National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is a men's professional basketball league in North America. It is considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world; the NBA is an active member of USA Basketball, recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player; the league was founded in New York City on June 1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League; the league's 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 Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in New Jersey; 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, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first game played in NBA history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not 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 league's 1948 title, the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.
On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff. To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own, it now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, does not recognize NBL records and statistics. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today.
The process of contraction saw. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, to St. Louis in 1955; the Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit 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 non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African-American players did play in the league that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. 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 field goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, 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, setting new single game records in scoring and rebounding. Russell's 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; this championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969; the domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.
Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises; the Chicago Packers (now Wa
The Dallas Mavericks are an American professional basketball team based in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the American Airlines Center, which it shares with the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars. As of the 2017 season, the Mavericks have sold out 704 consecutive games since December 15, 2001, the longest running sellout streak in North American major league sports. Since their inaugural 1980–81 season, the Mavericks have won three division titles, two conference championships, one NBA championship. In 1978, Californian businessman Garn Eckardt met Dallas lawyer Doug Adkins, mentioned he was trying to raise capital to move an NBA team to the city. Asking for a possible partner, Adkins recommended him one of his clients, Home Interiors and Gifts owner Don Carter. Negotiations with Eckardt fell through, but Carter remained interested in the enterprise as a gift to his wife Linda, who played basketball while at Duncanville High School.
At the same time, Buffalo Braves president and general manager Norm Sonju developed an interest in bringing the NBA to Dallas as he studied possible new locations for the ailing franchise. While the Braves went to California as the San Diego Clippers, Sonju returned to Texas, was introduced to Carter by mayor Robert Folsom, one of the owners and team president of the last professional basketball team in the city, the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association, which moved to San Antonio in 1973 to become the San Antonio Spurs. Sonju and Carter tried purchasing both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Kansas City Kings, but disagreement on relocation stalled the negotiations, leading them to instead aim for an expansion team; the league was reluctant to expand to Dallas, given Texas had both the Spurs and Houston Rockets, the 1978–79 NBA season was proving unprofitable and unpopular. Still, during the 1979 NBA All-Star Game weekend, NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien announced the league would add two new teams in the 1980–81 season, with teams in Dallas and Minneapolis.
Once the Minnesota team backed out, only Dallas remained, through negotiations with general counselor and future commissioner David Stern, the expansion fee was settled on the $12.5 million. Carter would provide half the amount. At the 1980 NBA All-Star Game, league owners voted to admit the new team, with the team's name coming from the 1957–1962 TV western Maverick. James Garner, who played the namesake character, was a member of the ownership group; the University of Texas at Arlington, who uses the Mavericks nickname, had objections about a shared name, but did not attempt any legal action. They joined the Midwest Division of the Western Conference, where they would stay until the league went to six divisions for the 2004–05 season. Dick Motta, who had guided the Washington Bullets to the NBA Championship in 1977–78, was hired as the team's first head coach, he had a well-earned reputation of being a stern disciplinarian, but was a great teacher of the game. Kiki Vandeweghe of UCLA was drafted by the Mavs with the 11th pick of the 1980 NBA draft, but Vandeweghe refused to play for the expansion Mavericks and staged a holdout that lasted a month into the team's inaugural season.
Vandeweghe was traded to the Denver Nuggets, along with a first-round pick, in 1981, in exchange for two future first-round picks that materialized into Rolando Blackman in 1981 and Sam Perkins in 1984. In the Mavericks' debut game, taking place in the brand-new Reunion Arena, the Mavericks defeated the Spurs, 103–92, but the Mavs started the season with a 6–40 record on their way to finishing 15–67. However, the Mavericks did make a player acquisition that, while it seemed minor at the time, turned out to play a important role in the early years of their franchise. Journeyman 6 ft 3 in guard Brad Davis, who played for the Anchorage Northern Knights of the Continental Basketball Association, was tracked down and signed by the Mavs in December. At the time, there was no reason to expect that Davis would be any better than the expansion-level talent the Mavs had, but he started the Mavs' final 26 games, led the team in assists, his career soared. He spent the next twelve years with the Mavericks, his number 15 jersey was retired.
The Mavericks marked the first NBA team to have a profitable debut season, with an average of 7,789 spectators. The 1981 NBA Draft brought three players; the Mavs selected 6'6" forward Mark Aguirre with the first pick, 6'6" guard Rolando Blackman 9th, 6'7" forward Jay Vincent 24th. By the end of his seven-year Mavs career, Aguirre would average 24.6 points per game. Blackman contributed 19.2 points over his 11-year career in Dallas. But it was Jay Vincent who made the biggest difference for the Mavs in their second season, leading the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game and earning NBA All-Rookie Team honors. The Mavericks improved to 28–54, getting out of the Midwest Division cellar as they finished above the Utah Jazz. In 1982–83, the Mavericks were serious contenders for the first time. At the All-Star break, they had won 12 of their last 15 games, they could not sustain that momentum and finished seven games behind the Denver Nuggets for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
But the Mavs' 38–44 re
The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. The Nets compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Barclays Center. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the team was established in 1967 as a charter franchise of the NBA's rival league, the American Basketball Association. They played in New Jersey as the New Jersey Americans during their first season, before moving to Long Island in 1968 and changing their name to the New York Nets. During this time, the Nets won two ABA championships. In 1976, the ABA merged with the NBA, the Nets were absorbed into the NBA along with three other ABA teams. In 1977, the team returned to New Jersey and played as the New Jersey Nets from 1977 to 2012. During this time, the Nets won two consecutive Eastern Conference championships, but failed to win a league title. In the summer of 2012, the team moved to Barclays Center, took its current geographic name.
The Brooklyn Nets were founded in 1967 and played in Teaneck, New Jersey, as the New Jersey Americans. In its early years, the team led a nomadic existence, moving to Long Island in 1968 and playing in various arenas there as the New York Nets. Led by Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving, the Nets won two ABA championships in New York before becoming one of four ABA teams to be admitted into the NBA as part of the ABA–NBA merger in 1976; the team moved back to New Jersey in 1977 and became the New Jersey Nets. During their time in that state, the Nets saw periods of losing and misfortune intermittent with several periods of success, which culminated in two consecutive NBA Finals appearances in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons by teams led by point guard Jason Kidd. After playing 35 seasons in New Jersey, the team moved back to the state of New York, changed its geographic name to Brooklyn, began playing in the new Barclays Center, starting with the 2012–13 NBA season; the Boston Celtics were once rivals of the Nets during the early 2000s because of their respective locations and their burgeoning stars.
The Nets were led by Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, while the Celtics were experiencing newfound success behind Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker. The rivalry began to heat up in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, preceded by trash-talking from the Celtics who claimed Martin was a "fake" tough guy. Things progressed as the series started, on-court tensions seemed to spill into the stands. Celtic fans berated Kidd and his family with chants of "Wife Beater!" in response to Kidd's 2001 domestic abuse charge. When the series returned to New Jersey, Nets fans responded, with some brandishing signs that read "Will someone please stab Paul Pierce?" Referring to a night club incident in 2000 in which Pierce was stabbed 11 times. When asked about the fan barbs being traded, Kenyon Martin stated, "Our fans hate them, their fans hate us." Bill Walton said at the time that Nets-Celtics was the "beginning of the next great NBA rivalry" during the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 with the Nets advancing to the NBA Finals, though New Jersey swept Boston in the 2003 playoffs.
On November 28, 2012 there were indications that the rivalry might be rekindled when an altercation occurred on the court, resulting in the ejection of Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries. Rondo was suspended for two games in the aftermath, while Kevin Garnett were fined; the story was revisited on December 25, when Wallace grabbed Garnett's shorts and the two had to be broken up by referees and players alike. However, the rivalry between the Nets and the Celtics appeared cooled off by the June 2013 blockbuster trade that dealt Celtics stars Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets in exchange for Wallace and others; this move was billed as a merger of the two Atlantic Division teams. Celtics announcer Sean Grande said, "It's as if you found a great home for these guys. You couldn't have found a better place; these guys will be in the New York market, they'll be on a competitive team, they'll stay on national TV. It's funny. So with Celtics fans feeling the way they do about the Heat, feeling the way they do about the Knicks, the Nets are going to become the second team now."
The Knicks–Nets rivalry has been a geographical one, with the Knicks playing in Madison Square Garden in the New York City borough of Manhattan, while the Nets played in the suburban area of Long Island and in New Jersey, since 2012 have been playing at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Media outlets have noted the Knicks–Nets rivalry's similarity to those of other New York City teams, such as the Major League Baseball Subway Series rivalry between the American League's New York Yankees and the National League's New York Mets, the National Football League rivalry between the National Football Conference's New York Giants and the American Football Conference's New York Jets, the result of the boroughs' proximity through the New York City Subway; the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn competed via the Dodgers–Giants rivalry, when the two teams were known as the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Like the Knicks and Nets, the Giants and Dodgers played in Manhattan and Brooklyn and were fierce intraleague rivals.
The rivalry between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers of the National Hockey League has taken on a similar dimension since the Islanders moved to
The Utah Jazz are an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Jazz compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference, Northwest Division. Since 1991, the team has played its home games at Vivint Smart Home Arena; the franchise began play in 1974 as an expansion team based in New Orleans. The Jazz were one of the least successful teams in the league in their early years. Although 10 seasons elapsed before the Jazz qualified for their first playoff appearance in 1984, they did not miss the playoffs again until 2004. During the late 1980s, John Stockton and Karl Malone arose as the franchise players for the team, formed one of the most famed point guard–power forward duos in NBA history. Led by coach Jerry Sloan, who took over from Frank Layden in 1988, they became one of the powerhouse teams of the 1990s, culminating in two NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998, where they lost both times to the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan.
Both Stockton and Malone moved on in 2003. After missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons the Jazz returned to prominence under the on-court leadership of point guard Deron Williams. However, partway through the 2010–11 NBA season, the Jazz began restructuring after Sloan's retirement and Williams' trade to the New Jersey Nets. Quin Snyder was hired as head coach in June 2014. On June 7, 1974, the New Orleans Jazz were admitted as an expansion franchise into the National Basketball Association. Team officials selected the name because of its definition in the dictionary: collective improvisation; the team began its inaugural season in New Orleans in the 1974–75 season. The team's first major move was to trade for star player Pete Maravich from the Atlanta Hawks for two first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, one third-round pick over the next three years. Although he was considered one of the most entertaining players in the league and won the scoring championship for the 1976-77 season with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz's best record while in New Orleans was 39–43 in the 1977–78 season.
Maravich struggled with knee injuries from that season onward. Venue issues were a continual problem for the team. In the Jazz's first season, they played in the Municipal Auditorium and Loyola Field House, where the basketball court was raised so high that the NBA Players Association made the team put a net around the court to prevent players from falling off of the court and into the stands; the Jazz played games in the cavernous Louisiana Superdome, but things were no better, because of high demand for the stadium, onerous lease terms, Maravich's constant knee problems. They faced the prospect of spending a whole month on the road each year because of New Orleans' Mardi Gras festivities, similar to the long road trip faced by the San Antonio Spurs each season during their city's rodeo. Years founding owner Sam Battistone claimed that there was no contingency plan in case the Jazz had qualified for the playoffs. However, the Superdome's manager at the time, Bill Curl, said that the stadium's management always submitted a list of potential playoff dates to the Jazz management, but these letters were never answered.
After what turned out to be their final season in New Orleans, the Jazz were dealt a further humiliation when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Magic Johnson with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft. The pick would have been the Jazz's had they not traded it to acquire Gail Goodrich two years earlier; the Jazz had given up the rights to Moses Malone in order to regain one of the three first-round picks used for the Goodrich trade. Despite being competitive, the Jazz drew well during their first five years. However, by 1979 the franchise was sinking financially. Barry Mendelson, the team's executive vice president for most of the early years, said one factor in the financial trouble was an 11-percent amusement tax, highest in the U. S. at the time. The team could not attract much local corporate support—an important factor in those days—or local investors. Battistone decided to move it. After scouting several new homes, he decided on Salt Lake City though it was a smaller market. Salt Lake City had been home to the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association from 1970 to 1976.
The Stars had been popular in the city and had won an ABA title in their first season after moving from Los Angeles. However, their finances collapsed in their last two seasons, they were shut down by the league 16 games into the 1975–76 season after missing payroll. Although Salt Lake City was not known for its jazz culture, the team decided to keep the name, as there was not enough time before the start of the 1979–80 season to receive league approval for a name change; the Jazz preserved the original Mardi Gras-themed colors: green and gold. The Jazz's attendance declined after the team's move from New Orleans to Utah because of a late approval for the move and poor marketing in the Salt Lake City area; the team's management made the first of several moves in 1979, bringing high-scoring forward Adrian Dantley to Utah in exchange for Spencer Haywood. Dantley averaged 28 points per game during the 1979–80 season, allowing the team to waive Pete Maravich early in
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference in the Pacific Division; the Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics; the franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League. The new team began calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers. A member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America, where they would win five of the next six championships, led by star George Mikan. After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan's retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.
Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four-time NBA Most Valuable Player Wilt Chamberlain, won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won multiple MVP awards, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s; the 1980s Lakers were nicknamed "Showtime" due to their fast break-offense led by Magic Johnson. The team won five championships in a nine-year span, contained Hall of Famers Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, was led by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson retired, the team struggled in the early 1990s, before acquiring Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. With the duo, who were led by another Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the team won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its second "three-peat".
The Lakers won two more championships in 2009 and 2010, but failed to regain their former glory in the following decade. The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season. 21 Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles. Four Lakers—Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, O'Neal, Bryant—have won the NBA MVP Award for a total of eight awards; the Lakers' franchise began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen of Minnesota purchased the disbanded Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000 from Gems owner Maury Winston. Minneapolis sportswriter Sid Hartman played a key behind the scenes role in helping put together the deal and the team. Inspired by Minnesota's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes", the team christened themselves the Lakers. Hartman helped them hire John Kundla from College of St. Thomas, to be their first head coach, by meeting with him and selling him on the team; the Lakers had a solid roster, which featured forward Jim Pollard, playmaker Herm Schaefer, center George Mikan, who became the most dominant player in the NBL.
In their first season, they led the league with a 43–17 record winning the NBL Championship that season. In 1948, the Lakers moved from the NBL to the Basketball Association of America, Mikan's 28.3 point per game scoring average set a BAA record. In the 1949 BAA Finals they won the championship; the following season, the team improved to 51–17, repeating as champions. In the 1950–51 season, Mikan won his third straight scoring title at 28.4 ppg and the Lakers went 44–24 to win their second straight division title. One of those games, a 19–18 loss against the Fort Wayne Pistons, became infamous as the lowest scoring game in NBA history. In the playoffs, they defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round. During the 1951 -- 52 season, the Lakers won 40 games, they faced the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. In the 1952–53 season, Mikan led the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.4 rebounds per game, was named MVP of the 1953 NBA All-Star Game.
After a 48–22 regular season, the Lakers defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals. They defeated the New York Knicks to win their second straight championship. Though Lakers star George Mikan suffered from knee problems throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 ppg. Clyde Lovellette, drafted in 1952, helped the team win the Western Division; the team won its third straight championship in the 1950s and fifth in six seasons when it defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games. Following Mikan's retirement in the 1954 off-season, the Lakers struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although they defeated the Rochester Royals in the first round of the playoffs, they were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the semifinals. Although they had losing records the next two seasons, they made the playoffs each year. Mikan came back for the last half of the 1955–56 season, but struggled and retired for good after the season. Led by Lovellette's 20.6 points and 13.5 rebounds, they advanced to the Conference Finals in 1956–57.
The Lakers had one of the worst seasons in team history in 1957–58 when they won a league-low 19 games. They had hired Mikan, the team's general manager for the previous two seasons, as head coach to replace Kundla. Mikan was fired in January when
The Washington Wizards are an American professional basketball team based in Washington, D. C; the Wizards compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at the Capital One Arena, in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D. C; the franchise was established in 1961 as the Chicago Packers based in Chicago and were renamed to Chicago Zephyrs the following season. In 1963, they relocated to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Bullets, taking the name from a previous team of the same name. In 1973, the team changed its name to the Capital Bullets to reflect their move to the Washington metropolitan area, to Washington Bullets in the following season. In 1997, they rebranded themselves as the Wizards; the Wizards have appeared in four NBA Finals, won in 1978. They have had a total of 28 playoff appearances, won four conference titles, seven division titles, their best season came in 1975 with a record of 60–22.
Wes Unseld is the only player in franchise history to become the MVP, win the Finals MVP award. Four players have won the Rookie of the Year award; the team now known as the Wizards began playing as the Chicago Packers in 1961, as the first modern expansion team in NBA history, an expansion prompted by Abe Saperstein's American Basketball League. Rookie Walt Bellamy was the team's star, averaging 31.6 points per game, 19.0 rebounds per game, leading the NBA in field goal percentage. During the All-Star game, Bellamy represented the team while scoring 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Bellamy was named the league Rookie of the Year, but the team finished with the NBA's worst record at 18-62; the team's original nickname was a nod to Chicago's meatpacking industry. However, it was unpopular since it was the same nickname used by the NFL's Green Bay Packers, bitter rivals of the Chicago Bears. After only one year, the organization changed its name to the Chicago Zephyrs and played its home games at the Chicago Coliseum.
Their only season as the Zephyrs boasted former Purdue star Terry Dischinger, who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors. In 1963 the franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Bullets, taking their name from a 1940s–'50s Baltimore Bullets BAA/NBA franchise and playing home games at the Baltimore Civic Center. In their first year in Baltimore, the Bullets finished fourth in a five–team Western Division. Prior to the 1964–65 NBA season the Bullets pulled off a blockbuster trade, sending Dischinger, Rod Thorn and Don Kojis to the Detroit Pistons for Bailey Howell, Don Ohl, Bob Ferry and Wali Jones; the trade worked out well. He helped. In the 1965 NBA Playoffs, the Bullets stunned the St. Louis Hawks 3–1, advanced to the Western Conference finals. In the finals, Baltimore managed to split the first four games with the Los Angeles Lakers before losing the series 4–2. In the late 1960s, the Bullets drafted two future Hall of Fame members: Earl Monroe, in the 1967 draft, number two overall, Wes Unseld, in the 1968 draft number two overall.
The team improved from 36 wins the previous season to 57 in the 1968–69 season, Unseld received both the rookie of the year and MVP awards. The Bullets reached the playoffs with high expectations to go far, but they were eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round; the next season the two teams met again in the first round, although this one went to seven games, the Knicks emerged victorious again. In the 1970–71 season, the 42–40 Bullets again met the 1970–71 Knicks, this time though in the Eastern Conference finals. With the Knicks team captain Willis Reed injured in the finals, the injury-free Bullets took advantage of his absence, in game seven, at New York's Madison Square Garden, the Bullets' Gus Johnson made a critical basket late in the game to lift the Bullets over the Knicks 93–91 and advance to their first NBA Finals, they were swept in four games by the powerful Milwaukee Bucks led by future Hall of Fame members Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. After the trades of Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson, the Bullets remained a playoff contender throughout the 1970s.
Following a less than spectacular 1971–72 season, Baltimore acquired Elvin Hayes from the Houston Rockets and drafted Kevin Porter in the third round, out of St. Francis in Pennsylvania. After a slow start in 1972–73, Baltimore made their charge in December, posting a 10–4 record on the way to capturing the Central Division title for the third straight year; the Bullets again faced the Knicks in the 1973 NBA Playoffs, losing for the fourth time in five series against New York. In February 1973, the team announced its pending move 30 miles southwest to the Capital Centre in Landover, a Washington, D. C. suburb, became the Capital Bullets. After that 1973–74 season, they changed their name to the Washington Bullets. During November 1973, while waiting for the completion of their new arena in Landover, the Bullets played their home games at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park; the Capital Centre opened on December 2, 1973, with the Bullets defeating the SuperSonic
In sports, a farm team, farm system, feeder team, practice squad, or nursery club, is a team or club whose role is to provide experience and training for young players, with an agreement that any successful players can move on to a higher level at a given point. This system can be implemented in many ways, both formally and informally; the term is used as a metaphor for any organization or activity that serves as a training ground for higher-level endeavors. For instance, business schools are referred to as "farm clubs" in the world of business. In the United States and Canada, Minor League Baseball teams operate under strict franchise contracts with their major league counterparts. Although the vast majority of such teams are owned and are therefore able to switch affiliation, those players under contract with the affiliated Major League Baseball team are under their exclusive control, would move to the MLB club's new affiliate. Not all players on a minor league team are under contract with the MLB club.
Minor league teams are based in smaller cities, players who are contracted to them, as opposed to major league players sent down to this level for rehabilitation or other professional-development assignments, are paid less than their Major League counterparts. Most major league players start off their careers by working their way up the minor league system, from the lowest to the highest classification, with the rare exceptions being those players signed from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. Since the elimination of the Bonus Rule, only a small number of amateur players have gone directly into the MLB, including John Olerud, Jim Abbott, Dave Winfield; the process of a player working his way up through the minor leagues is formally referred by most MLB teams as "player development". However, minor league affiliates are informally referred to as "farm teams" and a major league player's misfortune of being sent back to the minors is sometimes described as being "farmed out"; the farm system as it is recognized today was invented by Branch Rickey, who – as field manager, general manager, club president – helped to build the St. Louis Cardinals dynasty during the 1920s, 30s, 40s.
When Rickey joined the team in 1916, players were purchased by major league teams from independent, high-level minor league clubs. Rickey, a keen judge of talent, became frustrated when the players he had identified for purchase at the A and AA levels were offered for bid and sold by those independent clubs to wealthier rivals such as the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants. With the support of Cardinal owner Sam Breadon, Rickey devised a plan whereby St. Louis would purchase and control its own minor league teams from Class D to Class AA, thus allowing them to promote or demote players as they developed, "grow" their own talent; the talent pipeline began at tryout camps that St. Louis scouts conducted throughout the U. S. "From quantity comes quality," Rickey once observed, during the 1930s, with as many as 40 owned or affiliated farm teams, the Cardinals controlled the destinies of hundreds of players each year. The Cardinals won nine National League pennants and six World Series championships between 1926 and 1946, proving the effectiveness of the farm system concept.
Indeed, the second club to embrace such a system, the New York Yankees, used it to sustain their dynasty from the mid-1930s through the middle of the 1960s. When Rickey moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers as president and general manager in 1943, he built a hugely successful farm system there as well after the end of World War II; the teams that ignored the farm system in the 1930s and early 1940s found themselves falling on hard times. The existence of the minor league system is due in part to MLB's ability to include a reserve clause in its contracts with minor league players, which gives the major league team exclusive rights to a player after the contract has expired. In a landmark 1922 Supreme Court decision, Federal Baseball Club v. National League, baseball was granted a special immunity from antitrust laws. Despite the advent of free agency in 1976, which led many to predict the demise of the farm system, it still remains a strong component of a winning baseball strategy; the teams of the National Hockey League have their own farm teams in the American Hockey League.
For example, the Cleveland Monsters are the farm team for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Additionally, NHL teams have affiliates in the ECHL, although the terms of the most recent CBA prohibited ECHL players from being recalled to the NHL or being sent down to that league without being assigned to the AHL first. Although some NHL franchises own their AHL and/or ECHL affiliates, many AHL and ECHL franchises are independently owned, with ties to NHL franchises made through affiliation contracts. Unlike baseball, not all the players on the rosters of the minor league teams are owned by an NHL team; the AHL system recognizes two types of contracts: the two-way contract, in which players can be sent back and forth between the NHL and AHL at will, the standard contract, which binds the player to the AHL. The NHL t