Alfred "Butch" Lee, Jr. (born December 5, 1956) is a Puerto Rican retired professional basketball player. He began his career in the NCAA, where he gathered several "Player of the Year" recognitions and earned All-American honors as both a junior and senior while at Marquette University. Lee was selected as the Most Outstanding Player at the 1977 Final Four where he led the Warriors to the school's first national championship. The university recognized this by retiring his jersey. Lee was the first Puerto Rican and Latin American-born athlete to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), accomplishing this after being selected in the first round of the 1978 NBA draft. There he played for the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Lee concluded his career in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN). He is known to be the only Puerto Rican professional basketball player to win championships in the NCAA, NBA, and BSN. Lee was a member of the Puerto Rican national team.
|Born||December 5, 1956|
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school||DeWitt Clinton|
(The Bronx, New York)
|NBA draft||1978 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall|
|Selected by the Atlanta Hawks|
|1975–1977||Cardenales de Río Piedras|
|1980||Los Angeles Lakers|
|1984||Cardenales de Río Piedras|
|1985||Brujos de Guayama|
|1985||Atléticos de San Germán|
|1986–1989||Leones de Ponce|
|1990||Polluelos de Aibonito|
|1999||Indios de Mayagüez|
|2001–2002||Tiburones de Aguadilla|
|2002–2004||Gigantes de Carolina|
|2009||Cangrejeros de Santurce|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Early life and collegeEdit
Lee was born in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico to Gloria and Alfred Lee, Sr. Lee's family moved to Harlem, New York, U.S., when he was a young child. There he went on to become a 1st Team, PSAL All City basketball player and honor student at the DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. Lee showed talent for basketball since an early age, and he impressed many college scouts with his game style. He accepted an offer to play for Marquette University, starring there from 1974 to 1978. In 1974 Lee asked his coach Al McGuire to allow him to play for the United States Olympic basketball team. However, his coach had sent someone else and Lee went to Puerto Rico where he qualified for the Puerto Rican national basketball team. When Puerto Rico played against the U.S. in the 1976 Summer Olympics, Lee made 15 out of 18 field goals and scored 35 points. The U.S. still avoided an upset, defeating Puerto Rico by one point, 95-94.
In 1977, Lee led Marquette to the Final Four in what McGuire had announced would be his final season. The Warriors defeated UNC-Charlotte 51-49 in the semifinal round when Lee found Jerome Whitehead with a length of the court pass for a score just before the buzzer. In the final against North Carolina, Lee scored 19 points and led the Warriors to a come-from-behind 67-59 victory to secure the national championship. Lee was named the tournament's most outstanding player.
Lee in the NBAEdit
During Lee's first season in the NBA (1978-79), he started with the Hawks averaging 7.7 points per game during 49 games. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he enjoyed what were perhaps his best games in the league, scoring 11.5 points per game in the remaining 33 games of the season. He ended up scoring an average of 9.6 points per game in his first season in the NBA. Lee led the league in games played with 82.
After three games with the Cavs in the 1979-1980 season, Lee suffered a knee injury that would require surgery, and proved to be too big of an obstacle for him to overcome as far as his basketball career was concerned. He only scored 1.3 points per game on those three games. Before the season was over, he would be traded once again, to the Los Angeles Lakers, where, he played alongside Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others, for eleven games, before his injury recurred, forcing him to retire. He did, however, win an NBA championship ring, as the Lakers went on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in that season's NBA Finals.
Lee's NBA stats in 96 games are 779 points with an 8.1 PPG average, 307 assists with a 3.2 APG average, 137 rebounds with a 1.4 RPG average, 87 steals with a 0.9 SPG average, a .450 field goal percentage, and a .761 free-throw percentage.
He continued to help out with teams and coached some of them at the Guaynabo Basketball Academy (GBA).
- Joshua Motenko (2006-07-10). "The Globalization of Basketball: Latin America". NBADraft.net. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
- "Butch Lee tears cartilage in his knee". Wausau Daily Herald. Wausau, Wisconsin. AP. August 18, 1979. Retrieved April 1, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- "Butch Lee Back But Not Ready". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico. AP. December 12, 1979. Retrieved April 1, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- Butch Lee statistics Archived 2007-11-28 at the Wayback Machine at basketballreference.com
- Capitanes de Arecibo History Archived 2011-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
- "Butch Lee, nuevo dirigente de Santurce" by AP, from El Nuevo Día (January 13, 2009)
- "Santurce queda fuera de la lucha por la serie semifinal" by AP, from El Expreso (July 6, 2009)
- "El Primero: The story of the first Hispanic player in the NBA". Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Retrieved April 1, 2017 – via YouTube.