Kelly Tripucka

Kelly Tripucka

Peter Kelly Tripucka (born February 16, 1959 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey) was a National Basketball Association player for the Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz, and Charlotte Hornets from 1981 to 1991. He is the son of NFL great Frank Tripucka.

High School

Tripucka grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey [ [ "SPORTS PEOPLE: BASKETBALL; Tripucka Is a Net, Sort Of"] , "The New York Times", June 20, 1992. Accessed April 10, 2008. "Playing for the Nets would be a double homecoming of sorts for Tripucka, who grew up in Bloomfield, N.J., and played four seasons under the new Nets coach, CHUCK DALY, when both were with the Detroit Pistons."] and was a three-year starter from 1974-1977 for the Bloomfield High School boy's basketball team. [ [ "PLUS: BASKETBALL; Nets Pick Tripucka As Radio Analyst"] , "The New York Times", September 11, 2001. Accessed January 26, 2008. "He was a two-time basketball all-American at Bloomfield High School."] Twice named to first team all-state. His jersey number 42 was retired by Bloomfield High School.

In 2000 the "Star-Ledger" named Tripucka the "New Jersey Boy's Basketball Player of the Century".


Tripucka was a four-year starter at the University of Notre Dame, leading the Irish in scoring each year and to the NCAA Tournament each of his four years.

NBA career

After being drafted in the first round by the Pistons, Tripucka proved to be a prolific scorer, but a somewhat weak defensive player. After the 1985-86 season, the Pistons traded Tripucka to the Utah Jazz for Adrian Dantley. Tripucka and Jazz coach Frank Layden didn't get along, mostly over his lack of involvement in the offense. At the time, Layden was beginning to build the team around the talents of John Stockton and Karl Malone. Tripucka's open complaining led to his seeing less and less playing time with the Jazz. The Charlotte Hornets selected him in an expansion draft in 1988 after the Jazz left him unprotected. In his years with the expansion Hornets, he was among the team's leading scorers.

In a game between the Hornets and the Jazz in 1989, not long after Layden resigned as the Jazz coach, Karl Malone expressed his devotion to Layden by writing "FRANK" on the heels of his sneakers. In a mock gesture, Tripucka responded by writing "DICK" on the back of his shoes (for then-Hornets coach Dick Harter). The move was seen as a jab at Layden and Malone, who Tripucka felt ran him out of Utah.


He was a color commentator for Detroit Pistons television for eight seasons, from 1993 to 2001. After 2001 he left FSN Detroit and WKBD before leaving to take a full-time radio job with the New Jersey Nets following the 2000-2001 season.

From 2003-2005, he served as the color commentator for New Jersey Nets telecasts on the YES Network.


In 2000, he was named to the National Polish-American Hall of Fame.

Tripucka shares the record for most points scored in his first road playoff game, with 40. He is one of five Pistons to have scored 40 or more in a playoff game, along with Dave Bing, Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups and Richard (Rip) Hamilton.


He is currently a scout for the New York Knicks, where his former teammate Isiah Thomas was the team president.


External links

* [ Kelly Tripucka's career statistics"]

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