Isiah Lord Thomas III is an American former basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association. A point guard, the 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas has been a professional and collegiate head coach, a basketball executive, a broadcaster. Thomas played collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers, leading them to the 1981 NCAA championship as a sophomore and declaring for the NBA draft, he was taken as the second overall pick by the Pistons in the 1981 NBA draft, played for them his entire career, while leading the "Bad Boys" to the 1988–89 and 1989–90 NBA championships. After his playing career, he was an executive with the Toronto Raptors, a television commentator, an executive with the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, an executive and head coach for the New York Knicks, he was the men's basketball coach for the Florida International University Golden Panthers for three seasons from 2009 to 2012.
In early May 2015, amidst controversy, Thomas was named president and part owner of the Knicks' WNBA sister team, the New York Liberty, subsequent to the re-hiring of Thomas's former Pistons teammate, Bill Laimbeer, as the team's coach. The youngest of nine children, Thomas was born on April 30, 1961 in Chicago and grew up in the city's West Side, he attended the private St. Joseph High School in Westchester, a 90-minute commute from his home. Playing under coach Gene Pingatore, he led St. Joseph to the state finals in his junior year, was considered one of the top college prospects in the country. Thomas was recruited to play college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers. Although he received mail saying Knight tied up his players and beat them, he did not believe the rumors; when Knight visited the Thomas home, one of Isiah's brothers, who wanted him to attend DePaul, embarrassed him by insulting the Indiana coach and engaging him in a shouting match. Thomas chose Knight and Indiana because he felt that getting away to Bloomington would be good for him, as would Knight's discipline.
Thomas had to adjust to Knight's disciplinarian style. At the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, Knight got so mad at Thomas he threatened to put him on a plane home. Knight recalled yelling at the freshman-to-be, "You ought to go to DePaul, because you sure as hell aren't going to be an Indiana player playing like that." Prior to the start of his freshman year, the 1979–80 season, Knight became so upset with Thomas that he kicked him out of a practice. According to Thomas, Knight was making a point that no player, no "matter how talented, is bigger than Knight's philosophy."Thomas proved his skills as a player and became a favorite with both Knight and Indiana fans. His superior abilities caused Knight to adjust his coaching style. Fans displayed bedsheets with quotations from the Book of Isaiah and nicknamed him "Mr. Wonderful." Because of Thomas's short stature at 6 ft 1 in, coach Knight would call him "Pee Wee". Thomas and Mike Woodson led the Hoosiers to the Big Ten championship and advanced to the 1980 Sweet Sixteen.
The next year, the 1980–81 season, Knight made Thomas captain and told him to run the show on the floor. Thomas responded so well that, as the season unfolded and Thomas grew as friends; when a Purdue player took a cheap shot at Thomas during a game at Bloomington, Knight called a press conference to defend his star. And 19 days when Thomas hit an Iowa player and was ejected from a game, Knight refused to criticize him; that year and the Hoosiers once again won a conference title and won the 1981 NCAA tournament, the school's fourth national title. The sophomore earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award, made himself eligible for the upcoming NBA draft. In the 1981 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons chose Thomas with the No. 2 pick and signed him to a four-year $1.6 million contract. Thomas made the All-Rookie team and started for the Eastern Conference in the 1982 NBA All-Star Game. In the opening round of the 1984 NBA Playoffs and the Pistons faced off against Bernard King and the New York Knicks.
In the pivotal fifth game, Thomas was having a subpar performance, while King was having an excellent game. Thomas scored 16 points in the last 94 seconds to force the game into overtime, but fouled out, the Knicks held on to win. In the 1985 NBA Playoffs and his team went to the conference semifinals against the 15-time NBA champion Boston Celtics led by future basketball Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson. Detroit couldn't shake the Celtics in their six-game series losing. In the 1987 NBA Playoffs and the Pistons went to the Eastern Conference Finals and faced the Celtics again, it was the furthest. Detroit was able to tie the Celtics at two games apiece, but its hope of winning Game 5 at Boston Garden was dashed by Larry Bird with just seconds remaining: Thomas attempted to inbound the ball, Bird stole the pass and hit Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup. In 1988, the Pistons' first trip to the Finals saw them face the Los Angeles Lakers, led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Before the series and Johnson exchanged a courtside kiss on the cheek prior to tip-off as a sign of their deep friendship. After taking a 3–2 series lead back to Los Angeles, Detroit appeared poised to win their first NBA title in Game 6. One of Thomas's most inspiring and self-defining moments came in Game 6. Alt
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, more referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city; the team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts.
Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973; the Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, have failed to make the playoffs since. In 1946, basketball college basketball, was a growing and profitable sport in New York City.
Hockey generated considerable profits. Max Kase, a New York sportswriter, became the sports editor at the Boston American in the 1930s, when he met Boston Garden owner Walter A. Brown. Kase developed the idea of an organized professional league to showcase college players upon their graduation and felt it could become profitable if properly assembled. Brown, intrigued by the opportunity to attain additional income when the hockey teams were not playing or on the road, contacted several arena owners. On June 6, 1946, Kase and Brown and a group of seventeen others assembled at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, as the Basketball Association of America, where charter franchises were granted to major cities throughout the country. Ned Irish, a college basketball promoter, retired sportswriter and president of Madison Square Garden, was in attendance. Kase planned to own and operate the New York franchise himself and approached Irish with a proposal to lease the Garden. Irish explained that the rules of the Arena Managers Association of America stated that Madison Square Garden was required to own any professional teams that played in the arena.
On the day of the meeting, Kase made his proposal to the panel of owners. Irish wanted a distinct name for his franchise, representative of the city of New York, he called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes in a hat. After tallying the votes, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers; the "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book A History of New York, a name that became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what became New York, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. In search of a head coach, Irish approached successful St. John's University coach Joe Lapchick in May 1946. Lapchick accepted after Irish promised to make him the highest paid coach in the league. Irish obliged, hiring former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan as interim coach for the first year. With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league.
The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years; the Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 perce
Eugene Lavon Banks is a retired American professional basketball player. He is one of a handful of players to make high school All-America three times, he was named to the McDonald's American team in 1977 and was the first McDonald's Classic MVP. He played in the prestigious Dapper Dan Scholastic High School All-American Basketball Classic in Pittsburgh and won MVP honors of that game, he scored a career high 53 points in his senior year at West Philadelphia high school and was voted the number one high school player of the year, along with Albert King. A 6'7" forward born in Philadelphia, Banks starred at Duke University, where he received the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year award in 1978; as a freshman starter at power forward, Banks played a strong role in Duke reaching the NCAA Finals, where they lost to Joe Hall's Kentucky Wildcats. Banks was the sixth African American player in Duke's history, he received team MVP honors three times. His Duke career is noteworthy in other regards as well.
In 1981, during Mike Krzyzewski's first year in the home game against the Blue Devils' heated rival, the North Carolina Tar Heels, he hit the game-tying shot as time expired, sending the crowd into a massive frenzy. Duke went on ushering in a new era in Blue Devils basketball. Banks won the ACC scoring title in 1981, over such ACC/NCAA All-Americans as James Worthy and Ralph Sampson, he was inducted into the prestigious Duke Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Duke Hall of Honors in 1996. He was an NCAA two-time All-American during his tenure at Duke and finished in the top ten of every statistical category of Duke basketball; as of the start of the 2016-17 season, Bank's 53.9% career field goal percentage ranks 28th all-time for NBA players, less than one-thousandth of a percentage point behind Wilt Chamberlain. Banks went on to play six seasons in the National Basketball Association with the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls, he averaged 11.3 points per game spanning over 468 games in his professional NBA career.
His career high of 44 points was achieved against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983. He recorded his first NBA triple-double with the Chicago Bulls. In the 1988–89 season he played in Italy for Arimo Bologna, he went from Italy to continue his career as a member of the Maccabi Rishon Lezion basketball club in Israel. In 1993, he continued his play in Israel as a member of Hapoel Herzliya and took them to the Israeli Cup Championship game. Between these stints, Banks played the 1989–90 season with the La Crosse Catbirds of the Continental Basketball Association, averaging 15.3 points in 40 games. The Catbirds would go on to win the CBA title that year. In 2009, Gene Banks became an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards. In 2012, Banks was reassigned from assistant coach with the Wizards to scout of the southern region of the eastern Atlantic Coast, he is credited with the development of such players as JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Kevin Seraphin. Banks was inducted into the Duke Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.
In 2007, Banks returned to Israel and was announced and awarded by Maccabi Rishon LeZion to be the "best foreign player" to play with the club until 2007. Career statistics at Basketball-Reference Gene Banks 1988 Player Profile - Legabasket.it Gene Banks' bio on the Wizards site at nba.com
1985–86 NBA season
The 1985–86 NBA season was the 40th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning their third championship of the decade, beating the Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals; the 1986 NBA All-Star Game was played at Reunion Arena in Dallas, with the East defeating the West 139–132. Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons wins the game's MVP award. To add to the All-Star Weekend festivities, 5-foot-7-inch Spud Webb of the Atlanta Hawks wins the slam-dunk competition; the first three-point shootout was held, won by Larry Bird. The Kings relocate from Missouri to Sacramento, California, they played their home games at ARCO Arena I for three seasons while ARCO Arena II was under construction. The Chicago Bulls are the last Eastern Conference team in NBA history to lose 50 or more games in a season and still make the playoffs; the Boston Celtics post an impressive 40–1 record at home. Their only regular-season home loss occurred on December 6, 1985, to the Portland Trail Blazers, by the score of 121–103.
The record would be tied by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2015–16 season. The Celtics would win all 10 of their home games in the postseason; this season marks the first time the NBA hands out a Most Improved Player award at the end of a season. Alvin Robertson of the San Antonio Spurs is the first to win the award. Robertson would set the record for consecutive games with a steal, which stood for 22 years. In the third game of the season, Chicago Bulls sensation Michael Jordan suffered a broken left foot and missed the next 64 games. In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series, Jordan scored 63 points against Boston, an NBA playoff record, but his Chicago Bulls would lose in double overtime. All Midwest Division teams make the playoffs, the first time an entire division had done this since the 1983–84 season when all Atlantic Division teams made the playoffs; the first NBA draft of the Lottery Era was conducted at the Felt Forum of Madison Square Garden in New York City. Patrick Ewing was selected as the first overall pick by the New York Knicks.
Ewing, the winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year Award that season, set the record for most games missed for a Rookie of the Year winner. Ralph Sampson's off-balanced buzzer-beating shot in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals sent the Houston Rockets to their second NBA Finals, defeating the erstwhile defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 4-1; this marked the second and last time in the 1980s a team other than the Lakers represented the West in the NBA Finals. The Rockets fell in six games to the Boston Celtics, a similar result to their previous meeting five years earlier. Detlef Schrempf became the first German player to enter the NBA, he would become the first European-born player to be named an All-Star in 1993 and had the most number of seasons played for a European player. New Jersey Nets guard Micheal Ray Richardson was banned for life by the NBA for his third violation of the league's anti-drug policy. Houston Rockets guard John Lucas was suspended by the team for a similar violation.
On Wednesday, October 30, 1985, forward Georgi Glouchkov arrived in the U. S. from Bulgaria to play for the Phoenix Suns. He was the first player from a former Eastern Bloc country to play in the NBA, he would make his debut on November 6 against the Atlanta Hawks. The Los Angeles Clippers surprised the league by starting the season 5-0; the Denver Nuggets were the last undefeated team, starting the season 6-0. The New York Knicks started the season 0-8 in the midst of a 20-game losing streak; the Knicks' last victory was March 22, 1985. The Phoenix Suns were the last winless team, starting the season 0-9. On Saturday, November 30, 1985, Cleveland Cavalier World B. Free scored his 16,000th career point. On Wednesday, December 4, 1985, Maurice Lucas of the Los Angeles Lakers made a 60-foot shot at the regulation buzzer to send the game into overtime; the Lakers would go on to defeat the Utah Jazz 131-127. On Tuesday, December 10, 1985, the Indiana Pacers scored only 64 points in a 64-82 loss to the New York Knicks.
It was the fewest points scored by a team in 13 years – since an October 21, 1972 game in which the Buffalo Braves managed only 63 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Indiana's 64 was the fourth lowest total since the NBA implemented the 24-second shot clock in 1954–55; the Los Angeles Lakers started the season 19-2. On Wednesday, December 25, 1985, in a matchup of one of the worst teams in the league against one of the best, the Knicks defeated Boston in double overtime, 113-104. Rookie Patrick Ewing had 11 rebounds for the Knicks. On Tuesday, January 14, 1986, the Utah Jazz snapped the Houston Rockets' 20-game home winning streak with a 105-102 victory. Both Akeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson foul out of the game. On Wednesday, January 15, 1986, the Golden State Warriors scored 150 points in a 150-104 regulation victory over the Utah Jazz. None of Golden State's starters played in the fourth quarter. Eight Golden State players scored in double figures. On Wednesday, January 22, 1986, the Boston Celtics defeated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 110-95 in a matchup of the league's two best teams.
On Friday, January 24, 1986, the Boston Celtics overtook the Los Angeles Lakers as the team with the best record in the NBA. The Celtics maintained the league's best record for the remainder of the season. On Thursday, February 6, 1986, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers scored 46 points in a game against the Houston Rockets, his highest single-game total since a 48
Ranger College is a community college located in Ranger, Texas, a small town 90 miles west of Fort Worth, Texas. The college's website asserts that it "is one of the oldest public two-year colleges in continuous operation in the state of Texas." In conjunction with its main campus in Ranger, the college maintains several satellite campuses across Erath County and Brown County, Texas. Ranger College provides dual-credit courses to over 40 area school districts; the main campus is located at 1100 College Circle, Ranger, TX 76470. As defined by the Texas State Legislature, the official service area of Ranger College is the following: the part of the Ranger Independent School District located in Eastland County, excluding the area known as the "old Bullock School Land", all of Brown, Comanche and Young counties, excluding the portion of the Graham Independent School District located in Young County; the school opened on September 1926 with thirty students. The State Department of Education recognized it on March 23, 1927.
Ranger College was a governed by the public school system until August 18, 1950, when the Board of Education separated junior colleges. The school thereafter has been governed independently by a Board of Regents and its own presidents, of which Dr. G. C. Boswell was the first. In 2010, Ranger College opened campuses in Stephenville, Texas. Ranger College is accredited as a degree-granting institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2011, Ranger College, along with Frank Phillips College in Borger, Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Odessa College in Odessa, was proposed for closure by the State of Texas; the Texas Association of Community Colleges rallied to keep the four institutions open. In a letter to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio and Jim Pitts of Waxahachie the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, TAAC leaders referred to state budget restrictions at the time: Community colleges are aware of the state's budget crisis, we understand that we will have to bear our share of the budget pain.
We pledge to work with you to reach a fair and equitable solution... the decision to close these four colleges is unfair and inequitable in that it appears to be arbitrary and ill-advised. We stand in support of our sister colleges, we look forward to a productive debate... The 2011 proposal to close the schools was not adopted, Ranger College continued to receive state funding. Since student enrollment at Ranger College has increased every year: In November 2016, the city of Ranger voted to approve a $10 million bond to provide new buildings and renovations across campus. Construction began in the winter of 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by 2020. Ranger College's athletic teams are nicknamed the Rangers; the Rangers compete in men's and women's basketball, softball, cross country running, rodeo and volleyball. The basketball teams play at Ron Butler Gymnasium; the baseball team plays at Ellis Burks Field, named after Ranger College alumnus and retired Major League Baseball player Ellis Burks.
In 1978 the Ranger College football team won the NJCAA national championship. In June 2007, Ranger College won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association men's team title in the College National Finals Rodeo held in Casper, Wyoming. Ranger had only been competing again after a 25-year hiatus. In August 2007, Ranger replaced its football program with men's and women's soccer and men's golf programs; the football team finished the year with a record of 5 losses. In 2013 the Ranger College men's soccer team won the NJCAA Region V Championship and participated in the NJCAA Division I national tournament. In 2015-16 the men's basketball team was found to have committed two eligibility violations; the first instance caused them to forfeit four games. The second and more serious violation required them to forfeit all games from the 2015-2016 season and to be placed on probation by the NJCAA for the 2016-17 season, meaning they were barred from any post-season play in 2016-17. In June 2016, Ranger earned a College National Finals Rodeo championship when sophomore heeler Wesley Thorp won the team roping event, with partner Cole Weeler of Weatherford College.
Former MLB player Jim Morris was drafted out of Ranger College by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1983. Morris' unique journey through professional baseball was depicted in the 2002 Disney film The Rookie. Other notable figures who graduated from Ranger College include National Football League wide receiver Johnny Perkins and NCAA coach Billy Gillispie, who returned to the school in 2015 as its athletic director and men's head basketball coach. Ranger College
The five basketball positions employed by organized basketball teams are the point guard, the shooting guard, the small forward, the power forward, the center. The point guard is the leader of the team on the court; this position requires substantial ball handling skills and the ability to facilitate the team during a play. The shooting guard, as the name implies, is the best shooter; as well as being capable of shooting from longer distances, this position tends to be the best defender on the team. The small forward has an aggressive approach to the basket when handling the ball; the small forward is known to make cuts to the basket in efforts to get open for shots. The power forward and the center are called the "frontcourt" acting as their team's primary rebounders or shot blockers, or receiving passes to take inside shots; the center is the larger of the two. Only three positions were recognized based on where they played on the court: Guards played outside and away from the hoop and forwards played outside and near the baseline, with the center positioned in the key.
During the 1980s, as team strategy evolved. More specialized roles developed. Team strategy and available personnel, still dictate the positions used by a particular team. For example, the dribble-drive motion offense and the Princeton offense use four interchangeable guards and one center; this set is known as a "four-in and one-out" play scheme. Other combinations are prevalent. Besides the five basic positions, some teams use non-standard or hybrid positions, such as the point forward, a hybrid small forward/point guard; the point guard known as the one, is the team's best ball handler and passer. Therefore, they lead their team in assists and are able to create shots for themselves and their teammates, they are quick and are able to hit shots either outside the three-point line or "in the paint" depending on the player's skill level. Point guards are looked upon as the "floor general" or the "coach on the floor", they should study the game and game film to be able to recognize the weaknesses of the defense, the strengths of their own offense.
They are responsible for directing plays, making the position equivalent to that of quarterback in American football, playmaker in association football, center in ice hockey, or setter in volleyball. Good point guards increase team efficiency and have a high number of assists, they are referred to as dribblers or play-makers. In the NBA, point guards are the shortest players on the team and are 6 feet 4 inches or shorter; the shooting guard is known as the two or the off guard. Along with the small forward, a shooting guard is referred to as a wing because of its use in common positioning tactics; as the name suggests, most shooting guards are prolific from the three-point range. Besides being able to shoot the ball, shooting guards tend to be the best defender on the team, as well as being able to move without the ball to create open looks for themselves; some shooting guards have good ball handling skills creating their own shots off the dribble. A versatile shooting guard will have good passing skills, allowing them to assume point guard responsibilities known as combo guards.
Bigger shooting guards tend to play as small forwards. In the NBA, shooting guards range from 6 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 8 inches; the small forward known as the three, is considered to be the most versatile of the main five basketball positions. Versatility is key for small forwards because of the nature of their role, which resembles that of a shooting guard more than that of a power forward; this is why the small forward and shooting guard positions are interchangeable and referred to as wings. Small forwards have a variety such as quickness and strength inside. One common thread among all kinds of small forwards is an ability to "get to the line" and draw fouls by aggressively attempting plays, lay-ups, or slam dunks; as such, accurate foul shooting is a common skill for small forwards, many of whom record a large portion of their points from the foul line. Besides being able to drive to the basket, they are good shooters from long range; some small forwards have good passing skills, allowing them to assume point guard responsibilities as point forwards.
Small forwards should be able to do a little bit of everything on the court playing roles such as swingmen and defensive specialists. In the NBA, small forwards range from 6 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 9 inches; the power forward known as the four plays a role similar to that of the center, down in the "post" or "low blocks". The power forward is the team's most versatile scorer, being able to score close to the basket while being able to shoot mid-range jump shots from 12 to 18 feet from the basket; some power forwards have become known as stretch fours, since extending their shooting range to three-pointers. On defense, they are required to have the strength to guard bigger players close to the basket and to have the athleticism to guard quick players away from the basket. Most power forwards tend to be more versatile than centers since they can be part of plays and are not always in the low block. In the
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