13abc salutes Black History Month: Former NBA star Dennis Hopson

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 9:10 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -Former NBA star and Ohio State University’s all-time leading scorer Dennis Hopson recollects his basketball career.

Far and few professional Basketball players win a championship ring, in fact, many dedicated their adolescence to pursuing the dream. However, Hopson, who was among the elite group of NBA champions, told 13abc he did not always love the sport.

“People recognized that gift, I never knew that I had the gift. I knew that I was probably one of the most talented kids on the basketball court, even at a young age. But, again, my love for the game, it wasn’t there,” he said.

Hopson didn’t play varsity basketball until his sophomore year of high school. However, he recalls when his love for the game sparked.

“I’ll never forget my junior year, we played Scott High School at Centennial Hall at the time and I scored 36 that night. That’s when things really started taking off,” Hopson said.

Hopson went on to play ball at the Ohio State University, break the all-time leading scoring record in which he still holds. His career continued as he was drafted third-pick by the New Jersey Nets in 1987.

“I’ll never forget the first time, I got to New Jersey, I went to the mall and I was in my corvette and I came out of the mall and someone had stolen my top off of the car and that was my first welcome to the East Coast,” Hopson said.

Hopson played in New Jersey for three years before being traded to the Chicago Bulls. Yet, a chance to play with Michael Jordan didn’t excite him at all.

“I knew going to Chicago and playing behind the best player to play the game of basketball wasn’t going to benefit me because we played the same position,” Hopson said.

Despite spotty minutes, Hopson said it was in Chicago is where he got his mojo back. And a chance to have something every NBA player dream of, a championship ring.

“... you have your mega stars Charles Barkely, Reggie Miller, and those guys played their names are always gonna be at the top of the list everyone’s conversation when you talk about the great ones that played in the NBA but they never got NBA rings,” he said.

Following his ring, Hopson was later traded to the Sacramento Kings, where he averaged 10 points a game. Hopson continued on with his professional career overseas before retiring.

So why has he decided to remain in Toledo? He told 13abc that his plans of relocation continue to be placed on hold.

" KB, I had planned on being in Florida by now. I’m going to keep my house, but you’re right, I plan on being in Florida,” he said.

Yet, those plans continue to be on hold. In 2019, he was named the head coach of Lourdes University Basketball Team. In 2022, he led the GrayWolves to a conference tournament championship.

“During that week, I was able to think about Dennis you have a gift people taught you certain things why are you keeping it to yourself why don’t you share the information that people shared with you to make you into the person and the player that you are today. So that’s what got me into it... but it slowed me down cause I probably would have a place in Florida right now. I would be going back and forth... but I love what I do,”

Hopson loves what he does and where he does it giving back to his hometown.

“I’m never going to stop until I’m dead and gone, and I’ll be in Florida God-willing. I’ll be in Florida one day, but I’ll never stop giving or trying to help or do what I can for the community, the state, the neighborhood, they took care of me,” he said.

13abc salutes Dennis Hopson and Black History Month.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.