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
Timothy Theodore Duncan is an American former professional basketball player. He spent his entire 19-year career with the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. Duncan started out as a swimmer, did not begin playing basketball until ninth grade, he played basketball for St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School. In college, Duncan played for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, winning the Naismith College Player of the Year, USBWA College Player of the Year, John Wooden awards in his senior year. After graduating from college, Duncan earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors after being selected by San Antonio with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft. Regarded as the greatest power forward of all time as well as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he is a five-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA MVP, a three-time NBA Finals MVP, a 15-time NBA All-Star, the only player to be selected to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams for 13 consecutive seasons. Off the court, Duncan is known for his active philanthropy.
He holds a degree in psychology and created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States. Tim Duncan is the son of Ione, a midwife, William Duncan, a mason, he has two older sisters and Tricia, one older brother, Scott, a film director and cinematographer. He was born and raised on Saint Croix, one of the main islands composing the U. S. Virgin Islands. In school, Duncan was a bright pupil and dreamt of becoming an Olympic-level swimmer like his sister Tricia, his parents were supportive and Duncan excelled at swimming, becoming a teenage standout in the 50, 100 and 400 meters freestyle and aiming to make the 1992 Olympic Games as a member of the United States Team. When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the island's only Olympic-sized swimming pool in 1989, Duncan was forced to swim in the ocean and he lost his enthusiasm for swimming because of his fear of sharks. Duncan was dealt another emotional blow when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died one day before his 14th birthday.
In her last days, she made Duncan and his sisters promise to finish college with a degree, which would explain Duncan's refusal to leave college early. Duncan was inspired by his brother-in-law to turn to basketball. Duncan had difficulties adapting to the game he thought would help relieve his pain and frustration. Nancy Pomroy, the athletic director of the St. Croix Country Day School was quoted: " was so huge. So big and tall, but he was awfully awkward at the time." He overcame this to become a standout for the St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School, averaging 25 points per game as a senior, his play attracted the attention of several universities, despite having only picked up the game in ninth grade. Wake Forest University basketball coach Dave Odom in particular grew interested in Duncan after the 16-year-old played NBA star Alonzo Mourning to a draw in a 5-on-5 pick-up game. Odom was searching for a physical player to play near the basket. Given the weak level of basketball in the Virgin Islands, Odom was wary about Duncan at first after first meeting him and thinking him to be inattentive.
However, after the first talk, Odom understood that this was just Duncan's way of paying attention, discovered that he was not only athletically talented, but a quick learner. Despite scholarship offers by the University of Hartford, the University of Delaware and Providence College, Duncan joined Odom's Wake Forest Demon Deacons. In the year before Duncan's arrival at Wake Forest University, the Demon Deacons reached the Sweet 16, but lost main scorer Rodney Rogers, who entered the 1993 NBA draft. In the 1993–94 NCAA season, Coach Dave Odom was considering redshirting Duncan, but was forced to play him after fellow freshman big man Makhtar N'Diaye was ruled out due to NCAA rules violations and transferred to Michigan. Duncan struggled with early transition problems and was held scoreless in his first college game, but as the year progressed, he and teammate Randolph Childress led the Deacons to a 20–11 win-loss record. Duncan's style of play was simple but effective, combining an array of low-post moves, mid-range bank shots and tough defense.
He was chosen to represent the U. S. in the 1994 Goodwill Games. Meanwhile, Duncan worked towards a degree in psychology and took classes in anthropology and Chinese literature. Despite focusing on basketball, Wake Forest psychology department chairperson Deborah Best was quoted: "Tim was one of my more intellectual students. Other than his height, I couldn't tell him from any other student at Wake Forest." Duncan established his reputation as a stoic player, to the extent that opposing fans taunted him as "Mr. Spock", the prototypical logical, detached character from Star Trek. In the 1994–95 NCAA season, the sophomore was soon called one of the best eligible NBA prospects, along with his peers Joe Smith, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West suggested that Duncan might become the top pick in the 1995 NBA draft if he went early, but Duncan assured everyone he had no intention of going pro until he graduated though the NBA was planning to add a rookie salary cap in 1996.
He was determined to stay in school. In that season, he led the Demon Deacons into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against a Rasheed Wall
Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo is a Congolese American retired professional basketball player who played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association. Outside basketball, he has become well known for his humanitarian work; the 7 ft 2 in, 260-pound center, who began his career with the Georgetown Hoyas, is regarded as one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times. On January 10, 2007, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon, he averaged a double-double for most of his career, is 12th all-time in career double-doubles, tied for second all-time in career triple doubles involving points and blocks. At the conclusion of the 2009 NBA playoffs, Mutombo announced his retirement. On September 11, 2015, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Mutombo was born on June 25, 1966, in Leopoldville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of 12 children of Samuel and Biamba Marie Mutombo.
He speaks English, Spanish and five Central African varieties, including Lingala and Tshiluba. He is a member of the Luba ethnic group, he moved to the United States in 1987 at the age of 21 to enroll in college. Mutombo attended Georgetown University on a USAID scholarship, he intended to become a doctor, but the Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson recruited him to play basketball. He spoke no English when he arrived at Georgetown and studied in the ESL program. During his first year of college basketball as a sophomore, Mutombo once blocked 12 shots in a game. Building on the shot-blocking power of Mutombo and teammate Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown fans created a "Rejection Row" section under the basket, adding a big silhouette of an outstretched hand to a banner for each shot blocked during the game. At Georgetown, Mutombo's international background and interests stood out. Like many other Washington-area college students, he served as a summer intern, once for the Congress of the United States and once for the World Bank.
In 1991, he graduated with bachelor's degrees in linguistics and diplomacy. In the 1991 NBA draft, the Denver Nuggets drafted Mutombo with the fourth overall pick; the Nuggets ranked last in the NBA in opponent points-per-game and Defensive Rating, Mutombo's shot-blocking ability made an immediate impression across the league. He developed his signature move in 1992 as a way to become more marketable and gain product endorsement contracts. After blocking a player's shot, he would point his right index finger at that player and move it side to side; that year, Mutombo starred in an Adidas advertisement that used the catchphrase "Man does not fly … in the house of Mutombo", a reference to his prolific shot-blocking. As a rookie, Mutombo was selected for the All-Star team and averaged 16.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, nearly three blocks per game. Mutombo began establishing himself as one of the league's best defensive players putting up big rebound and block numbers; the 1993–94 season saw Denver continue to improve with Mutombo as the franchise cornerstone.
During that season, Mutombo averaged 12.0 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, 4.1 blocks per game. With that, he helped the Nuggets finished with a 42-40 record and qualifying as the eighth seed in the playoffs, they were matched up with the top-seeded 63–19 Seattle SuperSonics in the first round. After falling to an 0-2 deficit in the five-game series, Denver won three straight games to pull off a major playoff upset, becoming the first eighth seed to defeat a number one seed in an NBA playoff series. At the end of Game 5, Mutombo memorably grabbed the game-winning rebound and fell to the ground, holding the ball over his head in a moment of joy. Mutombo's defensive presence was the key to the upset victory. In the second round of the playoffs, the Nuggets fell to the Utah Jazz, 4-3; the following season, he was selected for his second All-Star game and received the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. But Denver failed to build on its success from the previous playoffs, as Mutombo lacked a quality supporting cast around him.
During his last season with the Nuggets, Mutombo averaged 11.0 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game and a career-high 4.5 blocks per game. At the conclusion of the 1995–96 season, Mutombo became a free agent, sought a 10-year contract, something the Nuggets considered impossible to offer. Bernie Bickerstaff the Nuggets' general manager said not bringing back Mutombo was his biggest regret as GM. After the 1995–96 NBA season, Mutombo signed a 5-year, $55 million free agent contract with the Atlanta Hawks, he and Hawks All-Star Steve Smith led Atlanta to back-to-back 50+-win seasons in 1996–97 and 1997–98. The Hawks defeated the Detroit Pistons in five games in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs, but lost in five games in the second round to the defending champion Chicago Bulls. Mutombo won Defensive Player of the Year both years, continuing to put up excellent defensive numbers with his new team. During the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, he was the NBA's IBM Award winner, a player of the year award determined by a computerized formula.
That year, the NBA banned the Mutombo finger wag, after a period of protest, he complied with the new rule. In what would be his last full season with the Hawks during the 1999-00 season, Mutombo averaged 11.5 points per game, a career and league-high 14.1 rebounds per game, 3.3 blocks per game. On December 14, 1999, Mutombo scored 27 points, on 11-for-1
Larry Johnson (basketball, born 1969)
Lawrence Demetric Johnson is an American retired basketball player who spent his professional career in the National Basketball Association with the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks. At an listed height of 6'7" tall, he played at the power forward position, due to his strength. In his senior year of high school Johnson was a member of the 1987 McDonald's High School All-American Team that included future NCAA and NBA stars like Marcus Liberty, Elliot Perry, Mark Macon, Rodney Monroe, Dennis Scott, Elmore Spencer, Chris Corchiani, fellow Texas prep star LaBradford Smith. Johnson made a verbal commitment to Southern Methodist University, but began his collegiate career at Odessa College in Texas, he played in the 1987–88 and 1988–89 seasons where he averaged 22.3 points per game as a freshman and over 29 points per game his sophomore year, became the first—and to this day, only—player to win the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 Player of the Year award both years he played.
There were some basketball analysts who believed Johnson could have been a first round selection in the 1989 NBA draft if he had declared for early entry. Johnson transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to play under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. Alongside future NBA players Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony, Johnson faced the Duke Blue Devils in the title game of the 1990 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. UNLV went on to win the contest by a score of 103–73, with Johnson contributing 22 points and 11 rebounds; the Runnin' Rebels set simultaneous NCAA records for the largest margin of victory and highest score in an NCAA Tournament championship game. In a post-season mired by charges of recruiting violations and misconduct by UNLV, an agreement was reached between the university and the NCAA to allow for the defense of their title for the 1990–91 season, which would be followed by a suspension from post-season play the following season. Johnson and the Runnin' Rebels responded with a perfect regular season record of 27–0, with an average scoring margin of 26.7 points per game.
In the 1991 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, UNLV won the West Regional Tournament only to be upset by eventual champion Duke in the Final Four. Johnson was named a First Team All-American twice, won the Big West Conference Player of the Year and tournament Most Valuable Player awards in 1990 and 1991, he won the prestigious John R. Wooden Award and was named Naismith College Player of the Year in 1991. To this day, Johnson is ranked 12th in career scoring and 7th in rebounding at UNLV despite playing only two seasons, he holds the record for single-season and career field goal percentage. In 2002, Johnson and teammates Augmon and Anthony were inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame along with the 1990–91 UNLV men's basketball team. To date they are the only UNLV team to make back-to-back Final Four appearances. Johnson was selected first overall in the 1991 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, he competed in the 1992 Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, finishing second to Cedric Ceballos of the Phoenix Suns.
In 1993, Johnson was voted to start in that year's All-Star Game, making him the first Hornet in franchise history to receive that honor. Along with Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry, Johnson played with the Hornets at the height of their popularity in the early to mid-1990s. During this time, who went by his initialism "LJ" and the nickname "Grandmama", was featured on the cover of the premiere issue of SLAM. In October 1993, Johnson signed what was at the time the most lucrative contract in NBA history, a 12-year, $84 million deal with the Hornets. However, he missed 31 games after spraining his back on December 27, 1993 in a game against the Detroit Pistons. During the summer he played for the U. S. national team in the 1994 FIBA World Championship, winning the gold medal. Johnson had entered the league as an explosive power forward, averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. However, after the injury to his back, Johnson was forced to develop an all-around game with an improved outside shot.
In the 1994–95 season, he made 81 three-pointers, nearly 60 more than in his first three years combined, was selected to the 1995 NBA All-Star Game. Friction between Johnson and Mourning forced the organization to make a change, the resulting moves made by the Hornets left both players on other teams. Prior to the 1995 -- 96 season, Mourning was traded to the Miami Heat for Matt Geiger. Following that season Johnson was dealt to the New York Knicks for Brad Lohaus. Johnson averaged 12.8 points, a career-low, in his first season as a Knick, although he would never return to his former All-Star form, he was a key member of the Knicks' 1999 Eastern Conference championship team. During Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he was involved in a critical play in which he was fouled by Antonio Davis of the Indiana Pacers. Standing outside the three-point line with 11.9 seconds left, Johnson held the ball, began to dribble. He leaned into defender Davis before jumping up; the referee called the foul about a half-second before Johnson released the ball, b
Jeff Van Gundy
Jeffrey William Van Gundy is an American basketball coach. He is a color commentator for ESPN, he has been the head coach of the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association. Van Gundy was born in California, he grew up in the town of California. He is the son of a basketball coach, Bill Van Gundy, the former head coach at Brockport State University and at Genesee Community College. Jeff's elder brother, Stan became head coach of the NBA's Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, is the former head coach and director of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons; as a high-school point guard, he was a two-time All Greater Rochester selection in 1979 and 1980, leading Brockport Central to the Class AA finals. He continued his basketball playing career at Nazareth College, where he earned All-American honors, while leading the Golden Flyers to an NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1984, he remains the Nazareth career leader in free throw percentage, at 86.8%. Van Gundy attended Yale University, where he was a classmate with Jodie Foster, before transferring to Menlo College, graduating from New York's Nazareth College, in 1985.
Van Gundy began his basketball coaching career during the 1985–86 season, at McQuaid Jesuit High School, in Rochester, New York. The following year, he became a graduate assistant under head coach Rick Pitino, at Providence College, helping the Providence Friars advance to the Final Four. In his second season with the Friars, he was promoted to assistant coach under Gordon Chiesa; the next season, Van Gundy became an assistant coach at Rutgers. On July 28, 1989, Van Gundy became an assistant coach for the New York Knicks, he spent the next six-and-a-half seasons providing support to Knicks head coaches Stu Jackson, John MacLeod, Pat Riley and Don Nelson. During his tenure as an assistant coach, the Knicks won three Atlantic Division titles, never finished lower than third in the division, qualified for the playoffs every year; the Knicks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1993, the NBA Finals versus the Houston Rockets in 1994. On March 8, 1996, Van Gundy was named head coach of the New York Knicks, taking over the reins from Don Nelson.
In his second game as head coach, he notably led the Knicks to a 32–point blowout win over the Michael Jordan–led Chicago Bulls, who had eliminated the Knicks from the playoffs four times since 1989. However, Van Gundy was unable to change that trend in the postseason, as the Knicks fell to Chicago in the conference semifinals. In his first full season as head coach, the Knicks tied for the third-best record in franchise history, at 57–25. In the regular season finale, the Knicks defeated the 69–12 Chicago Bulls in Chicago, preventing them from posting two consecutive 70-win seasons in a row, tying the best home record in NBA history. Van Gundy created a memorable scene in the 1998 NBA Playoffs series between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat; when the Heat's 6'10", 240 lb. center Alonzo Mourning, the Knicks' 6'7", 250 lb. power forward Larry Johnson, engaged in a bench-clearing brawl, Van Gundy unsuccessfully tried to break the fight up. Most memorably, the 5'9", 165 lb. Van Gundy fell to the floor, clung to Mourning's leg.
Suspensions from the brawl helped Miami overcome New York's 3–1 series lead to win, started a rivalry between the teams. In the lockout–shortened 1998–99 season, the Knicks struggled with injuries and finished 27–23 to finish as the eighth seed for the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks defied expectations and defeated the Heat in five games, avenging the previous season's playoff loss and becoming just the second 8th seed to defeat the number one seed in the playoffs; the win propelled an improbable run for the Knicks, as they swept the Hawks in the semifinals, defeated the Pacers in six games, to advance to the NBA Finals. Without Ewing, they were no match in the Finals against the Spurs, lost the series in five games; the Knicks were the first 8th-seeded team in NBA history to reach the NBA Finals. The Knicks followed up their Finals run with a 50–32 season, advanced to the Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Indiana Pacers; until the 2013 playoffs, this was the last time.
In a 2001 game between the Spurs and Knicks, Danny Ferry elbowed Marcus Camby. While talking to the referee, Camby tried to punch Ferry. Camby missed and hit Van Gundy instead, who said he learned his lesson about trying to break up fights between players; the Knicks lost in the first round to the Raptors. Just 19 games into the 2001–02 season, Van Gundy resigned from the Knick's head coach position; the move was unexpected, as the Knicks were on a winning streak, coming off a 14–point victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. On June 10, 2003, Van Gundy was named head coach of the Houston Rockets. In his first season as the team's head coach, the Rockets finished with a 45–37 record, qualified for the playoffs for the first time in five years, but they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers. In his second season with the Rockets, Van Gundy guided the team, led by the Yao Ming/ Tracy McGrady duo, to a 51–31 record, their first season with more than 50 wins in eight years.
The Rockets once again lost in the first round of this time to the Dallas Mavericks. McGrady and Yao missed a combined 70 games due to injury in the 2005–06 season, Van Gundy did not make the p
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs 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 AT&T Center in San Antonio. The Spurs are one of four former American Basketball Association teams to remain intact in the NBA after the 1976 ABA–NBA merger and are the only former ABA team to have won an NBA championship; the franchise has won NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014. As of May 2015, the Spurs had the highest winning percentage among active NBA franchises; as of April 2019, the Spurs have won 22 division titles since joining the NBA and have only missed the playoffs four times. From 1999–2000 to 2016–17, the Spurs won 50 games each season, setting a record of 18 consecutive 50-win seasons. In the 2018–19 season, the Spurs matched an NBA record for most consecutive playoff appearances with 22; the team's recent success coincides with the tenure of current head coach Gregg Popovich, who has coached the team since 1996.
The Spurs are the city's only team in any of the four major U. S. professional sports leagues and the only major-league team in the city's history to have lasted more than five years. Spurs players are active members of the San Antonio community, many former Spurs are still active in San Antonio including David Robinson with the Carver Academy and George Gervin with the George Gervin Youth Center; the Spurs set several NBA attendance records while playing at the Alamodome including the largest crowd for an NBA Finals game in 1999, the Spurs continue to sell out the smaller AT&T Center on a regular basis. Since 2003, the team has been forced on an extended road trip for much of February since the AT&T Center hosts the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo; this is informally known as the "Rodeo Road Trip". The Spurs have posted winning road records during this period, including an NBA-record longest single road trip winning streak; when the Spurs have won the NBA title, the team's victory parades have been boat trips on the San Antonio River Walk.
The San Antonio Spurs started out as the Dallas Chaparrals of the original version of the American Basketball Association. Coached by player/coach Cliff Hagan the Dallas Chaparrals were one of 11 teams to take the floor in the inaugural season of the upstart ABA; the Chaps' second season was a bit of a disappointment, as the team finished in 4th place with a mediocre 41–37 record. In the playoffs the Chaparrals fell to the New Orleans Buccaneers; the team suffered from general disinterest in Dallas. In fact, during the 1970–71 season, the name "Dallas" was dropped in favor of "Texas" and an attempt was made to make the team a regional one, playing games in Fort Worth, at the Tarrant County Convention Center, as well as Lubbock, at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, but this proved a failure and the team returned full-time to Dallas in time for the 1971–72 season, splitting their games at Moody Coliseum and Dallas Convention Center Arena. While the Chaparrals had been modestly successful on the court, they were sinking financially by their third season because the ownership group refused to spend much money on the team.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in their existence in the 1972–73 season, nearly all of the owners wanted out. A group of 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Manager/Angelo Drossos, Chairman of the Board/John Schaefer and President/Red McCombs, worked out a "lend-lease" deal with the Dallas ownership group. Drossos and his group would lease the team for three years and move it to San Antonio, agreed to return the team to Dallas if no purchase occurred by 1975. After the deal was signed, the team was renamed the San Antonio Gunslingers. However, before they played a game the name was changed to Spurs; the team's primary colors were changed from the red and blue of the Chaparrals to the now familiar black and white motif of the Spurs. In the first game at the HemisFair Arena the Spurs lost to the San Diego Conquistadors, despite attracting a noisy crowd of 6,000 fans. A smothering defense was the team's image, as they held opponents to less than 100 points for an ABA record of 49 times.
The early Spurs were led by ABA veteran James Silas, the team would get stronger as the season went on as they twice took advantage of the Virginia Squires, acquiring Swen Nater, who would go on to win Rookie of the Year, in November, "The Iceman" George Gervin in January. The ABA tried to halt the Gervin deal, claiming it was detrimental to the league, but a judge would rule in the Spurs' favor, Gervin made his Spurs debut on February 7; the Spurs would go on to finish with a 45 -- good for 3rd place in the Western Division. In the playoffs, the Spurs would battle the Indiana Pacers to the bitter end before falling in seven games. San Antonio embraced the Spurs with open arms. Schaefer, Drossos and McCombs knew a runaway hit. After only one year, they exercised their option to tear up the lease agreement, buy the franchise outright and keep the team in San Antonio for good; the team made themselves at home at HemisFair Arena, playing to large and raucous crowds. Despite a respectable 17–10 start during the 1974–75 season, Coach Tom Nissalke was fired as owners become tired of the Spurs' slow defensive style of games.
He would be replaced by Bob Bass, who stated that the Spurs would have an new playing style: "It is my belief that you cannot throw a set offense at another professional team for 48 minutes. You've got to
Sean Michael Elliott is an American former professional basketball player who starred at small forward in both the college and professional ranks. He attended the University of Arizona, where he had a standout career as a two-time All-American, winner of the 1989 John R. Wooden Award, the 1989 Adolph Rupp Trophy, the 1989 NABC Player of the Year, 1989 AP Player of the Year, two time Pac-12 Player of the Year, he was the third pick of the 1989 NBA draft, was named to the 1990 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, was a two-time NBA All-Star, earned an NBA championship in 1999. His # 32 is retired by both the San Antonio Spurs. Elliott was born in Arizona as the youngest of three boys, he attended the G. A. T. E. Program at Tolson Elementary School there played basketball at Cholla High School on the city's west side. After graduating in 1985, he remained in Tucson to play college basketball at the University of Arizona. Under the tutelage of Lute Olson, Elliott was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, he was selected as a consensus all-American during his junior and senior years, led the Wildcats to the Final Four in his junior year.
Elliott broke. After an exceptional senior season, Elliott won the Wooden Award, he is still the University of Arizona's all-time leading scorer. He played for the US national team in the 1986 FIBA World Championship. Elliott was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs as the third pick in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft under Coach Larry Brown; the 1989–1990 season was the first for Elliott's teammate David Robinson, who played as the team's superstar. Elliot started in 69 of 81 games for the season, averaging 10 points a game, the Spurs made the playoffs where they swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round before falling to the eventual Western Conference Champion Portland Trail Blazers in 7 games. Elliott increased his scoring average to 12.7 during the postseason. In the following season, Elliott started in all 82 games, increasing his scoring to 15.9 points a game, the Spurs led by Robinson won 55 games, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors in four games.
Elliott once again increased his scoring output in the playoffs, the Spurs looked forward to improving. The 1991–1992 season was be a tumultuous one for the team, with Brown stepping down as coach after a 21–17 start, replaced by Bob Bass; the Spurs still managed to win 47 games with Elliott starting in all 82 games and averaging 16.3 points, but San Antonio were swept in the first round by the Phoenix Suns. Like in his first two years, Elliott increased his scoring in the playoffs to 19.7 points a game for the three game series. Coaching changes once again destabilized the Spurs' season, before John Lucas II took over the team, leading them to 55 wins on a 39–22 record after the team opened the season with a record of 10–11. Elliott played in 70 games, once again placed second in scoring on the team to Robinson with 17.2 points a game, including a career-high 41 points against the Dallas Mavericks on December 18, 1992. He was named to play in the 1993 NBA All-Star Game along with Robinson. In the playoffs, San Antonio defeated Portland 3 games to 1, before facing the number one seeded Suns in the conference semifinal.
After losing the first two games in Phoenix, the Spurs responded with consecutive games at home, as Elliott scored 17 points in game 3 and 19 points in game 4. The Suns, led by superstar Charles Barkley managed to wrap up the series in the next two games. Elliot averaged 15.8 points per game in the playoffs. Elliott spent the 1993–94 season with the Detroit Pistons after being traded for Dennis Rodman in a multi-player deal; the Pistons had been a championship-contending team, were still led by veterans such as Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, but struggled with injuries throughout the season. After Elliott struggled with the Pistons, the Pistons attempted to trade him to the defending champion Houston Rockets in February 1994 in exchange for Robert Horry, Matt Bullard, two second-round draft choices. After the trade was voided, Elliott held a press conference and announced that he had a kidney problem. Elliott remained in Detroit for the rest of the season and started in a total 73 games, averaging 12.1 points a game.
Following the end of the season, he was traded back to the Spurs for the draft rights of Bill Curley. In the 1994–1995 season, the Spurs—now coached by Bob Hill—won 62 games led by Elliott and Robinson, who won that year's NBA Most Valuable Player Award; the Spurs clinched the top seed in the western conference, swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round before facing the young Los Angeles Lakers in the semifinals. The Lakers pushed San Antonio to a 6th game in Los Angeles. Elliott scored his high for the playoffs, in the series-clinching game; the Spurs had reached the conference finals. Despite having home court advantage, the Spurs lost the first two games at home, won two games before falling to the more experienced Rockets in 6 games. Elliott averaged 17.3 points a game in the playoffs. The 1995–1996 season was a personal best for Elliott, as he averaged 20 points a game, a career high, in 77 games. Elliott made a career-high 161 three-pointers on the season, played in the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, scoring 13 points in 22 minutes.
The Spurs once again came up short in the playoffs, defeating Phoenix in the first round before losing to the Utah Jazz in 6 games, with Elliott's scoring averaging falling t