Daniel Lewis Majerle (//; born September 9, 1965), also known by the nickname "Thunder Dan", is an American retired professional basketball player and current coach of the Grand Canyon Antelopes. He played 14 years in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. He won a bronze medal with the US national team at the 1988 Summer Olympics, and a gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championship.
Majerle in 2015 as Grand Canyon head coach
|Grand Canyon Antelopes|
|League||Western Athletic Conference|
|Born||September 9, 1965|
Traverse City, Michigan
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||222 lb (101 kg)|
|High school||Central (Traverse City, Michigan)|
|College||Central Michigan (1984–1988)|
|NBA draft||1988 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14th overall|
|Selected by the Phoenix Suns|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|2008–2013||Phoenix Suns (associate HC)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||10,925 (11.4 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,265 (4.5 rpg)|
|Assists||2,755 (2.9 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Majerle was born in Traverse City, Michigan. He starred for Traverse City High School (now Traverse City Central High School) and Central Michigan University, where he played for four years with averages of 21.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. He held the school season record for points until Marcus Keene broke the mark in the 2016-17 season.
Majerle's great-grandfather Frank Majerle Sr. emigrated to the United States in 1901 at age 20 from what is now Slovenia, but was then part of Austria-Hungary. Frank Sr. settled in Haring, Michigan and married American-born Anna Suhorepec (anglicised to Suhropetz) whose parents were also from Yugoslavia, more specifically Slovenia.
Phoenix Suns (1988–1995)Edit
The Suns selected Majerle with the 14th pick of the 1988 NBA draft, which the Suns acquired (along with Kevin Johnson) in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Larry Nance. During the draft, he was promptly booed when his name was announced over the public address system. Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons publicly chastised the Suns fans and told them "you'll be sorry you ever booed this young man". In his rookie season Majerle only played in 54 games and started in 5, averaging 8.6 points as a bench player. The Suns would win 55 games and make the playoffs, and Majerle increased his scoring average to 14.3 points a game as Phoenix advanced all the way to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
The young Majerle would continue to be used as a backup for the next two seasons, and would become popular for his impressive jumping ability and "thunderous" slam dunk that would lead to his nickname "Thunder Dan". During the 1989–90 season, he would start in 23 games, increasing his scoring average to 11 points a game as the Suns again advanced to the Western Conference Finals where this time they were eliminated by the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite another successful season for Majerle and the Suns in the 1990–91 season, they would fall in the first round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz. Majerle had become an effective three-point shooter and defensive specialist, and would be named to the 1990–91 NBA All-Defensive Second team at the conclusion of the season.
The 1992 season would feature more improvement for Majerle, who had become an even more effective three-point shooter and defensive specialist. Despite starting in just 15 of the 82 games he played in, Majerle was selected to play in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. The Suns again made the playoffs, but lost in the conference semifinals to Portland. In the offseason, Phoenix managed to pull off a major step towards an NBA Title, as they acquired superstar forward Charles Barkley in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.
1993: Trip to the FinalsEdit
The Suns had improved significantly with the addition of Barkley, while the trade itself which featured the departure of guard Jeff Hornacek meant that Majerle would now serve as the team's starting shooting guard. The result would be a 62-win season for Phoenix, with Barkley winning the Most Valuable Player Award and Majerle finishing second on the team in scoring while being named to his second NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Majerle also finished first in the NBA in three-point field goals made and attempted, and scored 18 points in the 1993 NBA All-Star Game. The Suns entered the playoffs as the number 1 seed in the Western Conference, and would defeat the Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Seattle SuperSonics to reach the NBA Finals with Majerle averaging 15 points in the playoffs and posting big games such as a 34-point performance in the 5th game against Seattle. In the Finals, the Suns faced the defending champion Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and despite having home court advantage the Suns could not beat the 2-time champions who won in 6 games to win 3 championships in a row. Majerle performed well in the Suns win in game 3, scoring 28 points in the crucial win in Chicago.
Last years in PhoenixEdit
Majerle would again lead the league in three-point field goals and attempts in the 1993–94 season, as the Suns won 56 games and made the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion Houston Rockets in a 7-game semifinal series. He would then go on to play for Team USA and win in the World Championships in Canada. He would earn another selection to the All-Star game in the following season, scoring 10 points in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game which was held in Phoenix. Despite this, Majerle started in 46 games, playing small forward often as the team now featured Wesley Person at shooting guard and veteran A. C. Green at forward. The Suns again lost in the semifinals to Houston in 7 games, and Majerle was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the offseason.
Cleveland Cavaliers (1995–1996)Edit
In Cleveland, Majerle was used as a reserve at small forward, starting in 15 of the 82 games behind Chris Mills and averaging 10.6 points a game. The Cavaliers won 47 games before losing to the New York Knicks in a 3-game sweep in the first round, with Majerle increasing his scoring to 16.7 (second on the team) during the series. In the offseason the Cavaliers released Majerle, and he would go on to sign with the Miami Heat.
Miami Heat (1996–2001)Edit
The Heat were a team with a bright future, as they featured all-stars Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, and were coached by Pat Riley. Injuries limited Majerle to 36 games during the 1996–97 season, as the Heat managed to win a franchise best 61 games and the Atlantic Division. During the regular season, on December 7, 1996, against the Chicago Bulls, Majerle made a three-pointer with one second remaining to win the game 83–80 and snap the Bulls' NBA record 44 home-game winning streak. In the playoffs, the veteran Majerle was in healthy shape, and the Heat beat the up-and-coming Orlando Magic in the first round before facing the Knicks in a grueling 7 game series in which Majerle scored 18 points in the sixth game. The Heat would eventually fall to the defending champion Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals in 5 games.
Majerle would again play as the team's backup small forward in the 1997–98 season, averaging 7 points a game as one of the team's main three-point threats, and Miami would post another winning season before losing to New York in the first round of the playoffs. The 1998–99 season would be shortened to 50 games as a result of a league lockout, and with teammate Voshon Lenard hurt for much of the season, Majerle stepped in to start in 48 games. Miami won another Atlantic Division title, but again lost to New York in 5 games in the first round.
The team continued to use Majerle as a starter during the 1999–2000 season, as he started in 69 of 82 games and again averaged 7 points during the season. In the playoffs, Miami defeated the Detroit Pistons in the first round before facing the Knicks in another 7 game series in which New York again prevailed. Majerle averaged 9 points in the playoffs and led the team with 20 three-point field goals. In the 2000 offseason it was revealed that Alonzo Mourning would not play as a result of a kidney disease, and the 2000–01 season would feature new acquisitions such as Eddie Jones and Anthony Mason, and Majerle would serve as a reserve. The Heat would lose in the first round of the playoffs in a sweep to the Charlotte Hornets, and in the offseason Majerle would sign a deal returning to his original team in Phoenix.
Return to Phoenix (2001–2002)Edit
In his return to the Suns, Majerle received much praise and applause from the hometown Suns fans, playing in 65 games and leading the team in three-point field goals made with 79. His NBA career finished on April 17, 2002, when he officially retired as a member of his original team.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|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|
Majerle was inducted into the Suns' "Ring of Honor" on March 9, 2003. In 2006, he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2003, Majerle made his broadcasting debut covering the 2003 NBA Playoffs for TNT and later became an analyst for ESPN. During the 2005 All-Star Weekend, he was a member of the Phoenix team that won the Shooting Stars Competition.
Majerle was the associate head coach for the Phoenix Suns from 2008–2013.
Grand Canyon UniversityEdit
Majerle owns five sports grill restaurants called "Majerle's".
His nephew, Ryan Majerle played for the 2011–12 University of Toledo Rockets men's basketball team before deciding to transfer to Grand Valley State University and then follow his uncle to Grand Canyon University.
Majerle also appears sporadically throughout the NBA 2K franchise.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Grand Canyon Antelopes (Western Athletic Conference) (2013–present)|
|2013–14||Grand Canyon||15–15||10–6||3rd||CIT First Round|
|2014–15||Grand Canyon||17–15||8–6||T–2nd||CIT First Round|
|2015–16||Grand Canyon||27–7||11–3||T–2nd||CIT Quarterfinal|
|2017–18||Grand Canyon||22–12||9–5||3rd||CBI First Round|
|2018–19||Grand Canyon||20–14||10–6||3rd||CBI First Round|
|Grand Canyon:||123–72 (.631)||59–28 (.678)|
- 1994 USA Basketball Archived November 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls, December 7, 1996 - Official Play-by-Play
- NBA.com Dan Majerle
- "NBA All-Star Shooting Stars Winners". NBA.com. August 24, 2017. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018.
- "DAN MAJERLE NAMED GCU MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH". gcu.edu. March 18, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- Grand Canyon University - GCU takes Global Sports Classic title with win over Marshall
- Majerle\'s Sports Grill | Downtown Phoenix, Chandler, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Arizona
- Ryan Majerle Biography - University of Toledo Rockets Athletics Official Site - UTRockets.com Archived October 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine