As a 6-foot-9 Kempsville High School senior, J.R. Reid was one of the country’s most sought-after high school players. He was a McDonald’s High School All-American and the 1986 Parade, Gatorade, and USA Today National Player of the Year. After starring at Kempsville, Reid played college basketball for Dean Smith at North Carolina.
Reid possessed a mature back-to-the-basket game that translated instantly to the college level. He was ACC Rookie of the Year at North Carolina in 1987 and a unanimous All-ACC pick and first-team AP All-American in 1988. That year Reid also made the the bronze-medal winning US Olympic Basketball Team, the last Olympic team to consist entirely of college players. He left school a year early and was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1st round (5th overall) of the 1989 NBA Draft. Reid was expected to be the cornerstone of the expansion franchise and made the all-rookie team in 1990. He left Charlotte in 1993. Reid spent the remainder of his career as a role player with six different teams and also played a year in France. He completed his final NBA season in 2001 and finished with career averages of 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds.
Among the Virginia Pilot’s “50 Greatest Athletes of South Hampton Roads”, J.R. Reid is listed as No. 22.