PHILANTHROPIST AND FORMER NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER
UT Knoxville, ’93
Part of the Tennessee Alumnus’ 100 Distinguished Alumni feature.
Down by one point in the closing seconds, Allan Houston took the inbound pass, slipped between two Miami Heat players and leaned into a one-handed jumper. The ball hit the rim and the backboard before sliding through the net.
With that shot, the No. 8-seeded New York Knicks kicked the No. 1-seeded Heat out of the playoffs in 1999. Sportswriters still write about that shot, describing Houston as one of the “purest shooters” in the NBA.
Twenty-four years after graduating, Houston remains UT’s all-time leading scorer. A two-time All-America selection, ESPN named him to its five-man, Silver Anniversary All-SEC Team. He also was named to Tennessee’s All-Century Team.
His time at UT was made more special by playing for his father, then UT head coach Wade Houston.
The Louisville, Kentucky native recently told a Kentucky Sports reporter, “Most people, when you’re in your four years of college, you grow more distant from your father. But we became closer because of getting to see each other, and see each other in intense moments and being together.”
The Detroit Pistons selected Houston as the 11th overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft. After three seasons, he was traded to the New York Knicks, where he spent his final nine NBA seasons. The Knicks selected Houston as the franchise’s “Player of the Decade” for 2000 to 2009. Houston won Olympic gold with the USA Basketball’s men’s team during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.
Houston now works as the Knicks’ assistant general manager.