Former 7-foot NBA center, now a pheasant hunter, not sure if he can dunk anymore

On Saturday, November 3, former NBA center Jon Koncak participated in the the 52nd-annual One Box Pheasant Hunt. Koncak tries to hunt in similar events around the country once a year. A scheduling conflict kept him away last year and pushed his participation back until now.

“I’m 7 feet tall in bare feet,” he said, adding that his basketball shoe size is a 17. The nearly 50-year-old said he hasn’t tried to dunk a basketball in about six years, so he doesn’t know if he can still do it.

Koncak is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and went to a high school in Kansas City, Mo., before playing basketball for Southern Methodist University in Texas.

He was the fifth pick in the 1985 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, where he spent 10 seasons. He finished his professional basketball career with the Orlando Magic and retired in 1996.

Koncak spent 11 years in the NBA, playing for Atlanta Hawks, and Orlando Magic. For career, Koncak scored 3520 points, and grabbed 3856 rebounds.

His best season was his rookie season, when he played all 82 games for the Hawks, averaging 8.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg. In 784 NBA games (379 started), Koncak averaged 4.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg in 20.9 minutes of playing time.

After his retirement, Koncak moved to Jackson, Wyo., to raise his daughters “out of the limelight,” Koncak said, adding that he’s living in Atlanta for the last seven years, where now he has a lot free time.

Along with playing in the NBA, Koncak also participated on the gold-medal-winning men’s Olympic basketball team in 1984 with players such as Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing.

Koncak said being on the last nonprofessional team to win gold for the U.S. was one of the biggest accomplishments of his life because being on the team involved trying out.

“It was a huge honor to represent our country, and when we won it, it was an amateur event. It was true Olympic success,” Koncak said.

As a youngster, Koncak played football, baseball and basketball, but he didn’t play basketball just because he was tall. It was because in sixth or seventh grade, he started to get good at basketball.

“I was always taller than most of the kids, but didn’t get a big growth spurt until last two or three years of high school,” he said.

Koncak said along with his height, other skills helped him get to the level he attained. One of those things was having a body he could train. Today, basketball isn’t quite as important to Koncak as it once was.

“I really don’t watch a ton of basketball until playoffs start,” he said, “But I will watch it if I’m (channel surfing) and it happens to be on.”

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are his favorite players to watch now, along with some other up-and-coming NBA players, he said.

Koncak does still see some of his old teammates and others he’s played against occasionally, but he’s not in tight with them like he may have been in the past.

“Our paths just don’t cross that often,” he said.


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