Born: June 4, 1965
Timothy D. Perry was born June 4, 1965 in Freehold. Basketball was in his blood. His father, Lee, was a high school basketball star, and Tim honed his skills in games against his younger brother, Lee Jr. , under the watchful eye of their dad. As a freshman, Tim went out for Jack Kurnet’s Freehold Regional High varsity and didn’t make the cut. He was cut again as a sophomore—despite being one of the biggest kids in school.
Lee Sr. had seen enough. In the summer after Tim’s sophomore year, he gave his sons a crash course in big man play. Tim made the team as a junior, and was a defensive whirlwind in his two varsity seasons. By the time he graduated from Freehold High, Tim stood 6’9” and had remarkable quickness, leaping ability and body control.
Tim played 20 minutes a game as a freshman and became the starting power forward in 1985–86 as a sophomore. Along with point guard Nate Blackwell and center Ramon Rivas, he made John Chaney’s team tough to beat. The Owls went 25–6 in Tim’s sophomore season and 32–4 the following year. Temple earned a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament but was upset by LSU in the second round.
In 1987–88, Temple went 32–2 and spent several weeks atop the national rankings. The Owls made it to the Regional Final, where they lost to Duke. Tim finished his college career averaging 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. His 392 blocked shots ranked second in NCAA history at the time to St. Joseph’s Rodney Blake. As a senior, Tim was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.
Tim was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the seventh pick in the 1988 NBA Draft. They took Dan Majerle later in the first round. The Suns at the time were playing under the cloud of a drug scandal, and also rebuilding around point guard Kevin Johnson. In Tim’ first season, Phoenix went from a 28–54 record to 55–27 and a run to the Western Conference Finals.
Tim played about 10 minutes a game as a rookie. He remained a bench player with the Suns for three seasons, backing up Tom Chambers, before winning the starting power forward job in 1991–92, with Chambers and center Andrew Lang filling the other frontcourt roles. Tim averaged 12.3 points per game, led the Suns in rebounding, and was tops among the starters with a 52.3 shooting percentage.
In 1992, Tim was traded back home to the 76ers along with Lang and Jeff Hornacek in the deal that brought Charles Barkley to Phoenix. Andrew started for two seasons with the 76ers, who failed to make the playoffs both years. Tim finished his NBA career as a bench player for the Nets in 1995–96. He competed in the Slam Dunk Contest three times—once with the Suns and twice with the 76ers.
After his season with the Nets, Tim extended his pro career overseas, playing another five years with five different teams. He retired in 2001, returned to the U.S., and got a coaching job at Division II Holy Family University in Philadelphia. Tim also began devoting time to his son, Timmy, who became a high school star in Cherry Hill and part of the powerfuo S0uth Jersey All-Stars AAU team.