William Mark Price (born February 15, 1964) is the current head coach of the Charlotte 49ers and a former American basketball player who played for 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1986 to 1998. Spending the majority of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his last three years consisted of one season each with the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, and Orlando Magic.
Standing at an even 6 feet (183 cm) tall, Price played ACC basketball player who helped lead the Yellow Jackets to an ACC Championship his junior year by defeating North Carolina in the ACC Tournament championship game. He was named the ACC Most Valuable Player for the 1984–85 season and his jersey was retired. A point guard, he mystified critics who said he was too slow, too small and too deliberate for a high-level game. Selected first in the second round (25th overall) by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1986 NBA draft, he was acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a draft day trade that helped turn the team into an Eastern Conference power.
Price was known as one of the league's most consistent shooters. He finished his career with a 90.4% free throw shooting percentage and a 40% three-point field goal shooting percentage. During the 1988–89 season, Price became the second player, after Larry Bird, to join the NBA's 50-40-90 Club for those who shot at least 40% from three-point range, at least 50% from the field and at least 90% from the free throw line in a single season, and is still one of only six players to have ever done this while also achieving the NBA league minimum number of makes in each category. Price ranked consistently among the assist leaders (as of March 11, 2015, LeBron James surpassed Price's Cavs record of 4,206 assists and became 1st place instead), twice won the Three Point Contest, and was a four-time All-Star. Price was named to the All-NBA First Team after the 1992–93 season. Price currently ranks second in franchise steals with 734, a Cavaliers record that stood until December 9, 2008 when LeBron James surpassed him.
Another one of Price's distinguishing traits on the court was his pioneering of the splitting of the double team. As former teammate Steve Kerr explains, “Mark really revolutionized the way that people attack the screen and roll. To me, he was the first guy in the NBA who really split the screen and roll. A lot of teams started blitzing the pick and roll and jumping two guys at it to take the ball out of the hands of the point guard. He’d duck right between them and shoot that little runner in the lane. Nobody was doing that at that time. You watch an NBA game now and almost everybody does that. Mark was a pioneer in that regard."
He was plagued by injuries late in his career, a factor in his trade to the Washington Bullets prior to the 1995–96 season. He played one season for Washington before moving on to the Golden State Warriors and later the Orlando Magic, where he played his final season. He retired in 1998. Not long after retirement, Price's number, 25, was retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is a member of the Georgia, Ohio, and Oklahoma Sports Halls of Fame.
The city of Enid, Oklahoma, renamed the basketball arena Mark Price Arena, as a tribute to the NBA player's accomplishments, since he was one of the best basketball athletes in Enid High School history.
His brother Brent Price also played for more than ten years in the NBA.
Mark Price began his coaching career during the 1998–99 basketball season as a community coach under head coach and friend Joe Marelle at
- Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
- "The ‘spatial community’ is that which is defined by geography (e.g. municipal boundary, health region)" in Ramsey D, Beesley KB. ‘Perimeteritis’ and rural health in Manitoba, Canada: perspectives from rural healthcare managers. Rural and Remote Health 7: 850. (Online) 2007. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au
NBA career statistics
On March 25, 2015, Price accepted a 5-year, $500,000 with incentive bonuses contract to become the head coach of the Charlotte 49ers. He was introduced to the public as head coach the next afternoon. He replaced Coach Alan Major, who parted ways with Charlotte after two medical leaves during the past season.
Price is credited with helping Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo improve his jump shot. Rondo's scoring was a key factor in the Celtics reaching the 2010 NBA Finals, where they pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to a full seven game series. For the 2010-2011 season, Price joined the Golden State Warriors as an assistant coach with the primary task of improving the Warriors shooting and free throw percentages.
Price was the shooting consultant for the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2007-08 season and named the shooting coach for the Atlanta Hawks for the 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 seasons. Price helped to improve the Hawks offensive output in their first return to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in nearly 10 years during the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
In March 2006, Price was named the inaugural head coach of the Australian NBL's South Dragons, a new franchise for the 2006–07 season, before being fired after the team stumbled to a 0-5 start. The coaching job was later taken over by player Shane Heal. Heal was fired the following year after the Dragons finished last in the NBL for the 2007-08 season.
After Cremins retired from coaching at Georgia Tech, Price then went on the following year to be the head coach at Whitefield Academy in Atlanta for the 2000-01 season leading the team to a 27-5 record and the final eight teams of the state Class A tournament, a 20 win improvement over the prior season and 27 win improvement two seasons before Price arrived. NBA player Josh Smith also played at Whitefield Academy the same season Price was coach.