William Walton Sharman was an American professional basketball player and coach. He is known for his time with the Boston Celtics in the 1950s, partnering with Bob Cousy in what some consider the greatest backcourt duo of all time; as a coach, Sharman won titles in the ABL, ABA, NBA, is credited with introducing the now ubiquitous morning shootaround. He was the first North American sports figure to win a championship as a player and executive, he was a 10-time NBA champion, a 12-time World Champion in basketball overall counting his ABL and ABA titles. Sharman is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been being inducted in 1976 as a player, in 2004 as a coach. Only John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and Tommy Heinsohn share this double honor. Sharman completed high school in the Central California city of California, he served during World War II from 1944 to 1946 in the US Navy, was a graduate of the University of Southern California. He played 1st base on the 1948 USC Trojans' College World Series championship team.
Following his senior year, Sharman was selected as one of the 1950 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans. From 1950 to 1955 Sharman played professional baseball in the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system, he did not appear in a game. He was part of a September 27 game in which the entire Brooklyn bench was cleared from the dugout for arguing with the home plate umpire over a ruling at the plate; this has led to the legend that Sharman holds the distinction of being the only player in baseball history to have been ejected from a major league game without appearing in one. However, although Sharman was among the Dodger bench players that had to go to the clubhouse, none of them were barred from playing in the game. In fact, in the top of the ninth, one of the other dismissed players, Wayne Terwilliger, was used as a pinch-hitter in the game. Sharman was drafted by the Washington Capitols in the 2nd round of the 1950 NBA draft. Following the disbanding of the Capitols, he was selected by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the dispersal draft and was subsequently traded to the Boston Celtics for Chuck Share prior to the 1951–52 season.
Sharman played a total of ten seasons for the Celtics, leading the team in scoring between the 1955–56 and 1958–59 seasons and averaging over 20 points per game during three of them. Sharman was one of the first NBA guards to shoot better than.400 from the field. He led the NBA in free throw percentage a record seven times, his mark of 93.2% in the 1958–59 season remained the NBA record until Ernie DiGregorio topped it in 1976–77. Sharman still holds the record for consecutive free throws in the playoffs with 56. Sharman was named to the All-NBA First Team from 1956 through 1959, was an All-NBA Second Team member in 1953, 1955, 1960. Sharman played in scoring in double figures in seven of them, he was named the 1955 NBA All-Star Game MVP after scoring ten of his fifteen points in the fourth quarter. Sharman still holds the NBA All-Star Game record for field goals attempted in a quarter with 12. Sharman ended his NBA playing career after 11 seasons in 1961. Sharman coached the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League to the league championship in 1962.
He next went on to coach Los Angeles State for two seasons. In 1970–71 he coached the Utah Stars to an ABA title and was a co-recipient of the ABA Coach of the Year honors. After resigning as coach for the Utah Stars, Sharman signed a contract to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Controversy ensued when the owner of the Utah Stars brought suit against Sharman for breach of contract stemming from his resignation, a tort case against the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers for inducing such breach of contract. Sharman was ordered to pay $250,000 in damages, but appealed the trial court decision and reversed the judgement; the following season, he guided the Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West-led Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA record 33 game win streak, a then-record 69-13 win-loss mark, the first Lakers championship in Los Angeles and the first for the team in more than a decade. That season, Sharman was named NBA Coach of the Year, he is one of two men to win ABA championships as a coach. Sharman invented, he took the shootaround with him to his first coaching jobs in the ABL, the ABA, the NBA.
After the Lakers won the championship in 1972, every other team in the league added the shootaround to its game-day regimen. Sharman was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976 as a player and again in 2004 as a coach, he is one of only four people to be enshrined in both categories, the others being John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and his former teammate Tom Heinsohn. In 1971, Sharman was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team. On October 29, 1996, Sharman was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players; as Lakers General Manager, Sharman built the 1980 and 1982 NBA Championship teams, as Lakers President he oversaw the 1985, 1987 and 1988 NBA Championship teams. Sharman retired from the Lakers front office in 1991 at age 65. Sharman was the author of two books, Sharman on Basketball Shooting and The Wooden-Sharman Method: A Guide to Winning Basketball with John Wooden and Bob Selzer; the gymnasium at Po
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the team plays its home games at State Farm Arena. The team's origins can be traced to the establishment of the Buffalo Bisons in 1946 in Buffalo, New York, a member of the National Basketball League owned by Ben Kerner and Leo Ferris. After 38 days in Buffalo, the team moved to Moline, where they were renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the Basketball Association of America, had Red Auerbach as coach. In 1951, Kerner moved the team to Milwaukee. Kerner and the team moved again in 1955 to St. Louis, where they won their only NBA Championship in 1958 and qualified to play in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960 and 1961; the Hawks played the Boston Celtics in all four of their trips to the NBA Finals. The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, when Kerner sold the franchise to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders.
The Hawks own the second-longest drought of not winning an NBA championship at 60 seasons. The franchise's lone NBA championship, as well as all four NBA Finals appearances, occurred when the team was based in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they went 48 years without advancing past the second round of the playoffs in any format, until breaking through in 2015. However, the Hawks are one of only four NBA teams that have qualified to play in the NBA playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons in the 21st century, they achieved this feat between 2008 and 2017. The other teams that have made it to at least 10 consecutive playoff appearances in the 21st century are the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks; the origins of the Atlanta Hawks can be traced to the Buffalo Bisons franchise, founded in 1946. The Bisons were a member of the National Basketball League, played their games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium; the club was coached by Nat Hickey. Their first game – a 50–39 victory over the Syracuse Nationals – was played on November 8, 1946.
On the team was William "Pop" Gates, along with William "Dolly" King, was one of the first two African-American players in the NBL. The team, which needed to draw 3,600 fans per game to break struggled to draw 1,000 fans per game to the Auditorium; the franchise lasted only 38 days in Buffalo when, on December 25, 1946, Leo Ferris, the team's general manager, announced that the team would be moving to Moline, which at that time was part of an area known as the "Tri-Cities": Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, Iowa. Upon relocation to Moline, the team was renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, played their home games at Wharton Field House, a 6,000-seat arena in Moline; the team featured guard/forward and coach Deanglo King, was owned by Leo Ferris and Ben Kerner. Pop Gates remained on the Blackhawks roster, finished second on the team in scoring behind future 1948 NBL MVP Don Otten. A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member, Gates helped to integrate the league and become the first African-American coach in a major sports league, coaching Dayton in 1948.
In 1949 the Blackhawks became one of the National Basketball Association's 17 original teams after a merger of the 12-year-old NBL and the three-year-old Basketball Association of America. They reached the playoffs in the NBA's inaugural year under the leadership of coach Red Auerbach; the following season, they drafted three-time All-American Bob Cousy, but they were unable to reach a deal and traded him to the Chicago Stags. The Blackhawks missed the playoffs. By it was obvious that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support an NBA team. After the season, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Hawks. In 1954, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, in 1955 the Hawks moved, this time to St. Louis, Milwaukee's rival in the beer industry, became the St. Louis Hawks. In 1956, the St. Louis Hawks drafted legendary Bill Russell in the first round, they traded Russell to the Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley, both Hall of Fame members.
In 1957, the Hawks finished four games under.500. However, the Western Division was weak that year, they won the division title and a bye to the division finals after defeating the Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons in one-game tiebreakers. They defeated the Lakers in the division finals to advance to the Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime thriller in game seven. In 1958, after tallying their first winning record, they again advanced to the Finals, where they avenged their defeat against the Celtics from the previous year, winning the series 4–2 and giving the Hawks their first and only NBA Championship. Bob Pettit scored 50 points in the final game of the series; the Hawks remained one of the NBA's premier teams for the next decade. In 1960, under coach Ed Macauley, the team advanced to the Finals, but lost to the Celtics in another game seven thriller; the following year, with the acquisition of rookie Lenny Wilkens, the Hawks repeated their success, but met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games.
They would remain contenders for most of the 1960s, advancing deep into the playoffs a
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne is a city in the U. S. state of Indiana and the seat of Allen County, United States. Located in northeastern Indiana, the city is 18 miles west of the Ohio border and 50 miles south of the Michigan border. With a population of 253,691 in the 2010 census, it is the second-most populous city in Indiana after Indianapolis, the 75th-most populous city in the United States, it is the principal city of the Fort Wayne metropolitan area, consisting of Allen and Whitley counties, a combined population of 419,453 as of 2011. Fort Wayne is the economic center of northeastern Indiana; the city is within a 300-mile radius of major population centers, including Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Louisville and Milwaukee. In addition to the three core counties, the combined statistical area includes Adams, DeKalb, Huntington and Steuben counties, with an estimated population of 615,077. Fort Wayne was built in 1794 by the United States Army under the direction of American Revolutionary War general Anthony Wayne, the last in a series of forts built near the Miami village of Kekionga.
Named in Wayne's honor, the European-American settlement developed at the confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Marys, Maumee rivers as a trading post for pioneers; the village was platted in 1823 and underwent tremendous growth after completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal and advent of the railroad. Once a booming manufacturing town located in what became known as the Rust Belt, Fort Wayne's economy in the 21st century is based upon distribution and logistics, healthcare and business services and hospitality, financial services; the city is a center for the defense industry. There are many jobs through local healthcare providers Parkview Health and Lutheran Health Network. Fort Wayne was an All-America City Award recipient in 1982, 1998, 2009; the city received an Outstanding Achievement City Livability Award by the U. S. Conference of Mayors in 1999; this area at the confluence of rivers was long occupied by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. The Miami tribe established its settlement of Kekionga at the confluence of the Maumee, St. Joseph, St. Marys rivers.
It was the capital of related Algonquian tribes. In 1696, Comte de Frontenac appointed Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes as commander of the outpost; the French built Fort Miami in 1697 as part of a group of forts and trading posts built between Quebec and St. Louis. In 1721, a few years after Bissot's death, Fort Miami was replaced by Fort St. Philippe des Miamis; the first census in 1744 recorded a population of 40 Frenchmen and 1,000 Miami. Increasing tension between France and Great Britain developed over control of the territory. In 1760, France ceded the area to Britain after its forces in North America surrendered during the Seven Years' War, known on the North American front as the French and Indian War. In 1763, various Native American nations rebelled against British rule and retook the fort as part of Pontiac's Rebellion; the Miami regained control of Kekionga. In 1790, after the United States achieved independence, President George Washington ordered the United States Army to secure Indiana Territory.
Three battles were fought at Kekionga against the Miami Confederacy. Miami warriors defeated U. S. forces in the first two battles. General Anthony Wayne led a third expedition resulting in the destruction of Kekionga and the start of peace negotiations between Little Turtle and the U. S. After General Wayne refused to negotiate, tribal forces advanced to Fallen Timbers, where they were defeated on August 20, 1794. On October 22, 1794, U. S. forces captured the Wabash–Erie portage from the Miami Confederacy and built Fort Wayne, named in honor of the general. The first settlement started in 1815. In 1819, the military garrison moved to Detroit. In 1822, a federal land office opened to sell land ceded by local Native Americans by the Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818. Platted in 1823 at the Ewing Tavern, the village became an important frontier outpost, was incorporated as the Town of Fort Wayne in 1829, with a population of 300; the Wabash and Erie Canal's opening improved travel conditions to the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, exposing Fort Wayne to expanded economic opportunities.
The population topped 2,000 when the town was incorporated as the City of Fort Wayne on February 22, 1840. Pioneer newspaperman George W. Wood was elected the city's first mayor. Fort Wayne's "Summit City" nickname dates from this period, referring to the city's position at the highest elevation along the canal's route; as influential as the canal was to the city's earliest development, it became obsolete after competing with the city's first railroad, the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway, completed in 1854. At the turn of the 20th century, the city's population reached nearly 50,000, attributed to a large influx of German and Irish immigrants. Fort Wayne's "urban working class" thrived in railroad-related jobs; the city's economy was based on manufacturing, ushering in an era of innovation with several notable inventions and developments coming out of the city over the years, such as gasoline pumps, the refrigerator, in 1972, the first home video game console. A 1913 flood caused seven deaths, left 15,000 homeless, damaged over 5,500 buildings in the worst natural disaster in the city's history.
As the automobile's prevalence grew, Fort Wayne became a fixture on the Lincoln Highway. Aviation arrived in 1919 with the opening of Smith Field; the airport se
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference in the Pacific Division; the Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics; the franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League. The new team began calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers. A member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America, where they would win five of the next six championships, led by star George Mikan. After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan's retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.
Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four-time NBA Most Valuable Player Wilt Chamberlain, won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won multiple MVP awards, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s; the 1980s Lakers were nicknamed "Showtime" due to their fast break-offense led by Magic Johnson. The team won five championships in a nine-year span, contained Hall of Famers Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, was led by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson retired, the team struggled in the early 1990s, before acquiring Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. With the duo, who were led by another Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the team won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its second "three-peat".
The Lakers won two more championships in 2009 and 2010, but failed to regain their former glory in the following decade. The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season. 21 Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles. Four Lakers—Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, O'Neal, Bryant—have won the NBA MVP Award for a total of eight awards; the Lakers' franchise began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen of Minnesota purchased the disbanded Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000 from Gems owner Maury Winston. Minneapolis sportswriter Sid Hartman played a key behind the scenes role in helping put together the deal and the team. Inspired by Minnesota's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes", the team christened themselves the Lakers. Hartman helped them hire John Kundla from College of St. Thomas, to be their first head coach, by meeting with him and selling him on the team; the Lakers had a solid roster, which featured forward Jim Pollard, playmaker Herm Schaefer, center George Mikan, who became the most dominant player in the NBL.
In their first season, they led the league with a 43–17 record winning the NBL Championship that season. In 1948, the Lakers moved from the NBL to the Basketball Association of America, Mikan's 28.3 point per game scoring average set a BAA record. In the 1949 BAA Finals they won the championship; the following season, the team improved to 51–17, repeating as champions. In the 1950–51 season, Mikan won his third straight scoring title at 28.4 ppg and the Lakers went 44–24 to win their second straight division title. One of those games, a 19–18 loss against the Fort Wayne Pistons, became infamous as the lowest scoring game in NBA history. In the playoffs, they defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round. During the 1951 -- 52 season, the Lakers won 40 games, they faced the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. In the 1952–53 season, Mikan led the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.4 rebounds per game, was named MVP of the 1953 NBA All-Star Game.
After a 48–22 regular season, the Lakers defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals. They defeated the New York Knicks to win their second straight championship. Though Lakers star George Mikan suffered from knee problems throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 ppg. Clyde Lovellette, drafted in 1952, helped the team win the Western Division; the team won its third straight championship in the 1950s and fifth in six seasons when it defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games. Following Mikan's retirement in the 1954 off-season, the Lakers struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although they defeated the Rochester Royals in the first round of the playoffs, they were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the semifinals. Although they had losing records the next two seasons, they made the playoffs each year. Mikan came back for the last half of the 1955–56 season, but struggled and retired for good after the season. Led by Lovellette's 20.6 points and 13.5 rebounds, they advanced to the Conference Finals in 1956–57.
The Lakers had one of the worst seasons in team history in 1957–58 when they won a league-low 19 games. They had hired Mikan, the team's general manager for the previous two seasons, as head coach to replace Kundla. Mikan was fired in January when
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. The Warriors compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. Founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, the Warriors relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and took the city's name, before changing its geographic moniker to Golden State in 1971, they play their home games at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors won the inaugural Basketball Association of America championship in 1947, won its second championship in 1956, led by Hall of Fame trio Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, Neil Johnston. However, the Warriors would not return to similar heights in Philadelphia, after a brief rebuilding period following the trade of star Wilt Chamberlain, the team moved to San Francisco. With star players Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry, the Warriors returned to title contention, won their third championship in 1975, in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.
This would precede another period of struggle in the 1980s, before becoming playoff regulars at the turn of the decade with stars Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, colloquially referred to as "Run TMC". After failing to capture a championship, the team entered another rebuilding phase in the 2000s; the Warriors' fortunes changed in the 2010s. After drafting perennial All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the team returned to championship glory in 2015, before winning another two in 2017 and 2018 with the help of former league MVP Kevin Durant. Nicknamed the Dubs as a shortening of "W's", the Warriors hold several NBA records. With the combined shooting of Curry and Thompson, they are credited as one of the greatest backcourts of all time; the team's six NBA championships are tied for third-most in NBA history with the Chicago Bulls. According to Forbes, the Warriors are the seventh highest valued sports franchise in the United States, joint-tenth in the world, with an estimated value of $3.1 billion.
The Warriors were founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, a charter member of the Basketball Association of America. They were owned by Peter A. Tyrrell, who owned the Philadelphia Rockets of the American Hockey League. Tyrrell hired Eddie Gottlieb, a longtime basketball promoter in the Philadelphia area, as coach and general manager; the owners named the team after the Philadelphia Warriors, an old basketball team who played in the American Basketball League in 1925. Led by early scoring sensation Joe Fulks, the team won the championship in the league's inaugural 1946–47 season by defeating the Chicago Stags, four games to one; the NBA, created by a 1949 merger recognizes that as its own first championship. Gottlieb bought the team in 1951; the Warriors won its next championship in Philadelphia in the 1955–56 season, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to one. The Warrior stars of this era were future Hall of Tom Gola and Neil Johnston. In 1959, the team signed draft pick Wilt Chamberlain.
Known as "Wilt the Stilt", he led the team in scoring six times began shattering NBA scoring records and changed the NBA style of play forever. On March 2, 1962, in a Warrior "home" game played on a neutral court in Hershey, Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks, a single-game record the NBA ranks among its finest moments. In 1962, Franklin Mieuli purchased the majority shares of the team and relocated the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area, renaming them the San Francisco Warriors; the Warriors played most of their home games at the Cow Palace in Daly City from 1962 to 1964 and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium from 1964 to 1966, though playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose. Prior to the 1963–64 NBA season, the Warriors drafted big man Nate Thurmond to go along with Chamberlain; the Warriors won the Western Division crown that season, but lost the 1964 NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, four games to one. In the 1964–65 season, the Warriors traded Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and $150,000 and won only 17 games.
In 1965, they drafted Rick Barry in the first round who went on to become NBA Rookie of the Year that season and led the Warriors to the NBA Finals in the 1966–67 season, losing to Chamberlain's new team that had replaced the Warriors in Philadelphia, the 76ers. Angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive bonuses he felt were due him, Barry sat out the 1967–68 season and signed with the Oakland Oaks of the rival American Basketball Association for the following year, but after four seasons in the ABA rejoined the Warriors in 1972. During Barry's absence, the Warriors were no longer title contenders, the mantle of leadership fell to Thurmond, Jeff Mullins and Rudy LaRusso, they began scheduling more home games in Oakland with the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966 and the 1970–71 season would be the team's last as the San Francisco Warriors. The franchise adopted its brand name Golden State Warriors prior to the 1971–72 season, in order to suggest that the team represented the entire state of California.
All home games were played in Oakland that season. Oakland Arena became the team's exclusive home court in 1971; the Warriors made the playoffs from 1971 to 1977 except in 1974, won their first NBA championship on t
George Lawrence Mikan Jr. nicknamed Mr. Basketball, was an American professional basketball player for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League and the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBL, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball Association. Invariably playing with thick, round spectacles, the 6 ft 10 in, 245 pounds Mikan is seen as one of the pioneers of professional basketball, redefining it as a game of so-called big men with his prolific rebounding, shot blocking, his talent to shoot over smaller defenders with his ambidextrous hook shot, the result of his namesake Mikan Drill, he utilized the underhanded free-throw shooting technique long before Rick Barry made it his signature shot. Mikan had a successful playing career, winning seven NBL, BAA, NBA championships, an NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy, three scoring titles, he was a member of the first four NBA All-Star games, the first six All-BAA and All-NBA Teams. Mikan was so dominant that he caused several rule changes in the NBA: among them, the introduction of the goaltending rule, the widening of the foul lane—known as the "Mikan Rule"—and the creation of the shot clock.
After his playing career, Mikan became one of the founders of the American Basketball Association, serving as commissioner of the league. He was vital for the forming of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In his years, Mikan was involved in a long-standing legal battle against the NBA, fighting to increase the meager pensions for players who had retired before the league became lucrative. In 2005, Mikan died after a long battle with diabetes. For his accomplishments, Mikan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959, made the 25th and 35th NBA Anniversary Teams of 1970 and 1980, was elected one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996. Since April 2001, a statue of Mikan shooting his trademark hook shot graces the entrance of the Timberwolves' Target Center. George Mikan was born in Joliet and was of Croatian descent; as a boy, he shattered one of his knees so badly that he was kept in bed for a half. In 1938, Mikan attended the Chicago Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and wanted to be a priest, but moved back home to finish at Joliet Catholic.
Mikan did not seem destined to become an athlete. When Mikan entered Chicago's DePaul University in 1942, he stood 6' 10", weighed 245 pounds, moved awkwardly because of his frame, wore thick glasses for his near-sightedness. However, Mikan met 28-year-old rookie DePaul basketball coach Ray Meyer, who saw potential in the bright and intelligent, but clumsy and shy, freshman. Put into perspective, Meyer's thoughts were revolutionary, because at the time it was believed that tall players were too awkward to play basketball well. In the following months, Meyer transformed Mikan into a confident, aggressive player who took pride in his height rather than being ashamed of it. Meyer and Mikan worked out intensively, Mikan learned how to make hook shots with either hand; this routine would become known as the Mikan Drill. In addition, Meyer made Mikan punch a speed bag, take dancing lessons, jump rope to make him a complete athlete. Mikan dominated his peers from the start of his National Collegiate Athletic Association college games at DePaul.
He intimidated opponents with his size and strength, was unstoppable on offense with his hook shot, soon established a reputation as one of the hardest and grittiest players in the league playing through injuries and punishing opposing centers with hard fouls. In addition, Mikan surprised the basketball world with his unique ability of goaltending, i.e. jumping so high that he swatted the ball away before it could pass the hoop. In today's basketball, touching the ball after it reaches its apex is a violation, but in Mikan's time it was legal because people thought it was impossible anyone could reach that high. "We would set up a zone defense that had four men around the key and I guarded the basket", Mikan recalled his DePaul days. "When the other team took a shot, I'd just go up and tap it out." As a consequence, the NCAA and the NBA, outlawed goaltending. Bob Kurland, a seven-footer from Oklahoma A&M, was one of the few opposing centers to have any success against Mikan. Mikan was named the Helms NCAA College Player of the Year in 1944 and 1945 and was an All-American three times.
In 1945, he led DePaul to the NIT title. Mikan led the nation in scoring with 23.9 points per game in 1944–45 and 23.1 in 1945–46. When DePaul won the 1945 National Invitation Tournament, Mikan was named Most Valuable Player for scoring 120 points in three games, including 53 points in a 97–53 win over Rhode Island. After the end of the 1945–46 college season, Mikan signed with the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League, a predecessor of the modern NBA, he played with them for 25 games at the end of the 1946–47 NBL season, scoring 16.5 points per game as a rookie. Mikan led the Gears to the championship of the World Basketball Tournament, where he was elected Most Valuable Player after scoring 100 points in five games, voted into the All-NBL Team. However, before the start of the 1947–48 NBL season, Maurice White, the president of the American Gear Company and the owner of the American Gears NBL team, pulled the team out of the league. White planned to create a 24-team league called the Professional Basketball League of America, in which he owned all the teams and arenas.
However, the league folded after just a month, the players of White's teams were distribu
Robert Joseph Cousy is an American retired professional basketball player. Cousy played point guard with the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963 and with the Cincinnati Royals in the 1969–70 season. Making his high school varsity squad as a junior, he went on to earn a scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross, where he led the Crusaders to berths in the 1948 NCAA Tournament and 1950 NCAA Tournament and was named an NCAA All-American for 3 seasons. Cousy was drafted by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks as the third overall pick in the first round of the 1950 NBA draft, but after he refused to report, he was picked up by Boston, he had an exceptionally successful career with the Celtics, leading the league an unprecedented 8 straight years in assists, playing on six NBA championship teams, being voted into 13 NBA All-Star Games in his 13 full NBA seasons. He was named to 12 All-NBA First and Second Teams and won the 1957 NBA Most Valuable Player Award. En route to his assist streak, unmatched either in number of crowns or consecutive years, Cousy introduced a new blend of ball-handling and passing skills to the NBA that earned him the nickname "The Houdini of the Hardwood".
Known as "Cooz", he was introduced at Boston Garden as "Mr. Basketball". After his playing career, he coached the Royals for several years, capped by a seven-game cameo comeback for them at age 41. Cousy became a broadcaster for Celtics games. Upon his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971 the Celtics retired his #14 jersey and hung it in the rafters of the Garden. Cousy was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971, the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1981, the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996, making him one of only four players that were selected to each of those teams, he was the first president of National Basketball Players Association. Cousy was the only son of poor French immigrants living in New York City, he grew up in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan's East Side, in the midst of the Great Depression. His father Joseph was a cab driver; the elder Cousy had served in the German Army during World War I. Shortly after the war, his first wife died of pneumonia.
He married a secretary and French teacher from Dijon. At the time of the 1930 census, the family was renting an apartment in Astoria, for $50 per month; the younger Cousy spoke French for the first 5 years of his life, started to speak English only after entering primary school. He spent his early days playing stickball in a multicultural environment playing with African Americans and other ethnic minority children; these experiences ingrained him with a strong anti-racist sentiment, an attitude he prominently promoted during his professional career. When he was 12, his family moved to a rented house in Queens; that summer, the elder Cousy put a $500 down payment for a $4,500 house four blocks away. He rented out the bottom two floors of the three-story building to tenants to help make his mortgage payments on time. Cousy took up basketball at the age of 13 as a student at St. Pascal's elementary school, was "immediately hooked"; the following year, he entered Andrew Jackson High School in St Albans.
His basketball success was not immediate, in fact he was cut from the school team in his first year. That year, he joined the St. Albans Lindens of the Press League, a basketball league sponsored by the Long Island Press, where he began to develop his basketball skills and gained much-needed experience; the next year, however, he was again cut during the tryouts for the school basketball team. That same year, he broke his right hand; the injury forced him to play left-handed until his hand healed, making him ambidextrous. In retrospect, he described this accident as "a fortunate event" and cited it as a factor in making him more versatile on the court. During a Press League game, the high school basketball coach saw, he was impressed by the budding star's two-handed ability and invited Cousy to come to practice the following day to try out for the junior varsity team. He did well enough to become a permanent member of the JV squad, he continued to practice day and night, by his junior year was sure he was going to be promoted to the varsity.
He joined the varsity squad midway through the season, scoring 28 points in his first game. He had no intention of attending college, but after he started to make a name for himself on the basketball court he started to focus on improving in both academics and basketball skills to make it easier for him to get into college, he again excelled in basketball his senior year, leading his team to the Queens divisional championship and amassing more points than any other New York City high school basketball player. He was named captain of the Journal-American All-Scholastic team, he began to plan for college. His family had wanted him to attend a Catholic school, he wanted to go somewhere outside New York City. Boston College recruited him, he considered accepting the BC offer, but it had no dormitories, he was not interested in being a commuter student. Soon afterward, he received an offer from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts about forty miles west of Boston, he was impressed by the school, accepted the basketball scholarship it offered him.
He spent the summer before matriculating working at Tamarack Lodge in the Catskill Mountains and playing in a local basketball league along with a number of established college players. Cousy was one of six freshmen on