Ralph Lee Sampson, Jr. (born July 7, 1960) is a retired American 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. Three knee surgeries later he retired a four-time All-Star whose career highlight ended up being a buzzer-beating shot to dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers as Western Conference champions, derailing their hopes for coveted back-to-back NBA titles and sending the Rockets to their second NBA Finals in the team's history.
By Dean Hanley
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