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Steve Stipanovich

Steve Stipanovich
Personal information
Born (1960-11-17) November 17, 1960 (age 59)
St. Louis, Missouri
Nationality American
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Career information
High school De Smet Jesuit
(Creve Coeur, Missouri)
College Missouri (1979–1983)
NBA draft 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Indiana Pacers
Pro career 1983–1988
Position Center
Number 40
Career history
19831988 Indiana Pacers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 5,323 (13.2 ppg)
Rebounds 3,131 (7.8 rpg)
Assists 938 (2.3 apg)
Stats at

Stephen Samuel Stipanovich (born November 17, 1960) is a retired American professional basketball player. A 6-ft 11-inch (211 cm) center from the University of Missouri, Stipanovich was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the second pick of the 1983 NBA Draft. Knee problems limited his career to five seasons, and he retired in 1988 with career totals of 5,323 points and 3,131 rebounds. At Missouri, between November 1979 and March 1983, he and Jon Sundvold helped their coach Norm Stewart to four consecutive winning seasons and NCAA tournament appearances.

Early life

Steve "Stipo" Stipanovich, son of Sam and Elaine (Ortmann) Stipanovich, was born and raised in the St. Louis area, where his father ran a funeral home.[1] After attending his freshman year of high school at Chaminade College Prep he transferred to De Smet Jesuit High School in suburban Creve Coeur.[2] While a member of the Spartans basketball team he led them to back-to-back Missouri Class 4A State Championships and a sixty-game winning streak.[1][3]

College career

At Mizzou Stipanovich was named Big Eight Newcomer of the Year as a freshman. As a senior in college, Stipanovich averaged over 18 points and almost 9 rebounds per game, and dominated the Big Eight Conference. In a nationally televised game, Stipanovich and teammate Greg Cavener combined to stop future NBA number one pick Ralph Sampson and upset top ranked Virginia. He was both an academic All American and a first team All American selection his senior year. His college team won over 100 games in four years.

Gunshot controversy

On the evening of December 27, 1980 Stipanovich accidentally discharged a loaded firearm, hitting himself in the shoulder. He initially told police that a masked intruder, wearing cowboy boots and a flannel shirt broke into his apartment on Sunrise Drive in Columbia, Missouri, and shot him while screaming obscenities about basketball players.

The next day, Stipanovich recanted the story and admitted that he shot himself by accident.[1]

Post-NBA career

Following his retirement from the NBA Stipanovich tried a variety of careers including real estate sales in Oregon. He eventually returned to the St. Louis area where he is the owner/operator of a coal mine.[4] Stipanovich and his wife Terri are involved with the Mercy Ministries program in the St. Louis area, providing temporary home for young women recovering from abuse.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Reverberation Of A Gunshot". Sports Illustrated. December 21, 1981. 
  2. ^ "Steve Stipanovich-Basketball". St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame website. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ Missouri Legends: Famous People From The Show-Me State by John W. Brown. Page 258. Published by Reedy Press, St. Louis, 2008.
  4. ^ "Mizzou's Steve Stipanovich back home". Lost Lettermen website. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  5. ^ "Two NFL greats speak at St. Louis luncheon". Mercy Ministries news website. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2011-11-12.