When new Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was preparing to teach the triangle offense to his young team in 1999, he decided to sign veteran free agent Ron Harper, who had won three NBA titles under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls.
Turned out to be a great move, as Harper spent the last two seasons of his 15-year NBA career with the Lakers and wound up with two more championship rings. More than just a mentor for the up-and-coming players, Harper was the starting point guard for all but four games in the regular season and all of the postseason.
During the playoffs Harper was fourth on the team in points (10.8 points), second in assists (3.2) and second in steals (1.0). His most memorable contribution was his game-winning shot with 29.9 seconds remaining in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against Portland.
He was sidelined because of an injury for the second half of the 2000-01 season but returned for some of the postseason, making some key shots against the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals.
Harper, who has overcome a severe stuttering problem, volunteers at Widney High, a special-education school in Los Angeles.
Feb. 12, 2011