We Like Obscure NBA Players: Christian Welp

Position: Center ? Height: 7-0 ? Weight: 245 lbs.
Born: January 2, 1964 (Age 48) in Delmenhorst, Germany
High School: Olympic in Silverdale, Washington
College: University of Washington
Draft: Philadelphia 76ers, 1st round (16th pick, 16th overall), 1987 NBA Draft
NBA Debut: November 6, 1987

Christian Welp played during an era when everyone was looking to grab a dominant center (Ewing, Olajuwon, Sampson, Daugherty etc), Even though he never reached the level of those superstar centers, he had a unique set of skills that were ahead of his time. This week The No-Look Pass takes a look back at Christian Welp’s (pronounced ‘velp’) career.

Welp was born in Germany but brought his game over to the states and played at the University of Washington. From 1984 to 1987, Welp helped lead his team to back to back Pac-10 titles and 3 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He averaged 20.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as a senior and his 729 total points in the 1986-1987 season broke a 34-year old UW scoring record.

That summer, he became the 16th overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft as a selection by the Philadelphia 76ers:

The Sixers were only a few years removed as NBA Champions and looked to get some front court. Welp brought a bit of a finesse game with a good shot and footwork for a player his size.

Welp was playing well and fitting into the rotation nicely but for a game against the Bulls, the floor had condensation as a result of ice from the Blackhawks hockey game. Welp suffered a severe knee injury that ended his rookie season after only appearing in 10 games.

There was condensation on the floor and the ball boys were mopping the floor the whole game,  it was so severe, my knee never got back to the level it was before. But no excuses.

He worked his way back and appeared in 72 games the following season. He also appeared in the 76ers’ 3 playoffs games against the Knicks that resulted in a 3-game sweep.

A trade would send him, along with teammates Maurice Cheeks, and David Wingate to San Antonio for Jay Vincent and Johnny Dawkins.

He would be traded once again later in the season to the Golden State Warriors for Uwe Blab.

Welp received an invitation to the Orlando Magic free agent camp, but unfortunately fail to make the team and his NBA career came to a close.

He took his game Internationally and played in Greece, Italy and Germany and would go on to win 9 championships in 9 years, an accomplishment that he is extremely proud of.

His basketball playing career ended in 1999 but basketball continued to be a part of his life. He was an assistant coach for the German national team and continues to coach his two sons and daughter. Outside of that, he works for Pacific Constructions Supply in Woodinville, just outside of Seattle.

Christian Welp’s career is surrounded by a what-if. One wonders how long his NBA career would have lasted if it wasn’t for his injury. As a 7-footer, it’s difficult to maintain a high level of play while battling injuries. Either way he continued to play at a high level and has the International hardware to prove it. The No-Look Pass salutes Christian Welp.

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