Marcus D. Camby (born March 22, 1974) is an American former professional basketball player who played 17 seasons in the National Basketball Association. He was named Defensive Player of the Year during the 2006–07 NBA season, leading the league in blocked shots per game. Camby is also a four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team and is 12th on the NBA's all-time career blocks list.
Camby, a native of Connecticut, began his high school career at Conard High School in West Hartford. He transferred to Hartford Public High School where he finished his high school education. In his senior season, Camby averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, 8 blocks and 8 assists, en route to a 27-0 record and state title. He was named Gatorade's Connecticut Player of the Year.
Camby played three seasons for the UMass Minutemen. He had an NCAA freshman record 105 total rejections during his first year at UMass, and was named the Atlantic 10's Freshman of the Year. Camby was named to the A-10's First Team during his sophomore season in 1994–95, as the Minutemen reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Camby won the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith College Player of the Year Award during the 1995–96 season. He led UMass to numerous #1 rankings and the 1996 NCAA Final Four. In the NCAA tournament, Camby set a tourney record of 43 total blocked shots in 11 games. On April 29, 1996, Camby announced that he would forgo his senior year at UMass and enter the NBA Draft.
UMass' visit to the Final Four was later officially nullified by the NCAA because Camby had been found to have accepted $28,000 from two sports agents. As part of the penalty, the school was forced to return their $151,617 in revenue from the 1996 NCAA Tournament. Camby later reimbursed the school for the amount lost. According to a 1997 Sports Illustrated article, the agents, John Lounsbury and Wesley Spears of Connecticut, had hoped that Camby would hire them to represent him when he became a professional. The article reported that Camby had also received "jewelry, rental cars and prostitutes" from the agents.
Camby was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame on September 10, 2010. Though some criticized the school for inducting a student-athlete who caused their Final Four achievement to be vacated, others saw it as a positive recognition of one of the school's best ever athletes.
Camby returned to school, taking online courses from UMass, and earned his degree on May 12, 2017.
Toronto Raptors (1996–1998)
Camby was selected second overall in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors. In his rookie season, he made the NBA All-Rookie First Team, averaging 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. In the following season, Camby led the league in blocked shots with 3.7 per game.
New York Knicks (1998–2002)
Camby was traded to the New York Knicks in exchange for Charles Oakley, and for his first two seasons in New York, Camby backed up veteran all-star center Patrick Ewing. In the 1998–99 season the Knicks, despite struggling to establish on-court chemistry (in that lockout-shorted year), finished with a 27–23 record, good enough for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, Camby and teammate (and close friend) Latrell Sprewell began to assert themselves as the Knicks defeated both the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds to meet their arch-rivals the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. After Ewing went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, Camby began to assert himself in averaging doubles in the last three games of the series to lead the Knicks to a game-six upset over the Pacers and into the NBA Finals (resulting in the Knicks becoming the first and only 8th-seeded team to make it to an NBA Final), where they matched up with the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs defeated the Knicks in five games to win the 1999 Championship.
In the 1999–00 season the Knicks with Ewing back at center bounced back and won 50 games thanks to the contributions of many of the veteran players, including the Sixth Man of the Year Award-type season from Camby. In the playoffs, the Knicks defeated the Toronto Raptors in three games and Miami Heat in seven games in the first two rounds of the playoffs en route to making it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row. There they faced the top seed in the East, the Indiana Pacers, and were defeated by the Pacers in six games.
During a game against the San Antonio Spurs in January 2001, Camby took a roundhouse swing at Spurs' forward Danny Ferry after he was hit in the eye on a box-out. The punch missed Ferry because Knicks' head coach Jeff Van Gundy stepped in at the last second, resulting in his being head-butted by Camby. Van Gundy required 15 stitches to close a gash above his left eye. Camby, who ended up with scratches on his face from both incidents, was suspended for five games and fined $25,000. Ferry was suspended for one game and fined $7,500 for the initial foul. Upon returning from the suspension, Camby began to play his best ball of the season in averaging 12 points with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks a game; however, it was not enough as the Knicks were defeated by the Toronto Raptors in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
Denver Nuggets (2002–2008)
Camby played for the Knicks from 1998 to 2002, before being traded to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Antonio McDyess.
In the 2003–04 season, along with rookie teammate Carmelo Anthony, Camby helped lead the Nuggets back into the playoffs where they were defeated by the Minnesota Timberwolves led by league MVP Kevin Garnett.
Camby led the NBA in blocked shots for several seasons. During the 2005–06 season with the Nuggets he had 12.0 rebounds per game, 9.6 defensive rebounds per game and 1.4 steals per game. He also averaged 12.8 points per game and led the league in blocks per game (3.3), while helping Denver earn a playoff berth by winning the Northwest Division.
On December 16, 2006, Camby was involved in the Knicks–Nuggets brawl. He was one of 10 players ejected from the game, but received no suspension.
Camby won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for the 2006–07 season. The honor was the first of Camby's career. He received the actual award from NBA commissioner David Stern during a pregame ceremony at the Nuggets first home 2006–07 playoff game, which was against the San Antonio Spurs on April 28, 2007. During the 2006–07 season, Camby averaged 3.3 blocks per game (first in the league), 11.7 rebounds per game (fifth in the league), 9.3 defensive rebounds per game (second in the league) and 1.24 steals per game (second among centers).
During the 2007–08 NBA season, Camby continued to make his mark as one of the best defensive players and centers in the game. He finished the season averaging 13.1 rebounds per game (second in the league), 18.1 rebounds per 48 minutes (first in the league), 10.2 defensive rebounds per game (second in the league), 14.1 defensive rebounds per 48 minutes (first in the league), 3.61 blocks per game (first in the league), 4.96 blocks per 48 minutes (first in the league), 285 total blocks (first in the league), 1.06 steals per game (third among centers) and 3.3 assists per game (second among centers). On December 26, 2007, in a Nuggets' home win against the Milwaukee Bucks, Camby posted a triple-double, with 10 points (which included a three-pointer), 11 rebounds and 10 blocks. The triple-double was Camby's third of his career and the first since April 19, 1998, against the Philadelphia 76ers. On January 14, 2008, in a Nuggets' road loss against the Charlotte Bobcats, Camby had a game of 20 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 blocks. He became only the fourth player since 1990 to have at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 blocks in one game. On January 17, 2008, in a Nuggets' home win against the Utah Jazz, Camby became just the third player since blocked shots became an official NBA stat in 1973–74 with at least 24 rebounds and 11 blocks in a game. On January 25, 2008, in a Nuggets home win against the New Jersey Nets, Camby blocked 4 shots—and in the process—recorded his 1,000th blocked shot as a member of the Nuggets. On March 16, 2008, in an historic 168–116 home win in regulation over the Seattle SuperSonics (the 168 points were the most points scored in franchise history – fourth most in NBA history – for a non-overtime game), Camby recorded his second triple-double of the 2007–08 NBA season when he had 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. The triple-double was accomplished in an NBA record-tying 27 minutes.
Los Angeles Clippers (2008–2010)
On July 15, 2008, Camby was traded from the Nuggets to the Los Angeles Clippers. In exchange, the Clippers gave Denver the option to swap second-round draft picks in the 2010 NBA draft. Camby said that he was unhappy that he was traded from the Nuggets, essentially being made the scapegoat for their lack of post-season success.
"I thought I had done everything possible that I could do with that team, and just tried to go about things the right way. I just thought the way they went about it was classless; they didn't let me know anything. That's a thing of the past right now, that's something I put behind me and I'm looking forward to embarking on this journey."
In the first part of the 2008–09 NBA season, he started at power forward, with Chris Kaman remaining as the starting center. Then, an injury that occurred to Kaman and the arrival of forward Zach Randolph brought Camby back to the starting center position. On December 17, 2008, Camby pulled down a career-high 27 rebounds in a 115-109 overtime loss against the Chicago Bulls. He also had 19 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 4 blocks.
Portland Trail Blazers (2010–2012)
On February 16, 2010, Camby was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, and 1.5 million dollars in cash.
Camby played in 23 games for the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2009–2010 season. With injuries to fellow centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, Camby helped the team secure a playoff berth as the Western Conference's six seed. On April 12, 2010 in a game in Portland against the Oklahoma City Thunder Camby led the team in scoring with 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. On April 20, 2010, he signed a two-year contract extension to stay with the Blazers.
Houston Rockets (2012)
Camby was traded at the deadline on March 15, 2012 to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet as well as a second round draft pick.
Return to the New York Knicks (2012–2013)
On July 11, 2012, Camby was traded to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal that also involved Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, and two future draft picks going to the Rockets. He missed most of the 2012–13 season with a strained plantar fascia in his left foot, playing only 24 games.
2013 NBA Offseason
On July 10, 2013, Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, a future first round draft pick, and two future second round draft picks were traded from the Knicks to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Andrea Bargnani. The Raptors then bought out Camby's contract.
On July 29, 2013, Camby re-signed with the Houston Rockets. However, he was waived by the Rockets on October 28, 2013.
|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|
|*||Led the league|
Awards and honors
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (2006–07)
- NBA All-Defensive First Team (2006–07, 2007–08)
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2004–05, 2005–06)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1996–97)
- John R. Wooden Award (1995–96)
- Naismith College Player of the Year Award (1995–96)
- Oscar Robertson Trophy (1995–96)
- The Sporting News College Player of the Year
- Associated Press First-Team All-American (1995–96)
- UPI First-Team All-American (1995–96)
- Basketball Weekly First-Team All-American (1995–96)
- NCAA East Regional Most Outstanding Player (1995–96)
- All-Atlantic 10 First Team (1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96)
- Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year (1993–94)
- New Haven Register All-State Team (1992–1993)
Off the court
Camby tutored South Hadley students while at UMass, and has been active in charities throughout his career. He was active with several Denver-area charities as a Nugget. As a pro he has also toured Africa with Basketball Without Borders.
In 1996, Camby established the Cambyland Foundation, a non-profit organization. Cambyland partners with school and community organizations to provide opportunities for young people.
On June 14, 1997, Camby was arrested on charges of marijuana possession in South Windsor, Connecticut after police stopped him for a driving offense. On July 1, 1997, he agreed to a plea deal that required him to complete 16 hours of community service, in exchange for dismissal of the drug charge. Charges against Camby were dropped after he fulfilled the community service.
On April 23, 2001, Camby's mother and two sisters were taken hostage in their own home by Hartford resident Troy Crooms. Crooms, who was charged with kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault, burglary and possession of a weapon, held the women at knife-point over an eight-hour-long stand-off with police. Crooms pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, second-degree burglary and violating probation. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Camby was arrested by police in Pearland, Texas on Monday, September 19, 2011 and charged with marijuana possession. The charges were later dropped. He currently resides in Pearland, Texas.