Norman W. C. “Norm” Powell is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association. Nicknamed “Stormin’ Norman”, Powell played college basketball with the UCLA Bruins where he was an all-conference player in the Pac-12. He was selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. He won an NBA Championship with Toronto in 2019.
Powell was a two-time all-state high school player in California and led his team to a state championship before joining UCLA. After entering his senior year in 2014–15 as the Bruins’ top returning player, he emerged as a team leader and received first-team All-Pac-12 honours. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, who subsequently traded his draft rights to Toronto.
Powell was born in San Diego, California, to Sharon and Norman Powell Sr. He was introduced to basketball by his uncle, Raymond Edwards. Powell decided to attend high school at Lincoln High, which had just been rebuilt and lost many athletes. He helped rebuild their basketball program, leading the team to consecutive California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section 2A championships in 2009 and 2010. The team also captured the 2010 CIF Division II Boys’ State Championship, with Powell scoring 24 points in a 74–59 win over Mountain View St. Francis. He finished his junior season averaging 19.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.7 steals, and earned first-team all-state as well as Western League Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours.
In his senior year, he was again first-team all-state and league MVP, and averaged 20.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals. Lincoln was 32–2 and won the league title with a 12–0 record. They were ranked No. 3 in California and No. 15 nationally, but were defeated 74–69 by Summit in the state semi-finals. He finished his high school career winning the San Diego County All Star Game Dunk Contest.
Considered a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Powell was listed as the No. 15 shooting guard and the No. 52 player in the nation in 2011. Powell chose to play college basketball for UCLA.
In his first year at the UCLA, he was the only true freshman to play significant minutes in 2011-12, when he averaged 17.8 minutes and contributed 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 33 games, joining Tyler Lamb and Lazeric Jones as the only Bruins to play in every game that season. While he excelled as a driving guard in high school, his role transformed at UCLA, taking less than one-fourth of his shots around the rim and close to half from outside on three-point attempts. connecting on 38.5% over the last 18 games.
UCLA opened the 2014 NCAA tournament in San Diego, enabling him to play in his hometown for the first time since high school. UCLA advanced to the Sweet 16, and Powell averaged 13.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in three tournament contests. After the season, he considered playing professionally in the NBA, and requested an evaluation of his prospects for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft.
Informed that he was unlikely to be drafted, Powell decided to return for his senior year, and became UCLA’s top returning player and scorer for 2014-15. As the season progressed, he grew to be a leader of the team, and increasingly took on more of the offensive load. Although freshman teammate Kevon Looney was seen as a potential NBA lottery pick, Powell became the Bruins’ most consistent performer. He averaged 26 points and 5.5 rebounds in two games that week, and was honoured with his conference-high third Pac-12 Player of the Week for the season.
On June 25, 2015, Powell was selected with the 46th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. His draft rights, along with a 2017 first-round draft pick, were subsequently traded to the Toronto Raptors for Greivis Vasquez. After signing with Toronto on July 15, he played with the Raptors in the 2015 NBA summer league in Las Vegas, where he was the only rookie to be named to the All-NBA Summer League First Team. Powell received playing time early in 2015-16 due to injuries to Terrence Ross and DeMarre Carroll. He later received multiple assignments to Raptors 905, Toronto’s D-League affiliate.
With Carroll out after knee surgery and James Johnson side lined with a sprained ankle, Powell made his first NBA start on February 2, 2016, going scoreless with two steals in 15 minutes in a 104–97 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Powell played sparingly for the Raptors over the first half of the 2016-17 season. With DeMarre Carroll sitting out back-to-back games early on in the season, Powell received a number of starting assignments. He would rise to the occasion every time he got an opportunity, only to go missing in action for a handful of games before his services were needed again.
On October 8, 2017, Powell signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension with the Raptors. The deal, which started with the 2018–19 season, included a player option on the fourth year.
After averaging a conference-leading 31.3 points on 56 percent shooting and helping the Raptors win three road games that week, he was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference player of the week for the first time in his career. Toronto advanced in the playoffs to the conference semi-finals against the Boston Celtics, which Powell helped tie the series at 3 after scoring 15 of his 23 points in the two overtime periods in a 125–122 win in Game 6.
The following season in 2020-21, Powell moved into the starting line up in mid-January 2021. On March 17, he scored a career-high 43 points in a close loss at Detroit.
Powell has two older sisters, Joniece and Margaret. He majored in history at UCLA.
In October 2017, Powell teamed with web host GoDaddy to launch his website and his first single “No Problem”.