A native of Gastonia, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd played all sports as a kid, and it was while playing youth baseball that the son of Robert and Myrtle Floyd received his legendary nickname: A fan supposedly yelled, “Get that kid out of the game. He’s sleeping!”
He wasn’t, of course, but it was his cool, calm demeanor on the basketball court that made his moniker apropos during an outstanding career. He first rose to stardom at Hunter Huss High. As a 6-foot-3 senior guard, he led the Huskies in 1978 to the state 4A title, beating in the championship game, coincidentally enough, a Gastonia Ashbrook team led by James Worthy.
Floyd chose to play collegiately at Georgetown University for John Thompson. He led the Hoyas in scoring all four seasons – averaging between 16 and 19 points each year – and was named All-Big East his final three years. An All-America as both a junior and senior, Floyd still holds the Georgetown career scoring record (2,304 points) and is a member of its athletics hall of fame.
The New Jersey Nets selected him with the 13th pick of the first round in the 1982 NBA draft. During the middle of a middling rookie season, he was traded by the Nets with Mickey Johnson to the Golden State Warriors for Micheal Ray Richardson. Floyd quickly took to the Bay Area and his new environment, averaging 16.5 points per game in his first full year with the franchise.
During the 1984-85 season, Floyd averaged a career-high 19.5 points per game, and two years later, he showed his all-around game by scoring 18.8 points a game and dishing out 10.3 assists while earning a spot on the All-Star team.
In May of 1987, Floyd had a second half for the ages in Game 4 of the Western Conference playoff semifinals against the Lakers. He warmed up with a 10-point third quarter, then got into the proverbial “zone” in the final period, scoring a NBA playoff-record 29 points, including making 12 consecutive shots from the floor. His 51-point night allowed the Warriors to prevent a sweep by the mighty Lakers.
His value as a player was at its height, and this was an era when trades involving big-name NBA players was at its highest frequency. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when, in December of 1987, Floyd was traded with Joe Barry Carroll by Golden State to the Houston Rockets for Ralph Sampson and Steve Harris. Floyd played the rest of that season and five others with the Rockets before signing with the San Antonio Spurs as a free agent in 1993. He spent one year with the Spurs, then returned to the Nets for one final season (1994-95) before retiring. For his 13-year career, he totaled 12,260 points and 5,175 assists.
Floyd lives in Charlotte, where he is owner and president of JobsyWobsy, a, online management website for youth. He and Gracie Ponjuan are the proud parents of two grown children, Evan and Cori.
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