Tom Chambers (basketball)
June 21, 1959|
|Listed height||Script error: No such module "convert".|
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|High school||Fairview (Boulder, Colorado)|
|NBA draft||1981 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8th overall|
|Selected by the San Diego Clippers|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|Number||22, 24, 42, 25|
|1981–1983||San Diego Clippers|
|1995–1996||Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||20,049 (18.1 ppg)|
|Rebounds||6,703 (6.1 rpg)|
|Assists||2,283 (2.1 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Thomas Doane Chambers (born June 21, 1959) is a retired American NBA basketball player. Known for his strong shooting and high-flying dunks, Chambers played professionally from 1981 to 1997. At 6'10", he played at the power forward position as a professional, and was selected to four NBA All-Star Games as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics and the Phoenix Suns.
He starred at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from an athletic family, Chambers was a promising 6-2 guard at the end of his sophomore year. Suddenly, he grew six inches during the next six months. As a junior, teammates marveled that he had not lost any coordination with that growth. A broken wrist as a senior forced him to use his left hand more, improving his game. An all-Colorado high school player, he was hotly recruited and enrolled at Utah.
At Utah, Chambers played center with star forward Danny Vranes. The two led successful teams in the Western Athletic Conference. An excellent athlete, some doubted Chambers would be successful at the NBA level as he would not likely remain a center there. But he ran the floor very well and had good shooting range. So the-then San Diego Clippers took a gamble on Chambers in the 1981 NBA Draft, taking him eighth overall.
Chambers was drafted by the San Diego Clippers with the eighth pick of the 1981 NBA Draft. A college center, he began to spend time at forward for the first time. On the injury-riddled young Clippers roster his rookie year, Chambers somehow ended up the team's top scorer at 17.2 points per game. He made a healthy 52.5% of his shots. The following year, the team drafted Terry Cummings, and the club felt it had to choose between the two young prospects. Seattle made him the target of a multi-player deal in August, 1983. Teaming with center Jack Sikma and guard Gus Williams, Chambers became a key piece to a winning team in just his third NBA season. He played all 82 games and averaged 18.1 points per game in the team-oriented attack.
The following year, though, Williams was traded, and the point guard who emerged was Gerald Henderson. This key relationship, with Chambers being set up increasingly to catch passes and score, would be strained at best. After posting a team-high 21.5 points per game the season before, Chambers fell to third-most on the team in shot attempts, taking just 28 shots more than Henderson himself that season. He still somehow lead the team at 18.5 points per game, but felt he was being passed around in the offense. The team also declined in the standings.
1986-87, however, was a big season for Chambers. Rookie Nate McMillan took over Henderson's spot and Chambers became one of three key scorers for the Sonics. He posted 23.3 points per game to reach All-Star status for the first time. Chambers' game included plenty of flying drives to the rim, but also made good use of three-point shooting, and a very smart free throw game, where he collected plenty of attempts and put fouls on opponents. Chambers hit 85% of 630 free throw tries that season. He also again played all 82 games.
He was the star of the 1987 NBA All-Star Game, played in Seattle. The handsome, popular blonde-haired scorer poured in 34 points on 13 of 25 shooting and was named Game's Most Valuable Player before a roaring home crowd.
Chambers was now clearly the star of his team, but was also again seemingly passed around in 1987-88, again third on the team in shot attempts. Chambers again felt he was being held back, and Seattle had not yet made out of the first round of the playoffs. His 20.4 points per game would conclude his five-year run there.
An avid hunter and horseback rider, Chambers had no interest in playing outside of his native West. He accepted a then-very pricey offer to join the Phoenix Suns in June, 1988. Seattle declined to match the offer. His next three All-Star appearances would be as a Sun, the team he still works for today.
In Phoenix coach Cotton Fitzsimmons expected Chambers to shoot the ball. In 1988-89 Chambers posted 25.7 points per game, In 1989-90 his total rose to 27.2 points per game. Just as his scoring hit new highs his team also won. Each season the team reached the Western Conference Finals as well. Point guard, Kevin Johnson, was the passer Chambers had long awaited and the duo became an outstanding NBA tandem for Phoenix.
Former Seattle teammate, Xavier McDaniel, joined the team in 1990-91, and the now 31-year-old Chambers again accepted a more team-oriented role for the Suns. His scoring, and the team's success, declined. He had been twice named All-NBA Second Team, but now just tried to fit in.
In 1992-93, the fifth and final season in Phoenix, Charles Barkley arrived to give the team the rebounder the team had long needed to truly contend. The now 33-year-old Chambers accepted a role as Sixth Man, while Barkley and Dan Majerle were the team's key scorers.
Chambers still felt he had more to contribute, and accepted an offer to join the Utah Jazz in August, 1993. He would back up star Karl Malone, and re-team with Jeff Hornacek from the Suns. The Jazz improved immediately and made it to the 1994 Western Conference Finals. Now age 35, Chambers had one more year to give before retiring as a 20,000 point NBA scorer.
All told, Chambers appeared in sixteen total NBA seasons as a member of the San Diego Clippers, Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets, and Philadelphia 76ers. Chambers scored 20,049 total points in the NBA for a career average of 18.1 points per game. His career high was a 60-point performance with the Suns against the Sonics on March 24, 1990. He appeared in four NBA All-Star Games during his career (1987, 1989, 1990, and 1991), earning game MVP honors in 1987 after scoring 34 points. He also played in the 1993 NBA Finals as a member of the Suns, but his team lost to the Chicago Bulls.
Chambers was inducted into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in April 1999, and became the first inductee since the Ring of Honor was installed at the then-America West Arena (now U.S. Airways Center). As part of the induction ceremony, he received a bronze statue by artist Sam Wickey recreating his 1989 dunk over the New York Knicks guard Mark Jackson.
In August 2014 Chambers became the only 20,000-point scorer not in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame among eligible players, following the induction of Mitch Richmond (20,797 points). Chambers said there were other players in his era who did "similar things", but he did not expect to be voted in.
- List of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career turnovers leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association players with most points in a game
- Clarke, Norm (February 25, 1990), "Colorado's All Time Top Prep Star? Tom Chambers - By A Spurt", The Seattle Times
- "Chambers, Tom." 2005–06 Official NBA Player Register. 2005. 338–339.
- "Single Game Bests: Points". 2006–2007 Official NBA Guide. 2006. 167.
- Gilmartin, Joe (April 22, 1999). "Suns Honor Chambers". Phoenix Suns. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- Coro, Paul (August 18, 2014). "Former Suns star Tom Chambers heads 'famous' list". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
- Shooting Star Ranch. Retrieved on January 21, 2010.
- NBA.com Historical Player Info
- Tom Chambers's career stats at www.basketball-reference
- Chambers answering fans questions at suns.com