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Norm Nixon

Norm Nixon
Nixon at a performance of The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, December 11, 2010
Personal information
Born (1955-10-11) October 11, 1955 (age 64)
Macon, Georgia
Nationality American
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Career information
High school Southwest (Macon, Georgia)
College Duquesne (1973–1977)
NBA draft 1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22nd overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Pro career 1977–1989
Position Point guard
Number 10
Career history
19771983 Los Angeles Lakers
19831989 San Diego / Los Angeles Clippers
1989 Scavolini Pesaro (Italy)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 12,065 (15.7 ppg)
Assists 6,386 (8.3 apg)
Steals 1,187 (1.5 spg)
Stats at

Norman Ellard "Norm" Nixon (born October 11, 1955) is a retired American professional basketball player for the NBA, who spent twelve seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers.

Early life

Born the third of three boys to Mary Jo and Elmer Nixon, in Macon, Georgia, his mother contracted myasthenia gravis when Norm was a baby, and his parents divorced when he was two years old. The three boys were also raised with the help of his mother's mom and aunt (the boys' grandmother and great aunt). He and his two brothers, Ken and Ron, attended the Methodist church, and Norm became an usher.[1]

High school

He played basketball and football in high school at Southwest High School in Macon, Georgia, and was named to all-state in both sports. In football he played defensive back and tailback, and was later offered a free agent tryout by both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys.[2] He was senior class president and named as the starting guard on the Georgia All-State team for 1973, after leading Southwest to the 1973 state high school basketball championship under coach Donald "Duck" Richardson. Nixon also played the trumpet and was on the yearbook staff. He was on the track team, ran the 440 yard dash, and won a regional title in the high jump at 6-feet, 5-inches.[1]



He played four full seasons at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While there he averaged 17.2 points-per-game (PPG), 5.5 assists-per-game (APG), and 4.0 rebounds-per-game (RPG), scoring 1,805 points and adding 577 assist in 104 games for his career with the Duquesne Dukes.[3] Nixon was named first-team All-Eastern Eight Conference, and left holding the record for career assists.[1]

On January 27, 2001, during the halftime of a game against Xavier University (Cincinnati), the Duquesne University Department of Athletics retired the jerseys of five of its all-time greatest players, including Nixon's #10 (also retired: Chuck Cooper, Sihugo Green, Dick Ricketts and Willie Somerset).[4]

NBA career

Nixon was the 22nd overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played for the Lakers for six successful seasons and helped the Showtime Lakers win NBA championships in 1980 (4–2) and 1982 (4–2), both against the Philadelphia 76ers. The same two teams would meet in the 1983 NBA Finals, but Philadelphia won this series four games to none. In the 1978 (Seattle SuperSonics), 1979 (Seattle), and 1981 (Houston Rockets) playoffs, the Lakers were eliminated by the eventual Western Conference champion.

He led the team in scoring in the 1982 playoffs.[1]

In game one of the 1983 finals he had a violent collision with Andrew Toney of the 76ers early in the first quarter. As he came off the floor, coach Pat Riley asked Nixon "You need a blow?", to which Nixon replied: "No, a casket".[2] He would continue to play in game one and game two despite a separated shoulder.[1]

Prior to the start of the 1983–84 season, the popular Nixon was traded to the San Diego Clippers in exchange for the draft rights to guard Byron Scott. Lakers general manager Jerry West made the deal to free Magic Johnson, the team's other point guard, from sharing the ball with Nixon.[5] In his first year with the Clippers, Nixon led the league in total assists and made the All-Star team for the second time in the 1984–85 season.[6] After the 1985–86 season, he spent much of his later career on the injured list, spending more than two full seasons on the injured list before retiring for good at the end of the 1988–89 season. During his time with the Clippers he would never make it to the playoffs again.

For the 1978–79 season he tied Eddie Jordan of the New Jersey Nets for the NBA lead in steals with 201,[7] and total games (82 regular season + 23 playoffs = 105). The next season (1979–80) he led the league in minutes played (3,226), minutes per game (39.3), and was third in assists with 642.[8] Led the league in assists for the 1983-84 season with 914, and regular season games played (82).[3]

He missed the 1986–87 season after stepping into a hole during a softball game in New York City's Central Park during the summer of 1986 (July 23, 1986) and suffered severe damage to the tendon just above his left knee. Nixon ruptured his right Achilles tendon during a pre-season practice on November 4, 1987; the injury would cause him to miss the entire 1987–88 season.[9] Before being injured he had played in 715 of 725 games available in his first nine seasons.[1]

During his NBA career, Nixon scored 12,065 points (15.7 points per game) and had 6,386 assists (8.3) in 768 games played. Although he had impressive statistics, he may be remembered most for faking a free throw at the end of a Lakers-San Antonio Spurs game on November 30, 1982, which caused a double lane violation.[10] The referees erroneously ordered a jump ball, instead of requiring Nixon to re-shoot the free throw. The Lakers got the ball and Nixon made a field goal to tie the game, where they prevailed in overtime. The last three seconds of the game were later replayed in April 1983.

Post NBA

After retiring from the NBA in March 1989, Nixon played for Scavolini Pesaro of the Italian major-league Serie A in April and May.[11] In August 1989 Valerio Bianchini (who had coached Pesaro the previous season) head coach of Messaggero Roma tried to get Nixon to come play for the 1989–90 season.[12]

He became a sports agent (at Premier Management Group Inc. and then later Norm Nixon & Associates) representing such clients as Doug Edwards,[13] Samaki Walker, Jalen Rose, Maurice Taylor, Teddy Dupay, Gary Grant, Gerald Fitch, the NFL's Peter Warrick, Larry Smith, and Al Wilson, and entertainers such as LL Cool J and TLC.[14][15]

He founded the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) in Culver City, California with his wife.[14]

In his retirement years, Nixon concentrated on several business ventures, and served one season as radio commentator for the Clippers (2004–05), as well as doing analyst work for KABC-TV's NBA post-game shows during the mid-2000s.

Subsequently, he was hired by Fox Sports West to take over Jack Haley's position as studio color analyst for all Lakers home games, working alongside studio host Bill McDonald during pregame, halftime, and post game coverage.[16]

Personal life

Nixon has been married to actress/producer/director/dancer Debbie Allen since 1984 and they have three children, actor DeVaughn Nixon (Allen is his stepmother), dancer Vivian Nichole Nixon, and basketball player Norman Ellard Nixon Jr. (Wofford College & Southern University).[17][18][19] Debbie Allen is also the sister of actress/director/singer Phylicia Rashad.

Before they were married, both Nixon and Allen appeared in the 1979 film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (a film that also featured NBA stars Julius Erving and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Howard-Cooper, Scott. - "Nixon realistic about latest comeback - If it doesn't work out, he can always write his poem on life in the NBA". - Los Angeles Times. - (c/o - Houston Chronicle). - January 8, 1989.
  2. ^ a b Livingston, Bill. - Little Guy Nixon Doesn't Fear Contact, Especially in Playoffs". - The Philadelphia Inquirer. - May 24, 1983.
  3. ^ a b Norm Nixon. -
  4. ^ Duquesne University Men's Basketball History: "Retired Jerseys". - Duquesne University Athletics. - Retrieved: 2007-09-17.
  5. ^ Schrader, Steve (March 23, 2014). "Ticker: Jerry West still fielding Magic Johnson-Norm Nixon questions". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Norm Nixon player page". Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  7. ^ "1978-79 NBA Expanded Leaders" -
  8. ^ "1979-80 NBA Expanded Leaders". -
  9. ^ Zeigler, Mark. - "After two career-threatening injuries, the Clippers' Norm Nixon still is planning to ... BOUNCE BACK". - San Diego Union. - March 23, 1988.
  10. ^ Swansburg, John. - "The NBA dares to trifle with the sports-time continuum". - Slate Magazine.
  11. ^ SPORTS: "Update". - USA Today. - April 11, 1989.
  12. ^ Voisin, Ailene. - "Soviet Finds Summer League Hard, but He's Living NBA Dream - Volkov a Sign of Changing Times". - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. - August 4, 1989.
  13. ^ Voisin, Ailene. - "Hawks' No. 1 choice makes a good first pick". - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. - July 9, 1993.
  14. ^ a b Wertheim, L. Jon. - "Norm Nixon: An original Showtimer, he hasn't mellowed or slowed down". - Sports Illustrated. - July 11, 2005.
  15. ^ Broussard, Chris. - "PRO BASKETBALL - Nixon Is Still Giving Assists as an Agent". - New York Times. - February 29, 2004.
  16. ^ Melissa Rohlin (February 12, 2011). "Norm Nixon". Los Angeles Times. 
  17. ^ PEOPLE: "AND BABY MAKES FOUR". - The Dallas Morning News. - September 2, 1987.
  18. ^ Mackall, Dave. - "Nixon fondly remembers Duquesne". - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. - May 31, 2007.
  19. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph. - "Spivery, Jaguars to begin practice". - The Advocate. - October 17, 2008.
  20. ^ Full cast and crew for: The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979). - IMDb.

External links