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Derek Harper
Position(s) Point guard
Jersey #(s) 12, 11
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Born October 13, 1961 (1961-10-13) (age 48)
Career information
Year(s) 1983–1999
NBA Draft 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
College Illinois
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     16,006
Assists     6,577
Steals     1,957
Stats @
Career highlights and awards

Derek Ricardo Harper (born October 13, 1961 in Elberton, Georgia) is a retired American professional basketball player from the University of Illinois, who spent 16 seasons as a point guard in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.


After graduating from Roosevelt Junior High School and then North Shore High School in West Palm Beach, Harper played three seasons for the Fighting Illini and coach Lou Henson having his best season in 1982–1983, when he led the Fighting Illini in scoring with 15.4 points per game. Harper was named First-Team All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-American in 1983, and was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in both 1981 and 1982. Harper averaged 4.7 assists per game for his collegiate career, and led the Big Ten in assists in the 1981–1982 season.


At 6-2, Harper was drafted by the Mavericks with the 11th overall pick of the 1983 NBA Draft and spent his first ten seasons with them, averaging 15 points and 6.1 assists. In the 1984 playoffs, he made a critical error when he didn't know the game was tied and he dribbled out the clock sending the game to overtime against the Lakers. However, Harper had his revenge when he hit a clutch shot against the Lakers two years later in the 1986 playoffs. He was traded to the Knicks 28 games into the 1993-94 season as the Knicks were looking for a defensive point guard to replace Doc Rivers who went down with an injury that sidelined him for the whole season. This turned out to be a blessing for Harper because the Mavericks were on their way to a 13-69 win-loss campaign, while Harper was an integral part of a Knicks team that came within one game of not only winning the 1994 NBA Championship, but also giving New York City the distinction of having both NBA and NHL championships in the same year, as the Rangers had won the Stanley Cup.

Harper played for the Knicks through the 1995-96 season, returned to Dallas the following season, and played one season each with the Magic and Lakers before retiring. The Lakers traded Harper to the Detroit Pistons, but he retired without reporting to the team.

Harper played in 1199 regular season games in his career, ranking him twenty-first in NBA history (as of the 2004-5 NBA season). He retired having the eleventh most steals and the seventeenth most assists in NBA history, and is widely regarded with the dubious distinction as being one of the best players to never make it to the All-Star game.

Harper presently lives in Dallas with his family. He is now a game analyst for the Dallas Mavericks on their locally broadcasted games; and since fall 2005, he has been the weekend sports anchor at KTXA, the former CBS operated station serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

External links

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