Sam Perkins (born June 14,1961 in New York, New York) was drafted by the Mavericks in the first round (4th overall selection) of the 1984 NBA draft. Dallas had acquired the pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 16, 1980 in exchange for Mike Bratz.
Perkins grew up in Brooklyn before moving to Latham, New York (a suburb of Albany) to share a small apartment with Herb Crossman, a federal equal opportunity officer and recreation league coach that Perkins had met in Brooklyn. Crossman became Perkins' legal guardian and encouraged him to take basketball seriously while at Shaker Heights High School in Latham. Perkins led a national high school all-star tournament team to victory in 1980.
Recruited by Dean Smith at North Carolina, Perkins was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 1980-81 leading the Tar Heels to the NCAA finals where they lost to Indiana. The next year, however, North Carolina won the 1982 NCAA Championship behind Perkins' strong play at the center position and his 14.3 points per game and 7.8 rebounds.
In his junior year, Perkins was named third team Associated Press All-American and posted the highest scoring game of his college career with 39 points against Ralph Sampson and the Virginia Cavaliers.
As a senior, he averaged 17.6 ppg and 9.6 rebounds winning the Lapchick Award as the nation's outstanding senior. Perkins was named first team Associated Press All-American and ended his college career as UNC's third three-time All-American following Jack Cobb (1924-26) and Phil Ford (1976-78).
Perkins was the fourth overall pick of the 1984 NBA draft but before going pro, he co-captained the United States Olympic Basketball Team that won the gold medal in Los Angeles.
In his rookie season, Perkins played in all 82 games for the Mavs averaging 11 ppg and 7.4 rpg giving Dallas it's first major force at the power forward position. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team.
In his six seasons in Dallas, Perkins became the first Maverick to record a 30-point/20-rebound game (31 and 20), doing it against the Houston Rockets on December 12 1985. He led Dallas to the NBA playoffs all six years including 1987-88 when the Mavs pushed the Lakers to seven games before losing the Western Conference Finals.
During his tenure, Perkins started at center and both forward positions for Dallas and enjoyed a career high 45 points against Golden State in 1990. He remains the Mavs' seventh all-time leading scorer (6,766 points)and is third in rebounds (3.767), fifth in blocked shots (444) and sixth in free throws (1,629).
Perkins wore uniform number 41 for the first three seasons with the team before switching to number 44 beginning with the 1987-88 year. The reason for the switch? His sister Yvette was a fan of former San Antoinio Spurs' great George Gervin and told Perkins, "That's a cool number, everybody will know who you are."
After the Mavericks
He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent in August of 1990 and played played three years with L.A., and six seasons with Seattle before closing his career with three seasons with the Indiana Pacers.
During his NBA career Perkins played in 164 playoff games and appeared in the NBA Finals with Los Angeles in 1991, Seattle in 1996 (losing both times to the Chicago Bulls) and with Indiana in 2000.
Retiring in 2001 after eighteen seasons in the league, he was active with charitable endeavors including, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, NBA Cares and the Nothing But Nets program in conjunction with the United Nations.
On June 9, 2008, Perkins returned to the NBA when he was named Vice President of Player Relations with the Indiana Pacers. He said of his new position, "I'm looking forward to the opportunity and challenge because in the perspective of the NBA, player development programs are a high priority. For the Pacers, the development of players on and off the court has been made a top priority.