#9 Dan Majerle (aka "Thunder Dan")
Position: Guard-Forward ▪ Height: 6-6 ▪ Weight: 215 lbs.
Born: September 9, 1965 (Age 46) in Traverse City, Michigan
High School: Traverse City in Traverse City, Michigan
College: Central Michigan University
Draft: Phoenix Suns, 1st round (14th pick, 14th overall), 1988 NBA Draft
NBA Debut: November 4, 1988
In 1990-91 Majerle blossomed in his role as sixth man, doing it all for the Suns as a catalyst off the bench. He averaged 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.38 steals. On a well-balanced team, he ranked second in offensive rebounds (168) and fifth in scoring ... At season's end, Majerle was runner-up by one vote to the Indiana Pacers' Detlef Schrempf for the league's Sixth Man Award. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Majerle played in 77 games, missing five contests in April because of a benign cyst in his spine. He underwent successful surgery in the offseason to remove the cyst ... Phoenix compiled a 55-27 mark in the regular season before losing to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Majerle's postseason performance mirrored that of the Suns, as he dipped to 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in the playoffs.
Although he began the 1991-92 campaign as a starter in the season's first 12 games, Majerle returned to his more familiar role as the team's sixth man for 67 of his 82 appearances. Consistently strong on the defensive end, Majerle added a new dimension to his game when he became a devastating three-point shooter. His 30 three-pointers in 1990-91 had been a career high, but he shattered that mark in 1991-92 by hitting 87 of 228 attempts for a .382 percentage. He led the team in three-pointers made and ranked second to Jeff Hornacek (.439) in three-point percentage ... For the season, Majerle averaged a career-best 17.3 points, adding 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest. His all-around contributions were recognized by Western Conference coaches when they selected him to his first NBA All-Star Game. "Thunder Dan" exploded for 37 points against the Charlotte Hornets on November 29. The following night against the Utah Jazz he played a season-best 51 minutes ... Although Majerle's postseason figures improved from the previous year's totals, the Suns' playoff fortunes were disappointing. He averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists, but Phoenix lost in five games to Portland in the Western Conference Semifinals. That series included a Game 4 Suns loss at home in which Phoenix scored 151 points; however, the Trail Blazers scored 153. In the offseason, Majerle underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
Majerle's prowess was equally devastating on the offensive and defensive ends in 1992-93. He ranked second on the Suns in scoring (16.9 ppg) and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. In addition, he enjoyed his second consecutive trip to the NBA All-Star Game, in which he scored 18 points in 26 minutes ... The former Central Michigan standout also continued to bomb from long range, finishing the season tied for the league lead in three-point field goals (167) with Reggie Miller. He hit at least 1 three-pointer in 64 games and set a Suns record with 8 treys in a game on January 30, 2 shy of the NBA mark. Majerle also ranked third on the Suns in steals (1.68 per game) and assists (3.8 apg) and fourth in rebounds (4.7 rpg) ... Majerle was the Suns' iron man, playing and starting in all 82 regular-season games. He played the entire 48 minutes three times, including twice in five days. Majerle hit 2 three-pointers in the final 10.8 seconds against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 6, including the game-winner at the buzzer ... Phoenix rode Charles Barkley's broad shoulders all the way to the NBA Finals in 1993. However, Majerle was also a key contributor. He hit 8 three-pointers to set both an NBA and a Suns playoff record in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics. The Suns then carried the league's best record into the championship series against the Chicago Bulls but lost in six games ... Majerle contributed 15.4 points per game in the postseason, hitting 54 three-pointers in 24 games. Six of those 54 came in Game 3 of the championship series against the Bulls, tying an NBA Finals record.
In 1993-94 he hit 192 three-pointers on 503 three-point attempts and finished with a .382 three-point percentage. His 16.5 points per game for the year ranked fourth on the Suns behind Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, and Cedric Ceballos. ... Majerle demonstrated his shooting prowess on November 9 against the Clippers at Los Angeles, when he hit 8 of 12 three-point attempts for a season-high 35 points. He nailed at least 5 treys on 10 other occasions, including one game with 7 and three with 6. After the season, which concluded with Phoenix losing to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals, Majerle participated on Dream Team II, the U.S. squad that won a gold medal at the 1994 World Championship of Basketball in Ontario, Canada.
Majerle had an up-and-down season in 1994-95. Early in the campaign, with Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson slowed by injuries, Majerle was the key to the Phoenix Suns' attack. In the first half of the season he averaged 17.4 points and was voted to be a starter on the All-Star Team, although ironically he was being used off the bench for Phoenix. He therefore became the first reserve to be voted an All-Star starter since fan balloting began in 1975 ... In the second half of the season his shooting was erratic, and he averaged 13.3 points. He finished with an average of 15.6 points per game, third on the team, to go with 4.6 rebounds and a career-best 4.1 assists per contest. He led the team in playing time, averaging 37.7 minutes, and often drew assignments on the opposition's best off guard or small forward. He tied for second in the league in three-pointers made at 199.
-The Suns acquired the 14th pick in the '88 draft by trading Anderson, SC native Larry Nance to Cleveland in exchange for the pick (they selected Majerle) and PG Kevin Johnson. Both players blossomed into all-stars for Phoenix.
-Although he's most known for his precise 3 point shooting, Majerle got his nickname "Thunder" from the "thunderous" dunks and down low moves he displayed while at Central Michigan and early in his NBA career. Majerle is most noted for his tenure with the Suns, but also has a HUGE following in the Miami Heat fanbase from his 5 seasons there.