February 10, 1985 - Near the height of his powers, 7-foot-4 Houston Rockets center Ralph Sampson churned out a 24-point, 10-rebound MVP performance in leading the West to a 140-129 victory over the East in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game. Sampson, a three-time Naismith Player of the Year at Virginia and the No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, averaged 20.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks over his first three seasons with the Rockets. Teaming with Hakeem Olajuwon to form one of the league's most prominent version of the "Twin Towers", Sampson and the Rockets peaked with an appearance in the 1986 NBA Finals, pushing the Boston Celtics to six games before falling.
Sampson's difficulties quickly escalated the following year as assorted knee and back injuries quickly derailed status as one of the league's elite. By 1989, Sampson was struggling to play 60 games a year, his production dipping to a shade over 6 points and 5 boards a night. By 1992, his NBA career closed with whimper after 10 appearances with the Washington Bullets.
Still, Sampson's near decade of dominance at both the college and professional level resonated and ultimately led to his induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2012.