Learn More About Larry Steele
Ever wonder about those jerseys hanging from the rafters in the Rose Garden? We're giving you an overview of all the special people who have had their jerseys retired in Portland.
Jersey Number: 15
Selected in 3rd round, 37th pick overall, in the 1971 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky). Joined the team at the start of the Blazers’ second season and became a roster mainstay for nine years before injuries forced him into retirement at the end of the 1979-80 season. His 610 games in a Portland uniform ranks sixth on the club’s all-time list. .
The skinny Hoosier who was at home at either guard or small forward was a smart player who learned his fundamentals under the great Adolph Rupp at Kentucky. His quick hands and defensive savvy led to him becoming the Blazers first NBA statistical leader, topping the charts in steals in 1973-74 with 2.68 swipes a game.
His best season was the championship year when he averaged 10.1 points even though he started just nine games that year. His versatility and defensive skills were major assets all through his career. Taking chances at the defensive end also made him the club’s all-time leader in personal foul DQs---45. During his nine-year NBA career, all with the Trail Blazers, Larry averaged 8.2 points, 2.9 assists, 1.39 steals and 24.2 minutes while starting 337 games.
After his playing days, he worked in the Blazers front office in marketing and served as a commentator with broadcaster Bill Schonely. Later, he took on the head basketball coaching job at the University of Portland.
The number was officially retired in the halftime ceremonies of an Oct. 11, 1981, preseason game.