National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the major mens professional basketball league in North America, and is widely considered to be the premier mens professional basketball league in the world. It has 30 teams, and is a member of USA Basketball. The NBA is one of the four professional sports leagues in the United States. NBA players are the worlds best paid athletes by average annual salary per player, the league was founded in New York City on June 6,1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3,1949, the leagues several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York City. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, the Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. On November 1,1946, in Toronto, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, the first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers.
During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not significantly better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that leagues 1948 title, Following the 1948–49 season, the BAA took in the remainder of the NBL, Anderson, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as arenas and smaller gymnasiums. The process of contraction saw the leagues smaller-city franchises move to larger cities, the Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, and to St. Louis in 1955. The Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957, japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks. He remained the only player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships, to encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
If a team does not attempt to score a goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, who already featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, and went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, russells rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports. The 1960s were dominated by the Celtics, led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966
The Seattle SuperSonics, commonly known as the Sonics, were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington. The SuperSonics played in the National Basketball Association as a club of the leagues Western Conference Pacific. After the 2007–08 season ended, the relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Sam Schulman owned the team from its 1967 inception until 1983 and it was owned by Barry Ackerley, and Basketball Club of Seattle, headed by Starbucks chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz. The sale was approved by the NBA Board of Governors on October 24,2006, home games were played at KeyArena, originally known as Seattle Center Coliseum, for 33 of the franchises 41 seasons in Seattle. In 1978, the moved to the Kingdome, which was shared with the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball. They returned to the Coliseum full-time in 1985, moving temporarily to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, the SuperSonics won the NBA championship in 1979. Overall, the franchise won three Western Conference titles,1978,1979, and 1996, the franchise won six divisional titles, the most recent being in 2005, with five in the Pacific Division and one in the Northwest Division.
The SuperSonics franchise history, would be shared with the Thunder, on December 20,1966, Los Angeles businessmen Sam Schulman and Eugene V. Klein and a group of minority partners were awarded an NBA franchise for the city of Seattle. Schulman would serve as the partner and head of team operations. He named the SuperSonics after Boeings recently awarded contract for the SST project, the SuperSonics were Seattles first major league sports franchise. Beginning play in October 1967, the SuperSonics were coached by Al Bianchi and featured All-Star guard Walt Hazzard and NBA All-Rookie Team members Bob Rule and Al Tucker. The expansion team stumbled out of the gates with a 144–116 loss in their first game, Hazzard was traded to the Atlanta Hawks before the start of the next season for Lenny Wilkens. Wilkens brought a strong game to the SuperSonics, averaging 22.4 points per game,8.2 assists per game. Rule, improved on his rookie statistics with 24.0 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game, the SuperSonics, only won 30 games and Bianchi was replaced by Wilkens as player/coach during the offseason.
Wilkens and Rule both represented Seattle in the 1970 NBA All-Star Game, and Wilkens led the NBA in assists during the 1969–70 season, Schulman threatened to move his soon-to-be ABA team to Los Angeles to compete directly with the Lakers. The Oscar Robertson suit delayed the merger, and the SuperSonics remained in Seattle, early in the 1970–71 season, Rule tore his Achilles tendon and was lost for the rest of the year. The following season, the SuperSonics went on to record their first winning season at 47–35, for the 1972–73 season, Wilkens was dealt to Cleveland in a highly unpopular trade, and without his leadership the SuperSonics fell to a 26–56 record
2005 NBA Finals
The 2005 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 2004–05 National Basketball Association season. The San Antonio Spurs of the Western Conference faced the Detroit Pistons of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage, the series was played under a best-of-seven format. It marked the Pistons first NBA Finals loss to an other than the Lakers since 1988. The Spurs won the four games to three in the first NBA Finals to go to a Game 7 since 1994. The games were broadcast on ABC, with Al Michaels and Hubie Brown commentating, National radio coverage was provided by ESPN Radio through announcers Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay. The Spurs were considered capable of playing at a faster pace. However, both teams performed well when scoring over 100 points. Going into the 2005 Finals, the Spurs had won two championships, while Detroit had three, the 2004 Championship was considered a major upset by some sportswriters because of the Lakers big name talent. Others saw the result as legitimate, pointing out that Detroits defense outplayed the Lakers offense.
Further, the balanced Detroit offense proved difficult to deal with when Karl Malones injured knee left the Lakers without a reliable presence to slow down the Pistons Rasheed Wallace. Many thought that a factor to the Lakers loss was the well-publicized tension between superstars Shaquille ONeal and Kobe Bryant. Both the Spurs and the Pistons were ranked number two in their conferences, with the Phoenix Suns ranked number one in the West. Sportswriters all across the country generally considered one of the few too-close-to-call series to occur. Most picked the series to go to six or seven games, the Spurs breezed through the playoffs with relative ease, compared to the Pistons. They defeated the Nuggets 4-1 to open the playoffs, winning four straight after losing the home opener, the SuperSonics were dispatched in six games. Phoenix was expected by many to put up a challenge, but the Spurs won the series easily, the Pistons had a slightly tougher road back to the Finals. The opening round was a fairly easy victory over Philadelphia.
Next, the Pistons faced the Indiana Pacers, one of the NBAs most resilient teams, the Pacers mounted a formidable challenge but after a Game Six loss, Reggie Millers storied 19-year career was over
Gary Dwayne Payton is an American former professional basketball player. He started at the point guard position and he is best known for his 13-year tenure with the Seattle SuperSonics, and holds Seattle franchise records in points and steals. He played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat and he was nicknamed The Glove for his excellent defensive ability. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8,2013, Payton is widely considered one of the best point guards of all time and is the only point guard that has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times and he was a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA Team member. Considered the NBAs reigning high scorer among point guards in his prime, Payton was born in Oakland, California. He played high school basketball at Skyline High School in Oakland, along with former NBA player Greg Foster, before attending Oregon State University in Corvallis, in his second year, his grades plummeted and he was declared academically ineligible.
His dad encouraged him to focus on school, and he was allowed to play again, throughout his four-year career at OSU, he became one of the most decorated basketball players in OSU history. During his senior year, Payton was featured on the March 5,1990 cover of Sports Illustrated magazine as the nations best college basketball player. He was a consensus All-American in 1990, a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and he was the MVP of the Far West Classic tournament three times and was the Pac-10 Player of the Week nine times. He was named to the Pac-10s All-Decade Team, during his career at OSU, the Beavers made three NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT appearance. He was elected into OSUs Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, Payton was the second overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, and spent his first 12½ seasons with the Sonics. Entering the league to star-studded expectations, Payton struggled during his first two seasons in the league, averaging 8.2 points per game during that span.
However, he proved himself to be one of the leagues top point guards, during the 1990s Payton. He earned his first of 9 consecutive All-NBA team selections when he was chosen to the All-NBA Third team in 1994. Payton would go on to make the All-NBA First-Team in 1998 and 2000, All-NBA Second Team in 1995,1996,1997,1999, and 2002, and All-NBA Third Team in 1994 and 2001. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team a record nine consecutive seasons, and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1996 and he has been selected to the NBA All-Star Team nine times and was voted as a starter in 1997 and 1998. He was a member of the gold medal-winning 1996 and 2000 U. S. Mens Olympic Basketball Teams
Concord is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067 making it the 8th largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, founded in 1869 as the community of Todos Santos by Salvio Pacheco, the name was changed to Concord within months. The city is a major regional suburban East Bay center within the San Francisco Bay Area, Concord is located at 37°58′41″N 122°01′52″W. It is 29 miles northeast of San Francisco,22 miles northeast from Oakland,65 miles southwest of Sacramento, according to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.5 square miles, all of it land. Despite this, some crime and homelessness remain issues in the downtown area, to the north and east of downtown is the older residential area of Concord, with many homes dating back to before World War II. In the far edge of town is a primarily industrial area. The southeastern area of the city, centered along Clayton Road, is residential and was mostly developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the southwest area of the city is the primarily Latino neighborhood known as Four Corners, centered around the intersection of Monument Boulevard, though it shares no border with Concord, Martinez is located almost immediately adjacent to Concord on the northwest. The North Concord BART station is known as Martinez BART. Concord has a hot summer Mediterranean climate, official data from the National Weather Service cooperative station in Concord shows average January temperatures are a maximum of 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum of 41.6 °F. Average July temperatures are a maximum of 87.8 °F, there are an average of 45.0 days with highs of 90 °F or higher and 3.8 days with lows of 32 °F or lower. The highest recorded temperature was 110 °F on July 23,2006, the lowest record temperature was 24 °F on December 23,1998. Average annual precipitation is 18.31 inches, falling on an average of 57 days annually, the wettest year was 1995 with 26.62 inches and driest year was 2007 with 10.57 inches.
The most rainfall in one month was 11.79 inches in December 2005, the valleys north of Mount Diablo were inhabited by the Miwok people, who hunted elk and fished in the numerous streams flowing from the mountain into the San Francisco Bay. In 1772, Spanish explorers began to cross the area, in 1834 the Mexican land grant Rancho Monte del Diablo at the base of Mount Diablo was granted to Salvio Pacheco. Concord was founded under the name of Todos Santos, on the initiative of Pacheco in 1869 and it achieved prominence in the 19th century as a result of most residents of Pacheco relocating to Concord to avoid the devastation of fire and flood which crippled Pachecos formerly booming economy. Concord was incorporated on February 5,1905, the area around Concord in the surrounding Ygnacio and Clayton Valleys was a large agricultural area. Crops that were grown included grapes, wheat, the area to the east was the site of a few enormous wheat ranches over 5,000 acres, and was almost a sea of wheat all the way to the marshes bordering Suisun Bay
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association played between the Western and Eastern champions of the Conference Finals. The first team to win four games in the game series is declared the league champion and is awarded the Larry OBrien Championship Trophy. Winners from 1946 to 1983 received the Walter A. Brown Trophy redesigned in 1977 to the current form, the NBA Finals has been played at the end of every NBA and Basketball Association of America season in history, the first being held in 1947. Most NBA Finals series were played under the 2–2–1–1–1 format prior to 1985, the series was named the BAA Finals from 1947 to 1949 and changed to the NBA World Championship Series from 1950 to 1982. The following two years, the league used Showdown 83 and Showdown 84 and it returned to NBA World Championship Series in 1985, before settling on NBA Finals in 1986. During the first decade the Minneapolis Lakers had the first NBA dynasty, the team featured George Mikan, one of the greatest players in NBA history.
The Boston Celtics went 11–1 in the NBA Finals during 13 seasons and they won eight straight NBA championships from 1959 through 1966. With the establishment of the Celtics dynasty in 1957, Bill Russell became the star of the league, Game 7 of the NBA Finals was decided on a Celtics basket in the final seconds of the second overtime. For most of the late 1950s and 1960s, the Celtics always seemed to have the hand on Wilt Chamberlains teams. The following season, he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, the former Syracuse Nationals team that had moved to cover the vacancy created with the departure of the Warriors, a clash between the two stars in the playoffs was in 1966 and Boston won it 4–1. Chamberlains coach told him to play a game, not an individual game. His new-found team spirit brought them to a new record of 68 wins the season, and they defeated the Celtics and advanced to, and won. In 1968, Boston overcame a 3–1 deficit against Philadelphia to once again arrive in the Finals and they went on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers for the sixth straight time,4 games to 2.
In 1969, the Celtics overcame even longer odds, Boston was an aging team and had injuries to a number of players. They barely qualified for the playoffs, finishing fourth in the East, the Lakers, who in the offseason added Chamberlain to join West and Elgin Baylor, won the West and were prohibitive favorites to finally win it all for the first time since relocating to L. A. They won the first two games at the Los Angeles Forum, when the series shifted to Boston Garden, the Celtics won Game 3 110–105. Game 4 was the point, as the Lakers led 87–86 and had the ball with 10 seconds to play. But after a turnover, Sam Jones put up a shot hit the front of the rim, the back heel, rolled around
The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association as a club of the leagues Eastern Conference Central Division. The team plays its games at The Palace of Auburn Hills and was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1941. The Pistons joined the Basketball Association of America in 1948, in 1949, the NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA, and the Pistons became part of the merged league. Since moving to Detroit in 1957, the Pistons have won three NBA championships in 1989,1990 and 2004. The Detroit Pistons franchise was founded as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, owners Fred Zollner and his sister Janets Zollner Corporation was a foundry, manufacturing pistons, primarily for car and locomotive engines. The Zollner Pistons were NBL champions in 1944 and 1945 and they won the World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1944,1945 and 1946. In 1948, the became the Fort Wayne Pistons, competing in the Basketball Association of America.
In 1949, Fred Zollner brokered the formation of the National Basketball Association from the BAA, there are suggestions that Pistons players conspired with gamblers to shave points and throw various games during the 1953–54 and 1954–55 seasons. In particular, there are accusations that the team may have intentionally lost the 1955 NBA Finals to the Syracuse Nationals, in the decisive Game 7, the Pistons led Syracuse 41–24 early in the second quarter, the Nationals rallied to win the game. Syracuse won on a throw by George King with twelve seconds left in the game. After the 1956–57 season, Zollner decided that Fort Wayne was too small to support an NBA team, although it was the fifth largest city in the United States at the time, Detroit had not seen professional basketball in a decade. In 1947, they had lost the Detroit Gems of the NBL, Zollner decided to keep the Pistons name, believing it made sense given Detroits status as the center of the automobile industry. The new Detroit Pistons played in Olympia Stadium for their first four seasons, the franchise was a consistent disappointment, struggling both on the court and at the box office.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Pistons were characterized by strong individuals. In fact, in their first 27 years in Detroit, they only had three winning seasons, some of the superstars who played for the team included Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Jimmy Walker, and Bob Lanier. At one point DeBusschere was the youngest player-coach in the history of the NBA, DeBusschere became a key player in leading the Knicks to two NBA titles. Detroit qualified for the postseason in four seasons, but never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs
The network serves as national broadcaster of the NBA D-League and WNBA games. NBA TV is the oldest cable network in North America to be owned or controlled by a sports league. As of February 2015, NBA TV is available to approximately 57,129,001 households that subscribe to cable, the highest measured audience was a Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs regular season game on April 10,2016 with an average 2.6 million viewers. After Time Warner shut down the news network CNN/SI in 2002. On October 8,2007, it was reported that the National Basketball Association would transfer the operations to Time Warners Turner Sports division. In a story published by Hoopsworld, NBATV, Surprisingly there has been said about the NBAs decision to sell off NBATV to one of its media partners. Talks had gone on for sometime as ESPN/ABC and Turner both explored scenarios with the league, ultimately it seems Turner has won out, and will take over operation of the leagues flagship cable channel, that reaches some 12 million subscribers.
The exact changeover date is not clear, but several months ago a Bloomberg report cited sources saying senior level producers were offered contract buyouts in September. Turner took over the operations on October 28,2008. DirecTV believed the move will make the channel available to an eight million subscribers. Like DirecTV, Comcast estimated that an eight million customers would effectively gain access to the channel. Verizon FiOS added the channel and NBA League Pass to its systems on September 23,2009. The network signed new agreements with Time Warner Cable and Dish Network on October 22,2009. With all of the carriage deals, the NBA estimates that it would increase NBA TVs overall subscriber reach to 45 million cable. On October 29,2010, AT&T U-verse reached a deal to carry the channels standard definition. NBA TV carries at least 90 regular season games per season, live games on NBA TV are subject to local blackout restrictions, since NBA TV does not hold the exclusive broadcast rights to any of its games.
Games carried by NBA TV are carried by each teams local rights holder, either a sports network or a broadcast television station. Beginning with the 2012-13 season, the score box displayed during NBA TVs game coverage changed to a banner format oriented horizontally across the screen, the network does not use timeout or bonus indicators like that seen on the score graphics used on ESPN and TNT
De La Salle High School (Concord, California)
De La Salle High School is a private Roman Catholic school for boys in Concord, United States. Located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, the school was founded in 1965 as a Lasallian institution, De La Salle currently enrolls 1,039 students, and roughly 99% of each graduating class goes on to attend a university or college. It is home to the Spartans, and its colors are green, the school motto is Les Hommes De Foi, French for Men Of Faith, which is based on the orders Latin motto Signum Fidei. The deans are Joe Aliotti and Bob Guelld, Joe Grantham is head of admissions, and Leo Lopoz is the director of athletics. De La Salle High School has long been recognized nationwide for its football tradition. The team, when coached by Bob Ladouceur, holds the national record 151-game winning streak spanning from 1992 to 2004, the streak ended when they were defeated on September 4,2004, by Bellevue High School, outside Seattle. De La Salle finished the 2007 football season 13-0 and as state champions, in 2009 De La Salle defeated Crenshaw 28-14 to win the state title again.
In 2010 De La Salle defeated Servite, ranked #7 in the nation, 48-8, De La Salle finished the season 14-0 and ranked #1 in the nation by Maxpreps. During the span of the 151-game winning streak, De La Salle was named champion in seven different years, once by ESPN, five times by USA Today. The Spartans have been named national champions by ESPNRISE. com six times and they have been honored as the top team in California 12 times and competed in 25 California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section championship games with 23 victories. The De La Salle football team was the subject of two 2003 books, when the Game Stands Tall was written by Contra Costa Times sportswriter Neil Hayes, who followed the team for practices and meetings during its undefeated 2002 season. The foreword was written by former Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, don Wallace wrote about De La Salle and Ladouceur in an article called The Soul of a Sports Machine, published in the October 2003 edition of Fast Company magazine.
The 2014 movie When the Game Stands Tall follows the team after the winning streak. In the minds of the Brothers, For Lasallian establishments to be the expression of the Good News, they must be places for dialogue in truth, freedom. For the Lasallian school, an approach to education is essential and should not be solely academic or physical. Freshmen are introduced to the concept and experience retreat as a year group, sophomores focus on the social justice aspect of the Gospel by working in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco. Juniors participate in a two-day residential which concentrates on making good moral decisions, seniors take part in a four-day residential retreat which seeks to have them deepen their faith by examining their relationship with themselves, with others and with God. Those students wishing to further their development may participate in the Lasallian Youth movement
James Henry Cotton was an American blues harmonica player and songwriter, who performed and recorded with many of the great blues artists of his time and with his own band. He played drums early in his career but is famous for his harmonica playing, Cotton began his professional career playing the blues harp in Howlin Wolfs band in the early 1950s. He made his first recordings in Memphis for Sun Records, under the direction of Sam Phillips, in 1955, he was recruited by Muddy Waters to come to Chicago and join his band. Cotton became Muddys bandleader and stayed with the group until 1965, in 1965 he formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet, with Otis Spann on piano, to record between gigs with the Muddy Waters band. He eventually left to form his own full-time touring group and his first full album, on Verve Records, was produced by guitarist Mike Bloomfield and vocalist and songwriter Nick Gravenites, who were members of the band Electric Flag. In the 1970s, Cotton played harmonica on Muddy Waters Grammy Award–winning 1977 album Hard Again, born in Tunica, Cotton became interested in music when he first heard Sonny Boy Williamson II on the radio.
He left home with his uncle and moved to West Helena, for many years Cotton claimed that he told Williamson that he was an orphan and that Williamson took him in and raised him, a story he admitted in recent years is not true. However, Williamson did mentor Cotton during his early years, Williamson left the South to live with his estranged wife in Milwaukee, leaving his band in Cottons hands. Cotton was quoted as saying, He just gave it to me, but I couldnt hold it together cause I was too young and crazy in those days an everybody in the band was grown men, so much older than me. Cotton played drums early in his career but is famous for his harmonica playing and he began his professional career playing the blues harp in Howlin Wolfs band in the early 1950s. He made his first recordings as a solo artist for Sun Records in Memphis in 1953, in 1954, he recorded an electric blues single Cotton Crop Blues, which featured a heavily distorted power chord–driven electric guitar solo by Pat Hare. Cotton began working with the Muddy Waters Band around 1955, Cottons first recording session with Waters took place in June 1957, and he alternated with Little Walter on Waterss recording sessions until the end of the decade.
In 1965 he formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet, with Otis Spann on piano and their performances were captured by producer Samuel Charters on volume two of the Vanguard recording Chicago/The Blues/Today. After leaving Waterss band in 1966, Cotton toured with Janis Joplin while pursuing a solo career and he formed the James Cotton Blues Band in 1967. The band mainly performed its own arrangements of blues and R&B from the 1950s and 1960s. Cottons band included a section, like that of Bobby Blands. After Blands death, his son told news media that Bland had recently discovered that Cotton was his half-brother, in the 1970s, Cotton recorded several albums for Buddah Records. He played harmonica on Waterss Grammy Award–winning 1977 album Hard Again, in the 1980s he recorded for Alligator Records in Chicago, he rejoined the Alligator roster in 2010
The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the leagues Eastern Conference Southeast Division and they play their home games at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. The team owner is Carnival Corporation owner Micky Arison, the president and general manager is Pat Riley. The mascot is Burnie, an anthropomorphic fireball, formed in 1988 as an expansion team, the Heat have won three league championships, five conference titles and eleven division titles. In 2013, the Heat won twenty-seven regular season games in a row, in 2016, Forbes valued the Heat at $1.3 billion as the tenth most valuable among NBA franchises. In 1987 the NBA granted one of its four new teams to Miami. The Miami Heat began their early years with much mediocrity, only making the two times in their first eight years and falling in the first round both times. Upon the purchasing of the franchise by Micky Arison in 1995, Pat Riley was brought in as the team president, Riley acquired center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpieces for the team, transforming Miami into a championship contender throughout the late 1990s.
With them they brought in a new team trainer, Cody Posselt. The Heat underwent a dramatic turnaround in the 1996–97 season, improving to a 61–21 record – a franchise record at the time and that same year, Miami earned the moniker of Road Warriors for its remarkable 32–9 record on the road. Their biggest rivals of the time were the New York Knicks, Rileys former team, a period of mediocrity followed after, highlighted by missing the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. In the 2003 NBA draft, with the fifth overall pick, free-agent swing-man Lamar Odom was signed from the Los Angeles Clippers. Just prior to the start of the 03–04 season, Riley stepped down as coach to focus on rebuilding the Heat. In the offseason, Riley engineered a summer blockbuster trade for Shaquille ONeal from the Los Angeles Lakers, Alonzo Mourning returned to the Heat in the same season, serving as a backup to ONeal. Returning as championship contenders, Miami finished with a 59–23 record, sweeping through the first round and the semifinals, Miami went back to the Conference Finals for the first time in eight years, where it met the defending champion Detroit Pistons.
Despite taking a 3–2 lead, Miami lost Wade to injury for Game 6, the Heat would go on to lose Game 7 at home despite Wades return. In the summer of 2005, Riley brought in free agent Gary Payton from the Boston Celtics. After a disappointing 11–10 start to the 05–06 season, Riley relieved Van Gundy of his duties, the Heat made it to the Conference Finals in 2006 and in a re-match, defeated the Pistons, winning the series 4–2