Rolando Antonio Blackman (born February 26, 1959) is a retired professional basketball player. He was a four-time All-Star who spent most of his career with the Dallas Mavericks.
Blackman was born in Panama City, Panama, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, from the age of eight.
After being raised in Brooklyn, New York, Blackman attended Kansas State University where he played basketball under coach Jack Hartman. At Kansas State, Blackman had a number of noteworthy achievements:
- In 1980, he was named the Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and All-American.
- He was a three-time unanimous All-Big Eight selection.
- He was three times named the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year.
- He scored 1,844 career points, the second-highest total in Kansas State history.
- He had a career .517 Field Goal Percentage and a .717 Free Throw Percentage.
Prior to his senior season, Blackman also was selected as a starter for the 1980 Summer Olympics basketball team, but did not participate in the Olympics because of the U.S. Olympic boycott.
In his senior year Blackman led Kansas State into the West Regional of the NCAA tournament as the #8 seed. They defeated #9 seed University of San Francisco in the first round, then upset #1 seed Oregon State 50-48 in the second round. Next up was #4 seed Illinois, whom they defeated 57-52 in the semi before losing to #2 seed North Carolina 82-68 in the West Regional Final.
In 1996, after the Big Eight Conference expanded to the Big 12, Blackman was named to the AP all-time All-Big Eight basketball team. Blackman's number 25 jersey was retired by Kansas State February 17, 2007 in a ceremony at halftime during a game against Iowa State. In 2015, he was inducted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Rolando Blackman was drafted by the Mavericks in the first round (9th overall) of the 1981 NBA Draft. He became the first Panamanian-born player in the NBA. In eleven seasons with the Mavericks, Blackman played on six Maverick playoff teams and was named to the NBA All-Star Team four times. At the 1987 All-Star Game, Blackman tied the game at the end of regulation with two free throws. The West team would go on to win in overtime. Blackman made 6,487 field goals with the Mavericks and scored 16,643 points, which was a franchise record for 18 years – until broken by Dirk Nowitzki on March 8, 2008. In his 865 games with the Mavericks, Blackman never fouled out of a game.
Blackman spent his final two seasons in the NBA with the New York Knicks. In his last season in New York, he was reunited with former Dallas teammate Derek Harper. The team made it to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games. One of Blackman's most notable games as a Knick was when he hit the game winning shot in Game 4 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Semi-finals against the Charlotte Hornets, hitting a jump shot with five seconds left in the game that put the Knicks up by two. When he retired from the league following the 1993–94 NBA season, he had career totals of 17,623 points, 3,278 rebounds and 2,981 assists. Blackman was NBA's all-time scoring leader among Hispanic/Latin players (born in Iberian, Latin American & Spanish-speaking countries) until March 6, 2015, when Pau Gasol overtook him. Blackman's number 22 jersey was retired by the Mavericks on March 11, 2000.
Rolando Blackman signed with the Greek League team AEK Athens BC in the middle of the 1994–95 season. Coached by Vlade Đurović, they finished the season in a disappointing 8th place.
Over the summer of 1995, Blackman moved to Olimpia Milano, where he was brought in by head coach Bogdan Tanjević. Playing in the Italian League on a team including Dejan Bodiroga, Gregor Fučka, Nando Gentile, and Alessandro De Pol, Blackman, who turned 37 during the season, helped them win both the Italian League title and the Italian Basketball Cup by averaging 15.3 points per game. Blackman was named MVP of the Italian Cup series. Olimpia also reached the Korać Cup final, losing to Efes Pilsen Istanbul in the home-and-away series.
Blackman transferred to Limoges CSP in the summer of 1996, essentially brought along by coach Tanjević who earlier signed to be the club's new head coach.
In 2000, Blackman was tapped to be the defensive coordinator for the Mavericks under coach Don Nelson. The next year he served as an assistant coach for the German National team and helped lead them to a bronze medal at the 2002 World Basketball Championships in Indianapolis. During the 2004-05 NBA season, Blackman was hired as one of the Mavericks television analysts, along with Matt Pinto and Bob Ortegel. For the 2005-06 NBA season, Blackman returned to the Mavericks' bench, serving his first season as a full-fledged assistant coach. In July 2006 he was promoted to the position of Director of Player Development.
In August 2010, Blackman was hired as an assistant coach for the Turkey national basketball team by head coach Bogdan Tanjevic, in advance of the 2010 FIBA World Championship tournament. Blackman stated that he took the job specifically to work again with Tanjevic, who had been his coach in Milan.
During the 2006 NBA Finals, Blackman's former coach with the New York Knicks, Pat Riley, admitted, publicly for the first time, that sitting Rolando Blackman in favor of John Starks during Games 6 and 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals was the biggest coaching mistake in his career, and that he has never forgiven himself for it.
He has four children and resides in Dallas, Texas.
Blackman is on the Board of Directors of the Assist Youth Foundation. The foundation's goal is to advance opportunities for underprivileged kids in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and across the globe.
Blackman is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Blackman continues to contribute to his chapter, Beta Psi, as well as the Kansas State University community.