Chris Andersen

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Chris Andersen
Chris "Birdman" Andersen 2009.jpg
Chris Andersen with the Denver Nuggets in 2009
No. 11 – Miami Heat
Position Power forward / Center
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1978-07-07) July 7, 1978 (age 35)
Long Beach, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 10 in (208 cm)
Listed weight 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school Iola (Iola, Texas)
College Blinn (1997–1998)
Pro playing career 1999–present
Career history
1999–2000 Jiangsu Nangang (China)
2000 New Mexico Slam (IBL)
2000–2001 Fargo-Moorhead Beez (IBA)
2001 Fayetteville Patriots (D-League)
20012004 Denver Nuggets
20042006, 2008 New Orleans / Oklahoma City Hornets
20082012 Denver Nuggets
2013–present Miami Heat
Career highlights and awards

Christopher Claus "Chris" Andersen[1] (born July 7, 1978), nicknamed "Birdman",[2] is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Miami Heat of the NBA.

Andersen was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in Iola, Texas, and played one year at Blinn College. Andersen began his professional career in the Chinese Basketball League and the American minor leagues. He then played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets and the New Orleans Hornets. The 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m), 245 lb (111 kg; 17.5 st) center/power forward received a two-year ban from the NBA in 2006 for violating the league's drug policy,[3] but was reinstated on March 4, 2008, and re-signed with the Hornets the next day. He returned to Denver later in 2008, and remained with them until 2012. He signed with the Heat in January 2013.

Early life[edit]

Andersen was the second of the three children of corrections officer and Danish immigrant Claus Andersen and Linda Holubec, a Tennessee native who worked as a waitress at the Port Hueneme base, and played basketball in high school.[4] In 1982, when Andersen was four, his family moved to Texas, using a loan from the Texas Veterans Land Board to purchase a 10-acre plot in unincorporated Iola, about 100 miles north of Houston. Shortly later, Claus left the family without even finishing the house they were building. The Andersens then lived off the land, with Linda working on low-end jobs and relying on the help of neighbors and Linda's brother, who was a Navy supply boat captain. During Andersen's middle school years, he and his siblings were even sent to a group home in Dallas for three years.[4]

During high school, Andersen was convinced to take up basketball by the varsity basketball coach, who said the sport could give him a chance at a college scholarship. Andersen could not get the grades to attend the University of Houston, but went to Blinn College in Brenham, where the coach was the father of Andersen's high school coach. He played one season with the Blinn Buccaneers, leading the National Junior College Athletic Association players in blocks.[4] He is the only Blinn student to ever play in the NBA.[5]

Pro career[edit]

Convinced that he could play professionally, Andersen dropped out of Blinn, not knowing he had to officially apply for the NBA Draft to get picked up. Andersen's high school coach arranged for him to play a series of exhibition games with the semi-professional Texas Ambassadors, and a game in China led Andersen to get an offer to join the Jiangsu Nangang Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association.[4] Late into the 1999-2000 season of the International Basketball League, Andersen joined the New Mexico Slam, averaging 1.6 ppg and 1.6 rpg in the final six regular season games. He also played in four playoff games.[2] He remained in the IBL the next season on the Fargo-Moorhead Beez.[6]

NBA Development League[edit]

Andersen was the first overall pick in the 2001 NBDL Draft, by the Fayetteville Patriots.[7][8] He wound up playing just two games on the NBA D-League.[9]

Denver Nuggets[edit]

Andersen became the first D-League player called up by an NBA team, signing with the Denver Nuggets on November 21, 2001.[9] He quickly became one of the top per-minute rebounders and shot-blockers in the league.[10] During the 2002 Rocky Mountain Revue, teammates Junior Harrington and Kenny Satterfield nicknamed Andersen "Birdman" for his arm span and penchant for aerial acrobatics.[11]

New Orleans Hornets (2004-06)[edit]

In 2004, Andersen signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Hornets, and after his best statistical season — 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game - got a four-year, $14 million contract.[12] Andersen appeared in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in 2004 and 2005, finishing 3rd and 4th (out of 4), respectively.[13] In the 2005 contest, he unsuccessfully tried the same dunk eight times at the Pepsi Center.[14]

Expulsion and reinstatement[edit]

On January 25, 2006, Andersen was disqualified from the NBA for violating the league's anti-drug policy by testing positive for a banned substance.[15] Andersen's suspension fell under the league's category of "drugs of abuse," violation of which is possible grounds for expulsion from the NBA under the league's collective bargaining agreement.[16] Andersen attempted to appeal the ruling through arbitration, but the arbitrator ruled to uphold his dismissal in March 2006.[16] As Andersen waited for his reinstatement effective which could be given in January 2008,[17] he was helped by a laywer friend in Denver, Mark Bryant, who became his adviser. Andersen spent a month in a rehab clinic in Malibu, and worked out and coached a boys' basketball team in Denver.[18]

On March 4, 2008, the NBA Players Association granted Andersen's request to be reinstated as an NBA player.[19] The reinstatement was effective immediately, and the rights to his services belonged to his former team, the New Orleans Hornets, who signed him to a contract on March 5, 2008.[20]

Return to Denver[edit]

Following the 2007–08 NBA season, Andersen was released by the Hornets. Andersen signed with the Nuggets on July 24, 2008.[21] The contract was worth $998,398 for one season. Andersen finished the season 2nd in the league in blocks per game at 2.42 per contest, despite only 20.5 minutes of playtime per game. His 5.68 blocks per 48 minutes played was the best in the NBA.

On July 8, 2009, Andersen and the Nuggets agreed on a five-year contract.[22]

On July 17, 2012, the Nuggets waived Andersen via the amnesty clause.[23] Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri, a friend of Andersen, reluctantly made the transaction in order to remove $9 million from the team's payroll cap to avoid the luxury tax.[24]

Miami Heat[edit]

Before he was waived by the Nuggets, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had repeatedly lobbied Pat Riley to acquire Andersen.[24]

On January 20, 2013, Andersen signed a 10-day contract with the Miami Heat.[25][26] He was signed to a second 10-day contract on January 30,[27] and signed for the remainder of the season on February 8, 2013.[28] He was brought in as a backup center.[29] LeBron James and Dwyane Wade cast Andersen in a starring role in the Heat's "Harlem Shake" video.[24]

Andersen only played in 42 games during the season but still contributed to the Heat's success by putting up 4.9 points per game on 57.7 FG% and 4.1 rebounds in 14.9 minutes of play. After he joined the Heat, his team went on a 27-game winning streak, overall going 37-3 in regular-season games in which Andersen played. Andersen also gained legions of fans inspired by his head-to-toe tattoos, Mohawk haircut, and trademark hustle.[30][31][32]

Andersen shot 15-15 in Games 1-5 against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, including a 7-for-7 performance in Game 1 that set a franchise playoff record, besting the 6-for-6 mark by Alonzo Mourning in 2007. Andersen was suspended for Game 6 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals without pay for committing a flagrant foul on Tyler Hansbrough.[33]

At age 34, he reached the NBA Finals for the first time in his career. Against the San Antonio Spurs in the deciding Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, Andersen recorded three points, four rebounds, and a block en route to his first NBA championship.[30] With a field goal percentage of 80.7%, Andersen finished the 2013 NBA Playoffs with an NBA Playoffs record for highest field goal percentage.

On July 10, 2013, Andersen re-signed with the Miami Heat.[34]


Andersen is known for brightly colored tattoos on his arms, chest, neck, back, hands and legs. His first tattoo was given as an eighteenth birthday gift by his mother, who has some body art of her own from her tenure in the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.[4] Andersen's regular tattoo artist, Denver-based John Slaughter, estimates he has inked 75 percent of his body.[35] He showed off those tattoos in PETA's "Ink Not Mink" ad campaign to protest the fur industry.[36]

On May 10, 2012, Denver NBC affiliate 9News reported that Andersen's home was the target of an investigation of a suspected Internet criminal case by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.[37] Andersen was not charged with any crimes. In September 2013, it was revealed that Andersen was the victim of an elaborate hoax.[38]

Andersen is fond of charity work, to which he donates most profits from exploiting his image - such as a 2009 Arby's promotion in Denver that gave "Birdman" glasses. He and lawyer Mark Bryant want to launch the Freebird Foundation to help underprivileged children.[11]

NBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

2001–02 Denver 24 1 10.9 .338 .000 .786 3.2 .3 .3 1.2 3.0
2002–03 Denver 59 3 15.4 .400 .000 .550 4.6 .5 .5 1.0 5.2
2003–04 Denver 71 0 14.5 .443 .000 .589 4.2 .5 .5 1.6 3.4
2004–05 New Orleans 67 2 21.3 .534 .000 .689 6.1 1.1 .2 1.5 7.7
2005–06 New Orleans/Oklahoma City 32 2 17.8 .571 .000 .476 4.8 .2 .3 1.3 5.0
2007–08 New Orleans 5 0 6.8 .286 .000 .500 1.8 .0 .0 .8 1.2
2008–09 Denver 71 1 20.6 .548 .200 .718 6.2 .4 .6 2.5 6.4
2009–10 Denver 76 0 22.3 .566 .000 .695 6.4 .4 .6 1.9 5.9
2010–11 Denver 45 0 16.3 .599 .000 .637 4.9 .4 .5 1.3 5.6
2011–12 Denver 32 1 15.2 .546 .000 .610 4.6 .2 .6 1.4 5.3
2012–13 Miami 42 0 14.9 .577 .667 .677 4.1 .4 .4 1.0 4.9
Career 524 10 17.6 .512 .154 .644 5.1 .5 .4 1.6 5.4


2004 Denver 5 0 6.8 .333 .000 .000 2.8 .4 .2 .4 1.2
2009 Denver 15 0 21.9 .630 .000 .659 6.3 .6 .3 2.1 6.5
2010 Denver 6 0 19.3 .529 .000 .643 4.5 .2 .2 1.0 4.5
2011 Denver 5 0 14.6 .636 .000 .714 2.8 .6 .6 1.4 4.8
2013 Miami 20 0 15.2 .807 .000 .735 3.8 .2 .5 1.1 6.4
Career 51 0 16.7 .669 .000 .694 4.4 .4 .4 1.4 5.5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Week in Photos: Dunkers Special, Chris Andersen". Retrieved May 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b " Chris Andersen Bio Page". Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Hornets' Andersen kicked out of NBA for drug use - NBA - ESPN". 2006-01-27. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Palmer, Chris (May 12, 2008). "Birdman's redemption bittersweet for his mother". ESPN the Magazine. 
  5. ^ "The Best Player From All 119 Schools Represented in the NBA". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  6. ^ "A Timeline of Chris 'Birdman! Birdman!' Andersen's Bizarre NBA Career". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  7. ^ "National Basketball Development League Announces Inaugural Draft Results". NBDL Enterprises, LLC. November 1, 2001. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Chris Andersen D-League Statistics". Sports Reference LLC. 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "NBDL: First NBDL Player "Called Up" to NBA". Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  10. ^ For Chris Andersen, Another Chance -
  11. ^ a b What's in a name? 'Birdman' taking off in Miami
  12. ^ Nuggets’ Birdman Soars, on the Court and Off
  13. ^ Simmons, Bill (April 15, 2008). "NBA MVP breakdown, Part I". Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  14. ^ Mary Burns (6 February 2006). "Silence speaks volumes? Andersen's sad dismissal shrouded in mystery". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Hornets' Andersen kicked out of NBA for drug use,, January 27, 2006.
  16. ^ a b Associated Press, [1],, January 25, 2008.
  17. ^ Tim Kuhls, The "Birdman" Should Get a Second Chance, The Cornell Daily Sun, February 22, 2007.
  18. ^ After an improbable rise to the NBA and a costly misstep, - 10.05.09 - SI Vault
  19. ^ NBA and Players Association Reinstate Chris Andersen,, March 4, 2008.
  20. ^ "Andersen expected to re-sign with Hornets after drug ban lifted - NBA - ESPN". 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  21. ^ "Nuggets Sign Andersen | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE DENVER NUGGETS". 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  22. ^ "Nuggets keep Birdman in their nest with 5-year deal". 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  23. ^ "Nuggets waive F/C Chris Andersen under amnesty provision | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE DENVER NUGGETS". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  24. ^ a b c Miami’s High-Flying, Low-Key Role Player
  25. ^ HEAT Sign Chris Andersen
  26. ^ Chris 'Birdman' Andersen signs with Heat
  27. ^ HEAT Signs Chris Andersen
  28. ^ HEAT Signs Chris Andersen
  29. ^ Chris Andersen and The Rim Run Diary | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE MIAMI HEAT
  30. ^ a b Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen helps Miami Heat reach mountaintop
  31. ^ Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen celebrates exactly how you’d expect him to
  32. ^ Chris Andersen and The Rim Run Diary
  33. ^ "HEAT’S ‘BIRDMAN’ GROUNDED FOR GAME 6". May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  34. ^ "HEAT Re-Signs Chris Andersen". July 10, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  35. ^ Chris Andersen's tattoos tell story of his life journey
  36. ^ "Nuggets Center Chris Andersen Stands Tall for PETA," The Denver Post 30 November 2011.
  37. ^ Moore, Matt (2012-05-10). "Nuggets F Chris Andersen's home searched by police, property seized". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  38. ^ Windhorst, Brian (September 19, 2013). "Heat's Chris Andersen cleared". ESPN. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 

External links[edit]