Lafayette “Fat” Lever (//; born August 18, 1960) is an American retired professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association. He later served as the director of player development for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA as well as a color analyst for Kings radio broadcasts.
Lever was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Elmer and Willie Lever. The second of three sons, he was nicknamed Fat by his younger brother, Elmer Jr., who had problems saying all the syllables in his name. Their father never lived with the family. In 1970, their mother, Willie, went west to work, while the brothers lived with their grandparents. The kids joined their mom in Tucson, Arizona, a year later.
Lever was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as the 11th pick in the 1982 NBA draft out of Arizona State. While at ASU, his guard-tandem teammate was Byron Scott, who left school early (1983) to sign with the San Diego Clippers. In his debut, Lever recorded 9 points, 7 assists and 4 steals in a road loss over the Kansas City Kings. On January 20, Lever recorded his first career double-double as he puts up 14 points and 13 assists in a road loss over the Mavericks. Three days after, Lever recorded his second career double-double as he recorded 11 points and 10 assists in a road win over the Spurs. On March 20, Lever recorded a season-high 19 points to go along with 6 assists as the Trailblazers picks up the win over the Nuggets.
During his rookie season, Lever averaged 7.8 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 5.3 assists per game and 1.9 steals per game.
In his debut with the Nuggets, Lever recorded 14 points and 12 assists in a win over the Warriors. On November 6, Lever recorded a double-double of 24 points and 18 assists in a road win over the Lakers, the first time it happened in Nuggets history. On March 9 against the Pacers, Lever recorded his first career triple-double with 13 points, 15 assists and a career-high 10 steals. On April 10, Lever recorded a double-double of 26 points and 18 assists in a road loss against the LA Clippers. At that time, he joined Magic Johnson (in 1982-83) as the only players since the ABA-NBA merger to have at least 2 season games having recorded 24 points and 18 assists.
In his first season with the Nuggets, Lever averaged 12.8 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 7.5 assists per game, and 2.5 steals per game. The next season, Lever continued his impressive or stellar performance for the Nuggets. On November 12, 1985, Lever recorded his first 30-point double-double as he recorded 31 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds in a road loss to the Rockets.
Despite his size (6 feet 3 inches), Lever regularly led the Nuggets in rebounding. He is the Nuggets’ all-time franchise leader in steals and was 2nd in career assists. He is one of only three players in NBA history to record 15 plus points, rebounds, and assists in a single playoff game (the others being Wilt Chamberlain and Jason Kidd).