Ron Harper had the opportunity to play for some of the best teams in NBA history. He also played alongside some of the best players in the game. When he first came into the league, Harper was an elite scorer.
His style of play allowed him to play with the best and win multiple championships. During his NBA career, he played for four different teams.
Ron Harper coming into the NBA
Before entering the NBA, Harper had an impressive college career. He played four years at Miami University in Ohio. Harper was a two-time MAC Player of the Year. In his senior year, he became the first player in the conference to record a triple-double. At the end of his college career, he finished as Miami’s all-time leading scorer with 2,377 points. He had his number retired during his final home game in 1986.
Going into the NBA draft, Harper was ready to prove that he can play in the league. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected him with the eighth overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. In his sixth game, Harper scored 34 points against the Sacramento Kings. He started in all 82 games as a rookie and averaged 22.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. Harper was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
After a successful rookie campaign, Harper was ready to come back and have an even better second year. But an injury limited his playing team that season. He only played in 52 games and averaged 15.4 points per game. Harper was back healthy for his third season and started all 82 games. He finished the season averaging 18.6 points and 5.3 assists per game. During the 1989-90 season, The Cavaliers traded Harper to the Los Angeles Clippers. He spent five seasons with the Clippers and eventually became a co-captain on the team. In his five seasons with the Clippers, he averaged 19.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.
Ron Harper playing with the Bulls and Lakers
Harper signed with the Bulls as a free agent in September of 1994. The Bulls were coming off a season without the presence of Michael Jordan, who stepped away from the basketball. Harper averaged a career-low in points in his first season with the Bulls. He averaged 6.9 points per game. Harper saw his minutes decrease when he joined the Bulls, yet he still found a way to make an impact on the team. During the 1995-96 season, Jordan made his return back to the league, and the Bulls found themselves atop of the league.
Harper started in 80 games that season as the Bulls finished with a 72-10 record and won their fourth championship. Harper was able to be crowned a champion for the first time in his career. The Bulls went on to win the next two NBA titles and three-peat once again. Harper would spend one more season in Chicago after they won their third consecutive championship, and then he joined the Lakers.
He joined the Lakers at the perfect time. The Lakers were becoming the top team in the Western Conference again. During the 1999-00 season, Harper started in 78 games and averaged 7.0 points per game. The Lakers would go on to win the NBA championship, and Harper won his fourth overall title. Harper was a veteran leader on that team with NBA greats such as Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
Going into his final season in the league, Harper wanted to win a fifth NBA title. He was able to do so as the Lakers won two straight finals. Harper was part of another successful franchise and ended his NBA career on top.
Ron Harper played with the best
Before Harper joined the Bulls and the Lakers, he was a top scorer on the teams he played for. He understood that he would have to take back-seat role playing with Jordan, Bryant, and O’Neal. Everything worked out in his favor.
Harper was put in a fortunate situation because he was a part of two successful NBA teams and ended his career on a positive note. He can always say that he played with Jordan and Bryant, who are two of the greatest players of all-time.