Sam Perkins – The Unlucky Horry: 3 Teams, 3 NBA Finals, 0 Rings
Long before Dirk put on a Mavs uni and was showing that big men could be a 3-point shooting threat, 6’9 Sleepy Sam Perkins aka The Big Smooth was wearing a Mavs uni and burying 3’s on opponents.
Sam is probably mostly known for being a college great at UNC and for hitting a big shot against former UNC teammate Michael Jordan in GM1 of the 1991 NBA Finals as a member of the Lakers.
Unfortunately for Sleepy Sam aka Big Shot Sam, that shot woke up Jordan and the Bulls. MJ then scored 40+ in 4 consecutive games and the Bulls became the 1991 NBA champions.
Sam would be traded to the Sonics a couple seasons later and in 1996 got another shot at winning a title against Jordan when the Sonics faced off against the 72-10 Bulls. But once again Jordan would prove to be too much for Perkins and his teammates and the Bulls came out victorious. Ring #4 for MJ and 0-2 in the Finals for Perkins.
Sam played a couple more years with the Sonics, then signed as a free agent with the Pacers during Jordan’s 2nd retirement. The deep Pacers team made it to the 2000 NBA Finals since there wasn’t a MJ to deal with in the East but this led to a date with MVP Shaquille O’Neal who ended up putting up Michael Jordan worthy numbers in the Finals. The Lakers won the championship and Perkins was now 0-3 in the Finals.
Perkins retired after the next season without ever winning a ring and unfairly earning the nickname of “The Unlucky Horry.”
Well at least Perkins can say he was a two time NCAA champion, a lottery pick and in my book, a pretty underrated-before-his-time player.