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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Alvan Adams, 1973
(2012.201.B0073.0769, photo by Hank Mooney, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).


Basketball professional Alvan Adams, nicknamed "Oklahoma Kid" or "Double A," spent thirteen years in a Phoenix Suns uniform (1975–88). Born on July 19, 1954, in Lawrence, Kansas, and reared in the Oklahoma City area, Adams became a popular and industrious student, graduating as valedictorian of Putnam City High School. He lettered three years in basketball and led the undefeated state-championship team in his senior year. He was also named Oklahoma High School Player of the Year and All-American in 1972.

He picked the University of Oklahoma over such schools as the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Maryland, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Kansas. At Oklahoma he proceeded to set a number of new records such as the most points in a game (43), the most rebounds in a game (28), the highest single-season scoring average of 26.5 as a junior, and the highest single-season rebounding average of 13.3 as a junior. He was the only unanimous selection on the Big Eight Conference 1970s All-Decade Team. The Oklahoma Sooners All-American basketball player was named both Big Eight Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the Big Eight Tournament three times. When the United States team was selected in 1974, he was one of the players who toured China and played in the World University Games in Moscow. He carried a 3.8 grade average in pre-medical studies while at Oklahoma and was on the dean's honor list. Before bypassing his senior year for the National Basketball Association's (NBA) draft, he set Sooner records of 1,707 points and 938 rebounds.

Selected by the Phoenix Suns in the 1975 draft, he was the NBA Rookie of the Year after helping the Suns to their first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals. Adams scored a total of 13,910 points with the Suns and is the career leader in games played (988), minutes played (27,203), rebounds (6,937), and steals (1,289). In 1988 the Suns retired his number, 33, and in 1999 he was honored as center on the "Suns of the Century First Team" and is a member of their "Ring of Honor." He was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

Adams completed a bachelor's degree in 1998. A former Eagle Scout, he continued to promote scout programs and work with other charities in the Phoenix area. He married Sara Dennstet, and they had two children. In 2000 he served as vice president for facility management for American West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

Kay Straughn


"Alvan Adams," Vertical File, Archives, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Kay Straughn, “Adams, Alvan Leigh,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=AD005.

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