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December 19, 2006 > Lester Connor, NBA

Lester Connor, NBA

Former Chabot star went all the way to the NBA.

by Steve Michel

Chabot College in Hayward has run one of the best junior college athletic programs in the State of California over the last 40 years. Many outstanding basketball players have played for Chabot. Perhaps the best ever was current NBA player, Lester Connor. He is the only former Chabot Gladiator to go on to play professional basketball in the N.B.A.

Conner played for Chabot during the 1978-'79 season. He averaged 29 points per game and was also one of the best defensive basketball players in the Golden Gate Conference. He led Chabot to a Golden Gate Conference title and then all the way to the state championship game against Cypress College of Southern California. Chabot lost mainly because of Cypress's seven foot center, Mark Eaton. Eaton went on to play for college basketball powerhouse, U.C.L.A and then played 15 years for the NBA's Utah Jazz.

After that title game loss, however, Conner accepted a full basketball schlorship to Oregon State University. At Oregon State, Connor became the best defensive player in the Pac-10 conference. He also averaged 14 points per game to go along with his stellar defensive play. Conner was selected first team All Pac-10 in 1982.

After graduating that year, Connor was a first round draft pick of the Golden State Warriors. He was happy to be coming home to Oakland to begin his pro basketball career. (Conner played high school ball at Fremont High School in Oakland.) In his rookie year, Conner averaged 4.9 points and 3.4 assists per game for the Warriors. His second season would be the best of his pro career when he averaged 11.1 points per game; dished 4.9 assists per game; and averaged 3.7 rebounds.

After two more seasons in Oakland he was traded to the Houston Rockets. The next season he went to the New Jersey Nets. The '88-'89 season with New Jersey was another good year for Conner as he averaged 10.1 points per game, 7.4 assists per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. Midway through the '90-'91 season he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Conner was traded again before the 1992 season to the L.A Clippers. He finished his pro career with the Indiana Pacers and the L.A Lakers in the 1995.

Conner played 13 years in the N.B.A and his final career numbers show he averaged 6.3 points per game, 3.9 assists per game, and 2.7 rebounds per game. He had a solid pro basketball career because he lived a clean life, worked hard and did what the coaches asked him to do. He also continued his trademark defensive prowess throughout his pro career.

In his N.B.A career, Conner played against the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson. He will never be compared to those players, but at Chabot College, no other player will be compared to him. He remains the only Chabot star to go all the way to the N.B.A.

 
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