The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division and plays its home games at Little Caesars Arena; the team was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1941, a member of the National Basketball League where it won two NBL championships: in 1944 and 1945. The Pistons joined the Basketball Association of America in 1948; the NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA in 1949, the Pistons became part of the merged league. Since moving to Detroit in 1957, the Pistons have won three NBA championships: in 1989, 1990 and 2004; the Detroit Pistons franchise was founded as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, a National Basketball League team, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Owner Fred Zollner's Zollner Corporation was a foundry that manufactured pistons for car and locomotive engines; the Zollner Pistons were NBL champions in 1944 and 1945.
They won the World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1944, 1945 and 1946. In 1948, the team became the Fort Wayne Pistons. In 1949, Fred Zollner brokered the formation of the National Basketball Association from the BAA and the NBL at his kitchen table. There are suggestions that Pistons players conspired with gamblers to shave points and throw various games during the 1953–54 and 1954–55 seasons. In particular, there are accusations that the team may have intentionally lost the 1955 NBA Finals to the Syracuse Nationals. In the decisive Game 7, the Pistons led 41–24 early in the second quarter before the Nationals rallied to win the game; the Nationals won on a free throw by George King with twelve seconds left in the game. The closing moments included a palming turnover by the Pistons' George Yardley with 18 seconds left, a foul by Frank Brian with 12 seconds left that enabled King's winning free throw, a turnover by the Pistons' Andy Phillip in the final seconds which cost them a chance to attempt the game winning shot.
Though the Pistons enjoyed a solid local following, Fort Wayne's small size made it difficult for them to be profitable as other early NBA teams based in smaller cities started folding or relocating to larger markets. After the 1956–57 season, Zollner decided that Fort Wayne was too small to support an NBA team and announced the team would be playing elsewhere in the coming season, he settled on Detroit. Although it was the fifth largest city in the United States at the time, Detroit had not seen professional basketball in a decade, they lost the Detroit Eagles due to World War II, both the Detroit Gems of the NBL and the Detroit Falcons of the BAA in 1947, the Detroit Vagabond Kings in 1949. Zollner decided to keep the Pistons name, believing it made sense given Detroit's status as the center of the automobile industry; the Pistons played in Olympia Stadium for their first four seasons moved to Cobo Arena. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Pistons were characterized by strong individuals and weak teams.
Some of the superstars who played for the team included Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier. At one point, DeBusschere was the youngest player-coach in the history of the NBA. A trade during the 1968–69 season sent DeBusschere to the New York Knicks for Howard Komives and Walt Bellamy, both of whom were in the stages of their careers. DeBusschere became a key player in leading the Knicks to two NBA titles. In 1974, Zollner sold the team to glass magnate Bill Davidson, who remained the team's principal owner until his death in 2009. While the Pistons did qualify for the postseason in four straight seasons from 1974 to 1977, they never had any real sustained success. In 1978, Davidson became displeased with Cobo Arena, but opted not to follow the Red Wings to the under-construction Joe Louis Arena. Instead, he moved the team to the suburb of Pontiac, where they played in the 82,000 capacity Silverdome, a structure built for professional football; the Pistons stumbled their way out of the 1970s and into the 1980s, beginning with a 16–66 record in 1979–80 and following up with a 21–61 record in 1980–81.
The 1979–80 team lost its last 14 games of the season which, when coupled with the seven losses at the start of the 1980–81 season, comprised a then-NBA record losing streak of 21 games. The franchise's fortunes began to turn in 1981, when they drafted point guard Isiah Thomas from Indiana University. In November 1981, the Pistons acquired Vinnie Johnson in a trade with the Seattle SuperSonics, they would acquire center Bill Laimbeer in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in February 1982. Another key move by the Pistons was the hiring of head coach Chuck Daly in 1983; the Pistons had a tough time moving up the NBA ladder. In 1984, the Pistons lost a tough five-game series to the underdog New York Knicks, 3–2. In the 1985 playoffs, Detroit won its first-round series and faced the defending champion Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals. Though Boston would prevail in six games, Detroit's surprise performance promised that a rivalry had begun. In the 1985 NBA draft, the team selected Joe Dumars 18th overall, a selection that would prove to be wise.
They acquired Rick Mahorn in a trade with the Washington Bullets. However, the team took a step backwards, losing in the first round of the 1986 playoffs to the more athletic Atlanta Hawks. After the series, changes were made in order to make the team more defensive-minded. Prior to the 1986–87 season, the Pistons acquired more key players: John Salley (
Coin flipping, coin tossing, or heads or tails is the practice of throwing a coin in the air and checking which side is showing when it lands, in order to choose between two alternatives, sometimes used to resolve a dispute between two parties. It is a form of sortition; the party who calls the side wins. The historical origin of coin flipping is the interpretation of a chance outcome as the expression of divine will. Coin flipping was known to the ancient Chinese as 撒大苏打, as some coins had a ship on one side and the head of the emperor on the other. In England, this was referred to as pile; the expression Heads or Tails results from heads and tails being considered complementary body parts. During a coin toss, the coin is thrown into the air such that it rotates edge-over-edge several times. Either beforehand or when the coin is in the air, an interested party calls "heads" or "tails", indicating which side of the coin that party is choosing; the other party is assigned the opposite side. Depending on custom, the coin may be caught.
When the coin comes to rest, the toss is complete and the party who called or was assigned the upper side is declared the winner. It is possible for a coin to land on its edge by landing up against an object or by getting stuck in the ground; however on a flat surface it is possible for a coin to land on its edge, with a chance of about 1 in 6000 for an American nickel. Angular momentum prevents most coins from landing on their edges unsupported if flipped; such cases in which a coin does land on its edge are exceptionally rare and in most cases the coin is re-flipped. The coin may be any type. Larger coins tend to be more popular than smaller ones; some high-profile coin tosses, such as the Cricket World Cup and the Super Bowl, use custom-made ceremonial medallions. Three-way coin flips are possible, by a different process – this can be done either to choose two out of three, or to choose one out of three. To choose two out of three, three coins are flipped, if two coins come up the same and one different, the different one loses, leaving two players.
To choose one out of three, either reverse this, or add a regular two-way coin flip between the remaining players as a second step. Note that the three-way flip is 75% to work each time it is tried, does not require that "heads" or "tails" be called. A famous example of such a three-way coin flip is dramatized in Friday Night Lights, three high school football teams use a three-way coin flip. A legacy of this coin flip was to reduce the use of coin flips to break ties in Texas sports, instead using point-systems to reduce the frequency of ties. Coin tossing is a simple and unbiased way of settling a dispute or deciding between two or more arbitrary options. In a game theoretic analysis it provides odds to both sides involved, requiring little effort and preventing the dispute from escalating into a struggle, it is used in sports and other games to decide arbitrary factors such as which side of the field a team will play from, or which side will attack or defend initially. Factors such as wind direction, the position of the sun, other conditions may affect the decision.
In team sports it is the captain who makes the call, while the umpire or referee oversees such proceedings. A competitive method may be used instead of a toss in some situations, for example in basketball the jump ball is employed, while the face-off plays a similar role in ice hockey. Coin flipping is used to decide which end of the field the teams will play to and/or which team gets first use of the ball, or similar questions in football matches, American football games, Australian rules football and other sports requiring such decisions. In the U. S. a specially minted coin is flipped in National Football League games. The XFL, a short-lived American football league, attempted to avoid coin tosses by implementing a face-off style "opening scramble," in which one player from each team tried to recover a loose football; because of the high rate of injury in these events, it has not achieved mainstream popularity in any football league, coin tossing remains the method of choice in American football.
In an association football match, the team winning the coin toss chooses which goal to attack in the first half. For the second half, the teams switch ends, the team that won the coin toss kicks off. Coin tosses are used to decide which team has the pick of going first or second in a penalty shoot-out. Before the early-1970s introduction of the penalty shootout, coin tosses were needed to decide the outcome of tied matches; the most famous instance of this was the semifinal game of the 1968 European Championship in Italy between Italy and the Soviet Union, which finished 0-0 after extra time. Italy won, went on to become European champions. In cricket the toss is significant, as the decision whether to
The Philadelphia 76ers are an American professional basketball team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The 76ers compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at Wells Fargo Center. Founded in 1946 and known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA, one of only eight to survive the league's first decade; the 76ers have had a rich history, with many of the greatest players in NBA history having played for the organization, including Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson. They have won three NBA championships, with their first coming as the Syracuse Nationals in 1955; the second title came in 1967, a team, led by Chamberlain. The third title came in 1983, won by a team led by Malone; the 76ers have only been back to the NBA Finals once since then: in 2001, where they were led by Iverson and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
In 1946, Italian immigrant Daniel Biasone sent a $5,000 check to the National Basketball League offices in Chicago, the Syracuse Nationals became the Midwest-based league's easternmost team, based in the Upstate New York city of Syracuse. The Syracuse Nationals began play in the NBL in the same year professional basketball was gaining some legitimacy with the rival Basketball Association of America, based in large cities like New York and Philadelphia. While in the NBL with teams consisting of small Midwestern towns, the Nationals put together a 21–23 record, finishing in fourth place. In the playoffs, the Nationals would be beaten by the fellow upstate neighbor Rochester Royals in four games. In their second season, 1947–48, the Nationals would struggle, finishing in fifth place with a 24–36 record. Despite their struggles, the Nationals would make the playoffs, getting swept by the Anderson Duffey Packers in 3 straight games. Several teams began to leave the NBL for the BAA; the Nationals "recipe for success" began by recruiting Leo Ferris.
Staying in the NBL, Ferris signed Al Cervi to be player coach and outbid the New York Knicks for the services of Dolph Schayes who made his professional debut, leading the Nationals to a winning record for the first time with a record of 41–22. In the playoffs the Nationals would make quick work of the Hammond Calumet Buccaneers, winning the series in 2 straight games. However, in the semifinals the Nationals would fall to the Anderson Duffey Packers for the second straight season in four games. In 1949, the Nationals were one of seven NBL teams that were absorbed by the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA; the Nationals were an instant success in the NBA, winning the Eastern Division in the 1949–50 season, with a league best record of 51–13. In the playoffs the Nationals continued to play solid basketball, beating the Philadelphia Warriors in 2 straight. Moving on to the Eastern Finals, the Nationals battled the New York Knickerbockers, beating their big city rivals in a 3-game series.
In the NBA Finals, the Nationals faced. In Game 1 of the Finals the Nationals lost just their second home game of the season 68–66; the Nationals did not recover. Despite several teams leaving the NBA for the National Professional Basketball League before the 1950–51 season, the Nationals decided to stay put. In their second NBA season, 1950–51, the Nationals played mediocre basketball all season, finishing in fourth place with a record of 32–34. However, in the playoffs the Nationals played their best basketball of the season as they stunned the first place Warriors in two straight, taking Game 1 on the road in overtime 91–89. In the Eastern Finals the Nationals were beaten by the New York Knickerbockers in a hard-fought 5-game series, losing the finale by just 2 points. Cervi, playing less and coaching more, emphasized a patient offense and a scrappy defense, which led the league in the 1951–52 season by yielding a stingy 79.5 points per game as the Nationals won the Eastern Division with a solid 40–26 record.
In the playoffs the Nationals knocked off the Warriors again in a 3-game series. However, in the Eastern Finals the Nationals fell to the Knickerbockers again, dropping the series in four games; the Nationals would finish in second place in a hard-fought 3-way battle for first place in the Eastern Division for the 1952–53 season, with a record of 47–24. In the playoffs the Nationals would face the Boston Celtics dropping Game 1 at home 87–81. Needing a win in Boston to keep their hopes alive, the Nationals would take the Celtics deep into overtime before losing in quadruple OT 111–105, in what remains the longest playoff game in NBA history; the Nationals acquired Alex Groza, Ralph Beard as the Indianapolis Olympians folded leaving the NBA with just 9 teams for the 1953–54 season. Once again the Nationals would battle for the Division title falling two games short with a 42–30 record. In the playoffs the Nationals would win all four games of a round robin tournament involving the three playoff teams from the East.
In the Eastern Finals the Nationals would stay hot beating the Celtics in 2 straight games. However, in the NBA Finals the Nationals would lose to the Lakers in a hard-fought 7-game series where the 2 teams alternated wins throughout. With the NBA struggling financially and down to just 8 teams Nationals owner during the 1954–55 season, Biasone suggested the league limit the amount of time taken for a shot thus speeding up a game that ended with long periods of teams just holding the ball and playing keep away. Biasone and Nationals' general manager
Doug Collins (basketball)
Paul Douglas Collins is an American basketball executive, former player and television analyst. He was the first overall pick of a four-time NBA All-Star, he has been an NBA coach, coaching the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. Collins served as an analyst for various NBA-related broadcast shows, he is a recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Collins was born in Illinois, he grew up in Benton, where his next-door neighbour was future film star John Malkovich. Collins enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Benton Consolidated High School, under renowned coach Rich Herrin, after which he went on to play for Illinois State University in Normal, coached from 1970 by Will Robinson, the first black head coach in NCAA Division I basketball. Collins was drafted first overall in the 1973 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, he played eight seasons for Philadelphia, was an all star three times. In 1976–77, he joined Julius Erving leading the Sixers to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers.
A rash of injuries to his feet and left knee beginning in 1979, would end Collins' career in 1981. In all, he played 415 NBA games. After his retirement, Collins turned to coaching, he joined Bob Weinhauer's staff at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant coach and followed Weinhauer to Arizona State for the same job. In May 1986, Collins was named head coach of the Chicago Bulls. Despite having Jordan, the Bulls were coming off a 30-52 season and fired their past two coaches after one season each. Collins helped the Bulls turn around their fortunes, showing an improvement of 10 games in each of his first two seasons, coaching Chicago to a 50-32 record in his second year. In his third year as coach, he brought Chicago to their first Eastern Conference Finals Appearance in 15 years, they were unable to get past their Central Division rival the "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons. Despite the Bulls' success and his popularity in Chicago, Collins was fired in the summer of 1989. Collins was named the head coach of the Detroit Pistons in 1995.
His arrival in Detroit was similar to his in Chicago, as the Pistons had a second-year star who drew comparisons to Michael Jordan, Grant Hill. In his first season, he was able to improve the team's previous season's record by 18 games and lead them back to the playoffs, though they would be swept by the Orlando Magic. A fast start in his second season pushed Hill to the top of MVP consideration and Collins was named the Eastern Conference All-Star team's coach; the highlight of the year for Collins came on April 13, when the Pistons defeated the defending champion Bulls to end Detroit's 19-game losing streak against Chicago. The Pistons finished 54-28 and lost in the first round of playoffs to the Atlanta Hawks, 3–2 in the best-of-five series, he served as Pistons' head coach until February 2, 1998, when he was fired and replaced by Alvin Gentry. Collins became a television broadcaster, working for many years at various networks, such as NBC on the NBA on NBC and TNT on the NBA on TNT, he worked as a broadcaster for about three years before being hired to coach the Washington Wizards for the start of the 2001–02 NBA season.
In Washington, Collins was reunited with Charles Oakley. Once again, in his first season with his new team, Collins improved the team's previous season's record by 18 games. Though his.451 winning percentage through 2 seasons was better than the Wizards'.308 record the previous 2 seasons, Collins was fired at the conclusion of the 2002–03 season. On May 21, 2010, Collins was hired as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. While the 76ers started out poorly with a record of 3-13, the team showed great improvement as the season went on, clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. Under Collins, the team increased its win total by 14 games over the previous season, they lost to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the first round, but were able to avoid a sweep, predicted. Collins finished second in Coach of the Year voting that season. In the lockout-shortened 2011–2012 season, Collins led the Sixers to an improved record, but Philadelphia was only able to take the eighth seed in the playoffs.
Against the top seeded Chicago Bulls, Collins led the Sixers to their first playoff series victory since 2003. It was the fifth time in NBA history, they lost. Collins resigned as 76ers coach on April 18, 2013, citing a need to spend more time with his five grandchildren, it was announced. Collins represented the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics in West Germany; those basketball games are remembered by U. S. fans for the controversial gold medal basketball game between the United States and the Soviet Union, in which Collins played a key part. Collins started doing work for CBS in the mid-1980s, calling playoff games, he was the lead color analyst for the local broadcasts of the 76ers' games during the 1985–86 season. In-between his various coaching stints he has done broadcasting work for CBS, NBC, TNT, TBS. After being fired by the Wizards, Collins returned to announcing games for TNT. In addition, he served as an analyst for NBC Sports' TV coverage of basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
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Kermit Alan Washington is an American former professional basketball player. Washington is best remembered for punching opposing player Rudy Tomjanovich during an on-court fight in 1977, his punch nearly killed Tomjanovich, resulted in severe medical problems that ended Tomjanovich's playing career. Washington was not a coveted player coming out of high school and got into college on an athletic scholarship, he averaged a mere four points per game during his senior season of high school. He improved once at American University, became one of only seven players in NCAA history to average 20 points and 20 rebounds throughout the course of their career. A big defensive forward, Washington was known for his ability to gather rebounds, he averaged 9.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in ten National Basketball Association seasons and played in the All-Star Game once. Washington was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the fifth overall pick in the 1973 NBA draft, he played sparingly his first three seasons, sought the help of retired basketball coach Pete Newell before his fourth season.
Under Newell's tutelage, Washington's game improved and he became a starter for several teams. He played for the Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors. Kermit Washington's mother Barbara graduated from Miner's Teacher's College, where she was an excellent student. Washington had a rough childhood; when he was three years old, his parents had a fight in which his maternal uncle became involved and in which someone violently attacked his uncle with an iron. His parents soon divorced, with his father awarded custody of the children, his mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder took him and his older brother Eric from their father on an ill-advised sojourn for which they were poorly prepared. Struggling to find money to feed the children, she called their father, who came and took them back, his stay with his father did not last long, he and his brother were passed around to various relatives on both sides of the family. The effect of being shuttled into and out of the homes of family members led to a feeling of not being wanted, which made Washington shy as a youth.
The only time he recalls feeling a sense of self-worth was when his great-grandmother on his father's side had the pair for a while. According to Washington, she loved the boys but was strict, at times, physically abusive. After his father remarried, the children moved back in with his new wife. Washington felt a sense of optimism for the first time, saying "I thought it was our dream come true. All our lives we had seen nice families on TV. Real ones. Now we were going to be a real family." However, he again felt unwanted this time by his stepmother. As a small child, Washington said that he had no recollections of being hugged, only felt close to his younger brother, Chris. Washington was a poor student, he had to retake many of his classes in summer school to raise his grades. When he entered high school he played football so he could be around a close friend, have someone to walk home with at night as he was terrified of walking home alone; as a senior in high school, Washington weighed a mere 150 lbs.
After some rare positive feedback by his biology teacher, Barbara Thomas, he began to study and put forth a greater effort in that class. He became a solid student in biology but poor in all other subjects; when Thomas became his home room teacher and saw his grades in other classes she encouraged him to try hard in all of his courses. Washington improved his marks, making the honor roll in his senior year, his basketball performance in high school was unimpressive. He came off the bench to average four points per game, his stepmother informed him that when he graduated from high school he would be thrown out of the house. Chris had been able to leave home on a football scholarship and would play in the National Football League, but Washington himself had nowhere to go, he trained for three hours a day toward the end of his senior season, showed up uninvited at a playground game featuring top high school players from Washington and Pennsylvania, where he talked his way into the game. Tom Young, who had left his job as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland to become head coach at American University, saw him play there, although Washington did not perform well, Young was impressed by his hustle and how he ignored the poor treatment he received from the people who organized the game.
During the summer between his senior year of high school and his freshman year of college, Washington grew four inches. He began an intense regimen of weight training, ran up and down the flights of steps in his seven-story dormitory building wearing a weighted vest to improve his endurance. Washington became more extroverted in college, so much so that he said his life could be separated into two parts—his pre-college life and his life after college, he has described his college years as "the happiest time in my life." He began dating his future wife Pat. They met after she noticed him accidentally scoring four consecutive points for the opposing team in a freshman basketball game, she pursued him though he remained silent when she spent time with him. A lot of the emergence of Washington's personality is credited to Pat, who encouraged him to be more outgoing and overcome his low self-esteem. Washington spent a lot of his free time practicing in the gym. He
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is a men's professional basketball league in North America. It is considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world; the NBA is an active member of USA Basketball, recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player; the league was founded in New York City on June 1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League; the league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in New Jersey; the Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.
On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first game played in NBA history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.
On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff. To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own, it now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, does not recognize NBL records and statistics. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today.
The process of contraction saw. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, to St. Louis in 1955; the Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit in 1957. Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, he remained the only non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African-American players did play in the league that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
If a team does not attempt to score a field goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, setting new single game records in scoring and rebounding. Russell's rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports; the 1960s were dominated by the Celtics. Led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966; this championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969; the domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.
Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises; the Chicago Packers (now Wa
The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in downtown Houston. The Rockets have won four Western Conference titles; the team was established as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team based in San Diego, in 1967. In 1971, the Rockets moved to Houston; the Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967. In the 1968 NBA draft, the Rockets, picking first overall, selected power forward Elvin Hayes, who would lead the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie season; the Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for center Moses Malone. Malone went on to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award twice and led Houston to the conference finals in his first year with the team, he led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981 where they were defeated in six games by the Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird and future Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
In the 1984 NBA draft, the Rockets drafted center Hakeem Olajuwon, who would be paired with 7 feet 4 inches Ralph Sampson, forming one of the tallest front courts in the NBA. Nicknamed the "Twin Towers", they led the team to the 1986 NBA Finals—the second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—where Houston was again defeated by the Boston Celtics; the Rockets continued to reach the playoffs throughout the 1980s, but failed to advance past the first round for several years following a second-round defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987. Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach midway through the 1991–92 season, ushering in the most successful period in franchise history; the Olajuwon-led Rockets went to the 1994 NBA Finals and won the franchise's first championship against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. The following season, reinforced by another All-Star, Clyde Drexler, the Rockets repeated as champions with a four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway.
Houston, seeded sixth in the Western Conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the title. The Rockets acquired all-star forward Charles Barkley in 1996, but the presence of three of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time was not enough to propel Houston past the Western Conference Finals; each one of the aging trio had left the team by 2001, the Rockets of the early 2000s, led by superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, followed the trend of consistent regular season respectability followed by playoff underachievement as both players struggled with injuries. After Yao's early retirement in 2011, the Rockets entered a period of rebuilding dismantling and retooling their roster; the acquisition of franchise player James Harden in 2012 has launched the Rockets back into championship contention in the mid-2010s. Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden have been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards.
The Rockets, under general manager Daryl Morey, are notable for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics in player acquisitions and style of play. The Rockets were founded in 1967 in San Diego by Robert Breitbard, who paid an entry fee of US $1.75 million to join the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967–68 season. The NBA wanted to add more teams in the Western United States, chose San Diego based on the city's strong economic and population growth, along with the local success of an ice hockey team owned by Breitbard, the San Diego Gulls; the resulting contest to name the franchise chose the name "Rockets", which paid homage to San Diego's theme of "a city in motion" and the local arm of General Dynamics developing the Atlas missile and booster rocket program. Breitbard brought in Jack McMahon coach of the Cincinnati Royals, to serve as the Rockets' coach and general manager; the team, that would join the league along with the Seattle SuperSonics built its roster with both veteran players at an expansion draft, college players from the 1967 NBA draft, where San Diego's first draft pick was Pat Riley.
The Rockets lost 67 games in their inaugural season, an NBA record for losses in a season at the time. In 1968, after the Rockets won a coin toss against the Baltimore Bullets to determine who would have the first overall pick in the 1968 NBA draft, they selected Elvin Hayes from the University of Houston. Hayes improved the Rockets' record to 37 wins and 45 losses, enough for the franchise's first playoff appearance in 1969, but the Rockets lost in the semi-finals of the Western Division to the Atlanta Hawks, four games to two. Despite the additions of Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich and the management of Hall of Fame coach Alex Hannum, the Rockets tallied a 67–97 record in the following two seasons and did not make the playoffs in either season; because of the low performance and attendance, Breitbard looked to sell the team, in 1971, Texas Sports Investments bought the franchise for $5.6 million, moved the team to Houston. The franchise became the first NBA team in Texas, the nickname "Rockets" took on greater relevance after the move, given Houston's long connection to the space industry.
Before the start of the 1971–72 season, Hannum left for the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association – renamed Denver Nuggets, who joined the NBA in 1976 – and Tex Winter was hired in his place. However, Winter's clashes with Hayes, due to a system that contrasted with the offensive style