Sam Dekker Bio: Net Worth & Controversy

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Samuel Thomas Dekker is an American professional basketball player who plays small/power forward for the London Lions of the British Basketball League (BBL) and the EuroCup.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say he was born to play basketball. In an interview, Sam Dekker’s father once said,” He grew up with basketballs in the crib, and the day he could walk, he was in the gym.”

Dekker was drafted in the 2015 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets as the 18th overall and later played with teams like Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, and Toronto Raptors.

Sam Dekker, The Small Forward For The London Lions
Sam Dekker, The Small Forward For The London Lions (Source: London Lions)

Besides, the small forward has also played for the Bahçeşehir Koleji in the ING Basketball Super Ligi of Turkey.

Not being restricted to the NBA and Turkey, Sam went on to play for Russian league teams like Lokomotiv Kuban Emiliano Carchia of Sportando and later to the British league.

Dekker also represented his country at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in 2012 and bagged a gold.

We will learn more about this player later in the article but let’s start with the quick facts;

Quick Facts

Full Name Samuel Thomas Dekker
Birth Date May 6, 1994
Birth Place Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA
Nick Name Sam “The Pickup” Dekker, Dekker Dagger
Nationality American
High-School Sheboygan South High School
University University of Wisconsin – Madison
Horoscope Taurus
Father’s Name Todd Dekker
Mother’s Name Carol Dekker
Siblings John Dekker
Age 30 Years Old
Weight 99 kg/219 lb.
Height 6’8″/2.03 m/203 cm
Build Athletic
Marital Status Married
Wife Olivia Harlan
Profession Professional Basketball Player
Position Small Forward / Power Forward
League British Basketball League
Team (current) London Lions
Jersey Number 17
NBA Draft 2015 / Round: 1st / Pick: 18th Overall
Salary $350,000
Net Worth $4 million 
Active Status 2015 – present social
Social Media Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Merch Jersey Patch Basketball Card
Last Update May 2024

High School & College

Dekker enrolled at the Sheboygan Lutheran and helped his high school team win their first-ever WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) state title in 2012.

He scored 40 points, out of which 12 came in the state title game, including the game-winning three-pointer with two seconds on the clock.

That year, he was named 2012 Parade All-American, AP first-team all-state, and Wisconsin Basketball Association’s Mr. Basketball Award for his impressive performance.

Additionally, he was honored with the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year award.

Sophomore & Freshman Year At College

Dekker joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. In his freshman year, he started in three out of 35 games played with the Badgers and won Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice.

His season-high was against Arkansas and Nebraska when he scored 19 points.

Before starting his sophomore year, Sam was named to the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists.

He concluded the season playing 38 games and was named to the Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches and Third Team All-Big Ten by the media.

Junior Year At College

His outstanding playmaking abilities reached off-limits in the NCAA Tournament.

Dekker recorded a career-high 23 points with ten rebounds to lead the 1-seeded Wisconsin to a 79-72 victory in the Sweet 16 against the 4-seeded North Carolina.

He was sometimes called ‘Slam Dekker,’ especially after his game-winning shot against North Carolina.

Kaminsky And Dekker For Wisconsin Badgers
Kaminsky And Dekker For Wisconsin Badgers (Credit: OnMilwaukee)

Dekker Dagger showcased a similar performance at the Elite 8 against Arizona Wildcats, scoring a new career-high 27 points.

Another memorable game was in the Final Four games against undefeated Kentucky Wildcats, where Dekker scored 16 points, leading Wisconsin.

Dekker performed exceptionally in one game after another, but his team finished second after losing to Duke in the NCAA tournament.

Sam declared for the 2015 NBA draft, forgoing his final year of college eligibility.

NBA Draft 2015 

Body Measurements

Body Fat (%) 7.5%
Hand Length 8.5″/0.21 m
Hand Width 9.25″/0.24m
Height w/o Shoes 6’7.75″/2.02m
Height w/ Shoes 6’9″/2.05m
Standing Reach 8’10″/2.69m
Weight 218.6 lb.
Wingspan 6’11.5″/2.12m

Physical Tests

Lane Agility 10.64s
Shuttle Run 2.96s
Three-Quarter Court Sprint 3.28s
Standing Vertical Leap 25.5″
Max Vertical Leap 34.5″

Professional Career

Houston Rockets 

On June 15, 2015, the Houston Rockets selected Dekker in the 2015 NBA draft with the 18th overall pick.

He missed the entire 2015 NBA Summer League due to a back injury but played all eight of the Rockets’ preseason games.

Dekker later joined the Rio Grande Valley Viper, the Rockets D-League affiliate, on a rehab assignment in February 2016.

He scored 19 points in a 132-98 win over Sacramento Kings on December 14, 2016. Similarly, he scored 30 points in a 119-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

After playing, two-season for Houston Rockets, he signed with Los Angeles Clippers for a season. Then, at Cleveland Cavaliers and afterward in Washington Wizard for a single season.

International Leagues

In August 2019, Dekker signed with Russian club PBC Lokomotiv Kuban of the VTB United League & Euro Cup and later joined Turk Telekom of the Turkish Super League on July 23, 2020.

He returned to the states after signing with the Toronto Raptors but was waived on November 6, 2021.

Bahçeşehir Koleji

For 2021-22, Dekker signed with the Turkish Basketball Super League team Bahçeşehir Koleji on December 4, 2021.

Dekker made 21 points playing just 22 minutes, showing his caliber on his debut night.

At the end of the month, he stood as the club’s leading scorer, averaging 13.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 26.7 minutes per game. He helped his team win the 2021-22 FIBA Europe Cup.

For his exceptional season, he won the Most Valuable Player(MVP) on February 6, 2022.

London Lions (2022-Present)

Dekker signed with the London Lions of the British Basketball League (BBL) and the EuroCup on August 7, 2022. So far, he is having a great season with the British team.

Career Highlights & Awards

  • Two times second-team All-Big Ten (2014, 2015)
  • Big Ten All-Freshman Team (2013)
  • First-Team Parade All-American (2012)
  • Wisconsin Mr. Basketball (2012)
  • FIBA Americas U18 Championship (2012)

Personal Life

Parents & Siblings

Sam was born to his father, Todd Dekker, and mother, Carol Dekker, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He never left his hometown in his entire professional NBA career.

Dekker grew up with two siblings, a brother John, and a sister, Hannah.

The Dekker Family
The Dekker Family (Source: Instagram)

Above all, Todd Dekker was Sam’s high school head coach. Todd coached Sam for four years and said,” Not many fathers have this kind of opportunity. I am very grateful to be his mentor for all those years.”

Todd Dekker is very proud of his son’s achievement.

Dating & Marriage

Sam is married to Olivia Harlan. The fire zodiac-signed couple started dating and after a few years, they got married on July 14, 2018.

They welcomed their first child, Harlan Wolf Dekker, in May 2022.

Harlan grew up in a sports enthusiast family in Mission Hills, Kansas, and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014. Olivia also won Miss Kansas Teen USA in 2010.

Sam And Olivia During Their Wedding
Sam And Olivia During Their Wedding (Source: Instagram)

Olivia has worked as a sideline reporter for ESPN since 2015 and covered World Team Tennis for CBS Sports in 2019.

The sportscaster is the daughter of NBA announcer Kevin Harlan and granddaughter of NFL Green Bay Packers Chairman Executive Bob Harlan.

In November 2016, Sam bought a 1568-square-foot condo on the Sheboygan River for $289000.

What Is Sam Dekker’s Current Net Worth?

Sam “The Pickup” Dekker has played for the NBA and other teams from the Turkish and Russian leagues.

Thus, we can make a few calculations and estimate his net worth to be around $4 million. He last played with the Raptors in the NBA and had a salary of $350,000.

As good of a player Sam is, he must earn more than $100k with the Lions in the British league.

Chiefly his net worth is acquired from career salary, endorsements, NBA contracts, international teams, and other sales.

NBA Season Salary
2015-16 (Houston Rockets) $1,646,400
2016-2017 (Houston Rockets) $1,720,560
2017-2018 (Los Angeles Clippers) $1,794,600
2018-2019 (Washington Wizards) $2,760,094
2021-22 (Toronto Raptors) $350,000
Total $8,271,654


The most common thing about any known personality is that they somehow get caught up in controversy one way or another.

Racial tweets

Around August 2018, Dekker sparked a debate among the fans on Twitter with some controversial statements about white pride and possibly being supported by Donald Trump.

Dekker had tweeted in response to an article on “White people have no culture” to his former Wisconsin teammate Bronson Koenig.

He further stated, “Don’t put it in my face that being a white guy is something I’m supposed to be ashamed of.” The tweet has since been deleted.

“I’m proud of who I am, and so should you. But you’re Native American and also white, BK. This article speaks of many untruths about most of our “culture” that we supposedly don’t have,” he tweeted.

It was inappropriate and morally unjustifiable, resulting in much backlash and forcing him to delete the tweet.

Feud With His Teammate

The “All Things Covered” podcast went viral in October 2020. The former Raptors player and Dekker’s ex-teammate, JR Smith, said something reprimanding about him.

Smith hinted that he never got along with Dekker because of his talks regarding “Trump” and being his adherent supporter.

Although San’s wife, Olivia Harlan, a sports reporter, defended her husband, saying,” he is neither a racist nor a Trump supporter,” after the podcast was aired.

Social Media Presence

Sam is an avid social media user. He keeps his fans updated and posts regularly on his social media handles.

The small forward posts feature his teammates, wife, friend, and family. He is available on Instagram under the handle @samdek7, Twitter @dekker, and Facebook @Sam Dekker.


Dekker seems to enjoy his life pretty well as a husband and a pro basketball player.

Instagram: 177k followers

Facebook: 39k followers

Twitter: 277.6k followers


Having played in the NBA, different leagues in Europe, and now playing in the BBL, Sam is continuously gaining popularity.

Sam Dekker's Popularity Graph
Sam Dekker’s Popularity Graph (Source: Google Trends)

The above graph gives brief information about the popularity of Sam Dekker based on Google searches in the United States over a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the Raptors waive Sam Dekker?

The raptors waived them before his contract became the contract guarantee date. This move reportedly was because of money - the Raptors incurred a $350k cap hit and were $618,540 below the luxury tax.

Was Sam Dekker an Unsigned Free Agent?

With the 2021-22 season-ending, he would've been an unrestricted free agent, but after being waived, he was ineligible for a two-way contract with any team. So, he went for Bahçeşehir Koleji of the Turkish league.

Does Sam Dekker have a child?

Sam Dekker has a son, Harlan Wolf Dekker, with his wife, Olivia Harlan.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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