Retired NBA player Dale Ellis was drafted to the Dallas Mavericks as the ninth overall pick in 1983, after four years as a standout at the University of Tennessee (UT).
In March 2014, his UT jersey, number 14, was retired and inducted into the University of Tennessee Hall of Fame on April 16, 2016.
Ellis received his first chance to shine in the league after trading to the Seattle SuperSonics for Al Wood in 1986. His playing time increased significantly, and his regular-season scoring average reflected this, as it jumped from 7.1 points per game with the Mavericks to 24.9 points per game with the SuperSonics. Ellis’ rise with the SuperSonics was recognized around the league, which awarded him the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 1987.
He continued to star at the SuperSonics in the late 1980s, with his scoring average topping out at 27.5 points per game during the 1988-89 season. The 2,253 points he scored that season broke Spencer Haywood’s franchise record of 2,251 and remained the SuperSonics/Thunder record until Kevin Durant broke it in 2009-10. Ellis was selected to the NBA All-Star Game during the same season and scored 27 points for the West.
In all, Ellis spent four and a half seasons playing at the SuperSonics before being traded o the Milwaukee Bucks for Ricky Pierce. Ellis made four-point plays in a win against the Sacramento Kings on January 26, 1988, becoming the first player in NBA history to complete two four-point spaces in one game.
Despite being traded between several teams in the league, Ellis never gave up on his dreams. He believes that a winning attitude goes a long way in every aspect of life, sharing his story during speaking engagements worldwide to motivate others while unlocking their potential.