NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament known and branded as NCAA March Madness, is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States featuring 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, to determine the national championship. The tournament was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, was the idea of Ohio State coach Harold Olsen. Played during March, it has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States; the tournament teams include champions from 32 Division I conferences, 36 teams which are awarded at-large berths. These "at-large" teams are chosen by an NCAA selection committee announced in a nationally televised event on the Sunday preceding the "First Four" play-in games held in Dayton and dubbed Selection Sunday; the 68 teams are divided into four regions and organized into a single-elimination "bracket", which pre-determines, when a team wins a game, which team it will face next.
Each team is "seeded", or ranked, within its region from 1 to 16. After the First Four, the tournament occurs during the course of three weekends, at pre-selected neutral sites across the United States. Teams, seeded by rank, proceed through a single-game elimination bracket beginning with a "first four" consisting of 8 low-seeded teams playing in 4 games for a position in the first round the Tuesday and Wednesday before the first round begins, a first round consisting of 64 teams playing in 32 games over the course of a week, the "Sweet Sixteen" and "Elite Eight" rounds the next week and weekend and – for the last weekend of the tournament – the "Final Four" round; the Final Four is played during the first weekend of April. These four teams, one from each region, compete in a preselected location for the national championship; the tournament has been at least televised since 1969. The games are broadcast by CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV under the trade-name NCAA March Madness. Since 2011, all games are available for viewing nationwide and internationally.
As television coverage has grown, so too has the tournament's popularity. Millions of Americans fill out a bracket, attempting to predict the outcome of 63 games of the tournament. With 11 national titles, UCLA has the record for the most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships; the University of Kentucky is second, with eight national titles. The University of North Carolina is third, with six national titles, Duke University and Indiana University are tied for fourth with five national titles; the University of Connecticut is sixth with four national titles. The University of Kansas & Villanova are tied for 7th with three national titles. Since 1985, when the tournament expanded to 64 teams, Duke has won five championships; the NCAA has changed the tournament format several times since its inception, most being an increase of the number of teams. This section describes the tournament as it has operated since 2011. A total of 68 teams qualify for the tournament played during April. Thirty-two teams earn automatic bids as their respective conference champions.
Of the 32 Division I "all-sports" conferences, all 32 hold championship tournaments to determine which team receives the automatic qualification. The Ivy League was the last Division I conference. If two or more Ivies shared a regular-season championship, a one-game playoff was used to decide the tournament participant. Since 2017, the league conducts their own postseason tournament; the remaining 36 tournament slots are granted to at-large bids, which are determined by the Selection Committee in a nationally televised event on the Sunday preceding the First Four play-in tournament and dubbed Selection Sunday by the media and fans, by a group of conference commissioners and school athletic directors who are appointed into service by the NCAA. The committee determines where all sixty-eight teams are seeded and placed in the bracket; the tournament is divided into four regions and each region has at least sixteen teams, but four additional teams are added per the decision of the Selection Committee.
The committee is charged with making each of the four regions as close as possible in overall quality of teams from wherever they come from. The names of the regions vary from year to year, are broadly geographic. From 1957 to 1984, the "Mideast" corresponding to the Southeastern region of the United States, designation was used. From 1985 to 1997, the Mideast region was known as "Southeast" and again changed to "South" starting from 1998; the selected names correspond to the location of the four cities hosting the regional finals. From 2004 to 2006, the regions were named after their host cities, e.g. the Phoenix Regional in 2004, the Chicago Regional in 2005, the Minneapolis Regional in 2006, but reverted to the traditional geographic designations beginning in 2007. For example, during 2012, the regions were named South, Midwest (St. Louis, Mis
Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano
Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano known as AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan after its title sponsor, is an LBA Italian professional basketball team, based in Milan, Italy. Its colors are red and white, the team is sometimes referred as "Scarpette Rosse" because team officials imported red Converse All-Star shoes for players from the United States; the tag line stuck, the nickname is still used by many fans today. As per custom in the Italian league, sponsorship has kept the team name changing frequently. From 1936 until 1955, it was called Borletti Milano. From 1956 to 1973, it was renamed Simmenthal. Other famous sponsorship names were Billy, Simac and Philips, in the 1980s. For past club sponsorship names, see the list below. Olimpia is the most titled basketball club in Italy, having won 28 Italian League championships, 6 Italian National Cups, 3 Italian Super Cups, 3 EuroLeague, 1 FIBA Intercontinental Cup, 3 FIBA Saporta Cups, 2 FIBA Korać Cups and many junior titles. Olimpia was founded by Milan businessman Adolfo Bogoncelli.
The team won the LEGA Basket Serie A championship of Italian basketball in the 1950s and the 1960s, with players including Gabriele Vianello, Sandro Riminucci, Gianfranco Pieri, Bill Bradley. In the 1970s, three teams were fighting across Europe for supremacy: Olimpia Milano, Ignis Varese, Real Madrid. Pallacanestro Varese and Olimpia Milano were arch-rivals. While Milano was a frequent Italian League champion, they were unable to win the prestigious FIBA European Champions Cup. Late in the 1970s, the quality of the club declined, but Olimpia Milano still managed to win a FIBA Cup Winners' Cup. In the second half of the 1970s, the team signed several good players, including the Boselli twins, Mike Sylvester, Chas Menatti, Dino Meneghin, Mike D'Antoni, John Gianelli, Roberto Premier. Bob McAdoo, Joe Barry Carroll, Russ Schoene, Antoine Carr, Mike Brown. American head coach Dan Peterson led the team back to prominence. In the 1980s, the team was sold to the Gabetti family. During this time, they qualified for nine Serie A championships finals, winning five, with the 1987 team winning the Serie A title, the 1986–87 FIBA European Champions Cup, the Italian Cup and the 1987 FIBA Club World Cup.
This gave the club the coveted "Triple Crown" and the rarer "Quadruple Crown". Led by point guard Sasha Djordjević, the team won another FIBA Korać Cup in 1993. Bepi Stefanel purchased the team franchise in 1994, signed-up notable European players like Dejan Bodiroga, Gregor Fučka, Sandro De Pol, Nando Gentile. In 1996, the team won the Italian Cup and its 25th Italian National Championship, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the club. Team management was inconsistent, as ownership groups from 1998 to 2004. Players of the team included Hugo Sconochini, Claudio Coldebella and Petar Naumoski. In 2005, owner Corbelli, which bought the club in 2002, from Sergio Tacchini, was flanked by Adriano Galliani, Massimo Moratti, NBA star Kobe Bryant, stylist Giorgio Armani, as sponsor with the Armani Jeans brand. After difficult years, led by coach Lino Lardo, Olimpia reached the national championship Finals being beaten by Climamio Bologna. On January 25, 2006, in the midst of a disappointing season in the EuroLeague and domestically, Djordjevic was named as the team's new coach.
He left as coach after the 2006–07 season, but not before securing Olimpia a berth in the 2007–08 Euroleague. In 2008, Giorgio Armani bought the team from Giorgio Corbelli, standing as the only owner changing the management structure, naming Livio Proli as President, Lucio Zanca as general manager. Piero Bucchi was chosen to coach the new team, leading Olimpia twice to second place in LEGA Basket, being defeated by Montepaschi Siena in both cases. On January 2011, after 23 years, glorious coach Dan Peterson came back from retirement to replace Piero Bucchi as head coach. However, his stint at Olimpia Milano this time was quite short: after failing to reach the championship Finals, on June 9, Olimpia Milano announced Sergio Scariolo as new head coach for the 2011–12 season; the first player signed for the 2011–12 season was Omar Cook, an American-born play maker, who had played the previous season with Power Electronics Valencia. Due to the NBA lockout, Danilo Gallinari went back to his Alma Mater, playing 15 games: he left the team in December.
Sergio Scariolo was replaced by Luca Banchi at the beginning of the 2013–14 season, the team brought from Montepaschi Siena: David Moss, Kristjan Kangur, Daniel Hackett. The team reached the quarterfinals of EuroLeague, 16 years after its last appearance, but the team lost against the eventual league champions, Maccabi Electra; the team finished in the 1st position the LEGA Basket regular season, in the 7th game of the playoff's finals, Olimpia won its 26th Italian League championship title, its first after 18 years. Alessandro Gentile, the captain of Olimpia, was named MVP of the finals. On 29th of June 2017 Simone Pianigiani was hired as the new head coach and in June 15, 2018, Milano went to win his 28th title by beating Dolomiti Energia Trento in game 6 of the 2018 LBA Finals. Olimpia Milano used the OND Borletti outdoor court for 20 years in Via Costanza. In the mid-1940s, they moved to the PalaFiera Milano, which had a seating capacity of 18,000 people, was the largest indoor sports arena in Europe, second only to the Madison Square Garden in New York City.
At the end of the 1960s, the PalaFiera was abandoned, Olimpia moved into the origi
College basketball today is governed by collegiate athletic bodies including the United States's National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Junior College Athletic Association, the National Christian College Athletic Association. Governing bodies in Canada include the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association; each of these various organizations are subdivided into from one to three divisions based on the number and level of scholarships that may be provided to the athletes. Each organization has different conferences to divide up the teams into groups. Teams are selected into these conferences depending on the location of the schools; these conferences are put in due to the regional play of the teams and to have a structural schedule for each to team to play for the upcoming year. During conference play the teams are ranked not only through the entire NCAA, but the conference as well in which they have tournament play leading into the NCAA tournament.
The history of basketball can be traced back to a YMCA International Training School, known today as Springfield College, located in Springfield, Massachusetts. The sport was created by a physical education teacher named James Naismith, who in the winter of 1891 was given the task of creating a game that would keep track athletes in shape and that would prevent them from getting hurt; the date of the first formal basketball game played at the Springfield YMCA Training School under Naismith's rules is given as December 21, 1891. Basketball began to be played at some college campuses by 1893; the first known college to field a basketball team against an outside opponent was Vanderbilt University, which played against the local YMCA in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 7, 1893. The second recorded instance of an organized college basketball game was Geneva College's game against the New Brighton YMCA on April 8, 1893, in Beaver Falls, which Geneva won 3–0; the first recorded game between two college teams occurred on February 9, 1895, when Hamline University faced Minnesota A&M. Minnesota A&M won the game, played under rules allowing nine players per side, 9–3.
The first intercollegiate match using the modern rule of five players per side is credited as a game between the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa, on January 18, 1896. The Chicago team won the game 15-12, under the coaching of Amos Alonzo Stagg, who had learned the game from James Naismith at the Springfield YMCA. However, some sources state the first "true" five-on-five intercollegiate match was a game in 1897 between Yale and Penn, because although the Iowa team that played Chicago in 1896 was composed of University of Iowa students, it did not represent the university, rather it was organized through a YMCA. By 1900, the game of basketball had spread to colleges across the country; the Amateur Athletic Union's annual U. S. national championship tournament featured collegiate teams playing against non-college teams. Four colleges won the AAU tournament championship: NYU, Butler and Washburn. College teams were runners-up in 1915, 1917, 1920, 1921, 1932 and 1934.
The first known tournament featuring college teams was the 1904 Summer Olympics, where basketball was a demonstration sport, a collegiate championship tournament was held. The Olympic title was won by Hiram College. In March 1908, a two-game "championship series" was organized between the University of Chicago and Penn, with games played in Philadelphia and Bartlett, Illinois. Chicago swept both games to win the series. In March 1922, the 1922 National Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament was held in Indianapolis – the first stand-alone post-season tournament for college teams; the champions of six major conferences participated: Pacific Coast Conference, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Western Pennsylvania League, Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Western Conference and Eastern Intercollegiate League declined invitations to participate. Wabash College won the 1922 tournament.
The first organization to tout a occurring national collegiate championship was the NAIA in 1937, although it was surpassed in prestige by the National Invitation Tournament, or NIT, which brought six teams to New York's Madison Square Garden in the spring of 1938. Temple defeated Colorado in the first NIT tournament championship game, 60–36. In 1939, another national tournament was implemented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association; the location of the NCAA Tournament varied from year to year, it soon used multiple locations each year, so more fans could see games without traveling to New York. Although the NIT was created earlier and was more prestigious than the NCAA for many years, it lost popularity and status to the NCAA Tournament. In 1950, following a double win by the 1949–50 CCNY Beavers men's basketball team, the NCAA ruled that no team could compete in both tournaments, indicated that a team eligible for the NCAA tournament should play in it. Not long afterward, assisted by the 1951 scandals based in New York City, the NCAA tournament had become more prestigious than before, with conference champions and the majority of top-ranked teams competing there.
The NCAA tournament overtook the NIT by 1960. Through the 1960s and 1970s, with UCLA leading the way as winner
The Orlando Magic is an American professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. The Magic compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the franchise was established in 1989 as an expansion franchise, such notable NBA stars as Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Dominique Wilkins, Hedo Türkoğlu have played for the club throughout its young history. As of 2017, the franchise has played in the NBA playoffs for half of its existence, twice went to the NBA Finals, in 1995 and 2009. Orlando has been the second most successful of the four expansion teams brought into the league in 1988 and 1989 in terms of winning percentage, only after the Miami Heat. In September 1985, Orlando businessman Jim L. Hewitt approached Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams as they met in Texas on his idea of bringing an NBA team to Orlando.
Intrigued by the project, Williams signed on as the front man of the investment group one year as he left the 76ers. On June 19, 1986, the two held a news conference to announce their intention of seeking an NBA franchise. At the same time Hewitt and Williams decided to hold a contest in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper to get names for their new franchise. Out of a total of 4,296 submitted entries, the names were subsequently narrowed to four, "Heat", "Tropics", "Juice", "Magic"; the last one, submitted by 11 people, was picked after Williams brought his 7-year-old daughter Karyn to visit in Orlando. On July 27, 1986, it was announced that the committee chose the Magic to be the new name of the Orlando franchise in the NBA; the name "Magic" alludes to the area's biggest tourist attraction and economic engine Walt Disney World, along with its Magic Kingdom. Hewitt added that "You look at all the aspects of Central Florida, you find it is an exciting place, a magical place."Many, including Williams himself at first, thought that Miami or Tampa were better locations in Florida for a franchise, given Orlando was a small town lacking a major airport and a suitable arena.
Hewitt brought investors such as real estate developer William DuPont, Orlando Renegades owner Don Dizney, Southern Fruit Citrus owners Jim and Steve Caruso, talked the Orlando city officials into approving an arena project. Meanwhile, Williams gave presentations to NBA commissioner David Stern and the owners of the other teams of the league that the town was viable; the Magic were one of the four new expansion franchises awarded by the NBA in 1987 along with the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves. The NBA was planning to expand by three teams, with one franchise going to Florida; the Magic became the first major-league professional sports franchise in the Orlando area, following an expansion fee of $32.5 million. The Magic hired Matt Guokas as the team's first coach, who helped the Magic select 12 players in the NBA Expansion Draft on June 15, 1989. On June 27, 1989, the Magic chose Nick Anderson with the 11th pick in the first round, who became the first draft pick of the franchise.
The first game played was an exhibition game on October 13, 1989 against the reigning champions Detroit Pistons, which the Magic won. Anderson was quoted as saying the atmosphere and the people watching the game was "like Game 7 of the NBA Finals". On November 4, 1989, the Magic played their first season game at the Orlando Arena against the visiting New Jersey Nets, who won 111–106 in a hard-fought game; the Magic's first victory came two days as the Magic defeated the New York Knicks 118–110. The inaugural team compiled a record of 18–64 with players including Reggie Theus, Scott Skiles, Terry Catledge, Sam Vincent, Otis Smith, Jerry Reynolds. In the 1990 NBA draft, the Orlando Magic selected Dennis Scott with the fourth overall pick. On December 30, 1990, Scott Skiles racked up 30 assists in the 155–116 victory over the Denver Nuggets, breaking Kevin Porter's NBA single-game assists record. Skiles was named the NBA's Most Improved Player at the end of the season, as the Magic heralded the NBA's most improved record that season.
Forward Dennis Scott set a team mark with 125 three-point field goals for the season, the best long-distance production by a rookie in NBA history. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Despite a 31–51 record, there were 40 sellouts out of 41 home games. On September 19, 1991, the DeVos family, founders of Amway, purchased the franchise for $85 million. Family patriarch Richard DeVos became the owner of the franchise; the 1991–92 season was disappointing for the Magic as various players missed games with injuries. Dennis Scott played only 18 games, Nick Anderson missed 22 games, Stanley Roberts, Jerry Reynolds, Brian Williams, Sam Vincent and Otis Smith all missed at least 27 games each. With a shortage of healthy players the team struggled through a 17-game losing streak and finished with a 21–61 record; the Magic still managed to have all 41 home games sold out. The Magic history was changed on May 17, 1992, when the franchise won the first pick in the 1992 NBA draft Lottery; the Magic selected big-man Shaquille O'Neal from Louisiana State University, the biggest prize in the draft since the Knicks won Patrick Ewing.
O'Neal, a 7' 1" center, made an immediate impact on the Magic. The Magic again became the NBA's most improved franchise. O'Neal was the first rookie to be voted an All-Star starter since
NBA All-Rookie Team
The NBA All-Rookie Team is an annual National Basketball Association honor given since the 1962–63 NBA season to the top rookies during the regular season. Voting is conducted by the NBA head coaches; the All-Rookie Team is composed of two five-man lineups, a first team and a second team. The players each receive two points for each first team vote and one point for each second team vote; the top five players with the highest point total make the first team, with the next five making the second team. In the case of a tie at the fifth position of either team, the roster is expanded. If the first team consists of six players due to a tie, the second team will still consist of five players with the potential for more expansion in the event of additional ties. Ties have occurred several times, most in 2012, when Kawhi Leonard, Iman Shumpert, Brandon Knight tied in votes received. No respect is given to positions. For example, the first team had four forwards, one guard in 2008, while the first team had four centers and one guard in 2016.
Nine All-Rookie Team members have won both the Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award during their careers. Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld are the only players to accomplish this feat in the same season; as of the end of the 2007–08 season, 29 members of the All-Rookie Team have been elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 28 members were not born in the United States and 120 members are active in the NBA. National Basketball Association portal General Specific
Tracy Lamar McGrady Jr. is an American former professional basketball player, best known for his career in the National Basketball Association, where he played as both a shooting guard and small forward. McGrady was a seven-time NBA All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, two-time NBA scoring champion, one-time winner of the NBA Most Improved Player Award, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2017. McGrady entered the NBA straight out of high school and was selected as the ninth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1997 NBA draft. Beginning his career as a low-minute player, he improved his role with the team forming an exciting duo with his cousin Vince Carter. In 2000, he left the Raptors for the Orlando Magic, where he became one of the league's most prolific scorers and a candidate for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. In 2004, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he paired with center Yao Ming to help the Rockets become a perennial playoff team.
His final seasons in the NBA were plagued by injuries, he retired in 2013 following a brief stint with the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association and the San Antonio Spurs. Since retiring, McGrady has worked as a basketball analyst for ESPN. From April–July 2014, he realized his dream of playing professional baseball, pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. McGrady was born on May 1979, in Bartow, Florida, to Melanise Williford, his father was not a part of his everyday life, so Melanise raised McGrady with the help of her mother, Roberta, in Auburndale. As a youth, McGrady played high school basketball and baseball at Auburndale High School for three years before transferring to Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina for his senior season. A unknown player coming out of Florida, he made a name for himself after a strong performance at the Adidas ABCD Camp, an experience that helped McGrady recognize his true talent.
He reflected, "Nobody had a clue who Tracy McGrady was. Sonny Vaccaro gave me that platform, I played against the best players in the world at that time. I left that camp the No. 1 player in the nation, 175 to No. 1." Behind his leadership, Mt. Zion emerged as the number two-ranked team in the country, McGrady was named a McDonald’s All-American, national Player of the Year by USA Today, North Carolina's Mr. Basketball by the Associated Press. McGrady considered playing college basketball at the University of Kentucky, but he decided to enter the NBA draft as he was a projected lottery pick. McGrady was selected as the ninth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1997 NBA draft. For most of the 1997–98 season, he received little playing time, averaging only 13 minutes per game under head coach Darrell Walker. McGrady has described his rookie year as "hell", feeling lonely in Toronto and sleeping for up to 20 hours a day. Late in the season, Walker resigned, McGrady began playing more under new coach Butch Carter, who agreed to increase McGrady's minutes on the condition that McGrady would improve his work ethic.
Before the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, the Raptors drafted McGrady's distant cousin, Vince Carter. The two became inseparable, but Siamese twins is more like it." By the 1999–2000 season, the duo had developed a reputation for their athleticism, giving memorable performances at the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. McGrady, now playing significant minutes, was a contender for the Sixth Man of the Year Award before being elevated to Toronto's starting backcourt in late March. Behind McGrady and Carter's play, the Raptors finished the season with a 45–37 record, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. McGrady's final averages were 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, a career-high 1.9 blocks per game. In the first round of the postseason, the Raptors were swept by the New York Knicks. Following Toronto's first-round exit, McGrady became a free agent, signing a six-year, $67.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic. He elected to join the Magic in part because he disliked his secondary role playing behind Vince Carter, in part so that he could return home to Florida, in part to play with their other newly acquired free agent, Grant Hill.
Hill would go on to play in only 47 games total throughout his tenure with the team, forcing McGrady into a more significant leadership and scoring role than anticipated. During the 2000–01 season, McGrady defied the expectations of many, emerging as one of the best players in the NBA, with Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Ernie Grunfeld going so far as to call him "one of the top five talents in the league". McGrady's play earned him his first All-Star Game appearance and, behind averages of 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game, he was selected to his first All-NBA Team, being named to the All-NBA Second Team. He was voted the league's Most Improved Player. With a 43–39 record, the Magic entered the playoffs as the East's seventh seed, drawing a matchup with the Bucks. In Game 3 of the series, McGrady notched 42 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists in a performance that Bill Simmons called McGrady's "superstar audition tape". Orlando was eliminated by Milwaukee in four games. For the 2001–02 season, McGrady averaged 25.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists per game, earning his second All-NBA Team selection, this time to the All-NBA First Team.
During that year's All-Star Game, he completed one of the most memorable highlights of his career, throwing the ball off the backboard to himself and completing an alley-oop in traffic. At season's end, the Magic were again ous
The center known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is the tallest player on the team, has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is 6 feet 10 inches or taller and weighs 240 pounds or more, they traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five; the center is considered a necessary component for a successful team in professional leagues such as the NBA. Great centers have been the foundation for most of the dynasties in both the NBA and NCAA; the 6'10" George Mikan pioneered the Center position, shattering the held perception that tall players could not develop the agility and coordination to play basketball well, ushering in the role of the dominant big man. He led DePaul University to the NIT title after turning professional, won seven National Basketball League, Basketball Association of America and NBA Championships in his ten-year career, nine of them with the Minneapolis Lakers.
Using his height to dominate opposing players, Mikan invented the shot block. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain further transformed basketball by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than previous centers. Following the retirement of George Mikan, the rivalry of the two big men came to dominate the NBA. Between the two of them and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today. Most notably and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds. Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships, he joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career as well as five MVP awards. Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking and physical man-to-man defense. While he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense, much of the team's scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy.
As the NBA's first African-American superstar, Russell struggled throughout his career with the racism he encountered from fans in Boston after the 1966–67 season, when he became the first African-American in any major sport to be named player-coach. His principal rival, Wilt Chamberlain, listed at 7'1", 275 pounds, lacked Russell's supporting cast. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks, leading them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime, Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959, Chamberlain won two Championships, in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, although his teams were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, he won seven scoring titles, eleven rebounding titles, four regular season Most Valuable Player awards, including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award.
Stronger than any player of his era, he was capable of scoring and rebounding at will. Although he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming, as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting, he set a number of records that have never been broken. Most notably, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season and score 100 points in a single game, he holds the NBA's all-time records for rebounding average, rebounds in a single game, career rebounds. A lesser-known center of the era was Nate Thurmond, who played the forward position opposite Wilt Chamberlain for the San Francisco Warriors but moved to center after Chamberlain was traded to the new Philadelphia franchise. Although he never won a Championship, Thurmond was known as the best screen setter in the league, his averages of 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in 1966–67 and 1967–68, are exceeded only by Chamberlain and Russell. In contrast to the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, the 1970s were a decade of parity in the NBA, with eight different champions and no back-to-back winners.
At the college level, the UCLA Bruins, under Coach John Wooden, built the greatest dynasty in NCAA basketball history, winning seven consecutive titles between 1967 and 1973. UCLA had won two consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965 with teams that pressed and emphasized guard play. After not winning in 1966, Wooden's teams changed their style, he led UCLA to three championships-in 1967, 68' and 69'-while winning the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. During his college career, the NCAA enacted a ban on dunking because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot, his entrance into the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 was timely, as Bill Russell had just retired and Wilt Chamberlain was 33 years old and plagued by injuries. After leading the Bucks to the 1971 NBA championship, te