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Adrian Dantley
Position(s) Forward/guard
Jersey #(s) 44, 4, 45, 7
Born February 28, 1956 (1956-02-28) (age 54)
Washington, D.C., USA
Career information
Year(s) 1976–1991
NBA Draft 1976 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
College Notre Dame
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA)
Points     23,177
Rebounds     5,455
Assists     2,830
Stats @
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Medal record
Competitor for  United States
Men's Basketball
Olympic Games
Gold 1976 Montreal National team

Adrian Delano Dantley (born February 28, 1956 in Washington, D.C.) is a retired American basketball player who played 15 seasons in the NBA, seven of which as a member of the Utah Jazz. He was a forward/guard. A six-time NBA All-Star, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.


Playing career



Dantley attended basketball powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland where he played under legendary basketball coach Morgan Wootten.

Dantley was a forward at Notre Dame from 1973-76. He was a consensus first team All-American in 1974-75 and 1975-76 and was named 1976 National Player of the Year. He ranks second on the Notre Dame 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 stunning 1973 upset to end UCLA's record 88-game winning streak. That UCLA team, coached by the legendary 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 and was drafted sixth overall, by the Buffalo Braves, in the 1976 NBA draft. 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. Dantley remains the only Rookie of the Year in any major sport to be traded after his rookie year.


However, Dantley bounced around the league after his rookie campaign. Buffalo traded Dantley to the Indiana Pacers before the 1978 season, but Indiana traded him after 23 games to the Los Angeles Lakers. 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 the past 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. With Utah, he twice led 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.

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. Midway through the 1989 season, Detroit traded Dantley to the Dallas Mavericks for Mark Aguirre. Dantley played two more seasons in the NBA before retiring after a 10-game stint with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1991.

Dantley finished his 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 charity stripe. He led the league in free throws six times and ranks sixth 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.

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, NBA, and on April 7, 2008, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, 16 years after his retirement.


Dantley customized a unique shooting style that consisted of a flat-footed style shot due to having one leg 3 inches (76 mm) shorter than the other. He has customized shoes to fit his shorter leg's foot. His special customized shoe was stolen after a playoff game while he was with the Pistons. Fortunately the shoe was anonymously returned to him before the next game.


Dantley currently holds an assistant coaching position with the Denver Nuggets.

His son, Cameron Dantley, was the starting quarterback for the Syracuse Orange during the 2008 season.

See also


Preceded by
Alvan Adams
NBA Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Walter Davis


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