Leon Powe
Powe during his tenure with the Celtics
Personal information
Born (1984-01-22) January 22, 1984 (age 37)
Oakland, California
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High schoolOakland Tech (Oakland, California)
CollegeCalifornia (20032006)
NBA draft2006 / Round: 2 / Pick: 49th overall
Selected by the Denver Nuggets
Playing career2006–2012
PositionPower forward
Number0, 44, 7
Career history
20062009Boston Celtics
20092011Cleveland Cavaliers
2011Memphis Grizzlies
2012Atléticos de San Germán
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points5,273 (6.2 ppg)
Rebounds911 (3.8 rpg)
Blocks82 (0.3 bpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Leon Powe Jr. (/ˈp/; born January 22, 1984) is an American former professional basketball power forward. Drafted in 2006 by the Denver Nuggets, Powe grew up in Oakland, California, and played college basketball at the University of California, Berkeley. He played his first three years in the NBA with the Boston Celtics and won a championship with the team in 2008. From 2009 to 2011, Powe played for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also had a stint with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2011. After a stint in Puerto Rico, Powe announced his retirement in 2014 citing multiple injuries and his desire to become a businessman.

Early life

Powe grew up in Oakland, California. His father left him when he was two years old. When he was seven years old, the family's house burned down and they were homeless for years. They moved more than twenty times within six years. He and his siblings were taken away from their mother by the state of California and put into foster care. Powe's mother died four days before he played in the state championship.[1]

High school career

Powe attended Oakland Technical High School along with former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, where he averaged 27.4 ppg, 14.2 rpg and 3.1 bpg as a senior. With Powe in the roster, Oakland Tech was able to win the CIF Oakland Section Championship and also reach the CIF State Championships in 2002 and 2003. He was named a first-team Parade All-American and the Gatorade California Player of the Year during his senior year. A highly rated prep star, Powe was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game and became the first Oakland Tech athlete to have his number retired by the school.[2]

College career

Powe played college basketball for the California Golden Bears from 2003 to 2006. Although he was present for three seasons, he did not play in his sophomore year (2004–05) due to a serious knee injury.[3] During his freshman season, he was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, leading the conference in rebounding.

Questions abounded about whether Powe would be able to return to form following his knee surgery, but he worked hard and rehabilitated to become a dominant force on the interior as he continued to improve his game. He produced 20.5 PPG and 10.1 RPG while leading Cal to a 20–11 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Powe was named California's most valuable player during a banquet in April 2006. Powe, who also was selected Cal's MVP as a freshman in 2004, averaged 20.5 ppg and 10.1 rpg to become just the sixth player ever to pace the Pac-10 Conference in both categories. Named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers and ESPN.com, he was chosen to the All-Pac-10 First Team for a second time in 2006.

Professional career

After his junior year, Powe decided to enter his name in the 2006 NBA draft.[3] Powe was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the second round as the 49th overall pick. The Nuggets subsequently traded him to the Boston Celtics. After playing for the Celtics summer league team, Powe was signed by the team to a 3-year contract. Although Powe did not reach the sum of 14 in his per game points, rebounds, and assists necessary to guarantee the second year of his contract, that second year became guaranteed when Boston did not waive him by July 1, 2007. Powe had a similar hurdle of 16 for the sum of the three statistics to guarantee the third year of his contract (2008–09).[4][5]

2006–07 NBA season

Powe played as a fourth string center behind Kendrick Perkins, Brian Scalabrine and Michael Olowokandi in his rookie season. After a rash of injuries submarined Boston's playoff chances, Powe received a limited opportunity to showcase his skills. He proved himself a capable defender who could alter shots and provide interior rebounding. On January 12, 2007, Powe made the most out of his 25 minutes and registered a career-high 12 rebounds against the Toronto Raptors. On April 10, 2007, he scored 19 points against the Atlanta Hawks. Powe finished the 2006–07 campaign averaging 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in just over 11 minutes per game.

2007–08 NBA season

Powe shoots a free throw in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks.
Powe shoots a free throw in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks.

On January 29, 2008, Powe had a breakout performance that took place in Miami against the Heat, as he effectively filled in the blank of the absent main contributors Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds en route to a 117–87 blowout victory.[6] He also scored his career-high 27 points in the last game of the season against the New Jersey Nets on April 16, 2008.[7]

One of his most notable performances of the season came in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 8, 2008, as he scored 21 points, which included several dunks and 13 free throw attempts in only 15 minutes of play in front of a crowd chanting his name[8] en route to a 108–102 Celtics victory.[9][10][11]

Powe during the 2008 Boston Celtics championship parade.
Powe during the 2008 Boston Celtics championship parade.

2008–09 NBA season

On March 13, 2009, Powe started in place of the injured Kevin Garnett, scoring a career-high 30 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking a career-high 5 shots, in a 102–92 Celtics victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.[12]

Powe spent the end of the season attempting to recover from a right knee strain. He returned in time for the playoffs, only to tear the ACL and meniscus in his left knee in Game 2 of the first round against the Chicago Bulls.[13] Powe continued to play on the torn ACL for three minutes before being taken out. His season ended with the knee injury, and had successful surgery to repair the injury on May 5, 2009.[14] On August 2, the Cleveland Cavaliers offered Powe an offer sheet worth two years and $1.8 million.[15] On August 11, 2009, Powe and the Cavaliers agreed in principle to the deal with an option on the second year.[16] On August 12, 2009, he officially signed the deal.[17]

2010-11 NBA season

On February 24, 2011, Powe was waived when the Cleveland Cavaliers needed to clear their roster capacity after making two trades.[18][19] He had just recovered from surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee which had kept him sidelined for six weeks.[20] Over a week later, Powe signed for the rest of the season with the Memphis Grizzlies.[19]

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

2006–07 Boston 63 2 11.4 .446 .000 .736 3.4 .2 .2 .3 4.2
2007–08 Boston 56 5 14.4 .572 .000 .710 4.1 .3 .3 .3 7.9
2008–09 Boston 70 7 17.5 .524 .000 .689 4.9 .7 .3 .5 7.7
2009–10 Cleveland 20 2 11.8 .429 .000 .587 3.0 .0 .3 .1 4.0
2010–11 Cleveland 14 3 13.4 .492 .000 .462 2.7 .1 .5 .2 5.0
2010–11 Memphis 16 0 8.8 .500 .000 .609 1.6 .3 .2 .1 5.5
Career 239 19 13.9 .515 .000 .682 3.8 .3 .3 .3 6.2


2008 Boston 23 1 11.7 .493 .000 .667 2.7 .2 .0 .1 5.0
2009 Boston 2 0 12.0 .429 .000 .667 4.5 .0 .0 .0 5.0
2010 Cleveland 3 0 3.0 .250 .000 .750 .7 .0 .0 .0 1.7
2011 Memphis 4 0 3.5 .250 .000 .750 1.0 .0 .0 .0 1.8
Career 32 1 9.9 .457 .000 .675 2.4 .1 .0 .1 4.3


  1. ^ Hubbard, Lee (February 19, 2003). "The Making of Leon Powe". East Bay Express.
  2. ^ Player Bio: Leon Powe :: Men's Basketball Archived June 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Cal sophomore Powe to test draft - NBA - ESPN
  4. ^ Okanes, Jonathan (July 19, 2006). "Celtics put Cal's Powe on payroll". Contra Costa Times. Archived from the original on December 8, 2006.
  5. ^ May, Peter (August 6, 2006). "Blazers coach plays defense". The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ Steve Bulpett, Celtics elect to win, Boston Herald, January 30, 2008.
  7. ^ Mark Murphy, C's go through motions, gear up for postseason, Boston Herald, April 17, 2008.
  8. ^ Chris Forsberg, They're chanting his name..., The Boston Globe, June 8, 2008.
  9. ^ Celts withstand Lakers' late Game 2 run behind Pierce, defense, Associated Press, June 8, 2008.
  10. ^ Scott Tribble, Celtics Build Lead with Heavy Dose of Powe-time Archived June 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Celtics.com, June 9, 2008.
  11. ^ Daily Dime: Powe steps up for Celtics, ESPN.com, June 9, 2008.
  12. ^ Powe's time is well spent Boston Herald, March 14, 2009
  13. ^ Leon Powe's postseason over: Boston Celtic has torn ACL - ESPN
  14. ^ Microfracture surgery on Powe's left knee a success NBA.com, May 5, 2009
  15. ^ NBA.com: Player News NBA.com: Player News
  16. ^ Cavs, Leon Powe agreed two-year deal, ESPN.GO.com, August 11, 2009.
  17. ^ "Cavaliers Sign Leon Powe". NBA.com. August 12, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
  18. ^ CAVALIERS: Cavaliers Acquire Erden and Harangody from Boston for Future Second Round Pick
  19. ^ a b Free agent Leon Powe signed by Memphis Grizzlies - ESPN
  20. ^ Cleveland Cavaliers' Leon Powe out 6 weeks after knee surgery - ESPN