John Salley
Salley in 2007
Personal information
Born (1964-05-16) May 16, 1964 (age 59)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High schoolCanarsie (Brooklyn, New York)
CollegeGeorgia Tech (1982–1986)
NBA draft1986: 1st round, 11th overall pick
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1986–1996, 1999–2000
PositionPower forward / center
Number22, 16, 14
Career history
19861992Detroit Pistons
19921995Miami Heat
1995–1996Toronto Raptors
1996Chicago Bulls
1999–2000Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points5,228 (7.0 ppg)
Rebounds3,356 (4.5 rpg)
Blocks983 (1.3 bpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

John Thomas Salley (/ˈsæli/ SAL-ee; born May 16, 1964) is an American former professional basketball player. He was the first player in NBA history to win championships with three franchises (since joined by Robert Horry, Danny Green, and LeBron James), as well as the first player in the NBA to win a championship in three different decades (since joined by Tim Duncan).[1][2]

After being drafted in the first round out of Georgia Tech in the 1986 NBA draft, the 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)-tall Salley played both power forward and center for the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Panathinaikos, and Los Angeles Lakers. He was a long-time host of the former Fox Sports Net show The Best Damn Sports Show Period. He is a vegan activist, chef, and wellness entrepreneur.[3][4]

Early life

John Thomas Salley was born on May 16, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York. Salley played on the basketball team at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn.[5]

College career

Salley is a 1988 graduate of Georgia Tech's College of Management.[6] He helped the Yellow Jackets win the 1985 ACC Championship, they also advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. He left in 1986 as Tech's all-time leader in blocked shots. Salley holds Georgia Tech's personal fouls record, and has had his jersey number 22 retired, a very rare honor in college basketball.[7]

Professional career

Detroit Pistons (1986–1992)

Salley was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1986 NBA draft out of Georgia Tech. After joining the Pistons, he became close friends with Adrian Dantley, who taught him proper nutrition, how to exercise, and how to conduct himself off the court. Salley, for his part, called Dantley "The Teacher". Salley would become good friends with comedian Eddie Murphy and made several appearances at comedy clubs in the off-season. In 1989 and 1990, he played on two Pistons NBA championship teams. He is among the Pistons' all-time leaders in blocked shots.[8]

Under the coaching of Chuck Daly, Salley was part of the Pistons era that featured three consecutive NBA finals appearances. The team's highly physical, defense-oriented, and dirty style of play earned them the nickname of the NBA's "Bad Boys", with Salley playing alongside Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, James Edwards, Joe Dumars, Isiah Thomas, Rick Mahorn and Dantley. After losing the 1988 NBA Finals in seven games to the Lakers, the Pistons turned it around to sweep the Lakers in four games in 1989. Salley and the Pistons repeated in 1990, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. The Pistons' run came to an end when the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls swept them in four games in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals; following game four, while most of the Pistons players chose to return to the locker room rather than congratulate the new Eastern Conference champions, Salley was one of the few who stayed on the court as the game ended to congratulate the Bulls.

Miami Heat (1992–1995)

Salley was traded to the Miami Heat in 1992. In the 1995 NBA expansion draft he was selected by the inaugural Toronto Raptors team after being made available by the Heat.

Toronto Raptors (1995–1996)

In February 1996, he negotiated a buyout of his contract and was waived thus ending his stint with the Raptors during which he averaged 19.3 minutes and 6 points per game.

Chicago Bulls (1996)

Free of his Raptors contract, in early March 1996, Salley signed a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls, joining the roster with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoč, and former Pistons teammates Dennis Rodman and James Edwards. Following another 10-day contract right after the first one ended, the Bulls signed Salley as a free agent and he spent the rest of the season with the team. The 1995–96 Bulls achieved a record-breaking 72-win season, the best-ever regular-season record at the time, later surpassed by the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors at 73–9. Salley would win his third NBA championship in June, playing sparingly in the 1996 NBA Finals.

Panathinaikos (1996)

In September 1996, thirty-two-year-old Salley came out of what turned out to be only a three-month retirement and went to play in Greece, where he joined the reigning EuroLeague champions Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League on a one-year US$1 million contract.[9] Before accepting the Božidar Maljković-coached Panathinaikos' offer, Salley had reportedly consulted with recent Bulls teammate Toni Kukoč who knew Maljković well having spent four trophy-laden seasons anchoring his late 1980s KK Split teams.[10]

Salley made his Panathinaikos debut on September 25, 1996, in EuroLeague away at FC Barcelona, a 77–58 loss during which he scored 5 points before fouling out in only 12 minutes of action.[10] Right away, Salley got on the bad side of coach Maljković who refused to modify his disciplinarian approach in order to accommodate a veteran player with a notable NBA career behind him.[10] Though Salley's performances somewhat improved over the following three EuroLeague outings—10 points in a home loss versus ASVEL, 9 points and 11 rebounds in a blowout home win versus KK Split, and 21 points and 8 rebounds in a win away at minnows Bayer Leverkusen—as he seemingly showed signs of adjustment to FIBA basketball rules and European referees by managing to stay out of foul trouble, he continued to butt heads with coach Maljković. After flying back to Athens with the team the morning after the Leverkusen game, Salley refused to go to practice and as a result, got dropped by Maljković for their Greek League game the following day.[11] The player then flew back to the United States for meetings with TV executives over a new talk show he had been planning to host for Disney, returning to Athens an hour before the club's Greek Cup game versus P.A.O.K. on October 22, 1996—a trip that included Salley renting a private Lear jet in Paris for US$20,000 out of his own pocket in order to make it back to Athens in time for the game after having his connecting flight delayed and then even renting a helicopter once he landed at Athens' Ellinikon Airport to take him right to Panathinaikos' OACA Hall in the city's Marousi neighbourhood.[11] However, Maljković still refused to include him in the lineup. In response, Salley decided to leave Panathinaikos unilaterally two days later on October 24, 1996, after only a month at the club.

Salley appeared in seven games for Panathinaikos and ended up getting paid about €300,000.[10]

Los Angeles Lakers (1999–2000)

In 1999, Salley joined a Lakers team led by superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant and also reunited with his former Bulls coach, Phil Jackson. He saw little action for the Lakers en route to their first of three consecutive NBA championships, primarily serving as O'Neal's backup. In 2000, he retired again following the first Lakers championship season after proudly proclaiming that he had won "four championship rings, with three different teams, in three different decades and two different millenniums". He would be the last Laker to wear #16 before Pau Gasol, whom it was retired in honor of.[12] 14 years later, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs became the second player to achieve this (sans the requirement of different teams) by leading his Spurs to five championships between 1999 and 2014.

Post-basketball activities

Salley in December 2008 during an electric shaver promotional appearance at the Rose Bowl prior to the UCLA vs. USC college football game.


In 1995, John Salley had a role in Bad Boys as a thick-glassed computer hacking nerd prisoner named Fletcher, who gets out of jail because he helps crack files for the Miami Police Department. In 1996, Salley appeared as a veteran basketball player alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the film Eddie, about a fan who takes over as coach of the New York Knicks.

In 2003, Salley reprised his role of Fletcher in Bad Boys II and appeared in the Showtime TV film Coast to Coast alongside actress Selma Blair.

He also appeared in the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic in 2009 as a member of the shopaholic help group (playing a retired NBA player) and had a bit role as a pimp in the blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite.[13]

Salley appeared in the Disney Channel original movie, The Ultimate Christmas Present, as a tall elf.

In 2018, Salley appeared in the Netflix original movie, Nappily Ever After, starring Sanaa Lathan.

In 2022, Salley appears in Sneakerella as a famous sneaker maker and former basketball star.


In season 2, episode 5 of Malcolm & Eddie he plays Lt. Stanley Proctor.

In the fall of 1998, Salley hosted the game show I Can't Believe You Said That, which aired on the Fox Family Channel. During that time, he also guest-starred as a panelist on Hollywood Squares and Match Game.

In 2000, he appeared as himself in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Appearing in the episode titled "Welcome Back Duke”. In the credits his character's name was just NBA player.

In 2001, he appeared as himself on a special TV Hosts episode of Weakest Link where he was the first contestant voted off.

In 2005, he appeared in the television series Noah's Arc as Victor.

He was one of the hosts of The Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Network. Salley hosted The John Salley Block Party, a radio morning show on Los Angeles station 100.3 The Beat from 2005 – 2006.

For a short time, Salley provided analysis for NBC's NBA Showtime.

Salley has also hosted VH1's Basketball Wives (2010–2012) and Basketball Wives LA (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015) Reunion Specials.[14]

Starting from 2019, Salley reprised his role of Fletcher in the Bad Boys spinoff TV series LA's Finest.[15]

Guest appearances

In 2001, he made an appearance in the Luther Vandross music video, "Take You Out". He also appeared on a celebrity episode of Weakest Link that same year and was voted off in the first round.

In 2004, he was part of the panel of celebrity judges in the TBS Superstation show He's a Lady.

In 2006, Salley was named the Commissioner of the American Basketball Association.

In 2007, Salley appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. In the first round of competition, Salley matched up against professional wrestler John Cena and tennis star Serena Williams. Salley also became the host of the BET show Ballers.

Salley joined the cast of the reality competition show I'm a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!, which premiered on June 1, 2009.[16] He came in third place behind winner Lou Diamond Phillips and runner-up Torrie Wilson.

Salley hosted a podcast on Adam Carolla's ACE Broadcasting Network with sportswriter Kevin Hench entitled Spider and the Henchman.[17] The show was canceled on March 18, 2011.

In 2012, he appeared as a celebrity judge on RuPaul's Drag Race (season 4, episode 2).

On an episode of Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker ("The NFL Kicker and the Workaholic", aired March 12, 2013), he acted as a consultant to Patti Stanger to help one of her clients (an ex-NFL player) become less of a "playa" and find a woman to settle down with.

Vegan activism and wellness career

Salley is a vegan activist and has appeared on PETA's testimonial videos,[18] as well as in promoting alternatives to practices of massive factory farming.[19]

Salley is also noted for speaking at Michigan's Vegfest since 2009 and appearing on VegMichigan's billboard campaign. He also appeared before the U.S. Congress to advocate for vegetarian options to be served in public schools in Nov ’09 and May ’10 as part of the Child Nutrition Act discussions.[20]

On May 4, 2010, it was announced that Salley had joined the Simply Raw team. The group of individuals who produced the documentary Raw for 30 had approached Salley with their video about reversing diabetes, and "it instantly got his attention" since his father had the disease.[21]

Salley teamed up with Farm Sanctuary in 2010 to host their New York City Walk for Farm Animals on Sunday, October 24, 2010.[22]

In June 2012 Salley became the official spokesperson for a natural supplements line called VirMax that is developed by Natural Product Solutions, LLC.[23]

In December 2015, Salley encouraged US First Lady Michelle Obama to go vegan "for the planet" – setting a lifestyle example of reducing environmental impacts from greenhouse gas release.[24][25]

"Vegan eating is not just a slam dunk for human health; it's also the most effective way to combat climate change." ~ John Salley

Salley is an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry, launching his own cannabis brand Deuces22 and taking an ownership stake in the cannabis testing company GreenSpace Labs.[26][27] Salley is also an advisory board member with cannabis social networking platform BudTrader.[28]

Salley is an ambassador for Operation Smile.

Personal life

Salley married Natasha Duffy in 1993.[29] They have two children together, and Salley also has a daughter from a previous relationship.[citation needed] Salley is a member of Omega Psi Phi initiated through Nu Omega Chapter in Detroit. He is also a 33° Scottish Rite Freemason in Los Angeles.[30][unreliable source?]

NBA career statistics

  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
 †  Won an NBA championship

Regular season

1986–87 Detroit 82 2 17.8 .562 .000 .614 3.6 0.7 0.5 1.5 5.3
1987–88 Detroit 82 16 24.4 .566 .709 4.9 1.4 0.6 1.7 8.5
1988–89 Detroit 67 21 21.8 .498 .000 .692 5.0 1.1 0.6 1.1 7.0
1989–90 Detroit 82 12 23.3 .512 .250 .713 5.4 0.8 0.6 1.9 7.2
1990–91 Detroit 74 1 22.3 .475 .000 .727 4.4 0.9 0.7 1.5 7.4
1991–92 Detroit 72 38 24.6 .512 .000 .715 4.1 1.6 0.7 1.5 9.5
1992–93 Miami 51 34 27.9 .502 .799 6.1 1.6 0.6 1.4 8.3
1993–94 Miami 76 45 25.1 .477 .667 .729 5.4 1.8 0.7 1.0 7.7
1994–95 Miami 75 50 26.1 .499 .739 4.5 1.6 0.6 1.1 7.3
1995–96 Toronto 25 6 19.3 .486 .723 3.9 1.6 0.4 0.5 6.0
1995–96 Chicago 17 0 11.2 .343 .600 2.5 0.9 0.5 0.9 2.1
1999–00 L.A. Lakers 45 3 6.7 .362 .750 1.4 0.6 0.2 0.3 1.6
Career 748 228 22.1 .506 .214 .714 4.5 1.2 0.6 1.3 7.0


1987 Detroit 15 0 20.7 .500 .643 4.8 0.7 0.2 1.1 6.2
1988 Detroit 23 0 27.1 .538 .000 .710 6.7 0.9 0.7 1.6 7.0
1989 Detroit 17 0 23.1 .586 .667 4.6 0.5 0.5 1.5 8.9
1990 Detroit 20 0 27.4 .475 .755 5.9 1.0 0.5 1.7 9.5
1991 Detroit 15 0 20.5 .543 .600 4.1 0.7 0.4 1.3 7.5
1992 Detroit 5 1 29.8 .455 .000 .821 6.0 2.8 0.6 2.8 12.6
1994 Miami 5 5 40.2 .386 .688 8.0 1.6 0.4 1.0 11.0
1996 Chicago 16 0 5.3 .545 .286 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.9
2000 L.A. Lakers 18 0 4.3 .385 .700 1.2 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.9
Career 134 6 20.1 .505 .000 .690 4.4 0.8 0.4 1.2 6.4

See also


  1. ^ "NBA Finals 2020: LeBron James and Danny Green join exclusive club in winning three championships with three different teams". The Sporting News.
  2. ^ "The Only 2 Players To Win NBA Championships Across 3 Decades: Tim Duncan And John Salley". Fadeaway World.
  3. ^ Ogilvie, By Jessica P. (November 16, 2012). "Former NBA star John Salley touts the vegan life". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "NBA Star Turned Vegan Gourmet Shares Healthy Dishes". The Doctors. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  5. ^ Anderson, Dave. " Sports of The Times; City Teen-Agers Hold A Calm Garden Party", The New York Times, March 19, 1995. Accessed October 10, 2007.
  6. ^ Leigh Montville. "Holy Cow, What Digs! Archived January 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine". Sports Illustrated. November 6, 1989. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
  7. ^ The retiring of players' jerseys is not uncommon in college basketball, but retirement of numbers is far more rare. The main reason is that far fewer numbers are available for use by college teams than in the NBA. NCAA rules, unlike those of the NBA, prohibit the use of any digits greater than five in player numbers. Georgia Tech has not only retired Salley's number 22, but also the number 25 worn by Salley's teammate Mark Price, the number 15, worn by current NBA player Matt Harpring, the number 20, worn by former NBA player Tom Hammonds, and the numbers 21 and 40 worn by Roger Kaiser and Rich Yunkus, respectively.
  8. ^ "Detroit Pistons Career Leaders". Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  9. ^ Wolff, Alexander (May 19, 1997). "NO LONGER LA DOLCE VITA". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Ο μήνας της "αράχνης" (in Greek).
  11. ^ a b Thomsen, Ian (October 26, 1996). "Retirement Follows Pay Disputes With His Greek Team : Ex-NBA Star Salley Calls It Quits". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  12. ^ "John Salley Trivia & Quotes". July 31, 1993. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  13. ^ "Film Review: Black Dynamite". Archived from the original on January 10, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  14. ^ "Sneak Peek Basketball Wives L.A Finale Reunion Airs Right After!". Archived from the original on December 9, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  15. ^ Ekpo, Ime (June 5, 2018). "'Bad Boys' Spinoff Starring Gabrielle Union 'L.A.'s Finest' Picked Up By Notable Canadian Network". The Source. Archived from the original on August 2, 2020. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  16. ^ "I'm a Celebrity Cast Announced; Blagojevich Inexplicably Still Involved". Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  17. ^ Spider and the Henchman Archived January 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "I am an athlete and I am a vegan" Archived July 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Featured Veggie Testimonial, PETA, Accessed July 4, 2008.
  19. ^ "John Salley on Animals as Food". YouTube. November 20, 2010. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  20. ^ Yingling, Jennifer (November 16, 2009). "Four-time NBA champ to lobby Congress". The Hill. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "". Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  22. ^ "New York City Teams Up with NBA Champion John Salley for the 2010 Walk for Farm Animals". October 8, 2010. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  23. ^ "Natural Product Solutions Navigation John Salley, 4x NBA Champion and wellness advocate, endorses VirMax. John Salley Endorses VirMax". Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  24. ^ NBA Player Challenges Michelle Obama To Go Vegan,
  25. ^ NBA Champ Challenges FLOTUS to Take PETA’s Vegan Pledge, December 29, 2015
  26. ^ Allen, Kevin (February 23, 2019). "Ex-Lion Calvin Johnson joins long list of former athletes entering medical marijuana field". USA Today. Retrieved December 31, 2022.
  27. ^ "GreenSpace Labs partners with 4-time NBA champion and cannabis reform advocate, John Salley; launches the GreenLite mobile pesticide screening device" (Press release). PR Newswire. February 20, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  28. ^ "Four-Time NBA Champion John Salley Joins as Board Member and Investor" (Press release). Los Angeles. PRNewswire. February 21, 2019.
  29. ^ "WEDDINGS; Natasha Ann Duff, John Salley". The New York Times. August 1993. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  30. ^ VladTV. "EXCLUSIVE: John Salley on Being a Freemason, Not Believing in the Illuminati (Flashback)". Retrieved October 28, 2023.