of favor with Rockets coach Bill Fitch in the 1986-87 season, which led to his transfer to the Golden State Warriors in a barter deal where Eric “Sleepy” Floyd switched to the other side. Despite this switch, his injury problems remained and he never played a full game for the next four seasons. He was later sold to the Sacramento Kings by Jim Petersen before the 1989-90 season. But a total of 51 games in two seasons with an average of 7.2 points can only be described as a disappointment.
After his release by the Kings in 1991, Sampson joined the Washington Bullets, where he only managed 10 games before being dropped and continued the rest of the season with eight games for Unicaja Ronda in the Spanish League.
But he had had enough when Ralph Sampson ended his professional career in 1993 at the age of 32. In total, the man was hailed as the greatest basketball player of all time, playing only 441 games in 10 NBA seasons, just over half of the 820 scheduled games. Looking back on his career, Sampson admitted that he had rushed his recovery process and returned too quickly from his three career-defining knee surgeries, decisions he felt were premature and cost him his career.
Ralph Sampson Married Life/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 their wedding vows in front of 200 guests. However, the marriage broke up and ended in divorce in 2003. But although the marriage ended, Sampson struggled with several lawsuits for alimony payments that his wife and other women brought against him. Although their relationship lasted only 17 years, it produced four children – two sons and two daughters. Both sons are basketball players, while the older daughter works at ESPN and the younger daughter supports her father.
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His first son, Ralph Lee Sampson III, played for Minnesota College Basketball. His second son, Robert Alan Sampson, joined Georgia Tech after playing college basketball for East Carolina University for his first three seasons (2010-2013). His first daughter, Rachel Lee Sampson, graduated from Stanford University and works at ESPN, and the youngest is Anna Aleize Sampson.
It is rumored that Sampson has children by women outside of his marriage to Aleize, and although the rumors have not been confirmed or even denied by Sampson, one source claims that he fathered a daughter in 1985 and another daughter with an anonymous woman in 1988.
Height, Body Stats
Ralph Sampson weight 228 lbs (103.4 kg) Ralph Sampson height 7′ 4? (224 cm)
Ralph Sampson’s current net worth is estimated to be around $6 Million as he seems to be enjoying a quiet and nice life after retirement.