Alan Henderson: NBA Power Forward from Fishers

Towering over other basketball players at a massive 6’9″, Alan Henderson was a monolithic NBA player from Fishers, Indiana, a prosperous suburb just outside of Indianapolis. Henderson retired from the NBA in 2007 after being tossed around by several different teams, but his history in Indiana sports is pretty bright for such a minor NBA star. Born in 1972 in West Virginia, Alan Henderson came to the Hoosier State by way of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indy, a private Indianapolis school on the north side. While playing basketball with Brebeuf, his team made it to the Indiana State Championships, but they were beaten by Gary Roosevelt High School, a team that featured future Purdue University star, NBA player, and Henderson’s college rival, Glenn Robinson.

After graduating from Brebeuf, Alan Henderson went down to Bloomington, Indiana to attend Indiana University. During his time as a Hoosier, Henderson led the team in rebounds all four years, and he took his team to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in 1992. Alan Henderson is still the only Indiana University player to be in the top five all time for scoring, rebounding, steals, and blocked shots. Henderson was so good, in fact, that he was selected to be on the United States men’s basketball team for the 1994 Goodwill Games, an international sports competition meant to provide an Olympic style event during the boycott of the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

Henderson’s skill on the court was well known by the end of his college career. In 1995, Alan Henderson was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks as the 16th overall pick in the NBA draft. Henderson’s NBA career began promisingly enough: he ranked second in total blocked shots with the Hawks during his rookie year, and he earned the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award for the 1997-1998 season. Alan Henderson spent nine seasons with the mediocre Hawks, one of the only solidly entrenched players on a squad that reached the playoffs only a few times during Henderson’s tenure.

The middle 2000’s saw Henderson being swapped from team to team, never able to find a foothold in an increasingly short term set of deals. In August of 2004, Alan Henderson was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, a team he played with for less than a year. Henderson was again moved in February of 2005, when he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. He never actually played with the Bucks; the team waived him a day after he was traded, and Henderson soon re-signed with the Mavericks. Later in 2005, Henderson again left the Mavericks, this time joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a reserve power forward for the Cavs, and he appeared in 51 regular season games. Henderson again changed teams in 2006, when he left the Cavs for the Philadelphia 76ers, a relationship that again only lasted a year. In a move similar to his acquisition by the Bucks, Alan Henderson was traded to the Utah Jazz in 2007, was released from the team a few days later, and again re-signed with his former team, the 76ers.

This Indianapolis sports figure played out the rest of the year for the 76ers before deciding to retire from professional basketball. Though his NBA career was less than stellar, Alan Henderson is still recognized as a competent power forward who remained competitive no matter what team he was on. He saw a small measure of success during his tenure with the Hawks, but his constant motion from 2004 to 2007 never allowed him to get comfortable with a team again. His successes at Brebeuf and Indiana University paved the way for his NBA career, but perhaps this famous Fishers person will be remembered more for his potential than his skill.

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