| Date of
(NBA): 32nd pick, 1993
Out of: Mississippi Valley State
Experience: 2 years
Alphonso Ford played only 11 games in the NBA. His first team was the Sonics, for whom he played 6 games on two ten day contracts at the end of the 1993/94 season, and, after an unsuccessful training camp stint with the Clippers in 1994, Ford played 5 more games (and 98 minutes) on a ten day contract from the Sixers in March 1995. He never played in the NBA again.
In between those two sets of 10 day contracts, Ford played in the CBA, which at the time was the premier minor league in America. It is like the D-League is today; if you were nearly in the big leagues, and really really REALLY wanted to get there, you sacrificed some money and went there for the exposure instead of going to Europe for the money. As Ford showed in his two seasons with the Tri-City Chinook, it could work; he scored 23 points per game in the first season, and 24 points per game in the second, becoming a CBA All-Star both times. However, after two years of this CBA/NBA dichotomy, Ford abandoned America and went to Europe.
In the 1995/96 season, Ford averaged 24.9ppg, 3.9rpg and 3.3apg for Huesca in Spain's ACB. Nonetheless, Huesca were relegated, and so Ford moved on to Greece where he spent a year with Papagou. Ford signed a two year deal and averaged 24.6 points per game in his first year, but in the 1997 offseason he was diagnosed with leukaemia, forcing him to miss the whole of the 1997-98 season.
The following season, however, Ford returned to action. And he didn't just return to action as a shell of his former self; instead, he came back and absolutely wrecked it. Ford spent a year with Sporting Athenes, and then signed with Peristeri for two seasons in the 1999 offseason. Once there, he averaged 22.5ppg, 4.1rpg and 2.8apg in his first season, and followed it up with 23.7ppg, 4.2rpg and 3.0apg the following year. The 2000-01 season also saw Ford play in the Euroleague for the first time, where he averaged a whopping 26.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. If you understand European basketball, you'll understand how difficult that is to do.
In the 2001-02 season, now a member of Olympiakos, Ford continued to pour it on. He averaged 24.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the Euroleague, as well as 21.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He left Greece after the 2002 season due to budget cuts, and signed with Siena in Italy, where his numbers dropped slightly. Yet he still averaged 19.1ppg in the Italian league and 17.9ppg in the Euroleague. And he also still had leukaemia.
The 2003-04 season was his last, as by this time, Ford's leukaemia was at an advanced stage. Did it slow him down, though? Did it hell. Despite being ravaged by the disease that would eventually kill him, Ford signed with Scavolini Pesaro and averaged 22.2 points per game in the Italian league. Because of him, Scavolini finished in fourth place in SerieA. Because of him, they were runners up in the Italian Cup. And because of him, Scavolini qualified for the Euroleague for only the second time in their history. They owed all that to a man playing with advanced leukaemia.
After making Scavolini's season for them, Ford retired in August 2004. He died less than three weeks later.