The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the team plays its home games at State Farm Arena. The team's origins can be traced to the establishment of the Buffalo Bisons in 1946 in Buffalo, New York, a member of the National Basketball League owned by Ben Kerner and Leo Ferris. After 38 days in Buffalo, the team moved to Moline, where they were renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the Basketball Association of America, had Red Auerbach as coach. In 1951, Kerner moved the team to Milwaukee. Kerner and the team moved again in 1955 to St. Louis, where they won their only NBA Championship in 1958 and qualified to play in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960 and 1961; the Hawks played the Boston Celtics in all four of their trips to the NBA Finals. The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, when Kerner sold the franchise to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders.
The Hawks own the second-longest drought of not winning an NBA championship at 60 seasons. The franchise's lone NBA championship, as well as all four NBA Finals appearances, occurred when the team was based in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they went 48 years without advancing past the second round of the playoffs in any format, until breaking through in 2015. However, the Hawks are one of only four NBA teams that have qualified to play in the NBA playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons in the 21st century, they achieved this feat between 2008 and 2017. The other teams that have made it to at least 10 consecutive playoff appearances in the 21st century are the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks; the origins of the Atlanta Hawks can be traced to the Buffalo Bisons franchise, founded in 1946. The Bisons were a member of the National Basketball League, played their games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium; the club was coached by Nat Hickey. Their first game – a 50–39 victory over the Syracuse Nationals – was played on November 8, 1946.
On the team was William "Pop" Gates, along with William "Dolly" King, was one of the first two African-American players in the NBL. The team, which needed to draw 3,600 fans per game to break struggled to draw 1,000 fans per game to the Auditorium; the franchise lasted only 38 days in Buffalo when, on December 25, 1946, Leo Ferris, the team's general manager, announced that the team would be moving to Moline, which at that time was part of an area known as the "Tri-Cities": Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, Iowa. Upon relocation to Moline, the team was renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, played their home games at Wharton Field House, a 6,000-seat arena in Moline; the team featured guard/forward and coach Deanglo King, was owned by Leo Ferris and Ben Kerner. Pop Gates remained on the Blackhawks roster, finished second on the team in scoring behind future 1948 NBL MVP Don Otten. A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member, Gates helped to integrate the league and become the first African-American coach in a major sports league, coaching Dayton in 1948.
In 1949 the Blackhawks became one of the National Basketball Association's 17 original teams after a merger of the 12-year-old NBL and the three-year-old Basketball Association of America. They reached the playoffs in the NBA's inaugural year under the leadership of coach Red Auerbach; the following season, they drafted three-time All-American Bob Cousy, but they were unable to reach a deal and traded him to the Chicago Stags. The Blackhawks missed the playoffs. By it was obvious that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support an NBA team. After the season, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Hawks. In 1954, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, in 1955 the Hawks moved, this time to St. Louis, Milwaukee's rival in the beer industry, became the St. Louis Hawks. In 1956, the St. Louis Hawks drafted legendary Bill Russell in the first round, they traded Russell to the Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley, both Hall of Fame members.
In 1957, the Hawks finished four games under.500. However, the Western Division was weak that year, they won the division title and a bye to the division finals after defeating the Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons in one-game tiebreakers. They defeated the Lakers in the division finals to advance to the Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime thriller in game seven. In 1958, after tallying their first winning record, they again advanced to the Finals, where they avenged their defeat against the Celtics from the previous year, winning the series 4–2 and giving the Hawks their first and only NBA Championship. Bob Pettit scored 50 points in the final game of the series; the Hawks remained one of the NBA's premier teams for the next decade. In 1960, under coach Ed Macauley, the team advanced to the Finals, but lost to the Celtics in another game seven thriller; the following year, with the acquisition of rookie Lenny Wilkens, the Hawks repeated their success, but met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games.
They would remain contenders for most of the 1960s, advancing deep into the playoffs a
The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division, are the only team in their division not based in California; the Suns play their home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The franchise began play in 1968 as an expansion team, their early years were shrouded in mediocrity, but their fortunes changed in the 1970s, after partnering long-term guard Dick Van Arsdale and center Alvan Adams with Paul Westphal, the Suns reached the 1976 NBA Finals, in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. However, after failing to capture a championship, the Suns would rebuild around Walter Davis for a majority of the 1980s, until the acquisition of Kevin Johnson in 1988. Under Johnson, after trading for perennial NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, combined with the output of Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle, the Suns reached the playoffs for a franchise-record thirteen consecutive appearances and remained a regular title contender throughout the 1990s, reached the 1993 NBA Finals.
However, the team would again fail to win a championship, entered into another period of mediocrity until the early part of the 2000s. In 2004, the Suns reacquired Steve Nash, returned into playoff contention. With Nash, Shawn Marion, Amar'e Stoudemire, under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Suns became renowned worldwide for their quick, dynamic offense, which led them to tie a franchise record in wins in the 2004–05 season. Two more top two Conference placements followed, but the Suns again failed to attain an NBA championship, were forced into another rebuild; the Suns own the NBA's seventh-best all-time winning percentage, have the second highest winning percentage of any teams to have never won an NBA championship. 10 Hall of Famers have played for Phoenix, while two Suns—Barkley and Nash—have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award while playing for the team. The Suns were one of two franchises to join the NBA at the start of the 1968–69 season, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
They were the first major professional sports franchise in the Phoenix market and in the entire state of Arizona, remained the only one for the better part of 20 years until the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League relocated from St. Louis in 1988; the Suns played its first 24 seasons at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located northwest of downtown Phoenix. The franchise was formed by an ownership group led by Karl Eller, owner of a public enterprise, the investor Donald Pitt, Don Diamond, Bhavik Darji, Marvin Meyer, Richard Bloch. Other owners with a minority stake consisted of entertainers, such as Andy Williams, Bobbie Gentry and Ed Ames. There were many critics, including then-NBA commissioner J. Walter Kennedy, who said that Phoenix was "too hot", "too small", "too far away" to be considered a successful NBA market; this was despite the fact that the Phoenix metropolitan area was growing and the Suns would have built-in geographical foes in places like in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle.
After continual prodding by Bloch, in 1968 the NBA Board of Governors granted franchises to Phoenix and Milwaukee on January 22, 1968 with an entry fee of $2 million. The Suns nickname was among 28,000 entries that were formally chosen in a name-the-team contest sponsored by The Arizona Republic, with the winner awarded $1,000 and season tickets for the inaugural season. Suns was preferred over Scorpions, Thunderbirds, Mavericks, Tumbleweeds and Cougars. Stan Fabe, who owned a commercial printing plant in Tucson, designed the team's first iconic logo for a mere $200. However, they were disappointed with the results. In the 1968 NBA Expansion Draft, notable Suns' pickups were future Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich and Dick Van Arsdale. Jerry Colangelo a player scout, came over from the Chicago Bulls, a franchise formed two years earlier, as the Suns' first general manager at the age of 28, along with Johnny "Red" Kerr as head coach. Unlike the first-year success that Colangelo and Kerr had in Chicago, in which the Bulls finished with a first-year expansion record of 33 wins and a playoff berth, Phoenix finished its first year at 16–66, finished 25 games out of the final playoff spot.
Both Goodrich and Van Arsdale were selected to the All-Star Game in their first season with the Suns. Goodrich returned to his former team, the Lakers, after two seasons with the Suns, but Van Arsdale spent the rest of his playing days as a Sun and a one-time head coach for Phoenix; the Suns' last-place finish that season led to a coin flip for the number-one overall pick for the 1969 NBA draft with the expansion-mate Bucks. Milwaukee won the flip, the rights to draft UCLA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, while Phoenix settled on drafting center Neal Walk from Florida; the 1969–70 season posted better results for the Suns, finishing 39–43, but losing to the eventual Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. The next two seasons, the Suns finished with 48- and 49-win seasons, but did not qualify for the playoffs in either year, did not reach the playoffs again until 1976; the 1975–76 season proved to be a pivotal year for the Suns as they made several key moves, including the offseason trade of former All-Star guard Charlie Scott to the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the team was founded on January 16, 1966. The team plays its home games at the United Center, an arena shared with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League; the Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s when they were responsible for popularizing the NBA worldwide. They are known for having one of the NBA's greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson; the Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships and never lose an NBA Finals series in their history. The Bulls won 72 games during the 1995–96 NBA season, setting an NBA record that stood until the Golden State Warriors won 73 games during the 2015–16 NBA season.
The Bulls were the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season, the only NBA franchise to do so until the 2015–16 Warriors. Many experts and analysts consider the 1996 Bulls to be one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose have both won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards; the Bulls share rivalries with the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. The Bulls' rivalry with the Pistons was highlighted during the late 1980s and early 1990s. On January 16, 1966 Chicago was granted an NBA franchise to be called the Bulls; the Chicago Bulls became the third NBA franchise in the city, after the Chicago Stags and the Chicago Packers/Zephyrs. The Bulls' founder, Dick Klein, was the Bulls' only owner to play professional basketball, he served as the Bulls' general manager in their initial years. After the 1966 NBA Expansion Draft, the newly founded Chicago Bulls were allowed to acquire players from the established teams in the league for the upcoming 1966–67 season.
The team started in the 1966–67 NBA season, posted the best record by an expansion team in NBA history. Coached by Chicagoan and former NBA star Johnny "Red" Kerr, led by former NBA assist leader Guy Rodgers, guard Jerry Sloan and forward Bob Boozer, the Bulls qualified for the playoffs, the only NBA team to do so in their inaugural season. In their first season, the Bulls played their home games at the International Amphitheatre, before moving to Chicago Stadium. Fan interest was diminishing after four seasons, with one game in the 1968 season having an official attendance of 891 and some games being played in Kansas City. In 1969, Klein dropped out of the general manager job and hired Pat Williams, who as the Philadelphia 76ers' business manager created promotions that helped the team become third in attendance the previous season. Williams revamped the team roster, acquiring Chet Walker from his old team in exchange for Jim Washington and drafting Norm Van Lier –, traded to the Cincinnati Royals and only joined the Bulls in 1971 – while investing in promotion, with actions such as creating mascot Benny the Bull.
The Bulls under Williams and head coach Dick Motta qualified for four straight playoffs and had attendances grow to over 10,000. In 1972, the Bulls set a franchise win-loss record at 25 losses. During the 1970s, the Bulls relied on Jerry Sloan, forwards Bob Love and Chet Walker, point guard Norm Van Lier, centers Clifford Ray and Tom Boerwinkle; the team made the conference finals in 1975 but lost to the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors, 4 games to 3. After four 50-win seasons, Williams returned to Philadelphia, Motta decided to take on the role of GM as well; the Bulls ended up winning only 24 games in the 1975 -- 1976 season. Motta was replaced by Ed Badger. Klein sold the Bulls to longtime owners of the Chicago Blackhawks. Indifferent to NBA basketball, the new ownership group infamously implemented a shoestring budget, putting little time and investment into improving the team. Artis Gilmore, acquired in the ABA dispersal draft in 1976, led a Bulls squad which included guard Reggie Theus, forward David Greenwood and forward Orlando Woolridge.
In 1979, the Bulls lost a coin flip for the right to select first in the NBA draft. Had the Bulls won the toss, they would have selected Magic Johnson; the Los Angeles Lakers selected Johnson with the pick acquired from the New Orleans Jazz, who traded the selection for Gail Goodrich. After Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for center Dave Corzine, the Bulls employed a high-powered offense centered around Theus, which soon included guards Quintin Dailey and Ennis Whatley. However, with continued dismal results, the Bulls decided to change direction, trading Theus to the Kansas City Kings during the 1983–84 season. Attendance began to dwindle, with the Wirtz Family looking to sell to ownership groups interested in moving the team out of Chicago, before selling to local ownership. In the summer of 1984, the Bulls had the third pick of the 1984 NBA draft, after Houston and Portland; the Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon, the Blazers picked Sam Bowie and the Bulls chose shooting guard Michael Jordan.
The team, with new management in owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause, decided to rebuild around Jordan. Jordan set franchise records during his rookie campaign for scoring and steals, led the Bulls back to the playoffs, where they lost in four
The Minnesota Timberwolves are an American professional basketball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. Founded in 1989, the team is owned by Glen Taylor who owns the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx; the Timberwolves play their home games at Target Center, their home since 1990. Like most expansion teams, the Timberwolves struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Kevin Garnett in the 1995 NBA draft, the team qualified for the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2004. Despite losing in the first round in their first seven attempts, the Timberwolves won their first division championship in 2004 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals that same season. Garnett was named the NBA Most Valuable Player for that season; the team had been in rebuilding mode for more than a decade after missing the postseason in 2005, trading Garnett to the Boston Celtics in 2007.
Garnett returned to the Timberwolves in a February 2015 trade and finished his career there, retiring in the 2016 offseason. NBA basketball returned to the Twin Cities in 1989 for the first time since the Minneapolis Lakers departed to Los Angeles in 1960; the NBA had granted one of its four new expansion teams on April 22, 1987 to original owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson to begin play for the 1989–90 season. The franchise conducted a "name the team" contest and selected two finalists, "Timberwolves" and "Polars", in December 1986; the team asked the 842 city councils in Minnesota to select the winner and "Timberwolves" prevailed by nearly 2–1. The team was named the "Minnesota Timberwolves" on January 23, 1987. Minnesota is home to the largest population of timberwolves in the lower 48 states; the Timberwolves debuted on November 3, 1989, losing to the Seattle SuperSonics on the road 106–94. Five days they made their home debut at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, losing to the Chicago Bulls 96–84.
Two nights on November 10, the Wolves got their first win, beating the Philadelphia 76ers at home 125–118. The Timberwolves, led by Tony Campbell with 23.2 ppg, went on to a 22–60 record, finishing in sixth place in the Midwest Division. Playing in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the expansion Timberwolves set an NBA record by drawing over 1 million fans to their home games; this included a crowd of 49,551 on April 17, 1990, which saw the Timberwolves lose to the Denver Nuggets 99–88 in the final home game of the season. The next season, the team moved into their permanent home, the Target Center, improved somewhat, finishing 29–53. However, they fired Bill Musselman, they fared far worse in the 1991–92 NBA season under Musselman's successor, ex-Celtics coach Jimmy Rodgers, finishing with an NBA-worst 15–67 record. Looking to turn the corner, the Wolves hired former Detroit Pistons general manager Jack McCloskey to the same position, but with notable first-round selections such as Christian Laettner and Isaiah Rider, the Timberwolves were unable to duplicate McCloskey's "Detroit Bad Boys" success in the Twin Cities, finishing 19–63 and 20–62 the next two seasons.
One of the few highlights from that era was when the Target Center served as host of the 1994 All-Star Game where Rider won the Slam Dunk Contest with his between-the-leg "East Bay Funk Dunk". As winning basketball continued to elude the Wolves and Wolfenson nearly sold the team to New Orleans interests in 1994 before NBA owners rejected the proposed move. Glen Taylor bought the team and named Kevin McHale general manager; the Wolves finished 21–61 in 1994–95, the future looked bleak. In the 1995 NBA draft, the Timberwolves selected high school standout Kevin Garnett in the first round, Flip Saunders was named head coach. Christian Laettner was traded along with Sean Rooks to the Atlanta Hawks for Andrew Lang and Spud Webb. First-round pick Donyell Marshall was traded the previous season for Golden State Warriors' forward Tom Gugliotta; these trades paved the way for rookie Kevin Garnett to become the go-to player inside. Garnett went on to average 10.4 ppg in his rookie season as the Wolves finished in 5th place in the Midwest Division, with a 26–56 record.
In 1996, the Wolves added another star player in the draft, trading Ray Allen to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to Stephon Marbury, the 4th overall pick. The addition of Marbury had a positive effect on the entire team, as Garnett and Gugliotta became the first Wolves to be selected to the All-Star team. Gugliotta and Garnett led the Timberwolves in scoring as the team made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a record of 40–42. However, in the playoffs the Timberwolves made a quick exit as they were swept by the Houston Rockets in three straight games; the T-Wolves decided to change their image by changing their team logo and color scheme, adding black to the team colors and replacing the original logo with one featuring a snarling wolf looming over a field of trees. It was during this season that Minnesota began to play on a parquet floor. In 1997, Garnett and Marbury established themselves as two of the brightest rising stars in the NBA. Garnett averaged 18.5 ppg and 9.6 rebounds per game, while Marbury averaged 17.7 ppg and dished out 8.6 assists per game.
Despite losing leading scorer Tom Gugliotta for half the season, the Timberwolves went on to post their first winning season at 45–37, making the playoffs for the second straight season. After dr
The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league's original eight teams, the team play their home games at TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins; the Celtics are one of the most successful teams in NBA history. The Celtics have a notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, have played the Lakers a record 12 times in the NBA Finals, of which the Celtics have won nine. Four Celtics players have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards. Both the nickname "Celtics" and their mascot "Lucky the Leprechaun" are a nod to Boston's large Irish population. After winning 16 championships throughout the 20th century, the Celtics, after struggling through the 1990s, rose again to win a championship in 2008 with the help of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen in what was known as the new "Big Three" era, following the original "Big Three" era that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, which combined to win the 1981, 1984, 1986 championships.
Following the win in 2008, general manager Danny Ainge began a rebuilding process with the help of head coach Brad Stevens, who led the Celtics to a return to the playoffs from 2015. During the following season, the Celtics clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated in the Conference Finals; this prompted an aggressive rebuild in 2017, where the team acquired All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. However, the pair struggled with injuries throughout the 2017–18 season, the team was again defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals; the Boston Celtics were formed on June 6, 1946, by Boston Garden-Arena Corporation president Walter A. Brown as a team in the Basketball Association of America, became part of the National Basketball Association after the absorption of the National Basketball League by the BAA in the fall of 1949. In 1950, the Celtics signed Chuck Cooper; the Celtics struggled until the hiring of coach Red Auerbach. In the franchise's early days, Auerbach had no assistants, ran all the practices, did all the scouting—both of opposing teams and college draft prospects—and scheduled all road trips.
One of the first great players to join the Celtics was Bob Cousy, whom Auerbach refused to draft out of nearby Holy Cross because he was "too flashy." Cousy's contract became the property of the Chicago Stags, but when that franchise went bankrupt, Cousy went to the Celtics in a dispersal draft. After the 1955–56 season, Auerbach made a stunning trade, sending perennial All-Star Ed Macauley to the St. Louis Hawks along with the draft rights to Cliff Hagan for the second overall pick in the draft. After negotiating with the Rochester Royals—a negotiation that included a promise that the Celtics owner would send the sought-after Ice Capades to Rochester if the Royals would let Russell slide to #2—Auerbach used the pick to select University of San Francisco center Bill Russell. Auerbach acquired Holy Cross standout, 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year, Tommy Heinsohn. Russell and Heinsohn worked extraordinarily well with Cousy, they were the players around whom Auerbach would build the champion Celtics for more than a decade.
With Bill Russell, the Celtics advanced to the 1957 NBA Finals and defeated the St. Louis Hawks in seven games, the first of a record 17 championships. Russell went on making him the most decorated player in NBA history. In 1958, the Celtics again advanced to this time losing to the Hawks in 6 games. However, with the acquisition of K. C. Jones that year, the Celtics began a dynasty. In 1959, the Celtics won the NBA Championship after sweeping the Minneapolis Lakers, the first of their record eight consecutive championships. During that time, the Celtics met the Lakers in the Finals five times, starting an intense and bitter rivalry that has spanned generations. In 1964, the Celtics became the first NBA team to have an all African-American starting lineup. On December 26, 1964, Willie Naulls replaced an injured Tommy Heinsohn, joining Tom'Satch' Sanders, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Bill Russell in the starting lineup; the Celtics defeated St. Louis 97–84. Boston won its next 11 games with Naulls starting in place of Heinsohn.
The Celtics of the late 1950s–1960s are considered as one of the most dominant teams of all time. Auerbach retired as coach after the 1965–66 season and Russell took over as player-coach, Auerbach's ploy to keep Russell interested. With his appointment Russell became the first African-American coach in any U. S. pro sport. Auerbach would remain a position he would hold well into the 1980s. However, the Celtics' string of NBA titles ended when they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1966 Eastern Conference Finals; the aging team managed two more championships in 1968 and 1969, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers each time. Russell retired after the 1969 season ending a Celtics dynasty that had garnered an unrivaled 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons; the team's run of 8 consecutive is the longest championship streak in U. S. professional sports history. The 1970 season was a rebuilding year, as the Celtics had their first losing record since the 1949–50 season
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. During his career as a center, Abdul-Jabbar was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. A member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach, Abdul-Jabbar twice was voted NBA Finals MVP. In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. NBA coach Pat Riley and players Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving have called him the greatest basketball player of all time. After winning 71 consecutive basketball games on his high school team in New York City, Alcindor was recruited by Jerry Norman, the assistant coach of UCLA, where he played for coach John Wooden on three consecutive national championship teams and was a record three-time MVP of the NCAA Tournament.
Drafted with the first overall pick by the one-season-old Bucks franchise in the 1969 NBA draft, Alcindor spent six seasons in Milwaukee. After leading the Bucks to its first NBA championship at age 24 in 1971, he took the Muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Using his trademark "skyhook" shot, he established himself as one of the league's top scorers. In 1975, he was traded to the Lakers, with whom he played the final 14 seasons of his career and won five additional NBA championships. Abdul-Jabbar's contributions were a key component in the "Showtime" era of Lakers basketball. Over his 20-year NBA career, his teams succeeded in making the playoffs 18 times and got past the first round 14 times. At the time of his retirement at age 42 in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA's all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, career wins, personal fouls, he remains the all-time leader in points scored and career wins.
He is ranked third all-time in blocked shots. In 2007, ESPN voted him the greatest center of all time, in 2008, they named him the "greatest player in college basketball history", in 2016, they named him the second best player in NBA history. Abdul-Jabbar has been an actor, a basketball coach, a best-selling author. In 2012, he was selected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be a U. S. global cultural ambassador. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. was born in New York City, the only child of Cora Lillian, a department store price checker, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Sr. a transit police officer and jazz musician. He grew up in the Dyckman Street projects in the Inwood neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. Alcindor was unusually tall from a young age. At birth he weighed 12 lb 11 oz and was 22 1⁄2 inches long, by the age of nine he was 5 ft 8 in tall. By the eighth grade he had grown to 6 ft 8 in tall and could slam dunk a basketball.
Alcindor began his record-breaking basketball accomplishments when he was in high school, where he led coach Jack Donahue's Power Memorial Academy team to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, a 79–2 overall record. This earned him a nickname—"The tower from Power", his 2,067 total points were a New York City high school record. The team won the national high school boys basketball championship when Alcindor was in 10th and 11th grade and was runner-up his senior year. Alcindor had a strained relationship with his coach. In his 2017 book "Coach Wooden and Me," Abdul-Jabbar relates an incident where Donahue called him a nigger. Alcindor played on the UCLA freshman team in 1966 only because the "freshman rule" was in effect, but his prowess was well known, he received national coverage when he made his varsity debut in 1967: Sports Illustrated described him as "The New Superstar." From 1967 to 1969, he played on the varsity under head coach John Wooden. He was the main contributor to the team's three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses: one to the University of Houston in which Alcindor had an eye injury, the other to crosstown rival USC who played a "stall game".
In his first game, Alcindor scored 56 points. During his college career, Alcindor was twice named Player of the Year. In 1967 and 1968, he won USBWA College Player of the Year, which became the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Alcindor became the only player to win the Helms Foundation Player of the Year award three times; the 1965–66 UCLA Bruin team was the preseason #1. On November 27, 1965, the freshman team, led by Alcindor, defeated the varsity 75–60 in the first game in the new Pauley Pavilion. Alcindor had 21 rebounds in what was a good indication of things to come. After the game, the UCLA varsity was # 2 on campus. If the "freshman rule" had not been in effect at that time, UCLA would have had a much better chance of winning the 1966 National Championship. Alcindor had considered transferring to Michigan because of unfulfilled recruiting promises. UCLA player Willie Naul
The Charlotte Hornets are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hornets compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the team is owned by retired NBA player Michael Jordan, who acquired controlling interest in the team in 2010. The Hornets play their home games at the Spectrum Center in Uptown Charlotte; the original Hornets franchise was established in 1988 as an expansion team, owned by George Shinn. In 2002, Shinn's franchise became the New Orleans Hornets. In 2004, the NBA established the Charlotte Bobcats, regarded as a new expansion team at the time. In 2013, the New Orleans' franchise announced it would rebrand itself the New Orleans Pelicans returning the Hornets name and official history to Charlotte; the Bobcats were renamed the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 season. In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by three teams by the 1988–1989 season modified to include a total of four expansion teams.
George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. The Charlotte area had long been a hotbed for college basketball. Charlotte was one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, was one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars from 1969 to 1974. Despite doubt from critics, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena that would seat 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. On April 5, 1987, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him his group had been awarded the 24th NBA franchise, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were granted to Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Orlando; the new team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but a name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice.
The team received further attention when it chose teal as its primary color, setting off a sports fashion craze in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The team's uniforms, designed by international designer and North Carolina native Alexander Julian, featured a first for NBA uniforms—pin stripes. Similar designs by other teams followed. Shinn hired Carl Scheer as the team's first General Manager. Scheer preferred a roster of veteran players, hoping to put together a competitive team as soon as possible. Former college coach and veteran NBA assistant Dick Harter was hired as the team's first head coach. In 1988, the Hornets and the Miami Heat were part of the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Unlike many expansion franchises that invest in the future with a team composed of young players, Charlotte stocked its inaugural roster with several veterans in hopes of putting a competitive lineup on the court right away; the team had three draft picks at the 1988 NBA draft. The Hornets' first NBA game took place on November 4, 1988, at the Charlotte Coliseum, losing 133–93 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Four days the team notched its first-ever victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, 117–105. On December 23, 1988, the Hornets gave their fans something to cheer about, beating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 103–101 in Jordan's first return to North Carolina as a professional; the Hornets finished their inaugural season with a record of 20–62. Scheer left prior to the 1989–90 season. Despite initial concerns that the Coliseum was too big, the Hornets were a runaway hit, leading the NBA in attendance, a feat they would achieve seven more times in Charlotte; the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games. The Hornets' second season was a struggle from start to finish. Members of the team rebelled against Dick Harter's defense-oriented style, he was replaced mid-season by assistant Gene Littles following an 8–32 start. Despite the change, the team continued to struggle, finishing the season with a disappointing 19–63 record; the team showed improvement during the following season. They won eight of their first fifteen games, including a 120–105 victory over the Washington Bullets.
However, the team went cold. The Hornets, who hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game, finished with a 26–56 record. Despite the team's seven-game improvement over the previous season, Gene Littles was fired at the end of the season and replaced by general manager Allan Bristow. With the first pick in the 1991 NBA draft, the Hornets drafted power forward Larry Johnson from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Johnson had an impact season, finishing among the league leaders in points and rebounds, winning the 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Additionally, Guard Kendall Gill led the club in scoring; the team stayed in contention for a playoff spot until March, but finished the year with a 31–51 record. The Hornets were in the lottery again in 1992 and won the second overall pick in the draft, using it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. Charlotte now had two 20–10 threats in Johnson and Mourning, who with Kendall Gill, formed the league's top young trio; the team finished their fifth season at 44–38, their first-ever winning record and good enough for the first playoff berth in franchise history.
Finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets upset the Boston Celtics in the first round, with Mourning winning the series with a 20-footer in game four. However, the Hornets lacked the experience and depth to defeat the New York Knicks, falling in five games in the second round; the Horn