Isaiah Rider grew up in Oakland, California; before attending UNLV, Rider attended two junior colleges. Allen County Community College in Iola, Kansas, where he averaged 30 plus points per game. After his time in Kansas, Rider headed back to California to play at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster. At Antelope Valley, Rider averaged 33 points per game before joining UNLV in 1991.
In Rider’s first year as a Running Rebel, he led UNLV to a 26-2 overall record and 18-0 in the Big West Conference. That same season UNLV finished ranked No.7 in the AP poll. Nobody witnessed this because of UNLV’s punishment from the NCAA for the previous seasons’ infractions. For the 1991-92 season, the Running Rebels could not appear on national tv or play in the NCAA tournament.
Isaiah Rider’s final year at UNLV was an excellent year for him; he averaged 29.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, on 51% shooting from the field and 40% shooting from beyond the arch. Rider finished the season ad second-team All-American and Big West Player of the Year. UNLV made the NIT tournament, but Rider was not able to play because of academic issues.
In the 1993 NBA Draft, Rider was selected 5th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former UNLV star averaged 16.6 points a game as a rookie and made All-Rookie First Team.
Also, he won the 1994 NBA Slam Dunk Contest with “The East Bay Funk Dunk.” The next season Rider upped his points a game to 20.4 on 44% shooting from the field and 35%% from three-point land. Rider could flat out score the basketball; he did not back down from anybody even as a young player in the NBA.
Rider played three seasons in Minnesota before getting traded to the Portland Trail Blazers because of his off-court behavior with the Timberwolves. Before he joined the Blazers, he had a couple more issues with the law before playing with the Blazers.
In his first season with the Blazers, he averaged 16.9 points per game. In the 1997-98 season, Rider led the Blazers in scoring with 19.7 points per game. Rider was going hard at Los Angeles Lakers guard Eddie Jones; there was nothing Jones could do with him; Rider was too strong. Rider played three seasons in Portland before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks.
With the Hawks, the shooting guard played well before getting into more off the court incidents. Rider ended asking for his release late in the season, and the Hawks did release him. When Rider was on the court, he played well for the Hawks averaging 19.3 points per game.
Lakers and Nuggets
The Los Angeles Lakers signed Rider before the 2000-01 season; he led the bench in scoring with 7.6 points per game. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was not a big fan of Rider and left him off the playoff roster, but he did win a championship ring with the team. As a Laker fan I was happy when the team signed Rider, I thought he would bring instant offense, but he and Jackson never saw eye to eye. Rider finished his career with the Denver Nuggets, where he just played ten games before he was waived.
Rider finished his NBA career averaging 16.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game, on 44% shooting and 35% shooting from three. He scored 9,405 points in his nine-year NBA career. The shooting guard was an excellent all-around scorer; he could take you off the dribble and hit pull-up jumpers. But where Rider really thrived at was backing down the opposing guards; he was way stronger than most two guards and used to his advantage.