Dan Majerle
Majerle in 2015
Personal information
Born (1965-09-09) September 9, 1965 (age 56)
Traverse City, Michigan
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight222 lb (101 kg)
Career information
High schoolTraverse City
(Traverse City, Michigan)
CollegeCentral Michigan (1984–1988)
NBA draft1988 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14th overall
Selected by the Phoenix Suns
Playing career1988–2002
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number9
Coaching career2008–present
Career history
As player:
19881995Phoenix Suns
1995–1996Cleveland Cavaliers
19962001Miami Heat
2001–2002Phoenix Suns
As coach:
20082013Phoenix Suns (associate HC)
20132020Grand Canyon
Career highlights and awards
As player:
Career NBA statistics
Points10,925 (11.4 ppg)
Rebounds4,265 (4.5 rpg)
Assists2,755 (2.9 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com
Medals
Representing  United States
Men's Basketball
Bronze medal – third place 1988 Seoul National team
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1994 Canada National team

Daniel Lewis Majerle (/ˈmɑːrli/; born September 9, 1965), also known by the nickname "Thunder Dan", is an American former professional basketball player and former coach of the Grand Canyon Antelopes. He played 14 years in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He won a bronze medal with the U.S. national team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and a gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championship.[1]

Early years

Born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan, Majerle starred for Traverse City High School (now Central) and Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant,[2] where he played for four years with averages of 21.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. In 1987, he helped lead the Chippewas to the NCAA Tournament. He held the school season record for points until Marcus Keene broke the mark in the 2016-17 season.

Majerle's great-grandfather Frank Majerle Sr. emigrated to the United States in 1901 at age 20 from what is now Slovenia, but was then part of Austria-Hungary. Frank Sr. settled in Haring, Michigan, and married American-born Anna Suhorepec (anglicised to Suhropetz) whose parents were also from Yugoslavia, more specifically Slovenia.

NBA career

Phoenix Suns (1988–1995)

The Suns selected Majerle with the 14th pick of the 1988 NBA draft, which the Suns acquired (along with Kevin Johnson) in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Larry Nance. During the draft, he was promptly booed when his name was announced over the public address system. Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons publicly chastised the Suns fans and told them "you'll be sorry you ever booed this young man". In his rookie season Majerle played in 54 games and started in 5, averaging 8.6 points as a bench player. The Suns won 55 games and made the playoffs, and Majerle increased his scoring average to 14.3 points a game as Phoenix advanced all the way to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

The young Majerle continued to be used as a backup for the next two seasons, and became popular for his impressive jumping ability and "thunderous" slam dunk that would lead to his nickname "Thunder Dan". During the 1989–90 season, he started in 23 games and increased his scoring average to 11 points a game as the Suns again advanced to the Western Conference Finals where this time they were eliminated by the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite another successful season for Majerle and the Suns in the 1990–91 season, they fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz. Majerle had become an effective three-point shooter and defensive specialist, and was named to the 1990–91 NBA All-Defensive Second team at the conclusion of the season.

The 1992 season featured more improvement for Majerle, who had become an even more effective three-point shooter and defensive specialist. Despite starting in just 15 of the 82 games he played in, Majerle was selected to play in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. The Suns again made the playoffs, but lost in the conference semifinals to Portland. In the offseason, Phoenix managed to pull off a major step towards an NBA title, as they acquired superstar forward Charles Barkley in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

1993: Trip to the Finals

The Suns had improved significantly with the addition of Barkley, while the trade itself which featured the departure of guard Jeff Hornacek meant that Majerle now served as the team's starting shooting guard. The result was a 62-win season for Phoenix, with Barkley winning the Most Valuable Player Award and Majerle finishing second on the team in scoring while being named to his second NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Majerle also finished first in the NBA in three-point field goals made and attempted, and scored 18 points in the 1993 NBA All-Star Game. The Suns entered the playoffs as the number 1 seed in the Western Conference, and defeated the Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Seattle SuperSonics to reach the NBA Finals with Majerle averaging 15 points in the playoffs and posting big games such as a 34-point performance in the 5th game against Seattle. In the Finals, the Suns faced the defending champion Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Despite having home court advantage the Suns could not beat the 2-time champions who won in 6 games to win three championships in a row. Majerle performed well in the Suns win in game 3, scoring 28 points in the win in Chicago.

Last years in Phoenix

Majerle would again lead the league in three-point field goals and attempts in the 1993–94 season, as the Suns won 56 games and made the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion Houston Rockets in a 7-game semifinal series. He would then go on to play for Team USA and win in the World Championships in Canada. He would earn another selection to the All-Star game in the following season, scoring 10 points in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game which was held in Phoenix. Despite this, Majerle started in 46 games, playing small forward often as the team now featured Wesley Person at shooting guard and veteran A. C. Green at forward. The Suns again lost in the semifinals to Houston in 7 games, and Majerle was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the offseason.

Cleveland Cavaliers (1995–1996)

In Cleveland, Majerle was used as a reserve at small forward, starting in 15 of the 82 games behind Chris Mills and averaging 10.6 points a game. The Cavaliers won 47 games before losing to the New York Knicks in a 3-game sweep in the first round, with Majerle increasing his scoring to 16.7 (second on the team) during the series. In the offseason the Cavaliers released Majerle, and he would go on to sign with the Miami Heat.

Miami Heat (1996–2001)

The Heat were a team with a bright future, as they featured all-stars Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, and were coached by Pat Riley. Injuries limited Majerle to 36 games during the 1996–97 season, as the Heat managed to win a franchise best 61 games and the Atlantic Division. During the regular season, on December 7, 1996, against the Chicago Bulls, Majerle made a three-pointer with one second remaining to win the game 83–80 and snap the Bulls' NBA record 44 home-game winning streak.[3] In the playoffs, the veteran Majerle was in healthy shape, and the Heat beat the up-and-coming Orlando Magic in the first round before facing the Knicks in a grueling 7 game series in which Majerle scored 18 points in the sixth game. The Heat would eventually fall to the defending champion Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals in 5 games.

Majerle would again play as the team's backup small forward in the 1997–98 season, averaging 7 points a game as one of the team's main three-point threats, and Miami would post another winning season before losing to New York in the first round of the playoffs. The 1998–99 season would be shortened to 50 games as a result of a league lockout, and with teammate Voshon Lenard hurt for much of the season, Majerle stepped in to start in 48 games. Miami won another Atlantic Division title, but again lost to New York in 5 games in the first round.

The team continued to use Majerle as a starter during the 1999–2000 season, as he started in 69 of 82 games and again averaged 7 points during the season. In the playoffs, Miami defeated the Detroit Pistons in the first round before facing the Knicks in another 7 game series in which New York again prevailed. Majerle averaged 9 points in the playoffs and led the team with 20 three-point field goals. In the 2000 offseason it was revealed that Alonzo Mourning would not play as a result of a kidney disease, and the 2000–01 season would feature new acquisitions such as Eddie Jones and Anthony Mason, and Majerle would serve as a reserve. The Heat would lose in the first round of the playoffs in a sweep to the Charlotte Hornets, and in the offseason Majerle would sign a deal returning to his original team in Phoenix.

Return to Phoenix (2001–2002)

In his return to the Suns, Majerle received much praise and applause from the hometown Suns fans, playing in 65 games and leading the team in three-point field goals made with 79. His NBA career finished on April 17, 2002, when he officially retired as a member of his original team.

NBA career statistics

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

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1988–89 Phoenix 54 5 25.1 .419 .329 .614 3.9 2.4 1.2 .3 8.6
1989–90 Phoenix 73 23 30.7 .424 .238 .762 5.9 2.6 1.4 .4 11.1
1990–91 Phoenix 77 7 29.6 .484 .349 .762 5.4 2.8 1.4 .5 13.6
1991–92 Phoenix 82 15 34.8 .478 .382 .756 5.9 3.3 1.6 .5 17.3
1992–93 Phoenix 82 82 39.0 .464 .381 .778 4.7 3.8 1.7 .4 16.9
1993–94 Phoenix 80 76 40.1 .418 .382 .739 4.4 3.4 1.6 .5 16.5
1994–95 Phoenix 82 46 37.7 .425 .363 .730 4.6 4.1 1.2 .5 15.6
1995–96 Cleveland 82 15 28.9 .405 .353 .710 3.7 2.6 1.0 .4 10.6
1996–97 Miami 36 26 35.1 .406 .338 .678 4.5 3.2 1.5 .4 10.8
1997–98 Miami 72 22 26.8 .419 .376 .784 3.7 2.2 .9 .2 7.2
1998–99 Miami 48 48 33.8 .396 .335 .717 4.3 3.1 .8 .1 7.0
1999–00 Miami 69 69 33.4 .403 .362 .812 4.8 3.0 1.3 .2 7.3
2000–01 Miami 53 19 24.6 .336 .315 .818 3.1 1.7 1.0 .3 5.0
2001–02 Phoenix 65 1 18.2 .343 .336 .590 2.7 1.4 .7 .2 4.6
Career 955 454 31.6 .431 .358 .741 4.5 2.9 1.3 .4 11.4
All-Star 3 1 19.3 .429 .333 .750 5.0 2.7 .3 .7 10.7

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1989 Phoenix 12 0 29.3 .438 .286 .792 4.8 1.2 1.1 .3 14.3
1990 Phoenix 16 0 29.9 .487 .333 .785 5.1 2.1 1.3 .1 12.6
1991 Phoenix 4 0 27.5 .375 .364 .737 3.8 1.8 1.3 .3 10.5
1992 Phoenix 7 0 38.0 .432 .273 .962 6.3 2.9 1.4 .0 18.6
1993 Phoenix 24 24 44.6 .431 .394 .696 5.8 3.7 1.4 1.2 15.4
1994 Phoenix 10 10 41.0 .362 .339 .688 4.3 2.4 1.1 .4 12.3
1995 Phoenix 10 0 30.7 .370 .364 .706 3.1 1.7 1.4 .3 8.2
1996 Cleveland 3 0 30.3 .444 .435 .889 4.0 3.0 1.3 .7 16.7
1997 Miami 17 2 29.2 .393 .338 .679 4.2 2.5 1.2 .2 8.0
1998 Miami 2 2 31.0 .375 .333 .500 2.5 2.5 2.0 .5 4.5
1999 Miami 5 5 30.4 .192 .227 .714 5.8 1.2 1.0 .4 4.0
2000 Miami 10 10 37.2 .423 .400 .714 7.0 3.2 2.1 .1 9.0
2001 Miami 3 0 23.7 .313 .286 .500 3.3 1.7 1.0 .0 5.3
Career 123 53 34.5 .416 .353 .753 5.0 2.5 1.3 .4 11.7

Post-NBA career

Majerle was inducted into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor on March 9, 2003.[4] In 2006, he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2003, Majerle made his broadcasting debut covering the 2003 NBA Playoffs for TNT and later became an analyst for ESPN. During the 2005 All-Star Weekend, he was a member of the Phoenix team that won the Shooting Stars Competition.[5]

Coaching career

Phoenix Suns (2008–2013)

Majerle was the associate head coach for the Phoenix Suns from 2008 to 2013.

Grand Canyon University (2013–2020)

On March 15, 2013, it was announced that Majerle would coach for Grand Canyon University in their first season as a Division I team.[6]

On December 23, 2015, Majerle led Grand Canyon to their first tournament victory as a Division I team when they won the 2015 Global Sports Classic championship.[7]

He was fired on March 17, 2020 after his first losing season, with his seven years stint at Grand Canyon coming to an end. On May 19, 2020 Majerle filed a lawsuit against Grand Canyon University over the handling of its firing from the head coach position and pending salaries. [8]

Personal life

Majerle owns three sports grill restaurants called "Majerle's".[9]

Dan has four children with Tina Majerle: Madison, McKenzie, Mia, and Max, who also plays basketball

Dan had a hole in one at Shadow Ridge Country Club in Omaha Nebraska in 2021 with Creighton Coach Greg McDermott and Doug McDermott as witnesses.

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Grand Canyon Antelopes (Western Athletic Conference) (2013–2020)
2013–14 Grand Canyon 15–15 10–6 3rd CIT First Round
2014–15 Grand Canyon 17–15 8–6 T–2nd CIT First Round
2015–16 Grand Canyon 27–7 11–3 T–2nd CIT Quarterfinal
2016–17 Grand Canyon 22–9 11–3 T–2nd
2017–18 Grand Canyon 22–12 9–5 3rd CBI First Round
2018–19 Grand Canyon 20–14 10–6 3rd CBI First Round
2019–20 Grand Canyon 13–17 8–8 T–5th
Grand Canyon: 136–89 (.604) 67–36 (.650)
Total: 136–89 (.604)

See also

References

  1. ^ 1994 USA Basketball Archived November 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Longman, Jere (August 31, 1988). "Rugged Majerle making a name". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Knight-Ridder). p. D2.
  3. ^ Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls, December 7, 1996 - Official Play-by-Play
  4. ^ NBA.com Dan Majerle
  5. ^ "NBA All-Star Shooting Stars Winners". NBA.com. August 24, 2017. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "DAN MAJERLE NAMED GCU MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH". gcu.edu. March 18, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  7. ^ Grand Canyon University - GCU takes Global Sports Classic title with win over Marshall
  8. ^ "Former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle filed lawsuit against Grand Canyon University over firing". Arizona Central. March 19, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  9. ^ Majerle\'s Sports Grill | Downtown Phoenix, North Phoenix, and Flagstaff Arizona