Alex English

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Alex English
Alex English, Visitante Ilustre (14935074624) (cropped).jpg
English in Montevideo in October 2014
Personal information
Born (1954-01-05) January 5, 1954 (age 67)
Columbia, South Carolina
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High schoolDreher
(Columbia, South Carolina)
CollegeSouth Carolina (1972–1976)
NBA draft1976 / Round: 2 / Pick: 23rd overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career1976–1992
PositionSmall forward
Number23, 22, 2
Coaching career2002–2013
Career history
As player:
19761978Milwaukee Bucks
19781980Indiana Pacers
19801990Denver Nuggets
1990–1991Dallas Mavericks
1991–1992Basket Napoli
As coach:
2002–2003Atlanta Hawks (assistant)
2003–2004Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)
20042011Toronto Raptors (assistant)
20122013Sacramento Kings (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points25,613 (21.5 ppg)
Rebounds6,538 (5.5 rpg)
Assists4,351 (3.6 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Alexander English (born January 5, 1954) is an American former professional basketball player, coach, and businessman.

A South Carolina native, English played college basketball at the University of South Carolina. He was drafted in the second round of the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft in 1976. English played the small forward position and was a star player for the Denver Nuggets in the 1980s. During his Nuggets tenure (1979-1989), the team made the NBA playoffs nine consecutive times, won two Midwest Division titles, and reached the 1985 Western Conference Finals. English played 15 seasons in the NBA for four teams, averaging 21.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. English scored more points than any other NBA player during the 1980s. He was named to eight NBA All-Star teams and made the All-NBA Second Team three times. His number 2 jersey was retired by the Denver Nuggets in 1992, and he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.

After his playing career ended, English worked for the NBA, served as an assistant coach for several NBA teams, was involved in various business ventures, dabbled in acting, and became an NBA ambassador.

Early life[edit]

English was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. For some of his childhood, he and his siblings lived with their grandmother while their parents worked in New York. During this time, English often subsisted on a single meal per day.[1]

English attended Dreher High School in Columbia.[2] On January 31, 2020, his number 22 jersey was retired by the high school.

College career[edit]

English attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia from 1972 to 1976. He started every game over a four-year career and was arguably the first African-American sports star at the school. He scored a record 1,972 points and was only the third player at the school to record over 1,000 rebounds and connect on better than 50% of his field-goal attempts. English was selected to two independent All-America teams in 1975 and 1976. In the academic realm, English "developed interests that he still maintains in art, sculpture, literature, and, especially poetry." He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English in 1976.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Milwaukee Bucks[edit]

English was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 1976 NBA draft with the 23rd pick.[4]

Indiana Pacers[edit]

English signed with the Indiana Pacers as a free agent after the 1977–78 season. English became a starter in Indiana and began to establish a reputation as a scorer, averaging 16 points per game during the 1978–79 season on another rebuilding team.[4]

Denver Nuggets[edit]

English was traded to the Denver Nuggets midway through the 1979–80 season for George McGinnis, a former Pacers star from their ABA days. Though coming off of an All-Star season in 1978–79, McGinnis was only a shadow of his former self and was out of the league by 1982.[5] English went on to become a star player for the Nuggets.[6]

In his first full season with the Nuggets in 1980–81, English averaged a then-career high 23.8 points.[7]

In the 1981–82 season, English averaged 25.4 points and the team advanced to postseason play. He earned a position on the All-Star Team and All-NBA Second Team. The following year, in 1982–83, English won the league scoring title with an average of 28.4 points per game, while teammate Kiki Vandeweghe placed second averaging 26.7 points. Then in 1983–84 English placed fourth in the league in scoring.[4]

In the 1984–85 season English raised his scoring average to 27.9 points to pick up some of the slack from Kiki Vandeweghe's departure. Denver won its division and secured the second seed in the Western Conference. In the 1985 playoffs, English averaged 30.2 points as the Nuggets defeated the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz to meet the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, where they would fall to the eventual NBA-champion Lakers in five games. English suffered a right thumb injury in Game 4,[8] which required surgery and rendered him unable to play for the rest of the series.[9] With the Nuggets already dealing with injuries to other players, English's injury was thought by some[8][10][11] to have nearly ensured a Laker victory in the series. English later stated in a 2006 interview that "I think that if I had not broken my thumb [...] we had a chance to beat the Lakers."[12]

English recorded his career-best average of 29.8 points per game in the subsequent 1985–86 season, finishing third in the league behind Atlanta Hawks Dominique Wilkins and Utah Jazz Adrian Dantley. In the 1986 NBA All-Star Game, English set his All-Star career-high by scoring 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 16 minutes off the bench for the West squad.[4]

In 1988, English received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his community service efforts.[13][14]

After the 1989–90 season, in which English's scoring average dipped to 17.9 and he largely struggled to maintain his level of play compared to previous seasons,[15] English became a free agent, and the Nuggets elected not to re-sign him.[4]

Dallas Mavericks and Basket Napoli[edit]

At age 36, English signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks where he once again played off the bench, this time averaging just under 10 points per game.[4] He played his final NBA game in 1991 for the Mavericks.[6] No other NBA team signed him for the 1991-1992 season, and after a stint in Italy with Basket Napoli, English ended his playing career.[4]

Legacy[edit]

When English left the Denver Nuggets, he was the holder of nearly every team record, including most career points (21,645), assists (3,679), games (837) and minutes (29,893) in a Nuggets uniform, along with the highest career scoring average with the team (25.9) of any player. The Nuggets retired English's number 2 jersey in 1992. As of 2019, English's career 25,613 points place him 19th on the NBA's all-time career scoring list.[16] While in Denver, English made the NBA All-Star Team eight times[17] and the All-NBA Second Team three times.[18] During his Nuggets tenure, the team made the NBA playoffs nine consecutive times and won two Midwest Division titles.[19]

English retired with NBA career averages of 21.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.[20] He was the first NBA player to score 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasons, and he has the distinction of being the top NBA scorer in the 1980s.[21] English was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

English began his coaching career in the National Basketball Development League (now called the NBA G League) as the head coach of the North Charleston Lowgators in the 2001–02 season. The Lowgators tied for the best record during the regular season and were eliminated in the championship series during the playoffs.[22][23]

Before the 2002-03 NBA season, English joined the coaching staff of the Atlanta Hawks. The following year, he was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers as an assistant coach.[22]

English (left) on the 2009–10 Toronto Raptors coaching staff

English then joined the Toronto Raptors in 2004 to serve as assistant coach and director of player development.[22][24] On June 5, 2009, it was announced that English would stay with the Raptors as an assistant coach.[25] On July 13, 2011, with the team heading in a new direction after the hiring of new head coach Dwane Casey, English was not given a new contract, and his services were not retained.[26]

On January 13, 2012, English was added to the Sacramento Kings coaching staff under head coach Keith Smart.[24] On June 5, 2013, new Kings coach Michael Malone announced that the 2012–13 assistant coaches, including English, would not be retained for the 2013–14 season.[27]

Other work[edit]

English in 2019

Sports[edit]

English was the first-ever director of player programs for the National Basketball Players Association.[28]

SEC Network announced on November 11, 2014 that English had been hired as a color analyst.[29]

Since 2014, English has been an active participant in the Sports Diplomacy's Sports Envoy program for the U.S. Department of State. In this function, he has traveled to Italy, the Republic of Korea, and Chile, where he worked with Nykesha Sales and Candace Wiggins to conduct basketball clinics and events that reached more than 1900 youth from underserved areas. In so doing, English helped contribute to Sports Diplomacy's mission to reach out to youth populations in order to promote growth and a stable democratic government.[30][31][32]

English participates in Basketball Without Borders. He is an NBA ambassador and has taught at NBA academies in various countries.[28]

Business[edit]

English and his wife, Vanessa, owned Wendy's franchises in South Carolina.[28] English has also formed a company called GreenSmart Botanicals, which sells hemp-related products.[6]

Acting[edit]

English has dabbled in acting. His acting debut came in the 1987 motion picture Amazing Grace and Chuck, playing a fictitious Boston Celtics star.[33] He then had roles in the television series Midnight Caller in some 1989 episodes and played the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Eddie (1996). He also played a role as "The Premiere" in the 1997 film The Definite Maybe.[34]

English later acted in a 2007 film called Lumera for which his son Alex Jr. was the producer and executive director.[33][35] In 2013, he appeared on a half-hour TV special called The Nothing But Net Show, which was also directed by his son.[34]

Personal life[edit]

English is married to Vanessa English. Alex and Vanessa English have five children. As of 2020, English resides in Blythewood, South Carolina.[6]

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  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
 *  Led the league

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1976–77 Milwaukee 60 6 10.8 .477 .767 2.8 .4 .3 .3 3.2
1977–78 Milwaukee 82 4 18.9 .542 .727 4.8 1.6 .5 .7 9.6
1978–79 Indiana 81 69 33.3 .511 .752 8.1 3.3 .9 1.0 16.0
1979–80 Indiana 54 15 28.3 .504 .000 .814 7.0 2.6 .8 .6 14.9
1979–80 Denver 24 24 36.5 .485 .667 .762 9.4 3.4 1.2 1.2 21.3
1980–81 Denver 81 81 38.2 .494 .600 .850 8.0 3.6 1.3 1.2 23.8
1981–82 Denver 82 82 36.8 .551 .000 .840 6.8 5.3 1.1 1.5 25.4
1982–83 Denver 82 82 36.4 .516 .167 .829 7.3 4.8 1.4 1.5 28.4*
1983–84 Denver 82 77 35.0 .529 .143 .824 5.7 5.0 1.0 1.2 26.4
1984–85 Denver 81 81 36.1 .518 .200 .829 5.7 4.2 1.2 .6 27.9
1985–86 Denver 81 81 37.3 .504 .200 .862 5.0 4.0 .9 .4 29.8
1986–87 Denver 82 82 37.6 .503 .267 .844 4.2 5.1 .9 .3 28.6
1987–88 Denver 80 80 35.2 .495 .000 .828 4.7 4.7 .9 .3 25.0
1988–89 Denver 82 82 36.5 .491 .250 .858 4.0 4.7 .8 .1 26.5
1989–90 Denver 80 80 27.6 .491 .400 .880 3.6 2.8 .6 .3 17.9
1990–91 Dallas 79 26 22.1 .439 .000 .850 3.2 1.3 .5 .3 9.7
Career 1,193 753 31.9 .507 .217[a] .832 5.5 3.6 .9 .7 21.5
All-Star 8 4 18.5 .500 .000 .500 2.3 1.9 .8 .5 9.1
  • a The NBA adopted the three-point line in the 1979–80 season.

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1978 Milwaukee 9 23.1 .615 .781 4.7 1.4 .7 .8 13.4
1982 Denver 3 39.3 .473 .000 .857 7.7 5.7 1.0 1.0 19.3
1983 Denver 7 38.6 .447 .000 .887 6.3 6.0 .6 1.0 25.9
1984 Denver 5 40.6 .588 .000 .893 8.0 5.6 .6 .4 29.0
1985 Denver 14 14 38.3 .536 .000 .890 6.6 4.5 1.2 .4 30.2
1986 Denver 10 10 39.4 .463 .000 .859 3.5 5.2 .4 .4 27.3
1987 Denver 3 3 25.3 .510 .000 .857 4.7 3.3 .0 .0 18.7
1988 Denver 11 11 39.8 .455 .000 .814 5.4 4.4 .6 .3 24.3
1989 Denver 3 3 36.0 .516 .000 .875 4.3 3.7 .3 .0 26.0
1990 Denver 3 3 25.3 .568 .000 .818 3.0 3.0 .7 .3 19.7
Career 68 44[b] 35.7 .503 .000[a] .862 5.5 4.3 .7 .5 24.4
  • a The NBA adopted the three-point line in the 1979–80 season.
  • b Incomplete statistics.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Dave (February 3, 1985). "Sports of The Times; How Ethiopia Touched a Poet". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "Alex English". discoversouthcarolina.com. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  3. ^ Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary, edited by David L. Porter, an entry on Alex English by Peter C. Bjarkman, Westport, Connecticut, London: Greenwood Press, 2005.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "NBA.com: Alex English Bio". Nba.com. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  5. ^ Glenesk, Matthew. "Pacers at the trade deadline: A historical mixed bag". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Ramspacher, Andrew (January 30, 2020). "Call him Flick or basketball legend. Alex English's roots and heart are in Columbia". TheState.com. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  7. ^ "ESPN Classic – NBA All-Star Profile: Alex English". Espn.com. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Newman, Bruce. "Back In The Saddle Again". Vault. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  9. ^ Bonk, Thomas (May 21, 1985). "Alex English Is Lost to the Nuggets". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  10. ^ Bonk, Thomas (May 23, 1985). "Celtics (102–100) and Lakers (153–109) Will Play It Again : Nuggets Are Routed, Setting Up Rematch for NBA Championship". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  11. ^ McMANIS, SAM (May 20, 1985). "Nuggets Down, 3–1, and Feeling the Pain : Half the Roster Is Ailing, English Is Out and Even Ballboy Has a Cast". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  12. ^ "Alex English: A True Basketball Artist". NBA.com/Nuggets. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "Denver Nuggets NBA awards: All the winners in team history". hoopshype.com. August 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Wellbaum, Chris (September 24, 2020). "A'ja Wilson is just three years into her professional career, but she is already a rarity among former Gamecocks". southcarolina.rivals.com.
  15. ^ Smith, Sam. "In Plain English: Alex Not A Happy Nugget". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  16. ^ "NBA & ABA Career Leaders and Records for Points". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "How Nuggets legend Alex English finally got his due". DenverPost.com. May 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "Alex English". landofbasketball.com. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  19. ^ "15 players you forgot suited up for the Denver Nuggets". HoopsHabit.com. March 22, 2020.
  20. ^ "Alex English Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  21. ^ "Who Scored The Most Points In The NBA In The 80s". StatMuse. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c "Alex English". Toronto Raptors. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "NBDL 2001–02 Season Summary". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Alex English hired by Kings as assistant coach". ESPN. January 13, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Raptors retain English, add Iavaroni to coaching staff". CBC.ca. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "New Raptors coach Casey fills out his staff – Sportsnet.ca". www.sportsnet.ca. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  27. ^ "Mike Malone tells assistant Kings coaches they will not be retained". Insidehoops.com. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c "Dreher High School to retire Gamecock great Alex English's jersey". ABCColumbia.com. January 13, 2020.
  29. ^ Muller, Brad. "Alex English added as color analyst on SEC Network". Secsports.com. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  30. ^ "NBA: Once a Neapolitan, Always a Neapolitan | Naples, Italy – Consulate General of the United States". naples.usconsulate.gov. Archived from the original on March 28, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  31. ^ "(Yonhap Interview) U.S. sports envoys hope to inspire underprivileged kids to succeed". english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  32. ^ "November 14 | Santiago, Chile – Embassy of the United States". chile.usembassy.gov. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  33. ^ a b Villela, Bernardo (June 4, 2016). "Athletes in Film Blogathon: Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987)". The Movie Rat. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  34. ^ a b "Alex English". IMDb. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  35. ^ Perrone, Jackie. "Locals honor "King" Donen | Columbia Star". www.thecolumbiastar.com. Retrieved May 11, 2020.

External links[edit]