Entries in Ralph Sampson (1)


Ralph Sampson

Enshrined 2012
Harrisonburg, VA
Born: July 7, 1960


Ralph Sampson dominated college basketball during his four years at the University of Virginia. The recruitment of Sampson reached a fever pitch during his final season at Harrisonburg High School where the two-time state champion gave college coaches a glimpse into the future of basketball. The first center to possess open-court versatility, Sampson’s speed, rebounding, and shooting ability helped redefine the post position in basketball. He dribbled the basketball, ran the floor, and jumped like no other player his size. Sampson led the Cavaliers to the 1980 NIT championship, the 1981 NCAA Final Four, and marquee wins over college adversaries Michael Jordan of North Carolina and Patrick Ewing of Georgetown. Drafted by the Houston Rockets, Sampson paid immediate dividends in the NBA, winning Rookie of the Year in 1984 playing in the first of three consecutive NBA All Star games. Sampson’s off-balance, last-second shot dethroned the Showtime Lakers in the 1986 Western Conference finals to send the Houston Rockets to the NBA Finals.

Career Highlights

Naismith Award winner, 1981, 1982, 1983
Wooden Award winner, 1982, 1983
Consensus First Team All-America, 1981, 1982, 1983
Three-time NBA All Star, 1984, 1985, 1986