Lowell "Cotton" Fitzsimmons was an American college and NBA basketball coach. A native of Bowling Green, Missouri, he attended and played basketball at Hannibal-LaGrange Junior College in Hannibal and Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, he coached the Phoenix Suns three times, was named the NBA Coach of the Year twice, is credited as the architect of the Suns' success of the late 1980s and early to middle 1990s. Fitzsimmons won 1,089 games in his coaching career: 223 games at the junior college level, 34 at the Division I college level and 832 in the NBA. Born to Clancy and Zelda Fitzsimmons, "Lowell" was raised in Bowling Green, where he attended Bowling Green High School; the family of six moved to Bowling Green. There, his fourth grade classmates nicknamed him "Cotton" because of his hair, his father died. His mother raised three siblings. In high school, Bowling Green High School basketball coach James A. Wilson became a key figure for Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons said: “Coach Wilson had the biggest influence on me of any male adult.
He taught me the difference between principles. Rules are made to be bent, sometimes broken. Principles are something. My mother raised me, of course, but I think I looked up to Coach Wilson as a father figure and wanted to be like him.”With the 5'7" Fitzsimmons, Bowling Green High School twice advanced to the Missouri State High School Basketball Tournament. After graduating from Bowling Green High School, Fitzsimmons worked at a brick plant in nearby Farber, Missouri, he worked for two years to help support the family until his sisters graduated from high school, just as his older brother Orland had done. During those two years, Cotton played 80 game seasons for the brickyard basketball team, was a basketball referee for local high school games and was a baseball infielder on a Bowling Green town baseball team, serving as the team manager. On his first taste of coaching, he recalled, "It's not easy going to the mound as a kid and taking out your pitcher, who's 30." In 1952, Fitzsimmons enrolled at Hannibal-LaGrange College a junior college in Hannibal, Missouri.
Fitzsimmons became a junior-college All-American. He led the team to the NJCAA Tournament. Fitzsimmons left Missouri to attend Midwestern State University in Texas. There, he averaged 13.3 points over 82 games and scored a career 1,095 points, while helping the Mustangs to the NAIA Tournament quarterfinals in 1956. Fitzsimmons turned down an offer to play for the AAU basketball for the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots and remained at Midwestern State after graduation to earn a masters’ degree in administrative education, he decided. After earning his degrees at Midwestern State, Fitzsimmons returned to Missouri, he accepted the position as head coach at Moberly Junior College in Moberly, Missouri in 1958, replacing Maury John. Fitzsimmons coached for nine seasons at Moberly, with a record of 223-59; when asked in his interview how long he planned to stay at Moberly if hired, "“I gave him the dumbest answer I gave anyone,” he said, “I told him I’d be there till we won two titles in a row.” Fitzsimmons proceeded to finish his tenure at Moberly with back-to-back NJCAA National Championships, in 1966 and 1967.
Fitzsimmons was hired by Kansas State University, serving as an assistant coach in 1967-1968 under Head Coach Tex Winter. There he learned the Triangle Offense from Winter, who left after the season for Washington and recommended Fitzsimmons to replace him. In 1968, he was named Head Coach at Kansas State. Fitzsimmons' first team at KSU finished 14-12. In 1969-1970, The Wildcats went a surprising 20-8, he was named 1970 Big 8 Coach of the Year and led the Wildcats to the Sweet Sixteen of the 1970 NCAA Tournament. Fitzsimmons moved to the NBA with the Phoenix Suns. In 1970, Fitzsimmons replaced Jerry Colangelo as Head Coach of the Phoenix Suns, it was Colangelo. At first Colangelo had asked about other possible candidates. Colangelo asked Fitzsimmons, “How would you like the job?” Fitzsimmons took the position and led the Suns to their first winning season, going 48–34 that season. The relationship between Colangelo and Fitzsimmons would be lengthy, as Fitzsimmons would serve the Suns in multiple capacities, including three tenures as Head Coach.
Fitzsimmons worked for Colangelo on one year contracts, without any discussion of compensation throughout their long tenure together. In 1972, Fitzsimmons became coach of the Atlanta Hawks, he was 140-180 in four seasons, with one playoff appearance. He returned to Phoenix to reside in 1975. According to Fitzsimmons, one of the main reasons he accepted a job as Hawks coach was the opportunity to coach Pete Maravich; the Hawks traded Maravich to the New Orleans Jazz in May, 1974 and Fitzsimmons was left with a young team and a rotating front office.“Presidents and GMs were flying out of here like paper clips.” He told Sports Illustrated. On May 30, 1976, Fitzsimmons was replaced by his assistant Bumper Tormohlen with the Hawks at 28-46. On August 4, 1976, Fitzsimmons was hired as player personnel director for the Golden State Warriors, to replace the late Bob Feerick, working alongside Al Attles, Coach and General Manager. Attles said,'I have a long standing relation with Cotton and have always admired and respected him as a person and evaluator of talent," There, the team ma
San Diego is a city in the U. S. state of California. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California 120 miles south of Los Angeles and adjacent to the border with Mexico. With an estimated population of 1,419,516 as of July 1, 2017, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California, it is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest transborder agglomeration between the U. S. and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people. The city is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy, recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center. San Diego has been called "the birthplace of California". Home to the Kumeyaay people, it was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later.
The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly independent Mexico, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later. California became part of the United States in 1848 following the Mexican–American War and was admitted to the union as a state in 1850; the city is the seat of San Diego County and is the economic center of the region as well as the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. San Diego's main economic engines are military and defense-related activities, international trade, manufacturing; the presence of the University of California, San Diego, with the affiliated UCSD Medical Center, has helped make the area a center of research in biotechnology. The original inhabitants of the region are now known as the San La Jolla people; the area of San Diego has been inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. The first European to visit the region was explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, sailing under the flag of Castile but born in Portugal.
Sailing his flagship San Salvador from Navidad, New Spain, Cabrillo claimed the bay for the Spanish Empire in 1542, named the site "San Miguel". In November 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno was sent to map the California coast. Arriving on his flagship San Diego, Vizcaíno surveyed the harbor and what are now Mission Bay and Point Loma and named the area for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more known as San Diego de Alcalá. On November 12, 1602, the first Christian religious service of record in Alta California was conducted by Friar Antonio de la Ascensión, a member of Vizcaíno's expedition, to celebrate the feast day of San Diego. Permanent colonization of California and of San Diego began in 1769 with the arrival of four contingents of Spaniards from New Spain and the Baja California peninsula. Two seaborne parties reached San Diego Bay: the San Carlos, under Vicente Vila and including as notable members the engineer and cartographer Miguel Costansó and the soldier and future governor Pedro Fages, the San Antonio, under Juan Pérez.
An initial overland expedition to San Diego from the south was led by the soldier Fernando Rivera and included the Franciscan missionary and chronicler Juan Crespí, followed by a second party led by the designated governor Gaspar de Portolà and including the mission president Junípero Serra. In May 1769, Portolà established the Fort Presidio of San Diego on a hill near the San Diego River, it was the first settlement by Europeans in. In July of the same year, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was founded by Franciscan friars under Serra. By 1797, the mission boasted the largest native population in Alta California, with over 1,400 neophytes living in and around the mission proper. Mission San Diego was the southern anchor in Alta California of the historic mission trail El Camino Real. Both the Presidio and the Mission are National Historic Landmarks. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, San Diego became part of the Mexican territory of Alta California. In 1822, Mexico began its attempt to extend its authority over the coastal territory of Alta California.
The fort on Presidio Hill was abandoned, while the town of San Diego grew up on the level land below Presidio Hill. The Mission was secularized by the Mexican government in 1834, most of the Mission lands were granted to former soldiers; the 432 residents of the town petitioned the governor to form a pueblo, Juan María Osuna was elected the first alcalde, defeating Pío Pico in the vote. However, San Diego had been losing population throughout the 1830s and in 1838 the town lost its pueblo status because its size dropped to an estimated 100 to 150 residents. Beyond town Mexican land grants expanded the number of California ranchos that modestly added to the local economy. Americans gained increased awareness of California, its commercial possibilities, from the writings of two countrymen involved in the officially forbidden, to foreigners, but economically significant hide and tallow trade, where San Diego was a major port and the only one with an adequate harbor: William Shaler's "Journal of a Voyage Between China and the North-Western Coast of America, Made in 1804" and Richard Henry Dana's more substantial and convincing account, of his 1834–36 voyage, the classic Two Years Before the Mast.
In 1846, the United States went to war against Mexico and sent a naval and land expedition to conquer Alta California. At firs
George Matthew Karl is an American former professional basketball coach and former player. He is one of 9 coaches in NBA history to have won 1,000 NBA games, though he never won a championship. Karl was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, where he starred at Penn Hills High School, he played collegiately at the University of North Carolina for three years. Drafted in the fourth round of 1973 NBA draft by the New York Knicks, Karl opted instead to sign with the ABA's San Antonio Spurs, he spent three years as the team's starting point guard. After the Spurs joined the NBA in 1976, Karl played limited minutes over the next two years, retiring as a player in 1978. After his playing career, Karl spent two years with the Spurs coaching staff as an assistant coach, he was named head coach of the Montana Golden Nuggets of the Continental Basketball Association. As coach of the Golden Nuggets, Karl guided the team to the CBA Finals in 1981 and 1983, winning Coach of the Year both seasons. In 1984, Karl returned to the NBA.
In his first season he took them back to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. He was dismissed by the Cavaliers after a disappointing 25–42 start in his second season with the team, though Cleveland would finish just 29–53 on the season. For the remainder of the 1985–86 season and early portion of the offseason, Karl worked as a scout and adviser to the Milwaukee Bucks. Karl was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 1986. In the first round of the playoffs, they faced the Utah Jazz in a best–of–five series; each team won two close games at home setting up a decisive game 5 in Utah that the Warriors won to advance to the playoff semifinals. Matched up in the semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers, who had won three championships in the past seven seasons, Karl's team was expected to be swept by the much more experienced Lakers, promptly lost the first three games. Facing elimination in game 4, the Warriors overcame a 12–point fourth quarter deficit and won 129–121. Game 4 was the only game the Lakers lost in the Western Conference playoffs that year, en route to the first of their back–to–back championships.
During the 1987–88 season, the Warriors got off to a rough start, team management decided to trade Purvis Short, Sleepy Floyd and Joe Barry Carroll in order to save money and get younger. With Chris Mullin going through alcohol rehabilitation, Karl was now without his top four scorers from the 1987 playoff team. Frustrated with the team's direction, he resigned from the Warriors with 18 games left in the season. Though he resigned, there has been speculation Karl was fired, as he signed a non-disclosure agreement and received a buyout of his contract. On September 5, 1988, Karl was named head coach of the Albany Patroons of the CBA, leading them to a 36–18 record. In 1989, Karl coached Real Madrid of Liga ACB. Madrid finished 69–17, though they dealt with the death of their best player, Fernando Martín Espina. Real Madrid came third in the Spanish league, were Spanish cup semifinalists, lost the final of the Saporta Cup, Europe's second most important cup competition. Karl returned to coach the Patroons in 1990, leading them to a 50–6 season, while winning all 28 home games.
For his efforts, Karl was named CBA Coach of the Year for the third time. Karl returned to Real Madrid for the 1991–92 season, until he left to return to the NBA. Real Madrid won the Saporta Cup, came second in the Spanish league, lost in the quarterfinals of the Spanish cup. On January 23, 1992, Karl was named head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics. Karl led a late season surge going 27–15, entering the playoffs as the sixth seed. In the first round, they upset the Golden State Warriors in four games, they lost in the second round to the Utah Jazz. In his second season as the SuperSonics coach, the team improved their 47–35 record to 55–27, qualified for the playoffs as the #3 seed in the Western Conference, they defeated the Utah Jazz 3–2 in the first round, defeated the Houston Rockets 4–3 in the semifinals. Seattle lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Charles Barkley–led Phoenix Suns in a full seven game series, falling just one game short of the NBA Finals; the following season, Seattle won 63 games and its first Pacific Division title since their 1979 championship season.
Despite a rift with mid-season acquisition Kendall Gill, Karl led the Sonics to the top seed in the Western Conference. Playing the eighth–seeded Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs, Seattle won their first two games at home, but lost the following three, including the closing game at home, to become the first top seed to lose to an eighth-seed in the playoffs history; the 1994–95 season had a similar result when Seattle suffered another first–round loss after finishing the season 57–25. This time, Karl's fourth-seed SuperSonics were defeated by the fifth–seeded Los Angeles Lakers led by point guard Nick Van Exel, who clashed with Karl during the 1993 NBA rookie workouts. Fans and media called for Karl's dismissal after his back-to-back first round losses, but the team instead traded the disgruntled Kendall Gill to Charlotte for Hersey Hawkins, showing a sign of confidence in Karl. Karl responded to the disappointing playoff exits with the best regular season in SuperSonics history, posting a 14–game winning streak between February and March to finish the 1995–96 season with a franchise best 64–18 record.
Led by All-Stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, the named Defensive Player of the Year, the SuperSonics defeated the Sacramento Kings three games to one
Michael Jeffrey Jordan known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player, the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, his biography on the official NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." He was one of the most marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan played three seasons for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina; as a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, he emerged as a league star and entertained crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness.
He gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season, started a new career in Minor League Baseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards. Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, ten scoring titles, five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average and highest career playoff scoring average. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press' list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career, again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, he became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015. Jordan is known for his product endorsements, he fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history, he is the third-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Oprah Winfrey.
Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Deloris, who worked in banking, James R. Jordan Sr. an equipment supervisor. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. Jordan is the fourth of five children, he has two older brothers, Larry Jordan and James R. Jordan, Jr. one older sister and one younger sister, Roslyn. Jordan's brother James retired in 2006 as the Command Sergeant Major of the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U. S. Army. Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he highlighted his athletic career by playing basketball and football, he tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5'11", he was deemed too short to play at that level. His taller friend, Harvest Leroy Smith, was the only sophomore to make the team. Motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney's junior varsity team, tallied several 40-point games; the following summer, he trained rigorously. Upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game over his final two seasons of high school play.
As a senior, he was selected to play in the 1981 McDonald's All-American Game and scored 30 points, after averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists per game for the season. Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In 1981, Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography; as a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting. He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, added 5.0 rpg. He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore and junior seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted
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
Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon known as Akeem Olajuwon, is a Nigerian-American former professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors, he led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2016, he was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. Listed at 7 ft 0 in, Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers to play the game, he was nicknamed "The Dream" during his basketball career after he dunked so effortlessly that his college coach said it "looked like a dream."Born in Lagos, Olajuwon traveled from his home country to play for the University of Houston under head coach Guy Lewis. His college career for the Cougars included three trips to the Final Four. Olajuwon was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the first overall selection of the 1984 NBA draft, a draft that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton.
He combined with the 7 ft 4 in Ralph Sampson to form a duo dubbed the "Twin Towers". The two led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals. After Sampson was traded to the Warriors in 1988, Olajuwon became the Rockets' undisputed leader, he blocks three times. Despite nearly being traded during a bitter contract dispute before the 1992–93 season, he remained in Houston where in 1993–94, he became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Finals MVP awards in the same season, his Rockets won back-to-back championships against the New York Knicks, Shaquille O'Neal's Orlando Magic. In 1996, Olajuwon was a member of the Olympic gold-medal-winning United States national team, was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he ended his career as the league's all-time leader in blocks and is one of four NBA players to record a quadruple-double. Hakeem Olajuwon was born to Salim and Abike Olajuwon, working class Yoruba owners of a cement business in Lagos.
He was the third of eight children. He credits his parents with instilling virtues of hard work and discipline into him and his siblings. Olajuwon has expressed displeasure at his childhood in Nigeria being characterized as backward. "Lagos is a cosmopolitan city... There are many ethnic groups. I grew up in an environment at schools where there were all different types of people."During his youth, Olajuwon was a soccer goalkeeper, which helped give him the footwork and agility to balance his size and strength in basketball, contributed to his shot-blocking ability. Olajuwon did not play basketball until the age of 17, it has been said that a coach in Nigeria once asked him to dunk and demonstrated while standing on a chair. Olajuwon tried to stand on the chair himself; when redirected by staff not to use the chair, Hakeem could not dunk the basketball. Despite early struggles, Olajuwon said: "Basketball is something, so unique; that I pick up the game and, you know, realize that this is the life for me.
All the other sports just become obsolete." Olajuwon emigrated from Nigeria to play basketball at the University of Houston under Cougars coach Guy Lewis. Olajuwon was not recruited and was offered a visit to the university to work out for the coaching staff, based on a recommendation from a friend of Lewis who had seen Olajuwon play, he recalled that when he arrived at the airport in 1980 for the visit, no representative of the school was there to greet him. When he called the staff, they told him to take a taxi out to the university. After redshirting his freshman year in 1980–81 because he could not yet get clearance from the NCAA to play, Olajuwon played sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 1981–82, the Cougars were eliminated in the Final Four by the eventual NCAA champion, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Olajuwon averaged 8.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, shooting 60% from the field in 18 minutes per game. Olajuwon sought advice from the coaching staff about how to increase his playing time, they advised him to work out with local Houston resident and multiple NBA MVP winner, Moses Malone.
Malone, a center on the NBA's Houston Rockets, played games every off season with several NBA players at the Fonde Recreation Center. Olajuwon joined the workouts and went head to head with Malone in several games throughout the summer. Olajuwon credited this experience with improving his game: "The way Moses helped me is by being out there playing and allowing me to go against that level of competition, he was the best center in the NBA at the time, so I was trying to improve my game against the best."Olajuwon returned from that summer a different player. He and his teammates formed what was dubbed "Phi Slama Jama", the first slam-dunking "fraternity", so named because of its above-the-rim prowess. In his sophomore and junior years he helped the Cougars advance to consecutive NCAA championship games, where they lost to North Carolina State on a last second tip-in in 1983 and a Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown team in 1984, he averaged 13.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks in 1982-1983 and 16.8 points, 13.5 rebounds and 5.6 blocks in 1983-1984.
Olajuwon won the 1983 NCAA Tournament Player of the Year award though he played for the losing team in the final game. He is, to date, the last player from a losing side to be granted this ho
NBA Most Valuable Player Award
The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1955–56 season to the best performing player of the regular season. The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, named in honor of the first commissioner of the NBA, who served from 1946 until 1963; until the 1979–80 season, the MVP was selected by a vote of NBA players. Since the 1980–81 season, the award is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada; each member of the voting panel casts a vote for first to fifth place selections. Each first-place vote is worth 10 points. Starting from 2010, one ballot was cast by fans through online voting; the player with the highest point total wins the award. As of June 2018, the current holder of the award is James Harden of the Houston Rockets; every player who has won this award and has been eligible for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has been inducted. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the award a record six times.
He is the only player to win the award despite his team not making the playoffs back in the 1975–76 season. Both Bill Russell and Michael Jordan won the award five times, while Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James won the award four times. Russell and James are the only players to have won the award four times in five seasons. Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each won the award three times, while Bob Pettit, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash and Stephen Curry have each won it twice. Only two rookies have won the award: Chamberlain in the 1959–60 season and Wes Unseld in the 1968–69 season. Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria, Duncan of the U. S. Virgin Islands, Nash of Canada and Dirk Nowitzki of Germany are the only MVP winners considered "international players" by the NBA. Curry in 2015–16 is the only player to have won the award unanimously. Shaquille O'Neal in 1999–2000 and James in 2012–13 are the only two players to have fallen one vote shy of a unanimous selection, both receiving 120 of 121 votes.
Since the 1975–76 season, only two players have been named MVP for a season in which their team failed to win at least 50 regular-season games—Moses Malone and Russell Westbrook. Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award NBA Development League Most Valuable Player Award General Specific