Daniel Issel is a former professional basketball player and coach. An outstanding collegiate athlete at the University of Kentucky, Issel played under legendary head coach Adolph Rupp.
Issel was twice named an All-American en route to a school-record 25.7 points per game for his Kentucky career. Issel was drafted the Kentucky Colonels in the first round of the 1970 ABA Draft. The ABA Rookie of the Year in 1971, he was a six-time ABA All-Star and a one-time NBA All-Star. A prolific scorer, Issel remains the all-time leading scorer at the University of Kentucky, as of 2021. Also, Issel is the second-leading all time scorer for the NBA's Denver Nuggets, and the second-leading scorer of all time for the ABA itself. Upon Issel's retirement from the NBA in 1985, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Julius Erving were the only professional basketball players to have scored more career points. As a coach, he led the Denver Nuggets to the
Issel was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1994, Issel led his team to the playoffs with their first winning record in four years. That year, the Nuggets pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA post-season history, knocking off the Seattle SuperSonics in five games (the first ever 8th seed to beat a 1st seed in the first round).