In his third season in New Jersey, Hopson was the team’s leading scorer with 15.8 PPG and was starting to make a name for himself in the NBA. That’s until he got traded to the Bulls to play backup to Michael Jordan. A deal Hopson himself wasn’t ok with.
And fairly so. Over his 63-game run in Chicago, Dennis averaged 4.3 points in nearly 12 minutes of action. For a 25-year-old playing in his fourth season, not nearly enough. Even winning a championship wasn’t a good enough compensation for lack of playing time. Hopson simply wanted to be out there, and being in Chicago wasn’t the right situation for him. Luckily for him, two games into the 91-92 NBA season, the Bulls traded him to the Sacramento Kings. This was Hopson’s chance to revive his career.
It was the best. I got back to being allowed to grow and play. I was an instant offense, and I played with a great group of guys, so it just kinda brought life back to my game.Dennis Hopson, 1-ON-1 with Dennis Hopson
In his one-year run with the Kings, Hopson averaged 10.5 points in 18.9 minutes of action. Translation; the guy was an instant offense off the bench. He led the second unit in scoring, feeling like he had finally found the right spot for himself in the league. The feeling was mutual, as Sacramento came with a contract offer after the season was up. That’s when Hopson made the biggest mistake of his NBA career – he followed his agent’s advice.
Gary St.Jean called me, ‘hey, we got this deal on the table, what do you wanna do?’ I’m waiting, and I’m stalling, ’cause my agent was thinking they could’ve given me more. But after waiting around, they gave the money to Vincent Askew. It wasn’t like they didn’t want me back, ’cause they gave me a lot of time before they moved on.Dennis Hopson, 1-ON-1 with Dennis Hopson
Hopson never played in the NBA again. Instead, he went overseas, where he had a great eight-year-long run before retiring in ’00. Today, Dennis is the head coach of The Lourdes Gray Wolves, where he’s teaching basketball to the next generations. Having a former NBA player as your mentor is a great place to start.