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Danny Ferry has learned from the best and experienced success at every level. These experiences should serve him well as he tackles the toughest challenge of his career, making the Atlanta Hawks an elite organization.
We ran a lot of great stories on Danny Ferry when he became GM and even more after he worked 2 trade miracles in one day. In honor of the preseason game in San Antonio, it seems a good time to reflect on how Danny Ferry got here. Danny Ferry this is your life, so far.
Many fans might only know of Danny Ferry the basketball executive, but there's a lot more to the story. In 1966, Danny was born in Hyattsville, MD. His father Bob Ferry was a center with the Baltimore Bullets. Unlike many who experience a nomadic career in pro sports, Bob Ferry because a Bullets assistant after retiring in 1969. In 1973, he became GM of the Bullets and held that position until 1990 winning executive of the year twice. Danny attended high school at DeMatha Catholic where he played for the legendary Morgan Wooten. He was a 2 time All-America including high school player of the year in 1985. Al Horford's father Tito was an All-American that same year.
Danny Ferry attended college at Duke. His freshman year he joined a senior dominated team that lost only 3 games. Unfortunately, one of those games was the national championship game to Louisville. Coach Mike Krzyzewski later expressed that the 86 team was probably his most talented and regretted that he was experienced enough to coach them to the title. After regrouping in 1987, Danny Ferry led the 88 and 89 Duke teams to the Final Four as well winning ACC Player of the Year in both seasons. In 1989, he won USBWA College Player of the Year. He spent 4 years in college playing for a future Hall of Fame coach before moving to the next level.
Danny's pro career started in controversy. He clearly told the LA Clippers that he had no intention of playing for them, but they insisted on drafting him #2 overall. True to his word he signed to play in Rome where he had an excellent season leading the team to the playoffs. Based on his international success the Clippers were able to trade his rights to Cleveland along with Reggie Williams for Ron Harper, 2 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. Showing signs of his executive savvy, Danny signed a 10 year guaranteed contract with the Cavaliers. While he was a smart, competent role player he was never the star at the NBA level that many had hoped for. After his contract was up he signed as a free agent with San Antonio where he played 3 seasons for legendary coach Gregg Popovich. He even won a championship ring in his final season. He was traded to Indiana Pacers in a 3 way trade that landed Hedo Turkoglu in San Antonio for a season. He never played for the Pacers getting waived at the start of training camp. This ended his playing career, but the next stage of his career started quickly.
From 2003-2005 Danny Ferry worked in middle management for the Spurs organization under GM RC Buford. Most people agree that the Spurs are the best run organization in basketball, so there was no better place to learn. In 2005, Danny was hired by Cleveland to be their General Manager. The team was successful behind superstar Lebron James while Danny was there, but failed to win a championship. As his contract was expiring he announced that he would not seek a new contract and a few months later he rejoined the Spurs as Vice President of Basketball Operations. After a 2 year refresher course on how an elite franchise is run, Danny was hired by the Atlanta Hawks as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. His task is to turn a franchise that has been a punchline for many years into an elite organization like the Spurs organization that's employed him for many years. That's a big task but Danny Ferry has succeeded at every level and learned from the best while doing it. This journey is in its initial steps, but the fan base already glows with the hope Danny has provided in his first few months on the job.