Pétur Guðmundsson (basketball)

Pétur Karl Guðmundsson (born 30 October 1958) is an Icelandic former professional basketball player and coach from Reykjavík. He was the first Icelander ever to play in National Basketball Association (NBA) and was a member of the Icelandic national basketball team from 1978 to 1992. Standing 2.18 m (7'2") and weighing 118 kg (260 lb), Pétur played the center position.

Pétur Guðmundsson
Pétur with River Plate in 1980.
Personal information
Born (1958-10-30) 30 October 1958
Reykjavík, Iceland
Listed height218 cm (7 ft 2 in)
Listed weight118 kg (260 lb)
Career information
High schoolMercer Island
(Mercer Island, Washington)
CollegeWashington (1977–1980)
NBA draft1981 / Round: 3 / Pick: 61st overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Playing career1980–1992
Number40, 34, 35
Career history
As player:
1980Club Atlético River Plate
1981–1982Portland Trail Blazers
1982–1983Íþróttafélag Reykjavíkur
1984Íþróttafélag Reykjavíkur
1984–1985Sunderland Maestros
1985–1986Tampa Bay Thrillers
1986Kansas City Sizzlers
1986–1987Los Angeles Lakers
19871989San Antonio Spurs
1989–1990Sioux Falls Skyforce
1990New Haven Skyhawks
1991Sioux Falls Skyforce
As coach:
1984ÍR (men's)
2000Valur/Fjölnir (men's)
2001–2002Kongsberg Penguins
2002Þór Akureyri (men's)
2003–2004Grindavík (women's)
Career highlights and awards
As player:
Career NBA statistics
Points693 (4.6 ppg)
Rebounds563 (3.8 rpg)
Assists153 (1.0 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Early life

Pétur[1] was born and raised in Reykjavík. He started practicing handball at the age of 8 with Valur's junior teams but after breaking his right arm at in a horse riding accident, which affected his ability to throw the ball with power, he turned to basketball at the behest of former national team player Sigurður Helgason. At the age of 12, he was 185 cm tall.[2] Due to his size and skills, he was selected to the Icelandic junior national teams where he was noticed by Marv Harshman, the head coach of University of Washington. Harshman arranged for Pétur to move to Seattle and join Mercer Island High School at the age of 16.[3]

Playing career

High school career

Pétur spent his senior season with Mercer Island High School.[4]

College career

Pétur played college basketball at the University of Washington from 1977 to 1980. His best season came in 1978-1979, when he averaged 10.1 points and 4.8 rebounds. In 81 career games for Washington, Pétur averaged 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Club career

Leaving college (1981–1982)

After his third college season, Pétur signed with Club Atlético River Plate in Argentina during the summer of 1980.[5] After the season ended in Argentina in November, Pétur briefly joined KR[6] and played with the team in an unofficial continental tournament in England.[7] Despite heavy interest from KR to sign him for the rest of the Úrvalsdeild karla season,[8] Pétur signed with Valur in end of December 1980.[9] On 5 March 1981, he helped Valur win the Icelandic Cup after scoring a team high 20 points in a 90-84 victory against Njarðvík in the Cup finals.[10] In 7 Úrvalsdeild games for Valur, Pétur averaged 16.7 points per game.

Drafted to the NBA (1981-1982)

Pétur was selected in the third round of the 1981 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, for whom he played during the 1981–82 season. On 19 March 1982, he scored a season high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a victory against the Utah Jazz. In 68 games for the Trail Blazers, he averaged 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds.[11] He did not make the 12-man roster for the 1982–83 season.[12]

Back in Iceland (1982–1984)

In November 1982, Pétur returned to Iceland and joined Íþróttafélag Reykjavíkur.[13] Prior to his arrival, ÍR was last in the league, having lost all 6 games. With Pétur, the team won 9 of its last 14 games, finishing third in the league,[14] and made it to the Cup finals where it lost to Valur, 75-78. In 14 Úrvalsdeild games, Pétur averaged 28.0 points per game.

In August 1983 the Blazers traded his rights to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a 1984 third-round draft pick.[15][16] He was waived by the Pistons on 25 October 1983, prior to the start of the season.[17]

In January 1984, Pétur returned to ÍR as a player-coach. At the time of his arrival, ÍR was dead last in the Úrvalsdeild with only two victories in its first 11 games.[18] Behind Pétur's stellar play, where he averaged 26.6 points per game, the team won 7 of its remaining 9 games but missed the playoffs on a tie breaker.

Season in England (1984–1985)

In October 1984, Pétur signed with the Sunderland Maestros for the 1984–85 National Basketball League season.[19] On 12 November 1984, he scored 44 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a 89-76 victory against Liverpool.[20] Sunderland finished the season in 9th place but missed the playoffs on a tie-breaker.[21]

Back to the USA and second NBA stint (1985–1989)

In September 1985, Pétur signed with the Tampa Bay Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association.[22]

In 1986, Pétur was set to play for the American CBA's Kansas City Sizzlers but was denied a work permit by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.[23][24]

On 19 March 1986, Pétur signed a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. In his first game, he posted 14 points in 20 minutes in a victory against the San Antonio Spurs.[25] After 10 days he received another 10-day contract and then was signed for the rest of the season.[26][11] In 8 regular season games, he averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds.

In the summer of 1986, Pétur signed a 2-year contract extension with the Lakers.[27][28] During the training camp, prior to the season, he suffered a back injury[29] that was later diagnosed as a slipped disc and eventually required surgery.[30]

While recovering, he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs[31] along with Frank Brickowski, two draft picks and an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for Mychal Thompson on 13 February 1987.[32] He appeared in a career high 69 games, including 9 starts, during the 1987–88 season. On 28 November 1987, Pétur scored a NBA career high 21 points against the Atlanta Hawks.[33] After being one of eight Spurs players protected in the 1988 NBA expansion draft,[34] Pétur started the first game of the 1988–89 season, a 122-107 victory against his former team Lakers, where he scored 7 points in 21 minutes.[35] He was again in the starting lineup during the second game of the season but suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter that required surgery.[36] He returned to the court a month later, but struggled as the knee had not fully healed.[37] The injury eventually forced him to miss the rest of the season.[34]

During the summer of 1989, Pétur joined the Lakers summer league team[38] but suffered an achillies injury[39] on practice before the summer league started.[40] Later tests revealed a partial tear in the achillies tendon.[41] In October 1989, he signed a training camp contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.[42] He was waived before the seasons start.[43]

Pétur played with the Sioux Falls Skyforce from January[44] to March 1990, where he averaged 5.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 22 appearances.[45]

Return to the Úrvalsdeild and last try in the USA (1990–1992)

In October 1990, Pétur returned to the Úrvalsdeild karla for the first time in six years and signed with Tindastóll[46] for a reported 2.3 million ISK salary for the season.[47] Tindastóll started the season hot, winning 12 of its first 14 games. In January, Pétur suffered an achillies sprain[48] and missed 7 games, 6 of which ended being losses. Due to Pétur's injury, Tindastóll's play faded in the second half of the season[49] and the team lost 9 of its last 12 games, ending with a 15-11 record and finishing fifth, two victories out of the playoffs.[50] For the season, Pétur averaged 19.5 points and 12.7 rebounds while shooting 69.4% from the field.

In August 1991, Pétur signed a training camp contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.[51] He was waived in October 1991, prior to the start of the season.[52] The same month, he signed back with Sioux Falls Skyforce.[53] In 4 ames for the Skyforce, Pétur averaged 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

On 20 November, Pétur left the Skyforce and signed back with Tindastóll.[54] Tindastóll had started the season poorly, with 2 victories in their first 6 games. After losing 3 of their first 4 games with Pétur, the team bounced back with three wins in a row. After a loss against KR on 5 January 1992, Tindastóll went on a 11 win run[55] before losing to Skallagrímur in the last game of the season. The loss, along with a KR win on the same day, meant that Tindastóll missed out on the playoffs again.[56] In 20 games for Tindastóll, Pétur averaged 20.0 points and 13.7 rebounds per game.

Final season and retirement (1992–1993)

After contemplating retirement due to a back injury,[57] Pétur signed with freshly promoted Breiðablik in August 1992.[58][59] In December 1992, with Breiðablik in last place, Pétur left the team for personal reasons.[60] In 13 games, Pétur averaged 20.3 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. In January 1993, Pétur announced that he intended to join Valur for the rest of the season and end his career where it started.[61] His transfer request was however rejected by the Icelandic Basketball Association as transfers between Icelandic teams between 16 December and 15 February were only allowed under special circumstances.[62]

National team career

Between 1978 and 1992, Pétur played 53 games for the Icelandic national team.[63] Due to FIBA rules banning professional players to play for national teams, he was unable to play with the Icelandic national team for several years until the ban was lifted in 1989.[64]

Coaching career

In January 1984, Pétur was hired as a player-coach for ÍR. At the time of his arrival, ÍR was dead last in the Úrvalsdeild with only two victories in the first 11 games.[18] With, Pétur at the helm, the team won 7 of its remaining 9 games and missed the playoffs on a tie breaker.

In June 1993, Pétur was hired as the head coach of Valur where he also planned on playing.[65] In August 1993, prior to the start of the season, he resigned from his post due to personal reasons and moved to the United States.[66][67]

In June 2000, Pétur signed a three-year contract to coach the joint team of Valur/Fjölnir in the Úrvalsdeild karla.[68][69] He was fired in end of October 2000, after four losses in the first five games.[70]

He was the head coach of Kongsberg Penguins in the BLNO during the 2001–2002 season. He led the team to the BLNO finals after defeating the Oslo Kings in the semi-finals 3-2.[71] In the finals, the Penguins lost to the Asker Aliens, 3-0.[72] He left the team after the season, following a disagreement with the board.[73]

On 4 September 2002, Pétur was hired as the head coach and general manager of Þór Akureyri.[74] On 17 September, he resigned due to the teams poor financial situation.[75] A week later, Þór withdrew its team from the Úrvalsdeild.[76]

He coached Grindavík in the Úrvalsdeild kvenna during the 2003-2004 season. After a rough start, the team finished strong and made the playoffs where it was knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions Keflavík.[77]

Coaching record

Season Team Wins Losses % Playoffs Notes
1983-84 ÍR7278%DNQHired in January '84
2000-01 Valur/Fjölnir1420%N/AFired in November '00
2001-02 Kongsberg Penguins---Finals
2003-04 Grindavík91145%Semi-finals

Awards and accomplishments

Team of the 20th century

In 2001 Pétur was voted the Icelandic basketball player of the century[78] and as one of the twelve players on the team of the 20th century.[79]

Club honours

Individual awards


  1. Although he is properly referred to by his given name, most non-Icelandic statistical sources in basketball list him with the Anglicized name of Petur Gudmundsson, with Gudmundsson (incorrectly) treated as a surname.
  2. Gylfi Kristjánsson (16 May 1981). "Var alltaf hærri en jafnaldrar mínir". Vísir (in Icelandic). pp. 16–17. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  3. Skapti Hallgrímsson (2001). Leikni framar líkamsburðum. Icelandic Basketball Federation. pp. 276–279. ISBN 9979-60-630-4.
  4. Kjartan L. Pálsson (6 January 1976). ""Sá stóri" gerir það gott í Bandaríkjunum". Vísir (in Icelandic). pp. 12–13. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  5. "Pétur Guðmundsson gerir samning við River Plate". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 2 July 1980. p. 30. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  6. "Pétur með KR til Írlands". Dagblaðið (in Icelandic). 24 November 1980. p. 15. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  7. "Fengu aðeins þriggja tíma svefn". Vísir (in Icelandic). 1 December 1980. p. 21. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  8. "Kapphlaup á milli KR og Vals". Vísir (in Icelandic). 27 November 1980. p. 6. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  9. "Pétur aftur í Val". Vísir (in Icelandic). 29 December 1980. p. 13. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  10. Sigurður Sverrisson (6 March 1981). "Njarðvíkingar áttu ekkert svar við stórkostlegum leik Vals". Dagblaðið (in Icelandic). pp. 12–13. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  11. Bonk, Thomas (3 April 1086). "Petur the great? Lakers Find Themselves a 7-2 Ice Man Who Might Just Prove to Be a Big Help in Playoffs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  12. Þórarinn Ragnarsson (7 November 1982). "Maður verður að hafa óbilandi trú á sjálfum sér". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). pp. 56–67. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  13. "Er Pétur ekki löglegur". Tíminn (in Icelandic). 10 November 1982. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  14. "Úrvalsdeild 82-83". kki.is (in Icelandic). Icelandic Basketball Federation. Archived from the original on 19 November 2009.
  15. Pistons: All-Time Transactions; accessed April 17, 2007
  16. Basketball transactions, August 19, 1983; accessed April 17, 2007
  17. "Pétur spilar ekki í NBA". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 28 October 1983. p. 16. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  18. "Bjargar Pétur ÍR-ingum öðru sinni frá Falli?". Tíminn (in Icelandic). 6 January 1984. p. 10. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  19. "Pétur leikur með Sunderland". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 29 October 1984. p. 21. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  20. "Pétur átti stórleik". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 13 November 1984. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  21. "Pétur leitar fyrri sér í S-Evrópu". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 13 March 1985. p. 64. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  22. "Pétur Guðmundsson til Tampa Bay Thrillers". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 10 September 1985. p. 17. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  23. Work Permit Denied, February 1, 1986; accessed April 17, 2007
  24. The rest of the world nearly has caught up to the U.S., posted August 28, 2001; accessed April 17, 2007
  25. Jónas Egilsson (26 March 1986). "Pétur lék vel með Lakers í sínum fyrsta leik". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). p. 26. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  26. Hans Steinar Bjarnason (8 April 2016). "Myndskeið: 30 ár síðan Pétur samdi við Lakers". RÚV (in Icelandic). Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  27. "Skrifa undir einhvern næstu daga". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 27 June 1986. p. 47. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  28. "Alveg í skýjunum með samninginn". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 21 June 1986. p. 44. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  29. "Pétur meiddist". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 15 October 1986. p. 15. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  30. Sveinbjörn I. Baldvinsson (8 November 1986). "Pétur í uppskurð". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). p. 58. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  31. "Kom flatt upp á mig en þetta er ekkert áfall". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 16 February 1987. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  32. Laker Dream, February 15, 1987; accessed April 17, 2007
  33. "Pétur Guðmunds átti stjörnuleiki". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 30 November 1987. p. 27. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  34. "Pétur hefur líklega leikið sinn síðasta leik fyrir SA Spurs". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 8 March 1989. p. 17. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  35. Gunnar Valgeirsson (8 November 1988). "Spurs kaupir enn einn miðvörðinn". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). p. B12. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  36. "Pétur skorinn upp". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 14 November 1988. p. 21. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  37. "Pétur enn meiddur". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 5 January 1989. p. 16. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  38. "Pétur þáði tilboðið frá LA Lakers". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 28 July 1989. p. 17. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  39. "Lakers út úr myndinni". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 9 August 1989. p. C1. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  40. "Alveg gífurlega mikil vonbrigði". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 9 August 1989. p. 17. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  41. "Get ekki einu sinni skokkað". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 31 August 1989. p. 26. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  42. "Pétur á samning hjá Minnesota". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 10 October 1989. p. B1. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  43. "Pétur úr leik". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 3 November 1989. p. 38. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  44. "Pétur Guðmundsson til Sioux Falls". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 23 January 1990. p. B1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  45. "Pétur er hættur hjá Sioux Falls". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 15 March 1990. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  46. "Pétur til Tindastóls". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 3 October 1990. p. 16. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  47. "Pétur með 350 þúsund á mánuði". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 4 October 1990. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  48. "Pétur meiddur". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 21 January 1991. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  49. "Úti er ævintýri". Tíminn (in Icelandic). 5 March 1991. p. 14. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  50. "Úrvalsdeild 1991". kki.is. Icelandic Basketball Association. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  51. "Pétur Guðmundsson til Philadelphia 76ers?". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 22 August 1991. p. 42. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  52. "Pétur Guðmundsson komst ekki ad hjá Philadelphia". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 15 October 1991. p. B1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  53. "Pétur fer á ný til Skyforce". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 15 October 1991. p. 16. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  54. "Pétur til Tindastóls". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 21 November 1991. p. 50. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  55. "Varð svolítið súr þegar þeir réðu Val en ekki mig". Feykir (in Icelandic). 16 December 1992. p. 21. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  56. "KR-ingar tryggðu sig í úrslitin". Tíminn (in Icelandic). 17 March 1992. p. 7. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  57. "Þarf Pétur að hætta?". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 18 May 1992. p. 28. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  58. "Pétur til liðs við Breiðablik". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 1 September 1992. p. B1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  59. "Risalið í Kópavogi". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 6 October 1992. p. 20. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  60. "Pétur ekki með Blikunum eftir áramótin". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 17 December 1992. p. 21. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  61. "Pétur í Val". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 14 January 1993. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  62. "Pétur fékk ekki heimild til að leika með Val". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 29 January 1993. p. 47. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  63. "KKÍ | A landslið". kki.is. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  64. "Pétur löglegur með íslenksa landsliðinu". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 8 April 1989. p. 43. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  65. "Pétur Þjálfar Val". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 22 June 1993. p. B3. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  66. "Pétur er hættur". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 4 August 1993. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  67. "Valsmenn þjálfaralausir". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 4 August 1993. p. C1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  68. "Pétur þjálfar lið Vals/Fjölnis". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 22 June 2000. p. C1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  69. "Ætla að standa mig". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 29 June 2000. p. 22. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  70. "Pétur er hættur með Val/Fjölni". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 1 November 2000. p. C1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  71. "Pétur Guðmundsson með lið sitt í úrslit í Noregi". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 12 March 2002. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  72. "Pétur ekki áfram hjá Kongsberg Penguins". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 4 April 2002. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  73. "Pétur hættur með Kongsberg". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 4 April 2002. p. 19. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  74. "Pétur Guðmundsson ráðinn þjálfari Þórs". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 4 September 2002. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  75. "Pétur sagði upp hjá Þór". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 18 September 2002. p. B1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  76. "Þórsarar ekki með í úrvalsdeildinni". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 25 September 2002. p. B1. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  77. "Pétur Gumunds hættur hjá Grindavík". Grindavik.is (in Icelandic). Grindavík. 19 April 2004. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  78. Óskar Ófeigur Jónsson (30 October 2008). "Pétur Guðmundsson fimmtugur í dag". Vísir.is (in Icelandic). Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  79. Lið aldarinnar hjá KKÍ tilkynnt í bikarúrslitaleikjunum á laugardaginn
  80. Pétur Guðmundsson
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