Rex Chapman

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Rex Chapman
Personal information
Born (1967-10-05) October 5, 1967 (age 50)
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Apollo (Owensboro, Kentucky)
College Kentucky (1986–1988)
NBA draft 1988 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8th overall
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets
Playing career 1988–2000
Position Shooting guard
Number 3, 7
Career history
19881992 Charlotte Hornets
19921995 Washington Bullets
1995–1996 Miami Heat
19962000 Phoenix Suns
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 9,731 (14.6 ppg)
Rebounds 1,645 (2.5 rpg)
Assists 1,798 (2.7 apg)
Stats at

Rex Everett Chapman (born October 5, 1967) is a retired American professional basketball player. Chapman was a college standout at the University of Kentucky and went on to play for four National Basketball Association (NBA) teams through his 12-year career in the league. He later served as the vice president of player personnel with the Denver Nuggets.

College career

A high school basketball star at Apollo High in Owensboro, Kentucky, Chapman was heavily recruited by many universities. He chose, however, to stay close to home when he signed with the University of Kentucky. Chapman was a star with the Kentucky Wildcats where he was named to the All-SEC Team during his freshman and sophomore years. Chapman and Wildcat teammate and future NBA journeyman Winston Bennett helped lead Kentucky to their 37th SEC title with a 27-6 record during his sophomore year.[1][2] The Wildcats were ranked as the 6th college basketball team in the nation by the Associated Press and UPI and secured the number two seed in the South region of the 1988 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.[2] Kentucky's talents led the team to the tournament's Sweet Sixteen, where they suffered a defeat against Villanova. Chapman scored 30 in a losing effort. Chapman amassed a total of 1,073 points in only two years at Kentucky before opting to enter the NBA draft. Chapman left the University with the nickname "King Rex" and that title remains in place today.

NBA career

Charlotte Hornets

Chapman was selected with the 8th overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft and became the first player ever signed by the Charlotte Hornets in the franchise's history. Chapman was popular among basketball fans in Charlotte, as he averaged 16.9 points per game his first season there. He could not help the Hornets win many games, however, as the expansion team went 20-62 that year.

Chapman finished 6th behind Dominique Wilkins during his first NBA Slam Dunk Contest but during the 1990–1991 season, Chapman, along with his teammate Kendall Gill, entered the NBA all star dunk competition for the second time. He lost to the Celtics Dee Brown, finishing in third place behind Brown and Shawn Kemp in the competition.

Chapman averaged 17 points per game that year, but the Hornets were not much better than a year earlier. After one-and-a-half more seasons with the Hornets, Chapman was traded midway through the 1991–1992 season to the Washington Bullets. He was injured, however, and could only participate in the final game of the season.

Washington Bullets & Miami Heat

Chapman was traded to the Washington Bullets in exchange for Tom Hammonds on February 19, 1992. Here he played 60 games during the 1993–94 season and 45 games during the 1994–95 season . He had his second major injury during the latter season, after which he was traded to the Miami Heat. Chapman had what started out as a great season, and averaged 14.8 points per game that year. On February 23, 1996, he scored 39 points (converting 9 of 10 3-point attempts) and lead an injury-plagued Miami Heat team with an 8-man roster to a 113-104 victory over the Chicago Bulls, handing the Bulls one of their 10 losses during their historic 72-10 run. Unfortunately, later in the season he found himself on the injured list again and only participated in 56 games. He eventually signed with the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix Suns

As with many other Suns players, Chapman became a fan favorite upon his arrival in Phoenix for the 1996–1997 season. He played in 65 games, and scored 13 points per game. His popularity in Phoenix was enhanced by a shot in game four of the 1997 First Round against the Seattle SuperSonics. Chapman is probably best known by basketball fans because of this one particular moment: the Phoenix Suns, up two games to one, were trailing the SuperSonics by three points with seconds to go at America West Arena in Phoenix. With the inbounded ball seemingly on its way out of bounds, Chapman saved it and threw up a three-pointer, making the shot with 1.9 seconds left and sending the game into overtime. Despite this miraculous play, the Suns ended up losing the game, and the deciding game 5, and were eliminated from the playoffs. Chapman has declared publicly he does not like to be reminded of the moment too much because the Suns still lost.

Chapman played 68 games during the 1997–1998 season for the Suns, scoring almost 16 points per game. But he would be injured again during the strike shortened 1999 season, playing 38 games. Chapman would play 53 games during the 1999–2000 season, but he became re-injured and decided to retire from the NBA then.

Chapman played a total of 666 regular season NBA games, scoring 9,731 points for an average of 14.6 points per game, with 1,798 assists for an average of 2.7 assists per game, and 1,645 rebounds, for 2.5 rebounds per game.

Post-playing life

After retiring from active play Chapman remained with the Suns, first as a scout and later as Director of Basketball Operations. For the 2004 and 2005 NBA Playoffs, he served as a color commentator on TNT. In 2005, he moved from Phoenix to accept a personnel scout position with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 2006, he accepted the position of vice president of player personnel with the Denver Nuggets.

In 2005, Chapman claimed in an interview that interracial dating during his college and pro days was looked down upon and discouraged. He also argued that players like Allan Houston and Derek Anderson were overlooked by Kentucky sportswriters while they were in high school because they were not white.[3]

In 2013, Chapman served as an analyst for the NCAA Tournament for both CBS and Turner during the First Four and second round. He broadcast alongside Seth Davis, Steve Smith, and Matt Winer.

For the 2013–2014 season, it was announced that Chapman would serve as the network TV color analyst for the Grand Canyon University men's basketball team. The 'Lopes began their first year in transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I, and Chapman served as the analyst alongside play-by-play voice Matt Rosen for Cox7 Arizona. All of the 'Lopes home games played at Grand Canyon University Arena were broadcast on Cox7 Arizona.

On September 19, 2014, Chapman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting $14,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple Store in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sgt. Mark Clark said Chapman was alleged to have picked up items in the store, located near Scottsdale Road and Greenway, and made it appear that he was paying for the items through the store's self-checkout. He would then leave the store without actually paying for the items. He reportedly took the items to a local pawn shop and sold the goods for cash. Chapman was originally identified by multiple employees based on his tenure with the NBA, which included several seasons with the Phoenix Suns.[4] On March 31, 2015, Louisville's WDRB reported that prosecutors had not filed charges against Chapman, referring his case back to the Scottsdale police for further investigation.[5]

On September 30, 2014, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Chapman had entered a substance-abuse rehabilitation program in Louisville, Kentucky, to be treated for suboxone dependence, a medication prescribed to help patients stop using opioid-based pain medication.[6]

In 2015, Chapman stated that he had battled prescription pain pill addiction for 17 years and that he had 10 surgeries during his 14-year NBA career.[7]

In 2017, Chapman began working with the State of Kentucky to help Kentucky's youth battle opioid addictions. Chapman's efforts were showcased in an article published by Sports Illustrated on June 19, 2017:


  1. ^ Scott, Jon. "Statistics for 1987-88". Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Page. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  2. ^ a b Scott, Jon. "Kentucky Teams of the Past". Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Page. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  3. ^ Chapman: 'Most preferred that I keep it confidential'
  4. ^
  5. ^ Riley, Jason (March 31, 2015). "Charges never filed against former UK, NBA player Rex Chapman in Arizona shoplifting case". WDRB. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Rex Chapman discusses drug addiction, arrest, recovery upon return to TV Lexington Herald Leader. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
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