John Salley

Last updated
John Salley
John Salley LF.JPG
Salley in 2007
Personal information
Born (1964-05-16) May 16, 1964 (age 55)
Brooklyn, New York
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school Canarsie (Brooklyn, New York)
College Georgia Tech (1982–1986)
NBA draft 1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11th overall
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1986–2000
Position Power forward / Center
Number22, 16
Career history
19861992 Detroit Pistons
19921995 Miami Heat
1995–1996 Toronto Raptors
1996 Chicago Bulls
1996 Panathinaikos
1999–2000 Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 5,228 (7.0 ppg)
Rebounds 3,356 (4.5 rpg)
Blocks 983 (1.3 bpg)
Stats at

John Thomas Salley (born May 16, 1964) is an American retired professional basketball player, and talk show host. He was the first player in NBA history to play on three championship-winning franchises, as well as the first player (and only one of two, the other being Tim Duncan) in the NBA to win a championship in three decades.

Basketball team sport played on a court with baskets on either end

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

A talk show or chat show is a television programming or radio programming genre in which one person discusses various topics put forth by a talk show host.

Tim Duncan American basketball player

Timothy Theodore Duncan is an American former professional basketball player. He spent his entire 19-year career (1997–2016) with the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA).


After being drafted in the first round out of Georgia Tech in 1986, the 6'11 (2.11 m) 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. [1] [2]

Power forward (basketball) position in the sport of basketball

The power forward (PF), also known as the four, is one of the five positions in a regulation basketball game. It has also been referred to as the "post" position. Power forwards play a role similar to that of center. They typically play offensively with their backs towards the basket and position themselves defensively under the basket in a zone defense or against the opposing power forward in man-to-man defense. The power forward position entails a variety of responsibilities, one of which is rebounding. Many power forwards are noted for their mid-range jump-shot, and several players have become very accurate from 12 to 18 feet. Earlier, these skills were more typically exhibited in the European style of play. Some power forwards, known as stretch fours, have since extended their shooting range to three-point field goals.

Center (basketball) position in basketball

The center (C), also known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is normally the tallest player on the team, and often has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is usually 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m) or taller and usually weighs 240 pounds (110 kg) or more. They traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five.

Detroit Pistons Professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association

The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division and plays its home games at Little Caesars Arena. The team was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons in 1941, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) where it won two NBL championships: in 1944 and 1945. The Pistons later joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1948. The NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA in 1949, and the Pistons became part of the merged league. Since moving to Detroit in 1957, the Pistons have won three NBA championships: in 1989, 1990 and 2004.

Early life

Salley was born in Brooklyn, New York. Salley played high school ball at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn. [3] He is a 1988 graduate of Georgia Tech's College of Management. [4] He holds Georgia Tech's personal fouls record, and has had his jersey number 22 retireda very rare honor in college basketball. [5]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

New York (state) State of the United States of America

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

Canarsie High School

Canarsie High School is a defunct public high school in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Canarsie in New York City. Closed in 2011, the building currently operates as Canarsie Educational Campus, housing several smaller high schools.

Basketball career

Detroit Pistons

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.

The 1986 NBA draft was held on June 17, 1986.

Georgia Institute of Technology Public university in the United States

The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as Georgia Tech, is a public research university and institute of technology in Atlanta, Georgia. It is part of the University System of Georgia and has satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia; Metz, France; Athlone, Ireland; Shenzhen, China; and Singapore.

Adrian Delano Dantley is an American retired basketball player who played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A forward and six-time NBA All-Star, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed acting head coach of the Denver Nuggets in the absence of stricken head coach George Karl.

Under the coaching of Chuck Daly, Salley was part of the Pistons era that featured three consecutive NBA finals appearances. The team's defense oriented 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 7 games to the Lakers, the Pistons turned it around to sweep the Lakers in 4 games in 1989. Salley and the Pistons repeated in 1990 defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in 5 games. The Pistons' run came to an end when the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls swept them in 4 games in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals.

Chuck Daly American basketball player and coach

Charles Jerome Daly was an American basketball head coach. He led the Detroit Pistons to consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Championships in 1989 and 1990, and the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team to the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Dennis Rodman American basketball player

Dennis Keith Rodman is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was nicknamed "The Worm" and is famous for his fierce defensive and rebounding abilities.

Bill Laimbeer American basketball player and coach

William Laimbeer Jr. is an American former National Basketball Association (NBA) player who spent most of his career with the Detroit Pistons. Teaming with Hall of Fame backcourt guards Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and small forward Dennis Rodman, Laimbeer won back to back NBA Championships in both 1989 and 1990. He is the current head coach of the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces. Playing at center, Laimbeer was a four-time NBA All-Star and integral part of the Pistons teams that won two championships. Initially raised in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Clarendon Hills, Laimbeer attended Palos Verdes High School in Southern California and then the University of Notre Dame.

Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors

Salley was traded to the Miami Heat in 1992 and, a few years after that was left unprotected by Miami in the 1995 NBA expansion draft where he got picked up by the inaugural Toronto Raptors team.

Miami Heat American professional basketball team

The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The Heat play their home games at American Airlines Arena, and have won three NBA championships.

The 1995 NBA Expansion Draft was the tenth expansion draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on June 24, 1995, so that the newly founded Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies could acquire players for the upcoming 1995–96 season. Toronto was awarded an expansion team on September 30, 1993, while Vancouver was awarded the league's 29th franchise on April 27, 1994. They were the first NBA teams based in Canada since the 1946–47 season Toronto Huskies.

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

Chicago Bulls

Free of his Raptors contract, in early March 1996, Salley signed a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls, where he played 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, and ended with a victory in the NBA championship. After the championship, Salley retired.


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 Greek Basket League team Panathinaikos, signing a one-year US$1 million contract. [6] Before accepting the offer from the Božidar Maljković-coached Panathinaikos, Salley 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. [7]

Salley made his Panathinaikos debut on 25 September 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. [7] 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. [7] 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 adjusted to European referees and managed 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. [8] He 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 22 October 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. [8] However, Maljković still refused to include him in the lineup and in response, Salley decided to leave Panathinaikos unilaterally two days later after only a month at the club.

He appeared in 7 games for Panathinaikos and ended up getting paid about €300,000. [7]

Los Angeles Lakers

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 from 2000 to 2002. 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". [9] 14 years later, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs would become the second player to achieve this record, leading his Spurs to 5 championships between 1999 and 2014.

Post-basketball career

Salley in 2008 2008-1206-USC-UCLA-001-JohnSalley.jpg
Salley in 2008

John Salley had a role in Bad Boys and Bad Boys II as a thick-glassed computer hacking nerd 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 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 .

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 2003, Salley appeared in the Showtime TV film Coast to Coast alongside actress Selma Blair.

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

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

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. [10] He came in third place behind winner Lou Diamond Phillips and runner-up Torrie Wilson.

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 . [11]

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 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.

Salley hosted a podcast on Adam Carolla's ACE Broadcasting Network with sportswriter Kevin Hench entitled Spider and the Henchman . [12] The show was canceled on March 18, 2011.

Salley has also hosted VH1's Basketball Wives (2010-2012) & Basketball Wives LA (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015) Reunion Specials. [13]

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 & Wellness Career

Salley is a vegan activist and has appeared on PETA's testimonial videos, [14] as well as in promoting alternatives to practices of massive factory farming. [15]

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. [16]

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. [17]

Salley teamed up with Farm Sanctuary in 2010 to host their New York City Walk for Farm Animals on Sunday, October 24, 2010. [18]

In June 2012 Salley became the official spokesperson for a natural supplements line called VirMax that is developed by Natural Product Solutions, LLC. [19]

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. [20] [21]

"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. [22] [23] Salley is also and advisory board member with cannabis social networking platform BudTrader.

Salley is an ambassador for Operation Smile.

Personal life

Salley married Natasha Duffy in 1993, [24] and they have 2 children together. John also has a daughter from a previous relationship. John Salley is a member of Omega Psi Phi initiated through Nu Omega Chapter in Detroit Michigan.

NBA career statistics

  GPGames 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
Denotes season in which Salley won an NBA championship

Regular season

1986–87 Detroit 82217.8.562.000.6143.
1987–88 Detroit 821624.4.566.7094.
1988–89 Detroit 672121.8.498.000.6925.
1989–90 Detroit 821223.3.512.250.7135.
1990–91 Detroit 74122.3.475.000.7274.
1991–92 Detroit 723824.6.512.000.7154.
1992–93 Miami 513427.9.502.7996.
1993–94 Miami 764525.1.477.667.7295.
1994–95 Miami 755026.1.499.7394.
1995–96 Toronto 25619.3.486.7233.
1995–96 Chicago 17011.2.343.6002.
1999–00 L.A. Lakers 4536.7.362.7501.


1987 Detroit 15020.7.500.6434.
1988 Detroit 23027.1.538.000.7106.
1989 Detroit 17023.1.586.6674.
1990 Detroit 20027.4.475.7555.
1991 Detroit 15020.5.543.6004.
1992 Detroit 5129.8.455.000.8216.
1994 Miami 5540.2.386.6888.
1996 Chicago 1605.3.545.2860.
2000 L.A. Lakers 1804.3.385.7001.

See also

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  5. 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.
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