Larry Donnell Nance Sr. (born February 12, 1959) is an American retired professional basketball player. A 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) forward from Clemson University, Nance played 13 seasons (1981–1994) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nance played for the Clemson Tigers, who made it to the Elite Eight in his junior year.
Nance scored 15,687 career points and grabbed 7,352 career rebounds, but he is perhaps best known as the first winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1984, earning him the nickname "The High-Ayatolla of Slamola". Nance was a model of consistency throughout his NBA career. He averaged over 16 points and 8 rebounds per game for all eleven seasons as a starter. His best scoring average year was in the 1986–1987 NBA season, where he averaged 22.5 points per game. Always among the highest in field goal percentage, Nance was an excellent mid-range shooter as well as a talented inside player.
Nance was involved in a trade between the Suns and the Cavaliers in 1988. Nance's stint in Phoenix came to an end on Feb. 25, 1988, when, with the Suns struggling to a 16–35 mark, he was traded with Mike Sanders and Detroit's No. 1 pick in 1988 (used to pick Randolph Keys) to Cleveland for Kevin Johnson, Mark West, Tyrone Corbin and Cleveland's first (used for Dan Majerle) and second round (used for Dean Garrett) picks in 1988 and the Lakers' second round pick in 1989.
The trade worked out for both teams, as Nance proved to be the missing piece the Cavs needed to contend for a title in the East, while at the same time playing the role of frontcourt post partner to Cav center Brad Daugherty before a series of back injuries forced Daugherty to retire. For the Suns, Johnson and Majerle became key players in the team's late 1980s and early 1990s success.
Larry Nance was a 3-time NBA All-Star 1985, 1989, and 1993, and an NBA All-Defensive Team First Team member in 1989, and a Second Team Member in 1992 and 1993. He was also consistently one of the league's better shot blockers, averaging 2.2 blocks per game during his career. Upon his retirement, he held the league record for most blocked shots by any player other than a center.
NBA Career Statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Nance's son, Larry Nance Jr., was formerly a player for the University of Wyoming Cowboys men's basketball team. He was selected in the first round as the 27th pick of the 2015 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nance's daughter, Casey Nance, played for the University of Dayton Flyers women's basketball team. She also hosted a video blog called Casey and Co.