Ralph Simpson
Personal information
Born (1949-08-10) August 10, 1949 (age 72)
Detroit, Michigan
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school
CollegeMichigan State (1969–1970)
NBA draft1972 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career1970–1979
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number44, 10, 32,
Career history
As player:
19701976Denver Rockets / Nuggets
19761978Detroit Pistons
1978Denver Nuggets
1978–1979Philadelphia 76ers
1979New Jersey Nets
As coach:
1985–1987Metro State (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
Career ABA and NBA statistics
Points11,785 (16.7 ppg)
Rebounds2,616 (3.7 rpg)
Assists2,357 (3.3 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Ralph Derek Simpson (born August 10, 1949) is an American former basketball player. He played professionally in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1970 to 1980.


Simpson, a 6'6" guard/forward, was a star at Detroit's Pershing High School,[1] where he teamed with Spencer Haywood to win the Michigan state championship in 1967.[2] He was offered a tryout for the 1968 United States Olympic team, but turned it down.[3] After two strong years at Michigan State University, he signed a professional contract with the ABA's Denver Rockets (later the Denver Nuggets), and he would represent the franchise in five ABA All-Star games.[2][3]

Simpson had his finest season in 1971–1972, in which he averaged 27.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. After the ABA–NBA merger in 1976, Simpson joined the Detroit Pistons, but his level of production dropped significantly, from 18 points per game in 1975–1976 to 11 points per game in 1976–1977, and after one-and-a-half seasons, he returned to the Denver Nuggets, now one of the ABA teams who had joined the NBA. However, he averaged only 5.5 points during his second tenure with the Nuggets,[4] and after two more seasons as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, he retired in 1980.

Simpson scored 11,785 combined ABA/NBA points in his ten-year career. His 9,953 points were the most for the Nuggets during the team's time in the ABA.[3]

Personal life

Simpson currently lives in Denver, Colorado.[2] His daughter is Grammy Award-winning soul singer India Arie.[2]


  1. ^ "Detroit PSL Basketball » PSL Alums Drafted by NBA Franchises".
  2. ^ a b c d Ellis, Vince (August 16, 2012). "Ex-Spartan, Piston Ralph Simpson fond of his ABA, Pershing days". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Ralph Simpson". remembertheaba.com. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  4. ^ "Ralph Simpson". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved August 19, 2012.