Derek Harper : Stats, Net Worth, All Star & Family

This article was last updated by on

Derek Harper, a retired American professional basketball athlete and 16 years veteran player of the NBA, has truly made a name for himself in the basketball world.

Known for his defending and quick scoring skills, Harper is still the career leader in the steals and assists categories of the Dallas Mavericks.

Derek Harper During The Game
Derek Harper During The Game (Source: Twitter)

Derek’s incredible career as a professional basketball athlete started after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him during the 1983 NBA Draft.

Derek has played for various famous NBA teams like Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 16 years of playing career. 

Furthermore, let’s get to know more about the famous Maverick’s Legend, Derek Harper but first, let’s look into some of Derek’s quick facts. 

Quick Facts

Full Name  Derek Ricardo Harper
Birth Date October 13, 1961 
Age   62 Years Old
Birth Place Elberton, Georgia
Nickname Harp
Religion Not Available
Nationality American
Education Roosevelt Junior High School, North Shore High School, University of Illinois
Horoscope Libra
Father’s Name Not Disclosed
Mother’s Name Wilma Harper
Siblings Nine
Height 6’4” (1.93 m)
Weight 185 lbs (84 kgs)
Build Athletic
Shoe Size 12 1/2″
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Black
Marital Status Married
Spouse   Sheila Harper
Children Darius Harper, Dana Harper
Profession Retired Professional Basketball Player
Draft 1983
Number 12, 11
Position Point Guard
Former Teams Dallas Mavericks
New York Knicks
Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Lakers
Net Worth $13 million
Awards and Achievements 2× NBA All-Defensive Second Team- 1987, 1990
Second-team All-American – AP- 1983
First-team Parade All-American- 1980
Social Media Twitter
Merch  Not Available
Last Update May, 2024

Early Life, Family & Education 

Sixteen years veteran player Derek Harper was born on October 13, 1961, in Elberton, Georgia, to his proud mother, Wilma Harper. Derek has not revealed anything about his father yet to any sources. 

Moreover, Derek had a tough childhood as his mother was a single mother working two jobs. As a result, Derek and his nine siblings were raised solely by their single mother in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

Derek Harper Posing For The Camera
Derek Harper Posing For The Camera (Source: Twitter)

Wilma was ill and admitted to the hospital during Derek’s jersey retirement ceremony. According to Harper, his mother watched the entire ceremony on TV in her hospital room. 

Furthermore, after watching the ceremony, Derek’s mother died the next morning at 79 years old. 

During Harper’s jersey retirement speech, he stated that- 

“I have a very prayerful mother; she prays for me every moment, so, mom, thank you for your prayers, your guidance, but most importantly, teaching me to love my enemies.” 

According to Derek’s birthdate, he falls under the sun sign of Libra. Libra men are known for their calm, collected, and optimistic traits. 

Age, Height, And Body Measurements

Moreover, Derek turned [calculate years datestring=”10/13/1961″] Years Old in 2024. Harper’s listed height and weight are 6’4” (1.93 m) and 185 lbs (84 kgs), respectively. 

Likewise, Harper has an athletic build and possesses brown-colored eyes and black-colored hair. 


Initially, Harper attended and graduated from Roosevelt Junior High School, located in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Later high school, Harper graduated from North Shore High School, located in West Palm Beach, Florida.

As for college, Derek attended the University of Illinois and played three seasons representing the Illinois athletic team Illinois Fighting Illini

Moreover, under head coach Lou Henson, Harper had his best season during the 1982–1983 season. During the season, Derek led the team with 15.4 points per game. 

Because of his exceptional performance, Harper became part of the Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big Ten in 1983. Similarly, Derek was also part of the Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 1981 and 1982. 

Furthermore, throughout Harper’s college career, his average was 4.7 assists per game. Also, he led the Big Ten Conference in assists during seasons 1981-82. 

Likewise, in 2004, Derek became part of the Illini Men’s Basketball All-Century Team. 

Career And Profession 

Now let’s hop into Derek Harper’s professional career as a basketball athlete. 

Dallas Mavericks

Derek was drafted by the Dalla Mavericks at the height of 6’4″ as an 11th overall pick during the 1983 NBA draft. Harper spent his rookie season representing the Mavericks with an average of 6.1 assists and 15 points. 

Moreover, during the first stint with the team, Derek was part of the starting backcourt tandem with Rolando Blackman, an All-Star Shooting Guard. During Derek’s tenure with the Mavericks, the team made it to the playoffs for 6 out of 10 years and the Western Conference Finals during the 1987-1988 season. 

After Derek’s Tenure, the Mavericks could never replicate the same success they had while he was part of their team, which is why Derek Harper, to this day, is known as the Mavericks Legend

Derek Harper Watching The Match
Derek Harper Watching The Match (Source: Sportscasting)

Furthermore, Derek has recorded over 10 PPG average during multiple seasons, becoming one of the greatest defenders and scorers of all time. Harper’s best season was during the 1990-1991 season, where he recorded an average of 19.7 PPG.

However, even after his exceptional record, he still didn’t make it to the All-Star team, and Dallas ended the year with only a 28-54 record. Nonetheless, Derek even played well for the rest of his term in Dallas, but the team was dreadful at the time.

Likewise, during the 1992-1993 season, the Mavericks finished with an 11-71 score, one of their worst records to date. Derek spent two more seasons with the Dallas Mavericks before departing the team during the 1993-1994 season.

New York Knicks

The Dallas Mavericks traded Derek to New York Knicks, where he was reunited with Rolando Blackman. The trade took place after the 28 games during the 1993-1994 season.

The Knicks selected Derek to replace the defensive point guard, Doc Rivers, as he was injured and sidelined for the rest of the season.

The trade sent Harper from the team with a score of 13–69 to the team that won the 1994 NBA Championship, where he was an integral part. 

Moreover, Harper’s stats descended as he had to adjust to not having an individual role in the team.

However, Derek’s best season while representing New York Knicks was during the last year he played for the Knicks. During that season, Harper had an average of 14.0 PPG. 

Thus, the New York Knicks released Derek on July 14, 1996. After his release, Harper became a free agent in the NBA. 

Return To Dallas

After Harper became a free agent, he returned to Dallas Mavericks after signing with them on July 26, 1996.

Moreover, upon his return, Derek’s average was 4.3 APG and 10.0 PPG. At the time, Harper was 35 years old and played well. However, the team was still dreadful, and they finished the season with only 24 wins. 

Likewise, the 1996-1997 NBA season was the final season where Derek would represent the Dallas Mavericks. 

Orlando Magic

Furthermore, after Derek’s second stint with the Mavericks, they traded Harper and Ed O’Bannon to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Dennis Scott and some cash. 

With the Orlando Magic, Harper played for one season. However, his score and overall play dropped off, but Derek was still a reliable bench player.

At the time, the Orlando Magic’s had a decent set of rosters, but the team members were mostly old. 

Around 16 out of the team’s 22 players were 30 years old or even older than 30 years. Derek was one of the more senior players on the team. At the time, he was 36 years old. 

Moreover, the team recorded an average record of 41-41 but missed the playoffs. Thus, Derek’s contract with the Orlando Magic expired during the 1998 offseason, and he left the team.  

Los Angeles Lakers 

After the contract expiration with the Orlando Magic, Derek signed with the Los Angeles Laker as a free agent.

At the time Lakers were a reliable team and were led by great players like Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The team made it to the playoffs, and it was the first time Harper had reached the playoffs since 1996 with the Knicks.

The Lakers made it to the second round but got swept by the San Antonio Spurs. This would be the final year of Harper’s career.

Darek Harper (middle) Covering For Fox Sports
Darek Harper (middle) Covering For Fox Sports (Source: Fox Sports)

The Lakers reached the playoffs for the 1999 season, which was the first time Derek entered the playoffs since 1996 while representing New York Knicks.

The Lakers successfully made it to the second round of the playoffs but eventually lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

The 1999 NBA season was the last season for Harper as a professional basketball player. 


After playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team traded Derek to the Detroit Pistons during the 1999 offseason.

However, Harper didn’t report his decision to the team and announced his retirement instead.

Moreover, years after Derek retired from the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks announced their intention to retire Derek’s jersey on December 18, 2017.

Likewise, Harper’s jersey, while representing the Dallas Mavericks #12, was retired by the team on January 7, 2018. 

Furthermore, after retirement, his connection to sports is still intact as a game analyst.

Awards And Achievements

  • Honorable Mention All-Big Ten- 1981
  • Team Captain- 1983 
  • Honorable Mention All-Big Ten- 1982 
  • Team MVP- 1983
  • 1st Team All-Big Ten- 1983  
  • Second Team All-American- 1983 
  • Elected to the “Illini Men’s Basketball All-Century Team”- 2004 
  • Acknowledged as one of the 33 honored jerseys present in the State Farm Center to show appreciation for being the most enhanced basketball players in the history of the University of Illinois- 2008 
  • Retirement of #12 Dallas Mavericks jersey- 2018 

How Much Is Derek Harper Worth? 

Known as one of the greatest defenders and scorers of all time, Derek Harper has achieved a lot during his 16 years of professional career.

Because of his exceptional skills, Harper has achieved rank 11 with the most steals and rank 17 with the most assists in the course of NBA history. 

Moreover, Harper has undoubtedly earned a pretty good amount throughout his career while representing famous NBA teams. 

Likewise, NBA athletes’ salaries range from the sum of $20 thousand to $35 million. Each player’s salary varies from one another and is affected by various factors.

Although Harper has not revealed anything about his career earnings looking back at his accomplishments, we can assume that he falls under the category of top-ranked players and, thus, has acquired an impressive amount of earnings throughout his professional career. 

Therefore, we can state that- 

The presumable net worth of Derek Harper falls around $13 million.

Wife And Children 

Derek Harper is married to Sheila Harper. Although there isn’t much information available regarding their marriage, we can reasonably assume that they have been together for a long time and are still married to each other. 

Moreover, Derek and Sheila have two children together named Darius Harper and Dana Harper. 

Dana is a singer who was famous for being part of season 11 of the American singing competition television series called The Voice.

Likewise, Darek’s son Darius also played basketball during his high school and collegiate years. 

Social Media Presence

Twitter 6 thousand followers 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Is Derek Harper in the Hall of Fame?

No, Derek Harper is not part of the Hall of Fame. 

Is Derek Harper still commentating?

In September 2021, Derek Harper started commentating for his 11th full season on the telecast as the team’s TV analyst. That was while Jeff “Skin” Wade enters his 13th season as an analyst.

Aaditya Bhatta
Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta is a dynamic writer and sports enthusiast, whose passion for both realms is reflected in his work. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, Aaditya brings a unique perspective to his writing, captivating readers with his engaging content.


Sports Analysis Content Creation


  • Aaditya has consistently delivered insightful analysis and captivating content across various platforms.
  • From in-depth match reports to thought-provoking opinion pieces, Aaditya's versatility shines through in his ability to tackle diverse topics


Aaditya's journey as a writer and sports aficionado began at a young age when he discovered his passion for both pursuits. Throughout his academic and professional endeavors, Aaditya has honed his skills in content creation and sports analysis, immersing himself in the intricacies of the games he loves.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest News