Tom LaGarde (born February 10, 1955 in Detroit, Michigan) was obtained by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1980 dispersal draft from the Seattle Super Sonics, prior to the team's inaugural season.
LaGarde was named a first team Parade All-American his senior season at Central Catholic High School in Detroit and won the Sam Madden Boys Basketball Award, presented each year to a player in the Catholic High School League for sportsmanship, ability, scholarship and citizenship. Recently, Bounce Magazine named him to the All-1970s decade Detroit-area high school team.
Under Coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina, LaGarde won a starting spot as a sophomore and averaged 7.7 points per game. In his junior year, he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in field goal percentage at 61.2%.
Following his junior year, he played for Smith on the 1976 United States Olympic team winning the gold medal.
A two-time Academic All-American, LaGarde averaged 15.1 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game his senior year playing alongside teammates such as future NBA stars, Mike O'Koren, Phil Ford and Walter Davis.
His senior season was cut short due to a knee injury suffered in February of that year yet LaGarde had still impressed enough to be named second team All-American.
He was drafted in the first round of the 1977 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets, averaging 4.0 points and 2.8 rebounds his rookie season.
Playing with Seattle his second season, LaGarde was enjoying a breakout season, starting at center, with 11 ppg and 8.3 rpg before tearing up his other knee after only 23 games. Nevertheless, he earned a ring as the Sonics went on to win the NBA championship in the 1978-1979 season.
After his second season in Seattle, LaGarde was left exposed to the NBA dispersal draft used to fill the roster of the new expansion Dallas Mavericks.
In his first season with the Mavs, LaGarde enjoyed his best season as a pro, playing in all 82 games for the second year in a row, and averaging 13.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg. He won the Corrigan's / Baume and Mercier favorite player award based on season-long fan balloting.
He had the distinction of joining teammates Winford Boynes, Geoff Huston, Jerome Whitehead and Abdul Jeelani in the starting lineup for Dallas' first-ever regular season game against the San Antonio Spurs on October 11, 1980.
Beginning the year at center in 1980-1981, before moving to power forward after the signing of Scott Lloyd, LaGarde finished the season second on the team in points to Jim Spanarkel and leading the team in rebounds and blocked shots. He recorded a team-high 22 double-doubles that season.
He was also part of a record night for Dallas as he joined Winford Boynes, Darrell Allums, and Jim Spanarkel in fouling out of a game on October 31, 1980. It is the only time in franchise history that four Mavericks players have fouled out of the same game.
Overall, his best game as Maverick, and one of the tops of his career, came on December 30, 1980 as the Mavs defeated the Knicks in New York 100-98. LaGarde recorded 23 points and 17 rebounds on 11-15 shooting.
LaGarde saw his playing time diminish the following year, averaging just 19 minutes per game in 47 outings for the Mavericks. LaGarde then left the NBA to play in Italy for a season, before returning for the 1984-85 season with the New Jersey Nets. LaGarde appeared in only one game before suffering a season-ending calf injury.
After his retirement from the NBA, LaGarde sold bonds for Morgan Stanley in New York and even enjoyed a stint as commissioner of a roller basketball league, a New York-based basketball league played wearing in-line roller skates.
Today, he owns seven acres of land outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and, along with his wife Heather, owns BarnStar Vintage Wood and Architectural Salvage.