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Sampson not ruling out the NBA...Yet.

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by crash5179, Aug 17, 2002.

  1. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Dec 9, 2000
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    This is just an interview with Ralph from back in february. I don't think he has any real notions of returning to the NBA but a question was asked and he answered it. The rest of the interview is interesting if you ever wondered about his fight with Sichting in 86 or his oppinion of Kareems sky hook.


    Sampson not ruling the NBA out ... yet

    Does your NBA team need a 7-footer? If the team is willing to gamble on a 39-year-old and it has the right money and some patience, former Twin Tower Ralph Sampson says he'd listen.

    Sampson, the head coach of the IBL's Richmond's Rhythm, admitted in his ESPN.com chat that he's more likely to return to the league in a front office or coaching capacity than as a player. Sampson also talked about his experiences in the IBL, reflected on memories of his playing days and revealed the toughest player he ever played against.

    If you missed Sampson's Feb. 9 chat, an edited transcript follows:

    Daren: Do you foresee a rise in popularity of "minor league" basketball teams such as the CBA or the IBL?

    Ralph Sampson: No, I see a league that will merge. I feel the IBL and CBA will merge. It would be a great summer league with the USBL. I feel this could be a great developmental league where players can hone their skills and work on fundamentals. Players today don't concentrate enough on that.

    Jamey: Do you still talk with Hakeem? Do you spend time with any of your old friends from the NBA?

    Ralph Sampson: Yes I talk to Hakeem 2-4 times a year. I use to go back to Houston quite often but I don't any more. I try to keep in touch with players I played with and we try to talk once a month or so.

    RJ: What is the biggest difference between coaching and playing?

    Ralph Sampson: As a coach, you see what is happening on the court better. It gave me an advantage of knowing what to run and how to run it. Seeing it instead of actually doing it. Guys sometimes run the wrong cut and you can see it.

    Mike Dennis: What was it like being a Vice President and head coach of a team?

    Ralph Sampson: I started by wanting to be in the front office, developing my skills on the management end. Things worked out that I ended up on the bench. I learned behind the scenes and then on the bench and I've enjoyed it. Perhaps I can work my way up to the NBA. I would say my goal is to either coach or work in administration in the NBA.

    Iron Maiden: How much longer will Richmond have the Rhythm? Attendance is awful, what needs to be done to save hoops in Richmond?

    Ralph Sampson: Richmond is a funny town. There needs to be, like all the IBL cities, a more conducive marketing effort. Marketing is definitely the key. People have to know what the product is. You have to draw them in, but I don't think we put enough dollars into marketing the team. You have to feel your way through and make changes and adjustments as the league grows.

    Ralph Del: Who was the toughest player you ever faced in college and the NBA? What separated them from all the others?

    Sampson joined the International Basketball League team last April as executive vice president and general manager. Four games into the season, he was named the Rhythm?s interim head coach after Alan Bristow resigned. He is now the head coach and Richmond is 7-16, 2.5 games back of Baltimore for third place in the IBL East Conference.

    Sampson graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 1979 as the country?s top basketball recruit. The subject of one of the most intense recruiting battles in college sports, the 7?4? Sampson chose to attend the University of Virginia, where he became a three-time Naismith Award winner.

    In 1983, the Houston Rockets selected Sampson as the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. He earned Rookie of the Year honors after averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.40 blocks while playing in all 82 of the Rockets' games.

    Sampson?s presence as an NBA force continued during the 1984-85 season when he teamed with fellow seven-footer Hakeem Olajuwon to form Houston?s renowned ?Twin Towers.? He helped lead Houston to the playoffs the next two seasons, including a NBA Finals showdown with the Celtics in 1986.

    Ralph Sampson: The biggest thing was to make sure I was aware of who I was going against, to develop a strategy. I played against Ewing, Kellogg, Herb Williams, Granville Waiters, Sam Perkins, Worthy, Jordan. The NBA to me, the most talented player I faced was Kareem because of the unstoppable sky hook.

    Paul: How does it make you feel to watch 7-footers like Kevin Garnett playing forward rather than center? It reminds me of the "twin towers" in Houston, where Hakeem would play the post and you were asked to perform more as a forward than a traditional center?

    Ralph Sampson: I feel very good that a guy like Garnett, with his athletic ability at his height, can play all five positions. He's a rare guy. The way I tried to play, I wanted to run and jump and dunk and dribble. Hopefully people remember me for those things. It is fun for me to watch a Kevin Garnett.

    Sean Henline: I have been watching the recruiting for Virginia and have come across some rumors that you have a nephew that may attend. Do you have any knowledge of his desire?

    Ralph Sampson: He's actually a cousin. I don't know if he will go there or not, but a lot of people are speculating about him. I get calls all the time. We'll see.

    Paul: You dominated at high school, and in the NCAA. But after a handful of good years at the pro level, you disappeared? What happened that brought Ralph Sampson, star on the Rockets, to Ralph Sampson, backup with the Kings?

    Ralph Sampson: Knee injuries translated into me not being able to play the way I was used to playing. A lot of people saw me after I changed my game to low post, physical style, the teams I went to and play for didn't see me doing that. My last three and a half years I didn't get as much of an opportunity to play and I was hurt a lot.

    Greg: As a Kentucky fan, I remember Kentucky was very much interested in you. I can recall the talk of a Bowie/Sampson front line! How close were you ever signing with UK? Or was Virginia always the front-runner?

    Ralph Sampson: I visited UK during my high school years and after I visited, I wanted to go there. I enjoyed it, had a great time and wanted to go there. At that point they had 6-7 high school All-Americas, including Sam Bowie. When I got back home and evaluated, they were on my final four list, but Virginia outweighed them because of the closeness to home.

    Gerald: How can a player, who has never played college ball, get into the league?

    Ralph Sampson: Throughout the year, you could call a team to ask for a personal tryout, or in the summer, each team or the IBL itself will have a free-agent workout camp. Call the league and find out when they are, and see if you have the talent to play in this league.

    Celtic Paul: Looking back, how do you now feel about your brouhaha with Jerry Sichting against the Celts in a playoff game several years ago?

    Ralph Sampson: I look back at it and people have asked me that a few times here and there. In the heat of moment in the battle, it happened. I didn't want those guys to celebrate on our court. You have to put up or shut up in the heat of the battle. I thought we got the fans excited with the way we were playing. I am sorry that it broke out that way.

    Morgan: When I was 13, you were my idol and role model and I met you in a restaurant in Los Angeles. You took the time to talk to me and sign an autograph. What do you think of athletes today who say they are not role models and do not sign autographs unless they are paid?

    Ralph Sampson: I think some guys will do it because they realize the impact they have. Others don't know their impact, and others are just (bleep).

    Neco: Do you get to play much anymore with all of your duties in the organization?

    Ralph Sampson: I don't play much. I play with my children. Pickup in practice to show guys how it is done sometimes. Not as much playing as I would like to.

    UVa Rob: What do you think about the job that Virginia head coach Pete Gillen has done this year turning the Cavaliers around?

    Ralph Sampson: He's done an extremely marvelous job. Last year nobody expected him to do what he did and the same this year. It tells you what kind of recruiter and coach he is. They will get used to him quickly since he's not the type of coach Virginia is used to. He has to get a couple of more pieces together.

    Warren: I started at U.Va. your last year and still have a button "I was at Ralph's Last Game at UHall". Do you still have close ties to the program after the coaching change to Gillen?

    Ralph Sampson: Pete Gillen's staff has done a good job with myself and other players. Better than Jeff Jones and other guys, getting us involved, watching games, more actively getting us involved.

    UVa Rob: What is your most memorable moment from your days as a Virginia Cavalier?

    Ralph Sampson: I think personally walking on the lawn and graduating in the rain with a couple of thousand kids, celebrating four years...we graduated.

    Don Cip: Would you consider returning to the NBA -- maybe as a backup to Shaq? That slam dunk you did in Patrick Ewing's face while you were at UVA will go down as one of the most power-slams ever!

    Ralph Sampson: If I had to return at this age (39), it would be hard to do. If the money was right and the team was right, it would take three months to get in proper shape and I think I would be able to play 15 minutes a game.

    Thanks again for your questions. I hope the fans come see the IBL and Richmond soon. Take care.
  2. mduke

    mduke Member

    Jul 17, 2001
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    whew! I thought you were talking about Kelvin Sampson!;)
  3. aznlincolnpark

    Jul 24, 2002
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    hey!!!!! ur thread bored and S***.....:p
  4. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2000
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    I thought Ralph Sampson was much older...
  5. DaDakota

    DaDakota 96er
    Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 1999
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    I would sign him for 15 minutes a game, heck he is still better then Cato.


    ROXRAN Contributing Member

    Oct 12, 2000
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    I'd sign Sampson if he signed for minimum,...Heck the Rockets are still throwing money away by still paying Maloney and Cato...so why not?
  7. bobrek

    bobrek Politics belong in the D & D
    Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 1999
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    That interview is from 02/09/2000.....
  8. Panda

    Panda Member

    Jun 5, 2002
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    Ralph was a great player, but he's now an old geezer. He's gonna pass out on the court after 5 minutes of action.
  9. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Dec 9, 2000
    Likes Received:
    No way any team would ever sign Ralph. He's too old, too rusty, and too damaged. Plus like I said in the open, I don't think Ralph ever had any notion of coming back, he was just answering a question from the reporter about if he would ever play again and he said with the right team for the right money. It will never happen. I just thought it would be a good article to read for those that like nostalgia.
  10. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

    Aug 27, 1999
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    I knew I had read this a few months ago... I was beginning to worry about deja vu... :)
  11. smoothie

    smoothie Jabari Jungle
    Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Likes Received:
    lets give collier some experience.

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