The Charlotte Hornets are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hornets compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the team is owned by retired NBA player Michael Jordan, who acquired controlling interest in the team in 2010. The Hornets play their home games at the Spectrum Center in Uptown Charlotte; the original Hornets franchise was established in 1988 as an expansion team, owned by George Shinn. In 2002, Shinn's franchise became the New Orleans Hornets. In 2004, the NBA established the Charlotte Bobcats, regarded as a new expansion team at the time. In 2013, the New Orleans' franchise announced it would rebrand itself the New Orleans Pelicans returning the Hornets name and official history to Charlotte; the Bobcats were renamed the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 season. In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by three teams by the 1988–1989 season modified to include a total of four expansion teams.
George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. The Charlotte area had long been a hotbed for college basketball. Charlotte was one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, was one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars from 1969 to 1974. Despite doubt from critics, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena that would seat 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. On April 5, 1987, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him his group had been awarded the 24th NBA franchise, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were granted to Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Orlando; the new team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but a name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice.
The team received further attention when it chose teal as its primary color, setting off a sports fashion craze in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The team's uniforms, designed by international designer and North Carolina native Alexander Julian, featured a first for NBA uniforms—pin stripes. Similar designs by other teams followed. Shinn hired Carl Scheer as the team's first General Manager. Scheer preferred a roster of veteran players, hoping to put together a competitive team as soon as possible. Former college coach and veteran NBA assistant Dick Harter was hired as the team's first head coach. In 1988, the Hornets and the Miami Heat were part of the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Unlike many expansion franchises that invest in the future with a team composed of young players, Charlotte stocked its inaugural roster with several veterans in hopes of putting a competitive lineup on the court right away; the team had three draft picks at the 1988 NBA draft. The Hornets' first NBA game took place on November 4, 1988, at the Charlotte Coliseum, losing 133–93 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Four days the team notched its first-ever victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, 117–105. On December 23, 1988, the Hornets gave their fans something to cheer about, beating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 103–101 in Jordan's first return to North Carolina as a professional; the Hornets finished their inaugural season with a record of 20–62. Scheer left prior to the 1989–90 season. Despite initial concerns that the Coliseum was too big, the Hornets were a runaway hit, leading the NBA in attendance, a feat they would achieve seven more times in Charlotte; the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games. The Hornets' second season was a struggle from start to finish. Members of the team rebelled against Dick Harter's defense-oriented style, he was replaced mid-season by assistant Gene Littles following an 8–32 start. Despite the change, the team continued to struggle, finishing the season with a disappointing 19–63 record; the team showed improvement during the following season. They won eight of their first fifteen games, including a 120–105 victory over the Washington Bullets.
However, the team went cold. The Hornets, who hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game, finished with a 26–56 record. Despite the team's seven-game improvement over the previous season, Gene Littles was fired at the end of the season and replaced by general manager Allan Bristow. With the first pick in the 1991 NBA draft, the Hornets drafted power forward Larry Johnson from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Johnson had an impact season, finishing among the league leaders in points and rebounds, winning the 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Additionally, Guard Kendall Gill led the club in scoring; the team stayed in contention for a playoff spot until March, but finished the year with a 31–51 record. The Hornets were in the lottery again in 1992 and won the second overall pick in the draft, using it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. Charlotte now had two 20–10 threats in Johnson and Mourning, who with Kendall Gill, formed the league's top young trio; the team finished their fifth season at 44–38, their first-ever winning record and good enough for the first playoff berth in franchise history.
Finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets upset the Boston Celtics in the first round, with Mourning winning the series with a 20-footer in game four. However, the Hornets lacked the experience and depth to defeat the New York Knicks, falling in five games in the second round; the Horn
Russians are a nation and an East Slavic ethnic group native to European Russia in Eastern Europe. Outside Russia, notable minorities exist in other former Soviet states such as Belarus, Moldova and the Baltic states. A large Russian diaspora exists all over the world, with notable numbers in the United States, Germany and Canada; the Russians share many cultural traits with other East Slavic ethnic groups Belarusians and Ukrainians. They are predominantly Orthodox Christians by religion; the Russian language is official in Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, spoken as a secondary language in many former Soviet states. There are two Russian words which are translated into English as "Russians". One is "русский", which most means "ethnic Russians". Another is "россияне", which means "citizens of Russia"; the former word refers to ethnic Russians, regardless of what country they live in and irrespective of whether or not they hold Russian citizenship. Under certain circumstances this term may or may not extend to denote members of other Russian-speaking ethnic groups from Russia, or from the former Soviet Union.
The latter word refers to all people holding citizenship of Russia, regardless of their ethnicity, does not include ethnic Russians living outside Russia. Translations into other languages do not distinguish these two groups; the name of the Russians derives from the Rus' people. According to the most prevalent theory, the name Rus', like the Finnish name for Sweden, is derived from an Old Norse term for "the men who row" as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe, that it could be linked to the Swedish coastal area of Roslagen or Roden, as it was known in earlier times; the name Rus' would have the same origin as the Finnish and Estonian names for Sweden: Ruotsi and Rootsi. According to other theories the name Rus' is derived from Proto-Slavic *roud-s-ь, connected with red color or from Indo-Iranian; until the 1917 revolution, Russian authorities never called them "Russians", calling them "Great Russians" instead, a part of "Russians". The modern Russians formed from two groups of East Slavic tribes: Northern and Southern.
The tribes involved included the Krivichs, Ilmen Slavs, Radimichs and Severians. Genetic studies show that modern Russians do not differ from Belarusians and Ukrainians; some ethnographers, like Dmitry Konstantinovich Zelenin, affirm that Russians are more similar to Belarusians and to Ukrainians than southern Russians are to northern Russians. Russians in northern European Russia share moderate genetic similarities with Uralic peoples, who lived in modern north-central European Russia and were assimilated by the Slavs as the Slavs migrated northeastwards; such Uralic peoples included the Muromians. The territory of Russia has been inhabited since 2nd Millennium BCE by Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, various other peoples. Outside archaeological remains, little is known about the predecessors to Russians in general prior to 859 AD when the Primary Chronicle starts its records, it is thought that by 600 AD, the Slavs had split linguistically into southern and eastern branches. The eastern branch settled between the Dnieper Rivers in present-day Ukraine.
Both Belarusians and South Russians formed on this ethnic linguistic ground. From the 6th century onwards, another group of Slavs moved from Pomerania to the northeast of the Baltic Sea, where they encountered the Varangians of the Rus' Khaganate and established the important regional center of Novgorod; the same Slavic ethnic population settled the present-day Tver Oblast and the region of Beloozero. With the Uralic substratum, they formed the tribes of the Ilmen Slavs. Kievan Rus' was a loose federation of states. Modern Russians derive their name and cultural ancestry from Kievan Rus'. In 2010, the world's Russian population was 129 million people of which 86% were in Russia, 11.5% in the CIS and Baltic countries, with a further 2.5% living in other countries. 111 million ethnic Russians live in Russia, 80% of whom live in the European part of Russia, 20% in the Asian part of the country. After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union an estimated 25 million Russians began living outside of the Russian Federation, most of them in the former Soviet Republics.
Ethnic Russians migrated throughout the area of former Russian Empire and Soviet Union, sometimes encouraged to re-settle in borderlands by the Tsarist and Soviet government. On some occasions ethnic Russian communities, such as Lipovans who settled in the Danube delta or Doukhobors in Canada, emigrated as religious dissidents fleeing the central authority. After the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War starting in 1917, many Russians were forced to leave their homeland fleeing the Bolshevik regime, millions became refugees. Many white émigrés were participants in the White movement, although the term is broadly applied to anyone who may have left the country due to the change in regime. Today the largest ethnic Russian diasporas outside Russia live in former
2003 NBA draft
The 2003 NBA draft was held on June 26, 2003, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The NBA announced that 41 college and high school players and a record 31 international players had filed as early-entry candidates for the 2003 NBA draft; the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a 22.50 percent probability of obtaining the first selection, won the NBA draft lottery on May 22, Cleveland chairman Gordon Gund said afterward his team would select LeBron James. The Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets were third respectively; the 2003 draft is known for having one of the most talented draft pools in draft history. The draft contained fifteen players. Four of the top five picks are NBA All-Stars and "Redeem Team" Olympic Gold Medalists: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James. Many players have been in the starting line-ups of their respective teams. Boris Diaw won the Most Improved Player Award in 2006, Jason Kapono won the three point shootout back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008, James Jones won the three point shootout in 2011, Leandro Barbosa won the Sixth Man Award in 2007, Kyle Korver set the NBA record for three point shooting percentage in 2010, in the 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 seasons LeBron James won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA Finals MVP in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
Carmelo Anthony won the 2013 NBA Scoring Title and is the only player in NBA history to win at least three Olympic gold medals. Zaza Pachulia and David West won NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. Matt Bonner won NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 and 2014. Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams won the NBA championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luke Walton won three NBA championships, two as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 and one as an assistant coach with the Warriors in 2015. Chris Bosh left Toronto in 2010 as its all-time leader in points, blocks, double doubles, free throws made and attempted, minutes played; the 2003 draft class has drawn comparisons to the 1984 and 1996 NBA draft classes, but is known for the Detroit Pistons having made the selection of Darko Miličić with the second pick over other prospects. Out of the entire draft, only Nick Collison has played his entire career for the team that drafted him. ^ a: Chris Kaman was born in the United States, but has German citizenship through his great-grandparents and competes internationally for Germany.
These players were not selected in the 2003 NBA draft, but have played at least one game in the NBA. Incomplete "NBA.com Draft 2003". NBA. Archived from the original on April 19, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2007. "Player profiles with their career transaction information". NBA. Archived from the original on April 19, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2007. ESPN.com Draft 2003 databaseBasketball.com Draft 2003 "How LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and the 2003 draft class transformed the NBA". SC Featured. ESPN. June 25, 2018 – via YouTube
NBA on ESPN
The NBA on ESPN refers to the presentation of National Basketball Association games on the ESPN family of networks. The ESPN cable network first televised NBA games from 1983 to 1984, has been airing games since the 2002–03 NBA season. ESPN2 began airing a limited schedule of NBA games in 2002. ESPN on ABC began televising NBA games in 2006. On October 6, 2014, ESPN and the NBA renewed their agreement through 2025. ESPN on ABC is the broadcast home of the NBA. ABC airs games on Christmas Day and under the title of NBA Saturday Primetime, airs on Saturday nights, NBA Sunday Showcase, airs on Sunday afternoons from January through the end of the season, continuing to air games throughout the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs, culminating with exclusive coverage of the NBA Finals. ESPN airs NBA games on Wednesdays and Sundays. Most NBA games on the ESPN cable network air on Fridays at 8:00 p.m ET and 7:30 p.m PT as part of "Coast to Coast" doubleheaders. Games on Wednesdays are single games, televised at 9:00 p.m ET.
In addition to games on ABC, several Sundays throughout the season feature ESPN televised games during the evening, though on most nights ESPN defers to NBA TV for Sunday night national broadcasts. ESPN's presentation of games is referred to as NBA; the telecast was known as ESPNBA. ESPN used to brand a few other games under the NBA Special Edition brand, but dropped the name in favor of the NBA format in the 2013–14 season and beyond. Unless specified, ESPN's NBA broadcasts are not exclusive, in which local sports networks may still air the game in their home market; the first round playoff coverage is not exclusive. As part of the NBA's cable-heavy TV deal, ESPN airs one Conference final per year. Most conference final games are televised on ESPN itself, with Game 4 and Game 7 set aside for ABC. Outside of the Conference Finals, ESPN airs playoff games only on Thursdays and Saturdays. ESPN airs the NBA Draft each season, as well as the NBA Draft Lottery; the game between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat on December 17, 2010, was the first NBA game aired on 3D, courtesy of ESPN 3D.
The network aired 14 NBA regular season games, as well as select playoff games, in 3D that season. Starting with 2006–07 NBA season, ESPN used ABC's theme music from two years prior, making it the second time the network had used its corporate sibling's NBA theme. Since ABC had undergone the transition from the former ABC Sports to merge with ESPN, forming ESPN on ABC, ESPN's music and overall presentation have been used for all of their telecasts on the network. Following the branding merge, ESPN began to use variations of the graphics used on ESPN Monday Night Football for their NBA broadcasts. With an updated graphics package debuting on Monday Night Football during the 2008–09 season, the same graphics were introduced in the April 8, 2009 telecast of NBA on ESPN. On March 14, 2010, the graphics were refreshed and used in the NBA on ABC "Sunday Showcase". ESPN used the refreshed graphics for their NBA telecasts the following day. Starting with the 2010–11 season, timeout indicators were added to the score banner, adopting the feature from ESPN's college football broadcasts.
Beginning with the 2011 NBA Playoffs, an updated composition of ESPN's theme "Fast Break" was introduced for the postseason, along with new in-game presentations. The score banner and other graphics retained their design, the original composition of "Fast Break" remained as the theme song for the regular season. During the 2013 Western Conference Finals, a new graphics package debuted for ESPN's NBA telecasts; the graphics featured 3-dimensional renderings of the team logos, along with the use of specific themes and backgrounds to accompany each of them. During the 2015 NBA Finals, the graphics were updated to reflect the new design used in ESPN's NBA Countdown broadcasts. However, during 2015-16 NBA season, the graphics were reverted to the previous package used since 2013. On May 17, 2016, the graphics, which were first seen during the previous year's championship, were used again for the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals. For the 2016–17 NBA season, ESPN introduced a revamped on-air presentation and branding for its NBA coverage, developed with the creative agency Big Block, as well as a new logo.
The new design was inspired by "premium" consumer brands, places a heavier focus on team logos and colors as the basis of its design, as opposed to visual environments and settings. When introduced during the pre-season, the new package used a noticeably large scorebar, although it has since been reduced in size. Greg Gumbel and John Andariese were some of the voices of the original telecasts of The NBA on ESPN, which lasted only two seasons. Tom Mees was among the studio hosts. During a commercial break of a game at Madison Square Garden, the announcers danced to the song "Little Darling", played on the public address system of the arena; that blooper reel is still played when ESPN celebrates a milestone. Other announcers during this period included: Irv Brown (g
Luol Ajou Deng is a British professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association. He is a two-time NBA All-Star and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2012. Born in what is now South Sudan, Deng fled the country with his family as a child settling in the United Kingdom, he became a British citizen in 2006, has played for the Great Britain national team. After playing college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils, Deng was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft with the seventh overall pick, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team as a 19-year-old in 2005. The small forward was an All-Star with the Bulls in 2012 and 2013 before splitting the 2013–14 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. After just half a season with Cleveland, Deng joined the Miami Heat for 2014–15, he played two seasons for the Heat before signing with the Lakers in 2016. Deng is a member of the Dinka ethnic group; when he was young, his father Aldo, a member of the Sudanese parliament, moved the family to Egypt to escape the Second Sudanese Civil War.
In Egypt, they met former NBA center Manute Bol, another Dinka, who taught Deng's older brother, Ajou Deng, how to play basketball while serving as a mentor for Luol himself. When they were granted political asylum, his family emigrated to South London. Deng was educated at St. Mary's RC High School, a voluntary aided state comprehensive school in Croydon in South London, he developed an interest in football, admiring Faustino Asprilla of Newcastle United, but continued to play basketball, was invited to join England's 15-and-under team in that sport. During this time, he began his career at Brixton Basketball Club, he represented Croydon at the London Youth Games, was inducted into their Hall of Fame. At the age of 13, he played for England's squad in the European Junior Men's Qualifying Tournament, averaging 40 points and 14 rebounds, he was named the MVP of the tournament. Next, he led England to the finals of the European Junior National Tournament, where he averaged 34 points and earned another MVP award.
At the age of 14, Luol moved to the United States to play basketball at Blair Academy in New Jersey, where one of his teammates was future NBA player Charlie Villanueva. Deng was named a Tri-Captain at Blair along with Villanueva. During his senior year, Deng was considered the second most promising high school senior in America after LeBron James, he was named First Team All-America by Parade and USA Today, was selected to play in the McDonald's High School All-America game, but could not play due to a foot injury. Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Deng was listed as the No. 1 small forward and the No. 2 player in the nation in 2003. Deng accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Duke University, where he played for coach Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils basketball team in 2003–04. In one season at Duke, he made 32 starts, he scored 15.1 points per game en route to a berth in the 2004 Final Four. He was only the 10th freshman in ACC history to lead all freshmen in scoring and field goal percentage.
After one year at Duke, Deng entered the 2004 NBA draft. He was picked seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns, but was traded to the Chicago Bulls by prior agreement. Deng suffered a season-ending wrist injury late in his rookie season, but still made the NBA All-Rookie First Team to help the resurgent Bulls return to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Deng averaged 11.7 points per game. On 8 February, Deng recorded his first double-double vs. the Dallas Mavericks. In his second season, he posted strong performances throughout March and April to help the Bulls earn their second consecutive playoff berth, his offensive statistics improved in his sophomore season, increasing his scoring to 14.3 points per game, increasing his rebounding to 6.6 per game, up from a 5.3 average his rookie season. Deng had four straight double-double performances from 28 February to 5 March, with at least ten points and rebounds in each game. In the playoffs, the Bulls faced off against the Miami Heat in a best of 7 game series.
Deng came off the bench in all six games. For the 2006–07 season, Deng was the only Bull to start all 82 regular season games. All of his numbers continued to improve, he led the team in minutes played and field goal percentage, while playing a strong second scoring option to Ben Gordon, with a marked improvement to 18.8 points per game. Deng notably committed fouls on defense, despite the minutes he played and being outsized in matchups against power forwards such as Kevin Garnett. On 27 December 2006, Deng was driving in the lane when Miami Heat player James Posey grabbed him, causing concern that Deng may have re-injured his wrist. Posey earned a flagrant foul, was ejected and suspended for one game. Deng scored 32 points against the Cavaliers just three nights resolving concern that the wrist would be re-injured. On 26 March 2007 Deng posted a new career-high 38 points to lead the Bulls to a home victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Deng converted 18 of his 25 shots from the field. Deng has won three major sportsmanship awards.
On 3 May 2007, Deng won the NBA's sportsmanship award in a vote by players. The award honours the player who best exemplifies ethical behaviour, fair play, integrity on the court. For that award, the league donated $25,000 on his behalf to Pacific Garden Mission, the oldest continuously operating rescue mission in the country. Deng won the 2006–2007 Golden Icon Award for Best Sports Role Mod
Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi "Emeka" Okafor is an American professional basketball player. Okafor attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire and the University of Connecticut, where in 2004 he won a national championship. Okafor was born in Texas. Both of his parents are natives of Nigeria, Emeka was the first member of his family born in the United States, his father, Pius Okafor, is a member of the Igbo ethnic group. Okafor's family moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma when he was young because his father worked for Phillips Petroleum Company, headquartered in Bartlesville. While in Bartlesville, Okafor's father took his son to the Bartlesville YMCA to learn the game of basketball. Okafor played at Bellaire High School with future Oklahoma State star John Lucas III. Okafor averaged 16 rebounds and 7 blocks in his senior season. Bellaire was 26–5 in that season, losing 56–42 in the third round of the 2001 UIL state playoffs, to Willowridge High School and future Texas standout T. J. Ford; this game is notable, because it featured five players who would go on to play in an NCAA Final Four.
All five of these players would go on to play at least a season in the NBA. Okafor flew under the recruiting radar for much of his high school career, but by the end of his senior year, Okafor was receiving late interest from top programs and chose to accept a scholarship at the University of Connecticut, choosing the Huskies over Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Okafor played for the University of Connecticut from 2001 to 2004 where he was teammates with Charlie Villanueva, Marcus Williams, Ben Gordon, Hilton Armstrong and Josh Boone, who all went on to play in the NBA, he majored in finance during his time at Connecticut, he graduated with honors after three years in May 2004 with a 3.8 GPA. Okafor was named the Academic All-American of the Year in 2004 for his work off the court. Okafor is noted for his impressive defensive ability his shot-blocking. Although he was plagued by back problems for most of the 2003–04 season, Okafor led UConn to the program's second national title in six seasons, he was crowned as the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
In addition, Okafor led the nation in blocks that season and was named National Defensive Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He received the Big East Player of the Year award. Okafor graduated as Connecticut's leader in blocked shots with 441. In light of his collegiate achievements, Okafor was made a member of the 2004 U. S. National Men's Basketball Team which represented the U. S. at the Olympics in Athens. On February 5, 2007, he was inducted to the Husky Ring Of Honor at Gampel Pavilion on the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs during halftime of the men's basketball game against the Syracuse Orange as part of a ceremony which recognized personal accomplishments of 13 former players and 3 coaches. On April 16, 2004, Okafor declared his eligibility for the 2004 NBA draft, giving up his one remaining year of college athletic eligibility, he did, receive his undergraduate degree in Accounting/Finance in three academic years. On June 24, Okafor was selected second overall in the draft, becoming the first draft pick by the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.
The following day, he accepted an invitation to join the United States team for the 2004 Summer Olympics, which finished with the bronze medal in Athens. The 2004–05 season was a successful campaign as Okafor coped well with the pressures of being the star rookie on an expansion franchise. Highlights of the season included recording 19 straight double-doubles from November 21 through January 1, finishing seventh among Eastern Conference forwards in NBA All-Star Game fan balloting with 408,082 votes, by far the highest number garnered by any rookie in 2005. At the end of the season, Okafor beat out his friend and former college teammate and roommate, Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon, to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. On June 24, 2005, the Bobcats picked up the option for the fourth year on Okafor's contract, as he established himself as the face of the franchise, a solid player for years to come. Okafor finished his rookie season with 44.7% field goal percentage and per-game averages of 15.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.7 blocks.
In the 2005 offseason, Okafor's weight increased from 260 to 280 lbs. It was this weight gain which he felt caused him to have trouble rehabbing his early season ankle injury and forced him to sit out most of the 2005–06 season with injuries to his ankle. Nonetheless in the few games he played he was effective as he averaged a double-double for the second consecutive season. For the season he finished with averages of 13.2 points on 41.5% shooting, 10.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. During the offseason he continued his tutorials with Hakeem Olajuwon, which he took up after his rookie season, lost the 20 pounds which he had gained for his second season. Okafor felt this weight loss gave him mobility, he led the Bobcats in rebounds per game, blocks per game, field goal percentage. On December 29, 2006, in a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Emeka would record 22 points, 25 rebounds, 4 blocks in over 51 minutes of play, in an epic 133–124 triple overtime victory, he had eight blocks in games against the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics.
On January 12, 2007, he would record an NBA season high ten blocks in a game against the New York Knicks. His ten blocks were the most recorded in a single game at Madison Square Garden. In that game, he was one rebound away from recording the first triple-double in franc
Dwight David Howard is an American professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association. Howard, who plays center, spent his high school career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, he chose to forgo college, entered the 2004 NBA draft, was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. An eight-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA Team honoree, five-time All-Defensive Team member, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard set numerous franchise and league records during his time with the Magic. In 2012, after eight seasons with Orlando, Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. After one season with the Lakers, he joined the Houston Rockets. One-season stints followed with the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets before he joined the Wizards in July 2018. Howard was born in Atlanta, to Dwight Sr. and Sheryl Howard, into a family with strong athletic connections. His father is a Georgia State Trooper and serves as Athletic Director of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, a private academy with one of the best high school basketball programs in the country, while his mother played on the inaugural women's basketball team at Morris Brown College.
Howard's mother had seven miscarriages. A devout Christian since his youth, Howard became serious about basketball around the age of nine. Despite his large frame, Howard was versatile enough to play the guard position, he elected to attend Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy for high school, in his four years he played as power forward, averaging 16.6 points, 13.4 rebounds and 6.3 blocks per game in 129 appearances. As a senior, Howard led his team to a 31–2 record and the 2004 state title, while averaging 25 points, 18 rebounds, 8.1 blocks and 3.5 assists per game. That same year, Howard was recognized as the best American high school basketball player, he was awarded the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award, the Morgan Wootten High School Player of the Year Award, Gatorade National Player of the Year and the McDonald's National High School Player of the Year honor, he was co-MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game that year. On January 31, 2012, Howard was honored as one of the 35 greatest McDonald's All-Americans.
Following his high school successes, Howard chose to forego college and declared for the 2004 NBA draft—a decision inspired by his idol Kevin Garnett who had done the same in 1995—where the Orlando Magic selected him first overall over UConn junior Emeka Okafor. He took the number 12 for his jersey, in part because it was the reverse of Garnett's 21 when he played for Minnesota. Howard joined a depleted Magic squad. Howard, made an immediate impact, he finished his rookie season with an average of 12 points and 10 rebounds, setting several NBA records in the process. He became the youngest player in NBA history to average a double double in the regular season, he became the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 10 rebounds in a season and youngest NBA player to record at least 20 rebounds in a game. Howard's importance to the Magic was highlighted when he became the first player in NBA history directly out of high school to start all 82 games during his rookie season. For his efforts, he was selected to play in the 2005 NBA Rookie Challenge, was unanimously selected to the All-Rookie Team.
He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Howard reported to camp for his second NBA season having added 20 pounds of muscle during the off-season. Orlando coach Brian Hill—responsible for grooming former Magic superstar Shaquille O'Neal—decided that Howard should be converted into a full-fledged center. Hill identified two areas where Howard needed to improve: his defense, he exerted extra pressure on Howard, saying that the Magic would need him to emerge as a force in the middle before the team had a chance at the playoffs. On November 15, 2005, in a home game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Howard recorded 21 points and 20 rebounds, becoming the youngest player to score 20 or more points and gather 20 or more rebounds in the same game, he was selected to play on the Sophomore Team in the 2006 Rookie Challenge during the All-Star break. Overall, he averaged 15.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, ranking second in the NBA in rebounds per game, offensive rebounds, double-doubles and sixth in field goal percentage.
Despite Howard's improvement, the Magic finished the season with a 36–46 record and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season since Howard's arrival. In the 2006–07 season, Howard played in all 82 regular-season games. On February 1, 2007, he received his first NBA All-Star selection as a reserve on the Eastern Conference squad for the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. On February 9, he made a game-winning alley-oop off an inbound pass at the buzzer against the San Antonio Spurs. Howard set a new career high with 35 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 14. Under his leadership, the Magic qualified for the 2007 NBA Playoffs as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. There, the Magic were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the first round. For the season, Howard averaged 17.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, finishing first in the NBA in total rebounds, second in field goal percentage, ninth in blocks. He was named to the All-NBA Third Team at the end of the 2006–07 campaign.
Howard continued posting impressive numbers in the 2007–08 season and helped the Magic have their best season to date. Howard was named as a start