Dampier is one of only a handful of men to play all nine seasons in the American Basketball Association (ABA) (1967–1976), all with the Kentucky Colonels. He also was one of just two players to play all nine ABA seasons with the same team; the other was Byron Beck of the Denver Rockets, later renamed the Nuggets.After the ABA–NBA merger in 1976 Dampier also played three seasons (1976–1979) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the San Antonio Spurs.
In 1967 the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) selected Dampier in the fourth round of the NBA Draft and the Kentucky Colonels selected him in the ABA draft. Dampier eventually signed with the Kentucky Colonels of the fledgling ABA and teamed with Darel Carrier to form the most explosive backcourt duo in the league. In each of the ABA’s first three seasons, both Dampier and Carrier averaged at least 20 points per game. Both were three-point field goal specialists (the ABA had used the three-point field goal from its inception), but especially Dampier who made 500 during a three-year stretch: a record 199 during the 1968-69 season, 198 in 1969-70 and 103 in 1970-71. At the conclusion of the ABA’s history, Dampier made a career-record 794 3-point field goals.
He also finished first all-time in the ABA in games played (728), minutes played (27,770), points scored (13,726), and assists (4,044). During the 1970–71 season, he hit 57 consecutive free throws for what was then a pro record (ABA or NBA). Seven times, he was named an ABA All-Star. He was a unanimous choice for the ABA Top 30 team. He played on the Colonels’ 1975 ABA championship team, which featured a later Kentucky standout, Dan Issel, as well as 7’2″ center Artis Gilmore.
After the 1976 season, the ABA ceased operations with Kentucky and two other teams folding. Dampier was selected by the San Antonio Spurs (one of the four teams to join the NBA in the ABA–NBA merger) in the 1976 ABA Dispersal Draft. Playing mostly as a role player behind George Gervin, Dampier averaged 6.7 points in 232 NBA games.
Dampier later served as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets
Smallthoughts: Old school Tuesday salutes …Louie Dampier
|1967–1976||Kentucky Colonels (ABA)|
|1976–1979||San Antonio Spurs|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career ABA and NBA statistics|
|Points||15,279 (17.1 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,543 (2.8 rpg)|
|Assists||4,687 (5.2 apg|