The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the team was founded on January 16, 1966. The team plays its home games at the United Center, an arena shared with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League; the Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s when they were responsible for popularizing the NBA worldwide. They are known for having one of the NBA's greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson; the Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships and never lose an NBA Finals series in their history. The Bulls won 72 games during the 1995–96 NBA season, setting an NBA record that stood until the Golden State Warriors won 73 games during the 2015–16 NBA season.
The Bulls were the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season, the only NBA franchise to do so until the 2015–16 Warriors. Many experts and analysts consider the 1996 Bulls to be one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose have both won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards; the Bulls share rivalries with the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. The Bulls' rivalry with the Pistons was highlighted during the late 1980s and early 1990s. On January 16, 1966 Chicago was granted an NBA franchise to be called the Bulls; the Chicago Bulls became the third NBA franchise in the city, after the Chicago Stags and the Chicago Packers/Zephyrs. The Bulls' founder, Dick Klein, was the Bulls' only owner to play professional basketball, he served as the Bulls' general manager in their initial years. After the 1966 NBA Expansion Draft, the newly founded Chicago Bulls were allowed to acquire players from the established teams in the league for the upcoming 1966–67 season.
The team started in the 1966–67 NBA season, posted the best record by an expansion team in NBA history. Coached by Chicagoan and former NBA star Johnny "Red" Kerr, led by former NBA assist leader Guy Rodgers, guard Jerry Sloan and forward Bob Boozer, the Bulls qualified for the playoffs, the only NBA team to do so in their inaugural season. In their first season, the Bulls played their home games at the International Amphitheatre, before moving to Chicago Stadium. Fan interest was diminishing after four seasons, with one game in the 1968 season having an official attendance of 891 and some games being played in Kansas City. In 1969, Klein dropped out of the general manager job and hired Pat Williams, who as the Philadelphia 76ers' business manager created promotions that helped the team become third in attendance the previous season. Williams revamped the team roster, acquiring Chet Walker from his old team in exchange for Jim Washington and drafting Norm Van Lier –, traded to the Cincinnati Royals and only joined the Bulls in 1971 – while investing in promotion, with actions such as creating mascot Benny the Bull.
The Bulls under Williams and head coach Dick Motta qualified for four straight playoffs and had attendances grow to over 10,000. In 1972, the Bulls set a franchise win-loss record at 25 losses. During the 1970s, the Bulls relied on Jerry Sloan, forwards Bob Love and Chet Walker, point guard Norm Van Lier, centers Clifford Ray and Tom Boerwinkle; the team made the conference finals in 1975 but lost to the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors, 4 games to 3. After four 50-win seasons, Williams returned to Philadelphia, Motta decided to take on the role of GM as well; the Bulls ended up winning only 24 games in the 1975 -- 1976 season. Motta was replaced by Ed Badger. Klein sold the Bulls to longtime owners of the Chicago Blackhawks. Indifferent to NBA basketball, the new ownership group infamously implemented a shoestring budget, putting little time and investment into improving the team. Artis Gilmore, acquired in the ABA dispersal draft in 1976, led a Bulls squad which included guard Reggie Theus, forward David Greenwood and forward Orlando Woolridge.
In 1979, the Bulls lost a coin flip for the right to select first in the NBA draft. Had the Bulls won the toss, they would have selected Magic Johnson; the Los Angeles Lakers selected Johnson with the pick acquired from the New Orleans Jazz, who traded the selection for Gail Goodrich. After Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for center Dave Corzine, the Bulls employed a high-powered offense centered around Theus, which soon included guards Quintin Dailey and Ennis Whatley. However, with continued dismal results, the Bulls decided to change direction, trading Theus to the Kansas City Kings during the 1983–84 season. Attendance began to dwindle, with the Wirtz Family looking to sell to ownership groups interested in moving the team out of Chicago, before selling to local ownership. In the summer of 1984, the Bulls had the third pick of the 1984 NBA draft, after Houston and Portland; the Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon, the Blazers picked Sam Bowie and the Bulls chose shooting guard Michael Jordan.
The team, with new management in owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause, decided to rebuild around Jordan. Jordan set franchise records during his rookie campaign for scoring and steals, led the Bulls back to the playoffs, where they lost in four
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, more referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city; the team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts.
Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973; the Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, have failed to make the playoffs since. In 1946, basketball college basketball, was a growing and profitable sport in New York City.
Hockey generated considerable profits. Max Kase, a New York sportswriter, became the sports editor at the Boston American in the 1930s, when he met Boston Garden owner Walter A. Brown. Kase developed the idea of an organized professional league to showcase college players upon their graduation and felt it could become profitable if properly assembled. Brown, intrigued by the opportunity to attain additional income when the hockey teams were not playing or on the road, contacted several arena owners. On June 6, 1946, Kase and Brown and a group of seventeen others assembled at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, as the Basketball Association of America, where charter franchises were granted to major cities throughout the country. Ned Irish, a college basketball promoter, retired sportswriter and president of Madison Square Garden, was in attendance. Kase planned to own and operate the New York franchise himself and approached Irish with a proposal to lease the Garden. Irish explained that the rules of the Arena Managers Association of America stated that Madison Square Garden was required to own any professional teams that played in the arena.
On the day of the meeting, Kase made his proposal to the panel of owners. Irish wanted a distinct name for his franchise, representative of the city of New York, he called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes in a hat. After tallying the votes, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers; the "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book A History of New York, a name that became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what became New York, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. In search of a head coach, Irish approached successful St. John's University coach Joe Lapchick in May 1946. Lapchick accepted after Irish promised to make him the highest paid coach in the league. Irish obliged, hiring former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan as interim coach for the first year. With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league.
The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years; the Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 perce
The Denver Nuggets are an American professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division; the team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association, but changed its name to Rockets before the first season. It changed its name again to the Nuggets in 1974. After the name change, the Nuggets played for the final ABA Championship title in 1976, losing to the New York Nets; the team has had some periods of success, qualifying for the ABA Playoffs for all seasons from 1967 to the 1976 ABA playoffs where it lost in the finals. The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA–NBA merger and qualified for the NBA playoffs in nine consecutive seasons in the 1980s and ten consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2013. However, it has not made an appearance in a championship round since its last year in the ABA; the Nuggets play their home games at Pepsi Center, which they share with the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.
The original Denver Nuggets was founded in the National Basketball League prior to the 1948–49 season. Following that season, the NBL was absorbed into the BAA, renamed to the NBA; the Denver Nuggets played the 1949–50 season as one of the charter NBA teams before folding. In 1967, one of the ABA's charter franchises was awarded to a group in Kansas City, headed by Southern Californian businessman James Trindle. However, Trindle was unable to find a suitable arena in the Kansas City area. League commissioner George Mikan suggested moving the team to Denver. After agreeing to name Denver resident and former NBA player Vince Boryla as general manager, Trindle moved his team to Denver as the Denver Larks, named after Colorado's state bird; the Trindle group was undercapitalized, leading Mikan to order the Larks to post a $100,000 performance bond or lose the franchise. Hours before the deadline, Trindle sold a ⅔ controlling interest to Denver trucking magnate Bill Ringsby for $350,000. Ringsby renamed the team the Rockets, after his company's long-haul trucks.
Playing at the Denver Auditorium Arena, the Rockets had early successes on the court, developing a solid fan base along the way. However, the team had a history of early playoff exits and failed to play in an ABA championship series. Early, they had a solid lineup led by Byron Beck and Larry Jones later by Beck and Ralph Simpson. Lonnie Wright of the American Football League's Denver Broncos signed with the Rockets during that first season and became the first player to play professional football and basketball in the same season. Wright played four seasons with Denver. Controversial rookie Spencer Haywood joined the team for the 1969–70 season. Haywood was one of the first players to turn pro before graduating from college, the NBA refused to let him play in the league. Haywood averaged nearly 30 points and 19.5 rebounds per game in his only ABA season, being named ABA MVP, ABA rookie of the year, as well as the All-Star Game MVP. The team finished 51–33, winning their division, before exiting the playoffs in the 2nd round.
Just before the start of the 1970–71 season, Haywood signed with the Seattle SuperSonics, jumping to the NBA. The team tumbled to a 30–54 record and attendance suffered. Ringsby sold the team to San Diego businessmen Frank Goldberg and Bud Fischer in 1972. In 1974, in anticipation of moving into the NBA, the new McNichols Arena, the franchise held a contest to choose a new team nickname, as "Rockets" was in use by the Houston Rockets; the winning choice was "Nuggets", in honor of the original Nuggets team in Denver from 1948–50, the last year as a charter member of the NBA. Their new logo was a miner "discovering" an ABA ball. Goldberg and Fischer in turn sold the team to a local investment group in 1976. With the drafting and signing of future hall of fame player David Thompson out of North Carolina State, Marvin Webster and the acquisitions of Dan Issel and Bobby Jones and with Larry Brown coaching, they had their best seasons in team history in their first two seasons as the Nuggets. Playing in the Denver Auditorium Arena for the last season the 1974–75 team went 65–16, including a 40–2 record at home.
However, a quick playoff exit followed. In 1975–76, playing at their new arena, the Nuggets edged the reigning champion Kentucky Colonels four games to three to make the 1976 ABA finals for the first time, they lost to the New York Nets and Julius Erving. They did not get a second chance to win an ABA league championship, as the ABA–NBA merger took place after the 1975–76 season; the Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs were merged into the NBA. The Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels were disbanded; the Nuggets and Nets had applied to join the NBA in 1975, but were forced to stay in the ABA by a court order. The Nuggets continued their strong play early on in the NBA, as they won division titles in their first two seasons in the league, missed a third by a single game. However, neither of these teams were successful in the postseason. To the other new NBA teams, the Nuggets were given many financial issues including a $2 million entry fee. Red McCombs bought the team in 1978. In 1979, Brown left the team.
It ended in 1981. Moe brought with him a "motion offense" philosophy, a style of play focusing on attempting to move the ball until someone got open. Moe was known for not paying as much attention to defense as his colleagues; the offense helped the team become competitive. During the 1980s
William Felton Russell is an American retired professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA championships during his thirteen-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, he captained the gold-medal winning U. S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he was 6 ft 10 with a 7 ft 4 in wingspan. His shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' domination of the NBA during his career. Russell was notable for his rebounding abilities, he led the NBA in rebounds four times, had a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds, remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game.
He is one of just two NBA players to have grabbed more than 50 rebounds in a game. Russell was never the focal point of the Celtics' offense, but he did score 14,522 career points and provided effective passing. Russell played in the wake of black pioneers Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, he was the first black player to achieve superstar status in the NBA, he served a three-season stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first black coach in North American professional sports and the first to win a championship. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments on the court and in the Civil Rights Movement. Russell is one of seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, an Olympic gold medal, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He was selected into the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971 and the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1980, named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, one of only four players to receive all three honors.
In 2007, he was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame. In Russell's honor the NBA renamed the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy in 2009: it is now the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Bill Russell was born in 1934 to Katie Russell in West Monroe, Louisiana. Like all Southern towns and cities of that time, West Monroe was a segregated place, the Russells struggled with racism in their daily lives. Russell's father was once refused service at a gas station until the staff had taken care of all the white customers; when his father attempted to leave and find a different station, the attendant stuck a shotgun in his face and threatened to kill him if he didn't stay and wait his turn. In another incident, Russell's mother was walking outside in a fancy dress when a white policeman accosted her, he told her to go home and remove the dress, which he described as "white woman's clothing". During World War II, large numbers of blacks were moving to the West to look for work there; when Russell was eight years old, his father moved the family out of Louisiana and settled in Oakland, California.
While there, the family fell into poverty, Russell spent his childhood living in a series of public housing projects. Charles Russell was described as a "stern, hard man" who worked as a janitor in a paper factory, a typical "Negro Job"—low paid and not intellectually challenging, as sports journalist John Taylor commented; when World War II broke out, the elder Russell became a truck driver. Russell was closer to his mother Katie than to his father, he received a major emotional blow when she died when he was 12 years old, his father gave up his trucking job and became a steelworker to be closer to his semi-orphaned children. Russell has stated that his father became his childhood hero followed up by Minneapolis Lakers superstar George Mikan, whom he met when he was in high school. Mikan, in turn, would say of Russell the college basketball player, "Let's face it, he's the best ever. He's so good, he scares you." In his early years, Russell struggled to develop his skills as a basketball player.
Although Russell was a good runner and jumper and had large hands, he did not understand the game and was cut from the team in junior high school. As a freshman at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Russell was cut again. However, coach George Powles saw Russell's raw athletic potential and encouraged him to work on his fundamentals. Since Russell's previous experiences with white authority figures were negative, he was delighted to receive warm words from his white coach, he worked hard and used the benefits of a growth spurt to become a decent basketball player, but it was not until his junior and senior years that he began to excel, winning back to back high school state championships. Russell soon became, he recalled, "To play good defense... it was told back that you had to stay flatfooted at all times to react quickly. When I started to jump to make defensive plays and to block shots, I was corrected, but I stuck with it, it paid off." Russell, in an autobiographical account, notes while on a California High School All-Stars tour, he became obsessed with studying and memorizing other players' moves as preparation for defending against them
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
Richard Francis Dennis Barry III is an American retired professional basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in history by the NBA in 1996, Barry is the only player to lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association, ABA, NBA in scoring for an individual season, he was known for his unorthodox but effective underhand free throw shooting technique, at the time of his retirement in 1980 his.900 free throw percentage ranked first in NBA history. In 1987, Barry was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he is the father of former NBA players Brent Barry, Jon Barry, Drew Barry and current professional player Canyon Barry. Barry grew up in Roselle Park, New Jersey, graduating from Roselle Park High School in 1962. Barry was an All-American basketball player for the University of Miami, where he starred for three seasons. While at Miami, Barry met his wife Pamela, the daughter of Hurricanes head coach Bruce Hale.
As a senior in the 1964–65 campaign, Barry led the NCAA with a 37.4 points-per-game average. Barry and the Hurricanes did not take part in the NCAA Tournament, because the basketball program was on probation at the time. Barry is one of just two basketball players to have his number retired by the school. Barry was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors with the second pick of the 1965 NBA draft. In Barry's first season in the NBA with the Warriors, the team improved from 17 to 35 victories. In the All-Star Game one season Barry erupted for 38 points as the West team stunned the East team, which featured Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and head coach Red Auerbach among other all-time greats; that season and company extended the mighty Philadelphia 76ers to six competitive games in the NBA Finals, something that Russell and the Boston Celtics could not do in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That 76ers team is considered to be one of the greatest in basketball history. Nicknamed the "Miami Greyhound" by longtime San Francisco-area broadcaster Bill King because of his slender physical build and remarkable quickness and instincts, the 6'7" Barry won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award after averaging 25.7 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in the 1965–66 season.
The following year, he won the 1967 NBA All-Star Game MVP award with a 38-point outburst and led the NBA in scoring with a 35.6 point per game average — which still ranks as the eighth- highest output in league annals. Teamed with star center Nate Thurmond in San Francisco, Barry helped take the Warriors to the 1967 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games. Including a 55-point outburst in Game 3, Barry averaged 40.8 points per game in the series, an NBA Finals record that stood for three decades. Upset that he was not paid incentive monies that he believed due from Warriors owner Franklin Mieuli, Barry jumped to the ABA's Oakland Oaks, who offered him a lucrative contract and the chance to play for Bruce Hale, his then-father-in-law; the three-year contract offer from Pat Boone, the singer and team owner, was estimated to be worth $500,000, with Barry saying "the offer Oakland made me was one I couldn't turn down" and that it would make him one of basketball's highest-paid players.
The courts ordered Barry to sit out the 1967–68 season before he starred in the ABA, upholding the validity of the reserve clause in his contract. He preceded St. Louis Cardinals' outfielder Curt Flood, whose better-known challenge to the reserve clause went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court, by two years as the first American major-league professional athlete to bring a court action against it; the ensuing negative publicity cast Barry in a negative light, portraying him as selfish and money-hungry. However, many NBA players at the time were looking at jumping to the ABA for more lucrative contracts. Barry would star in the ABA, twice averaging more than 30 points per game. After the 1966–67 season, Barry became one of the first NBA players to jump to the American Basketball Association when he signed with the Oakland Oaks. In the ABA's first season, the Oaks were the only ABA team located in the same market as an NBA team; the Warriors prevented Barry from playing for the Oaks during the 1967 -- 68 season.
Barry instead worked on Oaks radio broadcasts during the ABA's first season. During the 1968 -- 69 season, Barry averaged 34 points per game, he led the ABA in free-throw percentage for the season. However, on December 27, 1968, late in a game against the New York Nets and Kenny Wilburn collided and Barry tore ligaments in his knee, he tried to play again in January but only aggravated the injury and sat out the rest of the season, only appearing in 35 games as a result. Despite the injury Barry was named to the ABA All-Star team; the Oaks finished with a record of 60-18, winning the Western Division by 14 games over the second place New Orleans Buccaneers. In the 1969 ABA Playoffs the Oaks defeated the Denver Rockets in a seven-game series and defeated New Orleans in the Western Division finals. In the finals the Oaks defeated the Indiana Pacers 4 games to 1 to win the 1969 ABA Championship; the Oaks' on-court success had not translated into solid attendance. The team averaged 2,800 fans per game.
Instead of remaining in Oakland for another season to see if the championship would draw fans, the team was sold by owner Pat Boone and relocated to Washington, D. C. for the 1969–70 season. Barry played the 1969–70 season with the ABA's Washington Caps. Barry did not like the move and refused to report to the team, at one point commenting, "If I wanted to go to Washin
Isiah Lord Thomas III is an American former basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association. A point guard, the 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas has been a professional and collegiate head coach, a basketball executive, a broadcaster. Thomas played collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers, leading them to the 1981 NCAA championship as a sophomore and declaring for the NBA draft, he was taken as the second overall pick by the Pistons in the 1981 NBA draft, played for them his entire career, while leading the "Bad Boys" to the 1988–89 and 1989–90 NBA championships. After his playing career, he was an executive with the Toronto Raptors, a television commentator, an executive with the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, an executive and head coach for the New York Knicks, he was the men's basketball coach for the Florida International University Golden Panthers for three seasons from 2009 to 2012.
In early May 2015, amidst controversy, Thomas was named president and part owner of the Knicks' WNBA sister team, the New York Liberty, subsequent to the re-hiring of Thomas's former Pistons teammate, Bill Laimbeer, as the team's coach. The youngest of nine children, Thomas was born on April 30, 1961 in Chicago and grew up in the city's West Side, he attended the private St. Joseph High School in Westchester, a 90-minute commute from his home. Playing under coach Gene Pingatore, he led St. Joseph to the state finals in his junior year, was considered one of the top college prospects in the country. Thomas was recruited to play college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers. Although he received mail saying Knight tied up his players and beat them, he did not believe the rumors; when Knight visited the Thomas home, one of Isiah's brothers, who wanted him to attend DePaul, embarrassed him by insulting the Indiana coach and engaging him in a shouting match. Thomas chose Knight and Indiana because he felt that getting away to Bloomington would be good for him, as would Knight's discipline.
Thomas had to adjust to Knight's disciplinarian style. At the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, Knight got so mad at Thomas he threatened to put him on a plane home. Knight recalled yelling at the freshman-to-be, "You ought to go to DePaul, because you sure as hell aren't going to be an Indiana player playing like that." Prior to the start of his freshman year, the 1979–80 season, Knight became so upset with Thomas that he kicked him out of a practice. According to Thomas, Knight was making a point that no player, no "matter how talented, is bigger than Knight's philosophy."Thomas proved his skills as a player and became a favorite with both Knight and Indiana fans. His superior abilities caused Knight to adjust his coaching style. Fans displayed bedsheets with quotations from the Book of Isaiah and nicknamed him "Mr. Wonderful." Because of Thomas's short stature at 6 ft 1 in, coach Knight would call him "Pee Wee". Thomas and Mike Woodson led the Hoosiers to the Big Ten championship and advanced to the 1980 Sweet Sixteen.
The next year, the 1980–81 season, Knight made Thomas captain and told him to run the show on the floor. Thomas responded so well that, as the season unfolded and Thomas grew as friends; when a Purdue player took a cheap shot at Thomas during a game at Bloomington, Knight called a press conference to defend his star. And 19 days when Thomas hit an Iowa player and was ejected from a game, Knight refused to criticize him; that year and the Hoosiers once again won a conference title and won the 1981 NCAA tournament, the school's fourth national title. The sophomore earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award, made himself eligible for the upcoming NBA draft. In the 1981 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons chose Thomas with the No. 2 pick and signed him to a four-year $1.6 million contract. Thomas made the All-Rookie team and started for the Eastern Conference in the 1982 NBA All-Star Game. In the opening round of the 1984 NBA Playoffs and the Pistons faced off against Bernard King and the New York Knicks.
In the pivotal fifth game, Thomas was having a subpar performance, while King was having an excellent game. Thomas scored 16 points in the last 94 seconds to force the game into overtime, but fouled out, the Knicks held on to win. In the 1985 NBA Playoffs and his team went to the conference semifinals against the 15-time NBA champion Boston Celtics led by future basketball Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson. Detroit couldn't shake the Celtics in their six-game series losing. In the 1987 NBA Playoffs and the Pistons went to the Eastern Conference Finals and faced the Celtics again, it was the furthest. Detroit was able to tie the Celtics at two games apiece, but its hope of winning Game 5 at Boston Garden was dashed by Larry Bird with just seconds remaining: Thomas attempted to inbound the ball, Bird stole the pass and hit Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup. In 1988, the Pistons' first trip to the Finals saw them face the Los Angeles Lakers, led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Before the series and Johnson exchanged a courtside kiss on the cheek prior to tip-off as a sign of their deep friendship. After taking a 3–2 series lead back to Los Angeles, Detroit appeared poised to win their first NBA title in Game 6. One of Thomas's most inspiring and self-defining moments came in Game 6. Alt