Richard Hamilton (basketball)
Hamilton with the Pistons in January 2009
February 14, 1978|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||193 lb (88 kg)|
|NBA draft||1999 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the Washington Wizards|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||15,708 (17.1 ppg)|
|Assists||3,125 (3.4 apg)|
|Rebounds||2,852 (3.1 rpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Richard Clay "Rip" Hamilton (born February 14, 1978) is an American retired professional basketball player who played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Playing for the Detroit Pistons for most of his career, Hamilton also had short tenures with the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls. A three-time All-Star, Hamilton was a part of the Pistons' 2004 NBA championship team, and their run of six straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances from 2003 to 2008. He sat out the entire 2013–14 season before officially announcing his retirement in February 2015.
Hamilton played college basketball at the University of Connecticut from 1996–99. Hamilton showed flashes of his great future successes. In a 1998 Sweet 16 game with the 2 seeded UConn vs the upset-minded 11 seed Washington Huskies, Hamilton hit a game winning shot as time ran out after rebounding a teammate's miss and then his own miss. He was named the 1999 NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after UConn's run to that year's national title after averaging 24.2 PPG. #1's UConns race to the top also included a close, physical defeat of the national Cinderella team #10 Gonzaga Bull-dogs in which Hamilton played a key role. The UConn squad beat a Duke team in the final game after which four Duke players were drafted in the top 14 of the 1999 NBA Draft. The Huskies were nine point underdogs, but upset the Blue Devils after Hamilton contributed 27 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in the final game. The famed "One Shining Moment" video and song had one of Rip's shots against Duke as the last shot shown in the video.
College Awards & Honors
- NCAA champion (1999)
- NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1999)
- Consensus first-team All-American (1999)
- Consensus second-team All-American (1998)
- 2× Big East Player of the Year (1998, 1999)
- 2x Big East All-Tournament Team (1998, 1999)
- 2x Big East leader in season points (1998, 1999)
- Big East All-Rookie Team (1997)
- 2nd leading scorer in UConn history (2,036 pts)
Washington Wizards (1999–2002)
Hamilton was selected with the 7th pick in the 1999 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards. In his rookie season, he played in 71 games with 12 starts and averaged 9 points a game backing up veteran shooting guard Mitch Richmond. The Wizards only managed to win 29 games, however, and failed to make the playoffs. The season also marked the addition of Michael Jordan to the franchise, who took over as part owner and President of Basketball Operations.
The following year proved to be a breakout season for Hamilton, as he played more at the small forward position and started in 42 of 78 games and doubled his scoring average to 18.1 points a game. The Wizards could not improve, however, and won just 19 games for the season. In the offseason, Michael Jordan announced that he would return to the court for the Wizards, while also hiring Doug Collins to coach the team. Despite a successful start to the season, injuries limited Jordan to just 60 games, while Hamilton also played in just 63 games but solidified his role as the team's starting shooting guard. The Wizards improved but failed to make the playoffs with a 37-45 record, and Hamilton averaged 20 points a game for the season while finishing second in the league in free throw percentage, shooting 89 percent from the free throw line.
In September, the Wizards decided to trade Hamilton to the Detroit Pistons in a six player deal to acquire all-star scorer Jerry Stackhouse.
Detroit Pistons (2002–2011)
The Pistons had made the playoffs in the previous season, led by head coach Rick Carlisle and the defensive play of Ben Wallace. The Pistons had also acquired guard Chauncey Billups and drafted forward Tayshaun Prince during the off-season. Hamilton started all 82 games for Detroit and led the team in scoring with 19.7 points a game as the team won 50 games and the Central Division. The conclusion of the season marked Hamilton's first appearance in the playoffs, as the Pistons would face the Orlando Magic, led by superstar Tracy McGrady in the first round. The Magic took a 3–1 lead in the series, but the Pistons led by Billups and Hamilton rallied to win three straight games including a critical seventh game at home to advance to face the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference semifinals. Both teams traded their two homes to tie the series at 2–2 before the Pistons won two straight to win the series and advance to the Conference Finals for the time since 1991. They faced the defending conference champions New Jersey Nets, who overwhelmed the Pistons with their experience and swept the series in four games. Hamilton led Detroit in scoring throughout the playoffs with 22.5 points a game on 44 percent shooting.
Championship win (2004) and return to the Finals (2005)
Hamilton began wearing the clear plastic face mask that would become his trademark during the 2003–04 season. His nose had been broken twice that season (it happened once before in 2002) and Hamilton was advised to wear the mask for the rest of his career or risk significant nasal reconstructive surgery. Wearing the mask on a nightly basis, Hamilton led the Pistons in scoring throughout the season with 17.6 points a game in 78 games as the Pistons finished the season with 54 wins and added All-Star forward Rasheed Wallace near the end of the season to improve the team's front line, having called it his "Superman cape". In the playoffs, the Pistons dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round before setting up a rematch with New Jersey. After taking a two-game series lead, the Nets won three straight games before the Pistons won a crucial game on the road and then back at home in a seventh game in which Hamilton scored 24 points. The Pistons then faced the league-leading Indiana Pacers in the conference finals, and the team's defense and efficient scoring proved too much for the favored Pacers. Hamilton scored 33 points in a game 5 victory in Indiana, before Detroit wrapped up the series in the following game at home to advance to the franchise's first NBA Finals since the "Bad Boys" Pistons team won the NBA title in 1990.
The Pistons were viewed as a major underdog prior to the start of the Finals, as they faced the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers who had won three straight championships from 2000 to 2002 and who featured stars such as Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton and Karl Malone. The Lakers also had home court advantage, but struggled in the opening game of the series in Los Angeles, as the Pistons dominated throughout the game and shocked the Lakers by double digits. The Lakers bounced back in game 2 behind a heroic shot to tie the contest in regulation by Bryant followed by an efficient overtime period. The next game in Detroit was Hamilton's best scoring game of the series, as he made 11 of 22 shots including 2 three-pointers and 7 free throws for 31 points. Detroit won the game by 20 points, before once again dominating the Lakers in game 4. The Lakers tried to turn the tide in game 5, but the Pistons' defense and scoring were too much for the dismantled Los Angeles team, as Hamilton scored 21 and Detroit once again won the game by double digits to secure the team's first NBA title since 1990. Hamilton averaged 21.5 points throughout the 2004 playoffs.
The defending champions entered the season determined to repeat, and the team once again won 54 regular-season games with Hamilton averaging 18.7 points a game in 76 games played. The season featured a record for Hamilton, as he became the only player in NBA history to lead his team in scoring in a game despite not making a single field goal. On January 6, 2005, Hamilton was 0-for-10 from the field, but hit 14-of-14 from the line to pace the Pistons in a 101–79 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Pistons had the second seed in the playoffs, and defeated Philadelphia before another rematch with Indiana, as the champs were able to overcome a 2–1 series deficit and win the series in six games with Hamilton scoring 28 points. This set up a matchup with the resurgent Miami Heat led by Shaquille O'Neal, who had arrived via trade from Los Angeles, and Dwyane Wade. The teams traded victories in the first four games before the Heat won game 5. Detroit responded with a game 6 win and a seventh-game victory in Miami with Hamilton scoring 24 as the Pistons advanced for the second consecutive year to the NBA Finals.
Detroit faced the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals, led by all-stars such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs won the first two games of the series, before the Pistons responded with two wins of their own before the Spurs took a 3-2 lead after a win in Detroit in the fifth game. Detroit responded on the road in game 6, with Hamilton scoring 23 points. The Spurs proved too much in game 7 however, winning the game and the series. Hamilton averaged 20 points throughout the 2005 playoffs.
Three more Conference Finals trips: 2006–2008
The 2005–2006 season would prove to be another great one individually for Hamilton, as he averaged a career-high 20.1 points a game and earned his first selection to the 2006 NBA All-Star Game as a reserve guard for the Eastern Conference. He also led the league in three-point field goal percentage with a shooting percentage of .458, as the Pistons excelled throughout the season and won 64 games and the top seed in the conference. Detroit once again ran through the first round of the playoffs, against Milwaukee, with Hamilton scoring 40 points in the series-clinching 5th game. Up next were the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were led by forward LeBron James. The series would turn out to be grueling one, reaching seven games before the Pistons put away the younger Cavaliers. This set up a rematch with Miami, and while the Pistons had home court advantage they had no answer for the dominant player of Dwyane Wade, and lost in six games. Hamilton managed to score 33 points in game 6 and averaged 20.4 points in the 2006 playoffs. Miami would advance to the Finals and win the NBA Title. After the season, the Chicago Bulls acquired Ben Wallace, changing the dynamic of the Piston's identity.
During the 2006-2007 season, on December 27, Hamilton scored a career-high 51 points with 19-for-37 field goal shooting in a 151–145 triple-overtime Pistons loss to the New York Knicks, becoming the first opposing player since Michael Jordan to score over 50 points at Madison Square Garden. Hamilton averaged 19.8 points during the season and was once again selected to represent the Eastern Conference at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. The Pistons won 53 games, and swept the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs before defeating Chicago and Wallace in the conference semifinals. This set up a rematch with the younger Cleveland Cavaliers team, but this time the Cavaliers peaked after the series tied at 2-2, and won the next two games to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals, where they lost to San Antonio. Hamilton averaged 18.8 points throughout the 2007 playoffs.
Despite the rise of the Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics who had acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to team up with Paul Pierce, the Pistons remained one of the best teams in the East, winning 59 games and beating out the Cavaliers for the top spot in the Central Division. Hamilton averaged 17.3 points a game for Detroit, and for the third straight year represented the Eastern Conference at the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. Hamilton also participated in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, held during All Star Weekend in New Orleans. Hamilton scored 14 points in the first round but did not qualify for the finals. The contest was won by then-defending champion Jason Kapono. The Pistons defeated Philadelphia in the first round before holding off the young Orlando Magic led by Dwight Howard, with Hamilton scoring 32 points in the 5th game and 31 in the 6th game, as he surpassed Isiah Thomas as the Pistons' all-time leading scorer in the playoffs. Detroit advanced to face Boston, marking their 6th straight appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. The resurgent Celtics proved too much for Detroit, and they won the series in 6 games. Hamilton averaged 21.6 points throughout the playoffs.
The Pistons traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson during the 2008–2009 season, and on November 3, 2008, Hamilton signed a three-year, $34 million contract extension with the Pistons. Hamilton averaged 18.3 during the season, but played a significant number of games off the bench, including a 38-point effort as a reserve in an overtime game against Milwaukee, the most by a Piston reserve in history. He also posted a career high 16 assists on March 13 against the Toronto Raptors. The Pistons posted their first losing record in years, and made the 8th seed in the playoffs, where they were swept by Cleveland in the first round. Hamilton averaged only 13.3 points in the series.
Hamilton played in just 46 games in the 2009–2010 season but averaged 18.1 points a game. Detroit only won 27 games that year, despite the return of Ben Wallace and the addition of younger players. The following year, Hamilton feuded frequently with then-Head Coach John Kuester, including verbally berating Kuester in front of the team during a practice. This feud led to Kuester benching Hamilton. For more than six weeks, Hamilton only played 20 total minutes and received a DNP-CD (did not play - coach's decision, where he was on the active roster but did not play) in 23 out of 24 games. Despite Kuester being fired by the Pistons after the 2010–2011 season, Hamilton's contract was bought out by the Pistons in December 2011, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Chicago Bulls (2011–2013)
Hamilton cleared waivers on December 14, 2011 and quickly signed a 3-year, $15 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, with the third year being a team option. During the 2011-12 season, he averaged 11.6 points per game, 3 rebounds per game, and 2.4 assists per game in 24.9 minutes per game. Due to injuries, he only played 28 games (starting all of them). The Bulls finished 50–16, clinching the first playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the team lost All-Star Derrick Rose to a torn ACL in the first game of the playoffs and were defeated in six games by the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.
In the 2012–13 season, Hamilton averaged 9.8 points per game, 2.4 assists per game, and 1.7 rebounds per game in 21.8 minutes per game. He played 50 games, starting in 45 of them. The Bulls finished 45–37; they ranked 5th in the Eastern Conference and 2nd in the Central Division. The team reached the second round of the playoffs, but were eliminated by the Miami Heat. The Bulls declined their option on Hamilton's contract on July 10, 2013, making him a free agent.
On February 26, 2015, Hamilton officially announced his retirement from the NBA on ESPN program His & Hers. This was just months after he sustained a "freak" foot injury in October 2014, which ultimately convinced him to retire from the game.
In the 2006–07 NBA season Hamilton appeared in the NBA Fundamentals series, hosted by TNT, where basketball players showcase certain aspects of the game. Hamilton explained the topic "moving without the ball" to shake off your defender.
He was also a contestant on an episode of the game show series Wanna Bet?.
He has also worked with many charities, including the Read to Achieve* program and reading books to children. As part of his long-time work with children, he has appeared on an episode of Disney Channel's "Imagination Movers". He helped the gang play basketball and learn a lesson of friendship.
On October 31, 2007, Hamilton's girlfriend, former So Plush member T. J. Lottie gave birth to Richard Clay Hamilton II. On July 11, 2009, Hamilton married Lottie in Boca Raton, Florida. Special guests included Dwyane Wade, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Michael Jordan, and many others.
In April 2009, Hamilton filed a suit against former personal assistant and business manager Josh Nochimson, claiming that Nochimson stole over one million dollars by unauthorized use of Hamilton's credit card from 2003 to 2008.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games 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 Hamilton won an NBA championship|
- National Basketball Association portal
- iStephenReviews (2011-08-25), 1999 One Shining Moment, retrieved 2016-02-19
- Player Movement Central 2002. NBA.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- To Get a Mask Like Rip's
- NBA Street Homecourt – 1up.com
- Memphis reaches .500 for first time this season. Sports.espn.go.com (2005-01-06). Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- Knicks survive Hamilton's big night, beat Pistons in 3OT. Scores.espn.go.com (2006-12-27). Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- ESPN – Detroit vs. New York Box Score, December 27, 2006. Scores.espn.go.com (2006-12-27). Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- "Shootout Round-by-Round Results: 2000-08". NBA.com. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- Pistons pull away late to advance to 6th straight conference finals. Scores.espn.go.com (2008-05-13). Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks - Recap - February 07, 2009 - ESPN
- Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors - Recap - March 13, 2009 - ESPN
- Nick Friedel (December 24, 2011). "Rip Hamilton backs John Kuester". ESPN Chicago. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- Adrian Wojnarowski (February 26, 2011). "Hamilton at center of Pistons' turmoil". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- Chris Iott (January 12, 2011). "Detroit Pistons utilize new rotation in loss to Grizzlies; Richard Hamilton does not play". =MLive Media Group. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "Richard Hamilton Game-by-Game Stats". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- Detroit Pistons Waive Guard Richard Hamilton
- Bulls sign free agent guard Richard Hamilton
- Bulls sign Ex-Piston Rip Hamilton
- Bulls waive Hamilton
- Richard Hamilton retires after 14 seasons in NBA
- "Former NBA, NCAA champ Hamilton retires". Retrieved 2015-04-01.
- Hoppes, Lynn. (2011-01-02) Rip Hamilton appears on Disney's 'Imagination Movers' – Page 2 – ESPN. Espn.go.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- Hamilton out ... again | MLive.com. Blog.mlive.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
- Rip Offers Details on Missing Million ESPN, April 3, 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Hamilton (basketball).|
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com, or Basketball-Reference.com
- Official website
- ESPN.com Profile