Billy Ray Bates Speaker Profile
Former Guard for the Portland Trail Blazers
Billy Ray Bates Biography
Billy Ray Bates was born May 31, 1956, in Kosciusko,Mississippi and is a retired American professional basketball player. Batesplayed shooting guard at McAdams High in Mississippi and attended KentuckyState University.
Bates played four seasons in the National BasketballAssociation for the Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Bullets and Los AngelesLakers. He also played overseas, in Switzerland, Mexico, Uruguay, and mostnotably in the Philippines for the Crispa Redmanizers and Ginebra San Miguel ofthe Philippine Basketball Association.
A product of the Mississippi cotton fields, Billy Ray Bates, the eighth of ninechildren, got his start shooting hoops at Kentucky State University afterplaying high school ball at McAdams High in Mississippi.
The Houston Rockets picked him in the 3rd round of the 1978draft. Before the season started, he was cut by the Rockets, after his agentdemanded guaranteed money for the fourth-rounder. He ended up playing for theMaine Lumberjacks in the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association, wherehe won the league's Rookie of the Year and the slam dunk competition in itsAll-Star game. Bates is credited for shattering at least four backboards in theContinental league before jumping to the NBA.
After signing a 10-day contract with the Portland TrailBlazers in February 1980, the high-flying 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard quicklybecame a crowd favorite for his slam dunks and energetic playing style. He oncescored 40 points in 32 minutes against San Diego and later 35 points in 25minutes against the Dallas Mavericks. The league also took notice, naming himNBA Player of the Week towards the end of his rookie season. He especiallyexcelled in the playoffs, averaging 25.0 ppg in the 1980 playoffs and 28.3 ppgin the 1981 playoffs (which today still stands as the franchise record)
However, there were signs that the 6-4" guard,nicknamed "Dunk," would have to make major changes in his game andattitude for him to stick in the NBA. Although he thrilled fans with his aerialexploits, the league-s yearbook said he was a great rebounder and dunker, butnoted that those skills were not needed for his position. He once slept throughthe first half of a home game, arriving at halftime.
In September 1982, after 3 seasons in Portland, he was cutfrom the team. Bates later checked into a Portland hospital, allegedly for drugtreatment.
Bates played briefly with the Washington Bullets in the1982-83 season, appearing in 15 games before being let go. He then had a 10-daytrial with the Lakers (where he supposedly dunked on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) andappeared in 4 games, but at 25 pounds overweight, that didn't work out either.He would never play in the NBA again.
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