Ralph Sampson

Basketball Player

Ralph Lee Sampson, Jr. is a retired American college and professional basketball player. A 7-foot-4 phenom, three-time College Player of the Year, and No. 1 pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, Sampson brought heavy expectations with him to the NBA. The NBA Rookie of the Year, Sampson averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds for his first three seasons with the Houston Rockets before injuries began to take their toll.… Read More

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Browse recent news and stories about Ralph Sampson.

  • S basketball mini
    Catch 'em While They're Here: College Basketball's Top Freshmen
    Huffington Post - Dec 04, 2013
  • Weekend Update: Fred And Ted Show To Fill Kilt Late Night Hole, J.J. Watt Featured On Espn2 Show Monday Night With Hannah Storm
    Houston Chronicle - Aug 09, 2013
  • 'rocket Man'
    Huffington Post Sports - Jul 13, 2013
  • Featured Shoes: Puma Ralph Samson Snakeskin Pack – Forest Green Sneakers
    Amog - Apr 17, 2012


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Ralph Sampson.


1960 Birth Born on July 7, 1960.


1978 17 Years Old He averaged nearly 30 points, 19 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots as a senior (after averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds as a sophomore, and 19 points and 17 rebounds as a junior), at Harrisonburg High, leading the team to state AA basketball championships in 1978 and 1979. … Read More
1980 19 Years Old Playing center for the University of Virginia, he led the Cavaliers to an NIT title in 1980, an NCAA Final Four appearance in 1981 and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 1983. … Read More


1982 22 Years Old Sampson considered leaving Virginia after his junior year and declaring for the 1982 NBA draft. … Read More
1985 25 Years Old …  He and Olajuwon both played in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game, and Sampson, after scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, earned the game's MVP Award. … Read More
1986 26 Years Old Injured halfway into the 1986–87 season, Sampson fell out of favor with Rockets Coach Bill Fitch and was traded, along with guard Steve Harris, to the Golden State Warriors for Eric "Sleepy" Floyd and Joe Barry Carroll. … Read More
1988 28 Years Old He averaged 6.4 points and 5. rebounds with Golden State in 1988–89 and was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Jim Petersen.
1989 29 Years Old Sampson's injury issues continued in Sacramento as he totaled just 51 games in two seasons, averaging 4.2 and 3. points, respectively, in 1989–90 and 1990–91.


1991 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Released by the Kings, Sampson played a 10-game stint with the Washington Bullets in 1991–92 before being waived. … Read More
1992 32 Years Old Returning to the States, he spent the 1992–93 season as an assistant to head coach Lefty Driesell at James Madison University before coaching a minor league professional team in Richmond, Virginia. … Read More
1996 36 Years Old In 1996, Sampson was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.


2002 42 Years Old In 2002, he was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men's basketball team as one of the fifty best players in Atlantic Coast Conference history – one of only three Virginia Cavaliers so honored.
2005 45 Years Old In 2005, Sampson pleaded guilty to owing more than $300K in back child support for two children from different mothers in the Northern Virginia area.
2006 46 Years Old In 2006, he was sentenced to two months in prison for mail fraud associated with the purchase of an SUV.


2011 51 Years Old On November 22, 2011, Sampson was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
In February 2012, Sampson was honored by Houston Rockets and fans as a member of the Decade Team of the 80s.
2013 53 Years Old In June 2013, Sampson announced that he would not return as an assistant head coach. … Read More
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