Adrian Delano Dantley (born February 28, 1955) is a retired American basketball player who played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A forward/guard and six-time NBA All-Star, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed acting head coach of the Denver Nuggets in the absence of stricken head coach George Karl.
In the 1976 NBA draft Dantley was drafted sixth overall by the Buffalo Braves. He became the third Buffalo player in five years to receive the NBA Rookie of the Year Award when he won it after the 1977 season. Dantley bounced around the league after his rookie campaign. Buffalo traded Dantley to the Indiana Pacers before the 1977-78 NBA season, making him the first NBA Rookie of the Year to be traded following his rookie season. Indiana traded him after 23 games to the Los Angeles Lakers. He stayed with the Lakers through the following season before being traded again, this time to the Utah Jazz. It was the third time in two years that he had been traded; the Jazz were his fourth team in as many years in the league.
In Utah, Dantley reached his peak establishing his reputation as a prolific scorer, twice leading the league in scoring (in 1981 and 1984). He averaged over 30 points per game each season between 1981 and 1984, though he missed 60 games in 1983 after tearing ligaments in his right wrist. In his seven years with the Jazz, Dantley picked up all six of his All-Star appearances and two All-NBA second-team honors.
Utah traded Dantley to the Detroit Pistons after the 1986 season. Dantley was still an effective scorer but did not get as many shots with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Vinnie Johnson and Bill Laimbeer all averaging at least 10 points per game. Midway through the 1989 season Detroit traded Dantley to the Dallas Mavericks for Mark Aguirre. Dantley played two more seasons in the NBA before retiring after a 10-game stint with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1991.
Dantley finished his career with an average of 24.3 points per game. He scored his points with a mix of flat-footed mid-range jump shots, high-percentage opportunities close to the basket, and frequent trips to the free throw line. For his career, he shot .540 from the floor — 16th in NBA history — and .818 from the free throw line. He led the league in free throws six times and ranks sixth all-time in that category. He shares the record with Wilt Chamberlain for most free throws made in a regular-season NBA game with 28.
Utah retired Dantley’s uniform number (#4) on April 11, 2007.
Dantley enjoyed outstanding success at every level of basketball, including high school, college, Olympics, and the NBA. On April 7, 2008, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, 16 years after he retired.
Career highlights and awards
6× NBA All-Star (1980–1982, 1984–1986)
2× All-NBA Second Team (1981, 1984)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1977)
2× NBA scoring champion (1981, 1984)
No. 4 retired by Utah Jazz
Oscar Robertson Trophy (1976)
2× Consensus first-team All-American (1975–1976)
Competitor for the United States
Gold medal – first place 1976 Montreal Team competition