NCAA

What Happened to ’80s Georgetown Star Michael Graham After March Madness

You’re probably not familiar with the name Michael Graham. He was a star on the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team in the 1983-84 season, which won the national championship. Even though he only played in college for one season, he quickly earned a reputation as a dirty player and stepped foot onto the hardwood for the Hoyas again after helping them win the title as a freshman in March 1984. Here’s a look at what happened to Graham and where he is now.

Michael Graham’s career at Georgetown

In his only season with the Hoyas, Graham rose to fame as a member of the championship team that also included among its players future Knicks legend Patrick Ewing. Graham started in 17 of his 35 games and averaged 12.1 minutes per game.

He averaged 4.7 points, four rebounds, and .3 assists per game. So he wasn’t a star for his basketball skills, but he became notorious for his dirty play on the court. A big, aggressive freshman, Graham was accused during March Madness in 1984 of throwing a punch at Syracuse’s Andre Hawkins, hitting UNLV’s Richie Adams with an elbow, and bowling over Dayton’s Sedric Toney.

Toney would say about Graham that “he comes down and tries to hurt you,” going beyond the typical physical play that you expect from basketball players. Graham scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in the title game against Houston, ending his collegiate career. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated following the team’s win in the national championship.

Post-college basketball life

After the Hoyas’ championship run, Graham was suspended from the team for academic troubles and transferred to Division II’s University of the District of Columbia, but he ultimately never played for the school’s team.

He declared himself eligible for the 1986 NBA draft, and the Seattle SuperSonics drafted him, but he didn’t make their roster. After failing to make it in the NBA, Graham decided to go to the Continental Basketball Association and play in that secondary professional basketball league.

He played four seasons in the CBA, including playing under legendary Bulls coach Phil Jackson as a member of the Albany Patroons. He averaged 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in the league. After his time in the CBA, Graham went overseas and played professionally in Europe and South America.

Where is MichaelGraham now?

Graham has largely stayed out of the public eye since the Georgetown championship run. The Washingtonian ran a lengthy profile on him in 2015 that shed some light on his current situation. Perhaps most notably, in 2013 he bought a Powerball ticket that was a $1 million winner.

At the time of the lottery win, he was working at Rent-A-Center. That year, he was included as a participant in Grantland’s Most Hated College Basketball Player tournament. Before the Powerball win, Graham had some bad luck in his life and made a questionable decision or two. But he is determined to correct the wrongs of his past.

At one time, he owned a barbecue restaurant in Maryland, which has since closed. The restaurant was an attempt to be remembered for something other than his stint at Georgetown. He admitted in the Washingtonian piece that he’s “trying to get a great storybook ending.”

More recently, he was pulled into the spotlight in 2017 when Jackson name-dropped him in a tweet — in a negative light. In the tweet, he implied that by coaching Graham in the CBA, he learned “you don’t change the spot on a leopard.” Graham then went on various outlets, including radio shows and podcasts, to shoot back at Jackson and defend himself.