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This article is about the basketball player, for the X Factor contestant see Lloyd Daniels (singer)

Lloyd Daniels (born September 4, 1967 in Brooklyn, New York) is a retired American professional and semi-professional basketball player.

The 6'7" shooting guard was one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation during the 1986-87 recruiting cycle. At the time,. he was considered the most talented player from New York City since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.[1] However, he'd attended five high schools in three states,[2] and could only read on a third-grade level.[1]

He eventually wound up at UNLV and was slated to play for legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian. One of Tarkanian's assistants, Mark Warkentien, became Daniels' legal guardian, and got him admitted to a California junior college (Mt. San Antonio College) to improve his academics.[2] However, on February 9, 1987, Daniels was arrested for buying crack cocaine from an undercover policeman. [3] Although Tarkanian was known for taking in troubled players, this was too much even for him, and he announced days after the arrest that Daniels would never play for UNLV.[2] It later emerged that Daniels had first been led to UNLV by Richard Perry, who had been convicted twice for sports bribery.[2] Perry's involvement resulted in an NCAA investigation that ultimately forced Tarkanian to resign.

Daniels bounced around in the professional ranks for the next six years, and went through drug rehabilitation three times. In 1988, he was kicked off the Continental Basketball Association's Topeka Sizzlers for not staying in shape. He caught on with a team in New Zealand shortly after that, only to be thrown off the team for heavy drinking.[1] On May 11, 1989, Daniels was shot three times in the chest and survived.[4] He still has a bullet lodged in his right shoulder.[5]

Tarkanian kept up with Daniels over the years, and after he was named head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, he brought Daniels with him. Daniels had an emotional return to New York City during the preseason, where he dominated the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, electrifying the crowd. After Tarkanian was fired 20 games into the season, Daniels' playing time diminished, and a couple of seasons with the Spurs, he was let go. He did manage to play five seasons for six NBA teams: the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors. He had several shocking comebacks, including a stint with Lakers after being picked up off of waivers, where he took over a tight game, scoring 20 points in second half to lead the Lakers to victory. He ended up in the Lakers starting lineup for about a dozen games that year after that outburst. Later in his career, while dominating play in the CBA, the Raptors signed him to a ten-day contract and he scored 22 points in his first game with team. Despite his obvious offensive skills, he was forever considered an off court risk and an undisciplined player, and could not find a permanent home in the NBA.

In his career, Daniels played in 200 NBA games and scored 1,411 points. Prior to his NBA career, he played in the GBA (where he was named MVP in his only season), the New Zealand Basketball Association, CBA, the USBL[6], and also in Greece with AEK Athens BC and in Turkey with Galatasaray. He played in Italy with Scavolini Pesaro in 1995/96 season with an average of 23 ppg.

He would continue to play exhibition games for charity, joining the Jayson Williams Foundation and its exhibition team which played games across the United States. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, he played alongside Jayson Williams, Walter Berry and Vladimir Cuk. [7]

In October 2005, Daniels tried to revive his career by trying out with the Strong Island Sound of the American Basketball Association.[8]

His nickname Swee'Pea is a reference to the Popeye cartoon character of the same name.


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