Felipe López (basketball)
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|Born||December 19, 1974|
Santiago, Dominican Republic
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school||Rice (New York City, New York)|
|College||St. John's (1994–1998)|
|NBA draft||1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24th overall|
|Selected by the San Antonio Spurs|
|Career highlights and awards|
Luis Felipe López (born December 19, 1974) is a Dominican retired professional basketball player from Santiago, Dominican Republic.
He starred in United States high school and college basketball. López then played for four seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), but with far less success. He has since played for teams in a half dozen countries, as well as in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) in the U.S. Most recently, he has been a broadcaster with Spanish-language networks.
Early life and high school career
Felipe's father, who played amateur baseball in the Dominican Republic, and his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 14. López played high school basketball at famed Rice High School in New York City, where he would follow New York high school players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) and Kenny Anderson in becoming one of the most highly touted recruits in U.S. high school history. The 6'5" guard made many All-American lists in 1994, earning Player of the Year honors from Gatorade, USA Today, Parade, and many others.
Unrealistic expectations hounded López from the start, beginning with an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he even played one college game. He also appeared along with Jim Brown and Jackie Joyner-Kersee at a conference along with then-President Bill Clinton.
Though he never quite lived up to the massive hype and through-the-roof expectations heaped upon him by the fans and media, López still finished his freshman season for the newly named St. John's Red Storm by averaging 17.8 points per game, earning a spot on the All-Big East Rookie Team and All-Big East Third Team in the process. And, though his numbers dipped slightly the next two years, bottoming out at 15.9 ppg as a junior, he finished strong as a senior, averaging 17.6 ppg and garnering All-Big East First Team honors. He finished his career with 1,927 points, placing him fourth all-time in St. John's history behind former Johnnies' greats Chris Mullin, Malik Sealy, and D'Angelo Harrison and sixth in Big East history with 1,222 conference points, while also ranking seventh all time in steals, 14th in assists, and 20th in rebounds. He also holds the St. John's record for most three-pointers made in a single season (60) and in a career (148).
Lopez was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 24th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and was immediately traded, along with Carl Herrera, to the Vancouver Grizzlies for point guard Antonio Daniels. Lopez's drafting into the NBA was cause for great celebration in the heavily Dominican community of Washington Heights in New York City. He played 112 games for the Grizzlies before being traded to the Washington Wizards along with Dennis Scott, Cherokee Parks, and Obinna Ekezie in exchange for free agent Isaac Austin on August 22, 2000. Lopez went on to sign as a free agent with both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks, although he never played a regular season game for the Mavs. He trained with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers in the first months of the 2005-06 NBA season before signing a contract with Lleida.
Lopez holds career NBA averages of 5.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and one assist per game. He was known as the "Spanish Michael Jordan", while Harold Miner was coined "Baby Jordan" - both careers lasted 4 years and failed to live up to the hype.
- Sports Illustrated story
- "Clinton Needles Sports World For Not Hiring Minorities - April 15, 1998". CNN.
- San Martin, Pablo (2006-01-12). "El Plus Pujol Lleida se refuerza con Luis Felipe López" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2006-07-15.