LaPhonso Darnell Ellis, born May 5, 1970, was an outstanding high school basketball player at East St. Louis Lincoln High School, where he led the Tigers to two straight Illinois Class AA boys' championships in 1987 and 1988. In a heavily hyped up matchup, Ellis outplayed Alonzo Mourning in a holiday tournament his senior year. Also in 1988, Ellis was named a Parade Magazine and McDonald's high school All-American. In 2007, Ellis was voted one of the "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament," recognizing his superior performance in his appearances in the tournament.

Ellis was the fifth overall selection in the 1992 NBA Draft, picked by the Denver Nuggets, In his rookie season, he averaged 14.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. He was also named to the 1992-93 All-Rookie first team. Ellis later on struggled with injuries, only playing six games in the 1994-95 season. Ellis had his best season in 1996-97, leading the Nuggets with a career high of 21.9 points per game.

After playing six years in Denver, Ellis signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks. He spent two years with the Hawks before going to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 2001, Ellis signed with the Miami Heat, where he retired after the 2003 season. He played professionally in the NBA from 1992 until 2003.

March 05, 2015 by Renee White

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