Aulcie Perry (Hebrew: אולסי פרי) (born July 3, 1950) is a retired American-Israeli basketball player. He led Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. to two European championships during his nine seasons with the team. In 1987, Perry was convicted of drug-smuggling.
Perry was born in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. He attended West Side High School there. He graduated from Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. He played basketball in high school and at college.
The 6 foot 10 inch, 215 pound (2.1 m, 98 kg) center was signed to the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association in 1974. Perry was cut from the team during the 1974–75 season, however, and spent the balance of the season with the Allentown Jets of the Eastern Professional Basketball League (the predecessor to the Continental Basketball Association). The following season he was signed by the New York Knicks, but he never played for the team. Released by the Knicks, Perry returned to the Jets.
During the summer of 1976, Perry was spotted by a scout for Maccabi Tel Aviv while playing at the Rucker courts in Harlem. Maccabi Tel Aviv signed Perry for US$6,000 a month, a small sum by American standards but one of the highest salaries in the European league in which Israel competed. The other players on the team responded to his leadership and the team had what Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff described as "the most extraordinary season in its remarkable history" and what Perry called "the best nine months of [his] life". In 1977 Perry led the team to its first European Cup championship, a prize they took again four years later. Perry played a total of nine seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv, during which the team won six Israel Cups and was league champions seven times.
Perry became a celebrity in Israel. He was congratulated by Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin, who said he helped bring "honor to the people of Israel". He began dating Israeli model Tami Ben Ami, and the couple were the darlings of the press. Everywhere Perry went he was besieged by fans seeking his autograph. His name became a generic phrase for a tall person; one Israeli might remark to another that her child had grown into a real Aulcie Perry, and a children's song by Arik Einstein included the lyrics "If only I were tall like Aulcie Perry".
In December 1982, Perry missed a game against Real Madrid Baloncesto. The team told reporters that he was sick with the flu, but in fact a worsening drug problem had kept him from the game. In March 1983, Perry was arrested and charged with buying heroin; he pleaded guilty and was given a fine of $150,000 and a suspended sentence.
Perry and his cousin, Kenneth Johnson, were detained in September 1985 when they flew from Amsterdam to New York. Johnson was arrested when customs officials found that the portable stereo he was carrying contained 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) of 89 percent pure heroin with an estimated street value of $1.8 million. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spent the next several months accumulating evidence against Perry, who they suspected was involved with the drug smuggling. In January 1986, a warrant was issued for his arrest. After nine months of fighting extradition, Perry returned to New York for trial.
At the trial, prosecutors portrayed Perry as the mastermind behind the smuggling scheme. Johnson had never been abroad before, but Perry was an experienced traveler. Perry had paid for airline tickets in cash, and he was seen traveling with a bagful of cash. Finally, a flight attendant recognized him from the airplane, where Perry had been holding the portable stereo.
In February 1987, Perry was convicted of conspiracy to import heroin, importation of heroin, and possession of heroin with intent to distribute. Two months later he was sentenced to ten years in prison. He was released in January 1992.
After his release from prison, Perry returned to Israel, where he manages a Burger Ranch restaurant. He sponsors a basketball camp for children in Israel. Perry also coaches one of Maccabi Tel Aviv's youth teams.
- "Aulcie Perry Statistics". Basketball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Wolff, Alexander (2002). Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure. New York: Warner Books. p. 204. ISBN 0-446-67989-5.
- Lommel, Cookie (June 2, 2005). "Hoop Star Scores On and Off Court". The Jewish Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. pp. 204–205.
- "Slam Dunking in Israel". Ebony. February 1978. p. 52. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. p. 205.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. pp. 205–206.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. p. 210.
- "Sports Shorts: Aulcie Perry to coach Tel Kabir". Haaretz. October 12, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- "Slam Dunking in Israel". Ebony. February 1978. p. 51. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. p. 206.
- Buder, Leonard (November 8, 1986). "Ex-Player in Israel Faces Drug Trial". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- "Where Are They Now? Aulcie Perry (United States)". BallinEurope.com. December 20, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Rosenthal, David (April 20, 2008). "כידרורי לשון" (in Hebrew). Walla!. Retrieved April 13, 2009. "הלוואי שהייתי גבוה כמו אולסי פרי"
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. pp. 207–209.
- "Perry Is Convicted". The New York Times. February 24, 1987. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. pp. 211–212.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. pp. 212–213.
- "10-Year Sentence". The New York Times. April 25, 1987. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Wolff. Big Game, Small World. p. 215.
- "Perry Returns to Solace in Israel". Los Angeles Daily News. February 16, 1997. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- "Basketball as Friendship". New York City Sports Commission. May 25, 2004. Archived from the original on May 6, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Basketball for Stars, Perry's basketball camp