Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal, is a retired professional American basketball player, a sports analyst on the television program Inside the NBA on TNT. He is considered one of the greatest players in National Basketball Association history. At 7 ft 1 in tall and 325 pounds, he was one of heaviest players yet. O'Neal played for six teams throughout his 19-year career. Following his time at Louisiana State University, O'Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft, he became one of the best centers in the league, winning Rookie of the Year in 1992–93 and leading his team to the 1995 NBA Finals. After four years with the Magic, O'Neal signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, they won three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001, 2002. Amid tension between O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, his fourth NBA championship followed in 2006. Midway through the 2007–2008 season he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. After a season-and-a-half with the Suns, O'Neal was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009–10 season.
O'Neal played for the Boston Celtics in the 2010–11 season before retiring. O'Neal's individual accolades include the 1999–2000 MVP award, the 1992–93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-Star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, three NBA All-Defensive Team selections, he is one of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year. He ranks 8th all-time in points scored, 6th in field goals, 15th in rebounds, 8th in blocks. Due to his ability to dunk the basketball, O'Neal ranks third all-time in field goal percentage. O'Neal was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, he was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017. In addition to his basketball career, O'Neal has released four rap albums, with his first, Shaq Diesel, going platinum, he has appeared in numerous films and has starred in his own reality shows, Shaq's Big Challenge and Shaq Vs..
He hosts The Big Podcast with Shaq. He is the general manager of Kings Guard Gaming of the NBA 2K League. O'Neal was born on March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey, to Lucille O'Neal and Joe Toney, who played high school basketball and was offered a basketball scholarship to play at Seton Hall. Toney struggled with drug addiction and was imprisoned for drug possession when O'Neal was an infant. Upon his release, he did not resume a place in O'Neal's life and instead agreed to relinquish his parental rights to O'Neal's Jamaican stepfather, Phillip A. Harrison, a career Army sergeant. O'Neal remained estranged from his biological father for decades. On his 1994 rap album, Shaq Fu: The Return, O'Neal voiced his feelings of disdain for Toney in the song "Biological Didn't Bother", dismissing him with the line "Phil is my father." However, O'Neal's feelings toward Toney mellowed in the years following Harrison's death in 2013, the two met for the first time in March 2016, with O'Neal telling him, "I don't hate you.
I had a good life. I had Phil."O'Neal credits the Boys and Girls Club of America in Newark with giving him a safe place to play and keeping him off the streets. "It gave me something to do," he said. "I'd just go there to shoot. I didn't play on a team." Because of his stepfather's career in the military, the family left Newark, moving to military bases in Germany and Texas. At Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas, O'Neal led his team to a 68–1 record over two years and helped the team win the state championship during his senior year, his 791 rebounds during the 1989 season remains a state record for a player in any classification. O'Neal's tendency to make hook shots earned comparisons to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, inspiring him to wear the same jersey number as Abdul-Jabbar, 33. However, his high school team did not have a 33 jersey. After graduating from high school, O'Neal studied business at Louisiana State University, he had first met Dale Brown, LSU's men's basketball coach, years earlier in Europe when O'Neal's stepfather was stationed on a U.
S. Army base at West Germany. While playing for Brown at LSU, O'Neal was a two-time All-American, two-time SEC Player of the Year, received the Adolph Rupp Trophy as NCAA men's basketball player of the year in 1991. O'Neal left LSU early to pursue his NBA career, but continued his education after becoming a professional player, he was inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame. A 900-pound bronze statue of O'Neal is located in front of the LSU Tigers Basketball Practice Facility; the Orlando Magic drafted O'Neal with the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. During that summer, prior to moving to Orlando, he spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Given Terry Catledge refused to give O'Neal the 33 jersey, he relented by going back to the 32 from his high school days. O'Neal was named the Player of the Week in his first week in the NBA, becoming the first player to do so. During his rookie season, O'Neal averaged 23.4 points on 56.2% shooting, 13.9 rebounds, 3.5 blocks per game for the season.
He was named the 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year and became the first rookie to be voted an All-Star starter since Michael Jordan in 1985. The Magic finished 41–41, winning 20 more games than the previous season.
The center known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is the tallest player on the team, has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is 6 feet 10 inches or taller and weighs 240 pounds or more, they traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five; the center is considered a necessary component for a successful team in professional leagues such as the NBA. Great centers have been the foundation for most of the dynasties in both the NBA and NCAA; the 6'10" George Mikan pioneered the Center position, shattering the held perception that tall players could not develop the agility and coordination to play basketball well, ushering in the role of the dominant big man. He led DePaul University to the NIT title after turning professional, won seven National Basketball League, Basketball Association of America and NBA Championships in his ten-year career, nine of them with the Minneapolis Lakers.
Using his height to dominate opposing players, Mikan invented the shot block. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain further transformed basketball by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than previous centers. Following the retirement of George Mikan, the rivalry of the two big men came to dominate the NBA. Between the two of them and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today. Most notably and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds. Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships, he joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career as well as five MVP awards. Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking and physical man-to-man defense. While he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense, much of the team's scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy.
As the NBA's first African-American superstar, Russell struggled throughout his career with the racism he encountered from fans in Boston after the 1966–67 season, when he became the first African-American in any major sport to be named player-coach. His principal rival, Wilt Chamberlain, listed at 7'1", 275 pounds, lacked Russell's supporting cast. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks, leading them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime, Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959, Chamberlain won two Championships, in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, although his teams were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, he won seven scoring titles, eleven rebounding titles, four regular season Most Valuable Player awards, including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award.
Stronger than any player of his era, he was capable of scoring and rebounding at will. Although he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming, as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting, he set a number of records that have never been broken. Most notably, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season and score 100 points in a single game, he holds the NBA's all-time records for rebounding average, rebounds in a single game, career rebounds. A lesser-known center of the era was Nate Thurmond, who played the forward position opposite Wilt Chamberlain for the San Francisco Warriors but moved to center after Chamberlain was traded to the new Philadelphia franchise. Although he never won a Championship, Thurmond was known as the best screen setter in the league, his averages of 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in 1966–67 and 1967–68, are exceeded only by Chamberlain and Russell. In contrast to the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, the 1970s were a decade of parity in the NBA, with eight different champions and no back-to-back winners.
At the college level, the UCLA Bruins, under Coach John Wooden, built the greatest dynasty in NCAA basketball history, winning seven consecutive titles between 1967 and 1973. UCLA had won two consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965 with teams that pressed and emphasized guard play. After not winning in 1966, Wooden's teams changed their style, he led UCLA to three championships-in 1967, 68' and 69'-while winning the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. During his college career, the NCAA enacted a ban on dunking because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot, his entrance into the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 was timely, as Bill Russell had just retired and Wilt Chamberlain was 33 years old and plagued by injuries. After leading the Bucks to the 1971 NBA championship, te
Joshua Jay Howard is an American former professional basketball player, the head coach of Piedmont International University. He played college basketball for Wake Forest. Howard attended Glenn High School in Kernersville, North Carolina, where he was a First-Team All-State selection in his senior year and averaged six blocks per game while shooting 70%, he averaged a double-double during his junior and senior years, during which time he received the Frank Spencer Award twice. During his senior year Howard was handcuffed outside of a BP gas station the night before his SAT examination. Howard had been loitering on the premises with some of his friends, undercover cops, believing the teenagers had been selling drugs, detained them. In order to get into Wake Forest University Howard needed an SAT score of at least 950, he did not get a 950, saying his score was "somewhere in the 500s". In lieu, he spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, where he averaged a double-double, with 19.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Howard led Hargrave to a 27–3 record, shooting well on the floor with 56%. He averaged 44% from behind the three-point line and 85% from the free throw line. Howard participated in the ACC–SEC game between new signings from the two conferences. Howard scored 14 points in 15 minutes to help lift the ACC team to a 145–115 win over the SEC. Howard chose to sign with Wake Forest in 1999 over many other colleges due to the proximity of the campus to his family and friends, he minored in international studies. During his first year, Howard played in all thirty-six games, he led the team with 44 ranked fourth on the team with 9.1 points per game. His season high came in a game against Duke during an ACC tournament. Howard scored 19 points, going 2-for-2 from behind the three-point line. During his sophomore season Howard was selected to second-team All-ACC, he missed a few games because of the flu, playing in 29 games and starting 28. He led the team in scoring that year with 13.6 points per game. Howard earned third-team All-ACC and second team NABC All-District while trailing Darius Songaila in team scoring with 13.9 points per game during his junior season.
Deciding not to forgo his senior year at Wake Forest, Howard became the first member of his family to graduate from college. He was the unanimous selection as the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 2003 and led Wake Forest to its first outright regular season league championship in 41 years, he is the second ACC player to amass 1000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals, 100 blocks, 100 three-pointers. Howard was named the national player of the year by College Insider and Basketball Digest, he was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and the James Naismith Award in 2003. In his senior season, Howard averaged 19.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 bpg, won multiple awards, including ACC Player of the Year, All ACC First Team, ACC All-Defensive Team, AP First Team All-America. Coming into the league, Howard was projected as a mid to late 1st round pick in the 2003 NBA Draft because of his apparent lack of upside. Howard was selected in the 2003 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks with the final pick of the first round.
He played in 67 games during his rookie year, averaging 8.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game earning him NBA All-Rookie 2nd team honors. In his second season, Howard continued coming off the bench and tasked to do "mop-up minutes" until a nagging injury to Marquis Daniels gave Howard a spot at small forward in the starting lineup. Howard averaged 12.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.53 steals in 32 minutes of play for the season. In the 2005–06 season, Howard averaged a career-high in scoring and three-point field goal percentage, in addition to tallying 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. He was limited to 59 games due to injury. In the 2006 NBA playoffs, Howard was vital to the Mavs' run to the Finals to the point where the team was 23–0 when Howard scored more than 20 points a game. In game 5 of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, it was asserted by referees that Howard called for a timeout during Dwyane Wade's free throw attempts, which only allowed Dallas to inbound the ball at full court instead of setting up for a play at half court.
Howard asserted that in fact no timeout was called and that referee Joey Crawford agreed with him. After Dwyane Wade hit his second foul shot to put the Miami Heat up by one point, Dallas was unable to advance the ball to halfcourt for an attempt at a game-winning shot. Early in 2006, Team USA director Jerry Colangelo invited Howard to serve as one of Team USA's possible defensive specialists in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Howard rejected the offer, instead going back to run his annual youth camp in his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During the 2006–07 season, Howard missed 2 games, his 18.9 points per game combined with 6.8 rebounds a game helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to a season-best 67–15 record. After injuries to Yao Ming and Carlos Boozer, Howard was offered the extra spot. Hall of Famer Magic Johnson commented on Howard's omission at first, saying "I've got a problem with it, I do". Johnson went on to say "Josh Howard should be an All-Star. Period."On December 8, 2007, Howard scored a career high 47 points against the Utah Jazz.
In April 2008, hours before Game 3 of the Mavericks'
Auburn University is a land-grant and public research university in Auburn, United States. With more than 23,000 undergraduate students and a total enrollment of more than 30,000 with 1,260 faculty members, Auburn is the second largest university in Alabama. Auburn University is one of the state's two public flagship universities. Auburn was chartered on February 1, 1856, as East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1872, under the Morrill Act, it became the state's first public land-grant university and was renamed as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1892, it became the first four-year coeducational school in Alabama, in 1899 was renamed Alabama Polytechnic Institute to reflect its changing mission. In 1960, its name was changed to Auburn University to acknowledge the varied academic programs and larger curriculum of a major university; the Alabama Legislature chartered the institution as the East Alabama Male College on February 1, 1856, coming under the guidance of the Methodist Church in 1859.
Its first president was Reverend William J. Sasnett, the school opened its doors in 1859 to a student body of eighty and a faculty of ten. Auburn's early history is inextricably linked with the Reconstruction-era South. Classes were held in "Old Main" until the college was closed due to the war, when most of the students and faculty left to enlist; the campus was a training ground for the Confederate Army, "Old Main" served as a hospital for Confederate wounded. To commemorate Auburn's contribution to the Civil War, a cannon lathe used for the manufacture of cannons for the Confederate Army and recovered from Selma, was presented to the college in 1952 by brothers of Delta Chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity, it sits today on the lawn next to Samford Hall. The school reopened in 1866 after the end of its only closure. In 1872, control of the institution was transferred from the Methodist Church to the State of Alabama for financial reasons. Alabama placed the school under the provisions of the Morrill Act as a land-grant institution, the first in the South to be established separately from the state university.
This act provided for 240,000 acres of Federal land to be sold to provide funds for an agricultural and mechanical school. As a result, in 1872 the school was renamed the Mechanical College of Alabama. Under the Act's provisions, land-grant institutions were supposed to teach military tactics and train officers for the United States military. In the late 19th century, most students at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama were enrolled in the cadet program, learning military tactics and training to become officers; each county in the state was allowed to nominate two cadets to attend the college free of charge. The university's original curriculum focused on agriculture; this trend changed under the guidance of William Leroy Broun, who taught classics and sciences and believed both disciplines were important for the growth of the university and the individual. In 1892, two historic events occurred: women were admitted to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, football was played as a school sport.
Football replaced polo as the main sport on campus. The college was renamed the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1899 because of Broun's influence. On October 1, 1918, nearly all of Alabama Polytechnic Institute's able-bodied male students 18 or older voluntarily joined the United States Army for short-lived military careers on campus; the student-soldiers numbered 878, according to API President Charles Thach, formed the academic section of the Student Army Training Corps. The vocational section was composed of enlisted men sent to Auburn for training in radio and mechanics; the students received honorable discharges two months following the Armistice that ended World War I. API struggled through the Great Depression, having scrapped an extensive expansion program by then-President Bradford Knapp. Faculty salaries were cut drastically, enrollment decreased along with State appropriations to the college. By the end of the 1930s, Auburn had recovered, but faced new conditions caused by World War II.
As war approached in 1940, there was a great shortage of engineers and scientists needed for the defense industries. The U. S. Office of Education asked all American engineering schools to join in a "crash" program to produce what was called "instant engineers." API became an early participant in an activity that became Engineering and Management War Training. Funded by the government and coordinated by Auburn's Dean of Engineering, college-level courses were given in concentrated evening classes at sites across Alabama. Taken by thousands of adults – including many women – these courses were beneficial in filling the wartime ranks of civilian engineers and other technical professionals; the ESMWT benefited API by providing employment for faculty members when the student body was diminished by the draft and volunteer enlistment. During the war, API trained U. S. military personnel on campus. Following the end of World War II, API, like many colleges around the country, experienced a period of massive growth caused by returning military personnel taking advantage of their GI Bill offer of free education.
In the five-year period following the end of the war, enrollment at API more than doubled. Recognizing the school had moved beyond its agricultural and mechanical roots, it was granted university status by the Alabama Legi
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University is a private research university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Founded in 1834, the university received its name from its original location in Wake Forest, north of Raleigh, North Carolina; the Reynolda Campus, the university's main campus, has been located north of downtown Winston-Salem since the university moved there in 1956. The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center campus has two locations, the older one located near the Ardmore neighborhood in central Winston-Salem, the newer campus at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter downtown; the university occupies lab space at Biotech Plaza at Innovation Quarter, at the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. The university's Graduate School of Management maintains a presence on the main campus in Winston-Salem and in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wake Forest has produced 15 Rhodes Scholars, including 13 since 1986, four Marshall Scholars, 15 Truman Scholars and 92 Fulbright recipients since 1993. Notable people of Wake Forest University include author Maya Angelou, mathematician Phillip Griffiths, psychologist Linda Nielsen, Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, athletes Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, Muggsy Bogues, Brian Piccolo and Arnold Palmer, CEO Charlie Ergen.
During the Baptist State Convention of 1833 at Cartledge Creek Baptist Church in Rockingham, North Carolina, establishment of Wake Forest Institute was ratified. The school was founded after the North Carolina Baptist State Convention purchased a 615-acre plantation from Calvin Jones in an area north of Raleigh called the "Forest of Wake"; the new school, designed to teach both Baptist ministers and laymen, opened on February 3, 1834, as the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute. Students and staff were required to spend half of each day doing manual labor on its plantation. Samuel Wait, a Baptist minister, was selected as the "principal" president, of the institute. In 1838, the school was renamed Wake Forest College, the manual labor system was abandoned; the town that grew up around the college came to be called the town of Wake Forest. In 1862, during the American Civil War, the school closed due to the loss of most students and some faculty to service in the Confederate States Army; the college re-opened in 1866 and prospered over the next four decades under the leadership of presidents Washington Manly Wingate, Thomas H. Pritchard, Charles Taylor.
In 1894, the School of Law was established, followed by the School of Medicine in 1902. The university held its first summer session in 1921. Lea Laboratory was built in 1887–1888, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975; the leading college figure in the early 20th century was William L. Poteat, a gifted biologist and the first layman to be elected president in the college's history. "Dr. Billy" continued to promote growth, hired many outstanding professors, expanded the science curriculum, he stirred upheaval among North Carolina Baptists with his strong support of teaching the theory of evolution but won formal support from the Baptist State Convention for academic freedom at the college. The School of Medicine moved to Winston-Salem in 1941 under the supervision of Dean Coy Cornelius Carpenter, who guided the school through the transition from a two-year to a four-year program; the school became the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. The following year, 1942, Wake Forest admitted its first female undergraduate students, after World War II depleted the pool of male students.
In 1946, as a result of large gifts from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the entire college agreed to move to Winston-Salem, a move, completed for the beginning of the fall 1956 term, under the leadership of Harold W. Tribble. Charles and Mary Reynolds Babcock donated to the college about 350 acres of fields and woods at "Reynolda", their estate. From 1952 to 1956, fourteen new buildings were constructed on the new campus; these buildings were constructed in Georgian style. The old campus in Wake Forest was sold to the Baptist State Convention to establish the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. On April 27, 1962, Wake Forest's board of trustees voted to accept Edward Reynolds, a native of the African nation of Ghana, as the first black full-time undergraduate at the school; this made Wake Forest the first major private university in the South to desegregate. Reynolds, a transfer student from Shaw University became the first black graduate of the university in 1964, when he earned a bachelor's degree in history.
He went on to earn master's degrees at Ohio University and Yale Divinity School, a PhD in African history from the University of London. He became a professor of history at the University of California, San Diego, author of several history books. A graduate studies program was inaugurated in 1961, in 1967 the school became the accredited Wake Forest University; the Babcock Graduate School of Management, now known as the School of Business, was established in 1969. The James R. Scales Fine Arts Center opened in 1979. In 1986, Wake Forest gained autonomy from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and established a fraternal relationship with it; the Middleton House and its surrounding 5 acres was deeded by gift to Wake Forest by Philip Hanes and his wife Charlotte in 1992. The donation was completed in 2011; the thirteenth president of Wake Forest is Nathan O. Hatch, former provost at the University of Notre Dame.. Hatch was installed as president on October 20, 2005, he assumed office on July 1, 2005, succeeding Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. who had retired after 22 years in office.
On September 16, 2015, Wake Forest announced plans to offer undergraduate classes do
Dirk Werner Nowitzki is a German former professional basketball player. An alumnus of Röntgen Gymnasium and the DJK Würzburg basketball club, Nowitzki was chosen as the ninth pick in the 1998 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he had played his entire 21-year National Basketball Association career. In the NBA, he won the league Most Valuable Player award in 2007, was an NBA champion in 2011, was a 14-time All-Star. Listed at 7 ft 0 in, Nowitzki is considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time. Nowitzki has led the Mavericks to 15 NBA playoff appearances, including the franchise's first Finals appearance in 2006 and its only NBA championship in 2011. Known for his scoring ability, his versatility, his accurate outside shooting, his trademark fadeaway jump shot, Nowitzki won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2007 and the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in 2011. Nowitzki's NBA career has been filled with accomplishments, he is the only player to play for a single franchise for 21 seasons.
Nowitzki is a 14-time All-Star, a 12-time All-NBA Team member, the first European player to start in an All-Star Game, the first European player to receive the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Nowitzki is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history, he is the first Maverick voted onto an All-NBA Team and holds several all-time Mavericks franchise records. On December 10, 2012, he became the first non-American player to receive the Naismith Legacy Award; as of March 18, 2019, Nowitzki stood sixth on the list of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders. Nowitzki's career in international play is noteworthy, he led the German national basketball team to a bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and silver in EuroBasket 2005, was the leading scorer and MVP in both tournaments. Born in Würzburg, Dirk Werner Nowitzki comes from an athletic family: his mother Helga Nowitzki was a professional basketball player and his father Jörg-Werner was a handball player who represented Germany at the highest international level.
His older sister Silke Nowitzki, a local champion in track and field became a basketball player and now works for the NBA in International TV. Nowitzki was a tall child, he played handball and tennis, but soon grew tired of being called a "freak" for his height and turned to basketball. After joining the local DJK Würzburg, the 15-year-old attracted the attention of former German international basketball player Holger Geschwindner, who spotted his talent and offered to coach him individually two to three times per week. After getting both the approval of Nowitzki and his parents, Geschwindner put his student through an unorthodox training scheme: he emphasized shooting and passing exercises, shunned weight training and tactical drills, because he felt it was "unnecessary friction". Furthermore, Geschwindner encouraged Nowitzki to play a musical instrument and read literature to make him a more complete personality. After a year, the coach was so impressed with Nowitzki's progress that he advised him, "You must now decide whether you want to play against the best in the world or just stay a local hero in Germany.
If you choose the latter, we will stop training because nobody can prevent that anymore. But if you want to play against the best, we have to train on a daily basis." After pondering this lifetime decision for two days, Nowitzki agreed to enter the full-time training schedule, choosing the path to his eventual international career. Geschwindner let him train seven days a week with DJK Würzburg players and future German internationals Robert Garrett, Marvin Willoughby, Demond Greene, in the summer of 1994 16-year-old Nowitzki made the DJK squad; when Nowitzki joined the team, DJK played in Germany's 2nd-tier level league, the Second Bundesliga, South Division. His first trainer was Pit Stahl, who played the tall teenager as an outside-scoring forward rather than an inside-scoring center to utilise his shooting skills. In the 1994–95 Second Bundesliga season, ambitious DJK finished as a disappointing sixth of 12 teams. In the next 1995–96 Second Bundesliga season, Nowitzki established himself as a starter next to Finnish star forward Martti Kuisma and soon became a regular double-digit scorer: after German national basketball coach Dirk Bauermann saw him score 24 points in a DJK game, he stated that "Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest German basketball talent of the last 10, maybe 15 years."In the 1996–97 Second Bundesliga season, Nowitzki averaged 19.4 points per game and led DJK again to second place after the regular season, but could not help his team gain promotion.
In the following 1997–98 Second Bundesliga season, Nowitzki finished his "Abitur", but had to do compulsory military service in the Bundeswehr which lasted from September 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998. In the promotion playoffs, DJK broke its hex, finishing at first place with 14:2 points and earning promotion to the next higher league. Abroad, Nowitzki's progress was noticed. A year the teenager participated in the Nike "Hoop Heroes Tour", where he played against NBA star
2004–05 Phoenix Suns season
The 2004–05 NBA season was the 37th for the Phoenix Suns in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Suns re-acquired All-Star guard Steve Nash from the Dallas Mavericks, signed free agent Quentin Richardson; the Suns got off to a fast start winning 31 of their first 35 games, but lost six straight afterwards. They finished with the best record in the NBA at 62–20 under head coach Mike D'Antoni, tying their franchise best 1992–93 season record. Three members of the team, Amar'e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion were all selected for the 2005 NBA All-Star Game; the Suns gained solid play from Richardson and Joe Johnson. Nash finished the season averaging 11.5 assists per game, while making 50.2% of his field goals and 43.1% of his three-pointers in the regular season. He ended up winning the MVP award. D'Antoni was awarded Coach of the Year, Bryan Colangelo Executive of the Year. In the first round of the playoffs, the Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four straight games in the semifinals defeated Nash's former team, the Dallas Mavericks in six games.
However, in the Western Conference Finals, they would lose to the 2nd-seeded and eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in five games. Following the season, Johnson was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, Richardson was dealt to the New York Knicks; the Suns drafted Luol Deng with the 7th pick, traded to the Chicago Bulls for second-round pick Jackson Vroman, a conditional first-round pick, cash considerations. The Suns received the 16th pick in a trade with the New York Knicks, but traded the pick to the Utah Jazz; the Suns second-round pick was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2003. After trading Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway, the Suns freed enough cap space to sign free agent point guard Steve Nash to a 6-year, $65.6 million deal, with a sixth-year team option, swingman Quentin Richardson to a 6-year, $43.5 million deal, with a sixth-year player option. The Suns signed Steven Hunter, Yuta Tabuse and Derrick Dial as free agents. Hunter played the season as a back-up center, Tabuse played 4 games before being waived in December, Dial was waived before the start of the season.
Before the season, the Suns were predicted to finish in the middle of the pack of the Western Conference. Defying expectations, Phoenix won 31 of its first 35 games; the team lost its next six games, in large part due to a thigh injury suffered by Nash. Despite this minor blip, the Suns finished with a record of 62–20; the 33-win improvement over the 2003–04 campaign constituted the third-best year-to-year jump in NBA history. Nash won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, while three Suns – Nash and Marion – were named to an All-NBA Team. In their first full year under D'Antoni, the Suns channeled his particular basketball philosophy, which emphasized rapid ball movement, pick-and-rolls, high-volume three-point shooting; this style of play benefitted from rule changes enacted in 2002, which including new penalties against hand check fouls committed on the perimeter. Over the course of the season, Phoenix led the NBA in a large number of metrics, including points per possession, points per game, three-point shots attempted, three-point shooting percentage.
The Suns' fast style of play earned them the moniker "Seven Seconds or Less." The Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. In the second round, Phoenix beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games. In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns fell to the San Antonio Spurs in five games. Writing for the Washington Post in 2017, Tim Bontemps credited D'Antoni and his Suns teams – starting with the 2004–05 squad – with demonstrating the possibility of success for a team built to play small ball, run a high-tempo offense, shoot a large number of three-pointers. Bontemps argued that the Suns' model inspired teams around the league to adopt many of D'Antoni's offensive principles, leading to dramatic changes in the NBA's style of play. Other writers have made similar arguments in favor of the proposition that the "Seven Seconds or Less" Suns revolutionized the modern game of basketball. Multiple commentators have drawn direct parallels between D'Antoni's Phoenix teams and the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors, who shot a large number of three-pointers and used small ball lineups.
The Stephen Curry-led Warriors set the regular season record of 73 wins before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The team's roster is featured in the video games NBA 2K16, NBA 2K17, NBA 2K18. Amar'e Stoudemire was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played November 14 through November 20. Shawn Marion was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played November 21 through November 27. Amar'e Stoudemire was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played December 5 through December 11. Shawn Marion was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played December 12 through December 18. Steve Nash was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played December 19 through December 25. Steve Nash was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played February 6 through February 12. Steve Nash was named Western Conference Player of the Month for November. Amar'e Stoudemire was named Western Conference Player of the Month for April.
Mike D'Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for December. Steve Nash was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game, it was his third All-Star selection. Nash finished third in the All-Star voting among Western Conference guards with 1,148,275 votes. Amar'e Stoudemire was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in