Dale Ellis


Position: Guard/Forward


  • University of Tennessee (1979-1983)
  • Dallas Mavericks (1983-1986)
  • Seattle Supersonics (1986-1990, 1997-1999)
  • Milwaukee Bucks (1990-1992, 1999-2000)
  • San Antonio Spurs (1992-1994)
  • Denver Nuggets (1994-1997)
  • Charlotte Hornets (1999-2000)


  • 9th overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft
  • NBA Most Improved Player (1986-1987)
  • Finished in the top 10 in scoring for 3 consecutive seasons
  • Averaged 27.5 points per game for the Sonics in 1988-1989
  • 1x All-Star (1989)
  • Holds the NBA record for minutes played in a single game (69)
  • 3rd in NBA history in 3-pointers made (1,719)
  • 19,004 career points (Top 50 all-time)



Ellis starred at the University of Tennessee, where he was a two-time first team All-American and two-time SEC Player of the Year. In 1989, he was named to the SEC Team of the 80’s. He averaged 21.2 points per game as a junior and 22.6 points per game as a senior, finishing with over 2,000 career points. Here’s a Sports Illustrated article from 1982 on Ellis.


Ellis was drafted 9th overall in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He only played about 15 minutes per game in 3 seasons with the Mavericks before being traded to Seattle, where became a star. He won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in his first season for the Sonics (1986-1987), after increasing his scoring average from 7.1 ppg to 24.9 ppg.

While in Seattle, Ellis teamed with Tom Chambers and Xavier McDaniel to form a stellar Random Forgotten Trio. In two seasons together, the trio combined for 70 points per game:









Get your Ellis, McDaniel, Chambers wallpaper here.

The trio was broken up after the ’87-’88 season, when Chambers was traded to Phoenix. Following the Chambers trade, Ellis had his best individual season, scoring 27.5 points per game and making his first and only All-Star apperance. Ellis made the most of All-Star weekend, winning the 3-point contest and scoring 27 points in the All-Star game. Ellis led the Sonics in scoring again in ’89-’90 (23.5 ppg), although that season was cut short due to a car accident in which he broke his ribs. He was traded to Milwaukee during the ’90-’91 season, and despite coming off the bench for the Bucks, Ellis’ production remained high.

After Milwaukee, Ellis spent two years as a starter with San Antonio, three years with Denver (two as a starter), and then did the Seattle/Milwaukee thing again for 2.5 seasons. He retired in 2000 after a half season with the Charlotte Hornets. (Ellis’ career stats)

Ellis holds the NBA record for most minutes played in a game. He played 69 out of a possible 73 minutes in a 5-overtime game against Milwaukee on November 9, 1989 (and scored 53 points).

Oh how I want this poster:

Hey basketball players! Learn how to get open! And who better to teach you than Dale Ellis? Learn from him in this SI article.

These kids know what’s up!!!


Note: In searching for Dale Ellis videos, I came across hilarious footage of Shaq trying to show off for NBC and falling really, really hard. For some reason, the clip is at the very beginning of this Michael Jordan highlight reel.

Now Dale Ellis:

Highlights of the 1989 All-Star Game:

Sonics vs. Bulls (’87-’88 season), MJ has 39, Ellis has 34:

 >>Return to RFP Homepage


One Response to “Dale Ellis”

  1. Nick Babij Says:

    Happy birthday K, hopefully this site will still be running for your next birthday. you guys do a great job with this site.

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