Denzel Edwin "Denny" Crum is a former American men's college basketball coach at the University of Louisville from 1971 to 2001, compiling a 675–295 record. He guided the Cardinals to six Final Fours. Honored in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1994, Crum is one of the major figures in the history of sports in Kentucky and in college basketball in general; as the head coach at U of L, Crum is credited with pioneering the now-common strategy of scheduling tough non-conference match-ups early in the season in order to prepare his teams for March's NCAA tournament, where one defeat ends the season. Crum's prolific post-season play and calm demeanor earned him the monikers "Mr. March" and his most well-known nickname, "Cool Hand Luke." Denzel Edwin Crum was born in California. From 1954 to 1956, Denny Crum played basketball at Los Angeles Pierce College. In 1956, he transferred to UCLA to play for John Wooden. While at UCLA, Crum was honored with the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Trophy for outstanding first-year varsity player.
He received the Bruin Bench Award for most improved player the following year. After graduating in 1958, Crum served as the freshman basketball coach at UCLA; the following year, he returned to Pierce College to serve as head coach. After four years at Pierce College, Crum was rehired by Wooden as a top assistant coach and chief recruiter; as a coach at UCLA, he played a role in three NCAA titles. He remained at UCLA until his departure for Louisville in 1971. In 1971, Crum was hired as head coach by the University of Louisville. Although there had been substantial national success under Bernard "Peck" Hickman, it was under Crum that the University of Louisville became a consistent college basketball power. By 1972, Crum had taken his first team to the NCAA Final Four, where his team lost to John Wooden's UCLA team. Crum would go on to lead the Louisville Cardinals to five more final fours, he is tied for sixth all-time in number of final four appearances with Tom Izzo. They rank behind John Wooden, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino.
On March 24, 1980, the Cardinals became NCAA Tournament champions after defeating Crum's alma mater, UCLA, 59–54. Crum's 1980 national champions have been credited with popularizing the High-5. Six years Louisville would overcome Duke 72–69 for a second title because of the talented play of "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison. Crum is one of only eleven coaches to achieve two or more national championships. In 30 seasons, Crum took the Cardinals to 23 NCAA tournaments, where they had an overall record of 43-21. While in the Metro Conference, the Cardinals won 12 regular season titles and 11 tournament championships. In its 19 years of naming a champion, the Metro had Louisville as second place 17 times. In 1993, Crum became the second fastest coach to reach 500 wins, he ranks 16th in overall Division. Crum coached the 1977 USA World University Team. In 1987, he coached the Pan American team to a silver medal. Crum had a signature style as a coach, he held a rolled up program in one hand during games and would gesture with it.
At Louisville, whose team colors are red and black, Crum sometimes wore a red blazer on the sidelines. On the court, Crum's teams were famous for running a 2-2-1 zone press that switched in half court to man-to-man defense. Like his mentor at UCLA, John Wooden, Crum ran the high-post offense. From 1989 to 1996, four of Crum's post players were selected in the top 16 picks in the NBA draft, including three in the top ten. Crum's guards tended to score on the interior: his 1980 national championship team was known as the "Doctors of Dunk." On defense, his players were expected to be interchangeable, switching on all picks, fronted the pivot. This defense encouraged long distance shots; the year after Crum won his last national championship in 1986, the NCAA introduced the three-point line to post-season play, revolutionizing the game. With outside shooting newly emphasized, Crum never returned to the Final Four. Throughout his career, Crum was famous for superior in-game coaching, his teams tended to score out of timeouts—presumably because Crum would draw up successful plays in the huddle—and play well in close games.
On his 64th birthday, Crum announced. Though Crum insisted the decision was his, it is rumored that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich drove him out to pursue the newly available Rick Pitino. From 2004 to 2014, Crum co-hosted a local radio talk show with former University of Kentucky head coach Joe B. Hall. Both did their portions of the show from different studios, Crum in Louisville and Hall in Lexington; the Joe B. and Denny Show was the top Fox Sports radio show in the state of Kentucky. The show, which aired on WKRD in Louisville and WVLK-FM in Lexington, was carried by 21 stations in all at its peak, still had 16 stations when it ended on October 30, 2014 after WVLK-FM announced a format change. In the 1980s, Crum was named National Coach of the Year three times, he was awarded Metro Conference Coach of the year three times. In 1980, he was named the Sporting News Coach of the Year, the Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year, the Basketball Weekly Man of the Year. In 1994 Crum was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2002, Crum received the Legends of Coaching award given by the John R. Wooden Award Committee; this award rec
The Sacramento Kings are an American professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California. The Kings compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Western Conference's Pacific Division; the Kings are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento. The team plays its home games at the Golden 1 Center; the Kings are one of the oldest continuously operating professional basketball franchises in the nation. They originated in Rochester, New York, as the Rochester Seagrams in 1923 and joined the National Basketball League in 1945 as the Rochester Royals, they jumped to the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA, in 1948. As the Royals, the team was successful on the court, winning the NBA championship in 1951; the team, found it difficult to turn a profit in the comparatively small market of Rochester and relocated to Cincinnati in 1957, becoming the Cincinnati Royals. In 1972 the team relocated to Kansas City and was renamed the Kansas City-Omaha Kings because it split its home games between Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1975, the Kings ceased playing home games in Omaha and became the Kansas City Kings. The team again failed to find success in its market and moved to Sacramento in 1985; the Royals defected to the NBL's rival, the Basketball Association of America, in 1948. In 1949, as a result of that year's absorption of the NBL by the BAA, the Royals became members of the newly formed NBA along with the Fort Wayne Pistons, Minneapolis Lakers, Indianapolis Jets. A year the BAA absorbed the remaining NBL teams to become the National Basketball Association; the move to the BAA took away Rochester's profitable exhibition schedule, placed it in the same Western Division that Minneapolis was in. Of the two best teams in pro basketball, only one of them could play in the league finals from 1949 to 1954. Minneapolis, with George Mikan, was always a little better at playoff time than the Royals. With their smallish arena and now-limited schedule, the Royals became less profitable as Harrison maintained a remarkably high standard for the team, which finished no lower than second in its division in both the NBL and BAA/NBA from 1945 to 1954.
Harrison knew that the NBA was outgrowing Rochester, spent most of the 1950s looking for a buyer for his team. The Royals won the NBA title in 1951 by defeating the New York Knicks 4–3, it is the only NBA championship in the franchise's history. The title, did not translate into profit for the Royals; the roster turned over except for Bobby Wanzer. Now a losing team filled with rookies, the Royals still did not turn a profit. Meanwhile, the NBA was putting pressure on Harrison to relocate his team to a larger city. With this in mind, the 1956–57 season was the Royals' last in Rochester; the Royals' stay in Rochester featured the services of nine future members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, one member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a Hollywood Walk of Famer: Al Cervi, Bob Davies, Alex Hannum, Les Harrison, Red Holzman, Arnie Risen, Maurice Stokes, Jack Twyman, Bobby Wanzer, Otto Graham, Chuck Connors and Jack McMahon. In April 1957, the Harrison brothers moved the Royals to Cincinnati; this move followed a well-received regular season game played at Cincinnati Gardens on February 1, 1957.
The change of venue had been said to have been suggested by Jack Twyman and Dave Piontek, who were two of several roster players on the new Royals from that region. Cincinnati, which had a strong college basketball fan base and no NFL franchise to compete with, was deemed the best choice for the Harrisons; the Royals name continued to fit in Cincinnati known as the "Queen City". During the team's first NBA draft in Cincinnati, the team acquired Clyde Lovellette and guard George King, they teamed with the 1–2 punch of Maurice Stokes and Twyman to produce a budding contender in the team's first season in the Queen City. Injury to Marshall and the loss of star guard Si Green to military service dropped the team into a tie for second place in the NBA Western Division during the 1957–58 season's second half. In the season's finale, All-Pro star Maurice Stokes struck his head when he fell after pursuing a rebound, he shook off the effects of the fall as he had been unconscious. After Game One in the playoffs three days Stokes' head injury was aggravated by airplane cabin pressure during the flight back to Cincinnati for Game Two.
He suffered a seizure and was permanently hospitalized, a tragedy that shook the team. Stokes, a tremendous talent who could play center and guard, was 2nd in the NBA in rebounds and 3rd in assists, a double-feat only Wilt Chamberlain has matched for a full season. Without Stokes, the team nearly folded. Fellow All-Star Twyman rose to All-Pro level the next two seasons for Cincinnati as the team posted two 19-win seasons; the 1958–59 Cincinnati team featured five rookies, with Lovellette and other key players having left the team in the wake of Stokes' tragic injury. The Harrisons, under pressure to sell to a local group, sold to a local ownership headed by Thomas Woods; the fact that Stokes was dumped by the team and the new ownership infuriated many. Jack Twyman came to the aid of his teammate, legally adopted Stokes. Raising funds for Stokes' medical treatment, Twyman helped him until his death in April 1970; the 1973 feature film Maurie, which co-starred actors Bernie Casey and Bo Svenson, dramatized their story.
Shooting for the beleaguered team, Twyman was the second NBA player to average 30 points per game for an NBA season. Twyman and Stokes were late
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
1992–93 NBA season
The 1992–93 NBA season was the 47th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Chicago Bulls winning their third-straight NBA Championship, beating the Phoenix Suns 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals; the 1993 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, with the West defeating the East 135–132 in overtime. Much to delight of the local fans, Karl Malone and John Stockton of the Utah Jazz were named co-MVPs of the game; the Phoenix Suns played their first season at America West Arena. The San Antonio Spurs played their final season in the HemisFair Arena; the Charlotte Hornets became the first of the four late-1980s expansion franchises to win a playoff series on Alonzo Mourning's 20-foot jumper at the buzzer in Game 4 of their first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Michael Jordan scored his 20,000th career point and tied Wilt Chamberlain's record of seven scoring titles. In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Suns defeated the Bulls in triple overtime, 129–121.
This marked the second time a Finals game lasted three overtimes, along with Game 5 of the 1976 Finals, which involved the Suns. Coincidentally, in the 1976 game, Paul Westphal played for the Suns, in the 1993 game, he coached the Suns. Michael Jordan scored 40 or more points in 4 consecutive games of the NBA Finals, setting a record, averaged an NBA Finals record 41.0 points per game for the series. The Chicago Bulls defeated the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals to become the first team in 30 years to win three consecutive championships. New Jersey Nets guard Dražen Petrović was killed in an automobile accident in Munich, Germany on June 7. Two months on July 27, Boston Celtics guard Reggie Lewis died of a heart attack during practice. Both were honored by their respective teams by retiring their numbers, Petrovic would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; the Dallas Mavericks became the third team to lose 70 games in a season, after the 1972–73 Philadelphia 76ers and the 1986–87 Los Angeles Clippers, they finished 11–71.
They would be joined by the 1997–98 Denver Nuggets, the 2009–10 New Jersey Nets and the 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers. During the regular season, three backboards were broken. Two were done by Orlando's Shaquille O'Neal, once against Phoenix where he dunked the ball so hard the entire goal collapsed and once against New Jersey when he pulled the entire backboard off of the goal; the other was by New Jersey's Chris Morris, who dunked with such force during a game against Chicago that the backboard glass shattered. This led the league to provide stronger shatterproof backboards. However, every team is still required to have a spare backboard in their home arenas just in case; the Atlanta Hawks changed their uniforms. The Dallas Mavericks changed their road uniforms from green to blue; the New York Knicks changed their logo. The Phoenix Suns changed their logo and uniforms, moved into the America West Arena
In basketball, a rebound, sometimes colloquially referred to as a board, is a statistic awarded to a player who retrieves the ball after a missed field goal or free throw. Rebounds are given to a player who tips in a missed shot on his team's offensive end. Rebounds in basketball are a routine part in the game, as most possessions change after a shot is made, or the rebound allows the defensive team to take possession. A rebound can be grabbed by either a defensive player. Rebounds are divided into two main categories: "offensive rebounds", in which the ball is recovered by the offensive side and does not change possession, "defensive rebounds", in which the defending team gains possession; the majority of rebounds are defensive because the team on defense tends to be in better position to recover missed shots. Offensive rebounds give the offensive team another opportunity to score whether right away or by resetting the offense. A block is not considered a rebound. A ball does not need to "rebound" off the rim or backboard for a rebound to be credited.
Rebounds are credited after any missed shot, including air balls. If a player takes a shot and misses and the ball bounces on the ground before someone picks it up the person who picks up the ball is credited for a rebound. Rebounds are credited to the first player that gains clear possession of the ball or to the player that deflects the ball into the basket for a score. A rebound is credited to a team when it gains possession of the ball after any missed shot, not cleared by a single player. A team rebound is never credited to any player, is considered to be a formality as according to the rules of basketball, every missed shot must be rebounded whether a single player controls the ball or not. Great rebounders tend to be strong; because height is so important, most rebounds are made by centers and power forwards, who are positioned closer to the basket. The lack of height can sometimes be compensated by the strength to box out taller players away from the ball to capture the rebound. For example, Charles Barkley once led the league in rebounding despite being much shorter than his counterparts.
Some shorter guards can be excellent rebounders as well such as point guard Jason Kidd who led the New Jersey Nets in rebounding for several years. Great rebounders must have a keen sense of timing and positioning. Great leaping ability is an important asset, but not necessary. Players such as Larry Bird and Moses Malone were excellent rebounders, but were never known for their leaping ability. Bird has stated. That's where I get mine"). Players position themselves in the best spot to get the rebound by "boxing out"—i.e. by positioning themselves between an opponent and the basket, maintaining body contact with the player he is guarding. The action can be called "blocking out". A team can be boxed out by several players using this technique to stop the other team from rebounding; because fighting for a rebound can be physical, rebounding is regarded as "grunt work" or a "hustle" play. Overly aggressive boxing out or preventing being boxed out can lead to personal fouls. Statistics of a player's "rebounds per game" or "rebounding average" measure a player's rebounding effectiveness by dividing the number of rebounds by the number of games played.
Rebound rates go beyond raw rebound totals by taking into account external factors, such as the number of shots taken in games and the percentage of those shots that are made. Rebounds were first recorded in the NBA during the 1950–51 season. Both offensive and defensive rebounds were first recorded in the NBA during the 1973–74 season and ABA during the 1967–68 season. New camera technology has been able to shed much more light on where missed shots will land. Wilt Chamberlain – led the NBA in rebounds in 11 different seasons, has the most career rebounds in the regular season, the highest career average, the single season rebounding records in total and average, most rebounds in a regular season game and playoff game in the NBA, has the most career All-Star Game rebounds. Bill Russell – first player to average over 20 rebounds per game in the regular season, ranks second to Chamberlain in regular season total and average rebounds, averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in 10 of 13 seasons played, grabbed 51 rebounds in a single game, grabbed a record 32 rebounds in one half, grabbed 40 rebounds in the NBA Finals twice, is the all-time playoff leader in total and average rebounds.
Bob Pettit – averaged 20.3 rebounds per game in the 1960-61 season, his career average of 16.2 rebounds per game is third all-time, holds the top two performances for rebounds in an NBA All-Star Game with 26 and 27. Nate Thurmond – averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in two seasons, career average of 15.0 rpg, holds the all-time NBA record for rebounds in a single quarter with 18. He is the only player besides Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry Lucas to record more than 40 rebounds in a single game. Jerry Lucas – averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in two seasons, had a career average of 15.6 rpg. Along with Russell and Thurmond is one of only four players to grab at least 40 rebounds in a single game. Moses Malone – led the NBA in rebounds per game in six d
1999–2000 NBA season
The 1999–2000 NBA season was the 54th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA championship, beating the Indiana Pacers 4 games to 2 in the 2000 NBA Finals. Effective this season, the first game of the NBA regular season begins on either the first Tuesday of November or the last Tuesday of October, the last game on the third Wednesday of April; the NBA playoffs begin on the third Saturday of April. The 2000 NBA All-Star Game held in California; the West won 137–126. Tim Duncan from the San Antonio Spurs and Shaquille O'Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers shared the game's MVP honors; the Slam Dunk Contest returned after a two-year absence, with Vince Carter winning the title in what is considered to be one of the best Dunk Contest performances of all time. Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers played their first games at the Staples Center; the Lakers would go on to win 19 consecutive games between February 4, 2000, March 16, 2000, the sixth-longest winning streak in NBA history.
Staples Center's first season saw its tenants at two opposite ends of the league: the Lakers finished with a best regular season record of 67–15 and the NBA title, while the Clippers finished 15–67, the worst of the season. The Denver Nuggets played their first game at the Pepsi Center; the Indiana Pacers played their first game at the Conseco Fieldhouse. The Indiana Pacers advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history; the Atlanta Hawks played their first game at the Philips Arena. The Miami Heat started the season playing their home games at Miami Arena. In January, they played their first game at the AmericanAirlines Arena; the Toronto Raptors played their first full season at the Air Canada Centre. They made the playoffs for the first time becoming the first Canadian team to do so. During Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, the Portland Trail Blazers held a 75-60 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers with 10:28 left to play. During the fourth quarter, the Blazers would miss thirteen consecutive shots, allowing the Lakers to claw back and take the game, 89–84.
The game was capped off with a famous alley-oop to Shaquille O'Neal from Kobe Bryant. Two active players were killed in automobile accidents within four months of each other. On January 12, Bobby Phills of the Charlotte Hornets was killed as a result of reckless driving while racing against teammate David Wesley. On May 20, Malik Sealy of the Minnesota Timberwolves was driving home from a birthday party being held for Kevin Garnett when his SUV was struck by a drunk driver, driving on the wrong side of the road. Phills would have his jersey retired during the season after news of his unexpected death was announced, while Sealy would have his jersey retired after this season concluded. San Antonio Spurs forward Sean Elliott was sidelined for most of the season while undergoing kidney transplant operations, he returned on March 13, becoming the first player to return following kidney transplant. The Boston Celtics retired their trademark parquet floor on December 22, 1999, after 54 years; the floor would be replaced by a replica combining elements of the old floor and new wooden sections.
Doc Rivers became the first recipient of the NBA Coach of the Year Award to have not led his team to the playoffs. He coached the Orlando Magic to a respectable 41-41 record, good enough for the 9th seed in the East The season marked Patrick Ewing's last in a New York Knicks uniform, he was traded during the 2000 offseason to the Seattle SuperSonics in a three-team deal. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain died on October 12, 1999, at 63. Wilt's former teams, the Lakers and Warriors honored him by sporting black patches for the rest of the season. Kevin Johnson returned from retirement to replace the injured Jason Kidd of Phoenix Suns in this season's playoffs, but the Suns fell to the Lakers in the second round and Johnson would retire again. 36-year-old Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley suffered a devastating injury early in the season but returned for a final game before retiring. The Atlanta Hawks changed their uniforms; the Cleveland Cavaliers changed their uniforms. The Denver Nuggets moved into the Pepsi Center.
The Detroit Pistons added new maroon alternate uniforms. The Indiana Pacers moved into the Conseco Fieldhouse; the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers both moved into the Staples Center, while the Lakers changed their uniforms. The Miami Heat changed their logo and uniforms, moved into the AmericanAirlines Arena in January; the Philadelphia 76ers added new blue alternate uniforms. The Seattle SuperSonics added new red alternate uniforms; the Toronto Raptors changed their uniforms removing the pinstripes. Notes z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs y – Clinched division title x – Clinched playoff spot Teams in bold advanced to the next round; the numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record.
* Division winnerBold Series winnerItalic Team with home-court advantage Most Valuable Player: Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers Co-Rookies of the Year: Elton Brand, Chicago Bulls.
The Seattle SuperSonics known as the Sonics, were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington. The SuperSonics played in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Pacific and Northwest divisions from 1967 until 2008. After the 2007–08 season ended, the team relocated to Oklahoma City and now plays as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sam Schulman owned the team from its 1967 inception until 1983, it was owned by Barry Ackerley, Basketball Club of Seattle, headed by Starbucks chairman emeritus, former president and CEO Howard Schultz. On July 18, 2006, the Basketball Club of Seattle sold the SuperSonics and its Women's National Basketball Association sister franchise Seattle Storm to the Professional Basketball Club LLC, headed by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett; the sale was approved by the NBA Board of Governors on October 24, 2006, finalized on October 31, 2006, at which point the new ownership group took control. After failing to find public funding to construct a new arena in the Seattle area, the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City before the 2008–09 season, following a $45 million settlement with the city of Seattle to pay off the team's existing lease at KeyArena at Seattle Center in advance of its 2010 expiration.
Home games were played at KeyArena known as Seattle Center Coliseum, for 33 of the franchise's 41 seasons in Seattle. In 1978, the team moved to the Kingdome, shared with the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball and the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, they returned to the Coliseum full-time in 1985, moving temporarily to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, for the 1994–95 season while the Coliseum was renovated and rebranded as KeyArena. The SuperSonics won the NBA championship in 1979. Overall, the franchise won three Western Conference titles: 1978, 1979, 1996; the franchise won six divisional titles, their last being in 2005, with five in the Pacific Division and one in the Northwest Division. Settlement terms of a lawsuit between the city of Seattle and Clay Bennett's ownership group stipulated the SuperSonics' banners and retired jerseys remain in Seattle; the SuperSonics' franchise history, would be shared with the Thunder. On December 20, 1966, Los Angeles businessmen Sam Schulman and Eugene V. Klein, who both owned the AFL's San Diego Chargers at the time, a group of minority partners were awarded an NBA franchise for the city of Seattle.
Schulman would serve as the active head of team operations. He named the SuperSonics after Boeing's awarded contract for the SST project, canceled; the SuperSonics were Seattle's first major league sports franchise. Beginning play on October 13, 1967, the SuperSonics were coached by Al Bianchi and featured All-Star guard Walt Hazzard and NBA All-Rookie Team members Bob Rule and Al Tucker; the expansion team stumbled out of the gates with a 144–116 loss in their first game in San Francisco against the San Francisco Warriors. The team got their first win on October 21, their third game of the season in San Diego against the San Diego Rockets in overtime 117–110, finished the season with a 23–59 record. Hazzard was traded to the Atlanta Hawks before the start of the next season for Lenny Wilkens. Wilkens brought a strong all-around game to the SuperSonics, averaging 22.4 points, 8.2 assists, 6.2 rebounds per game for Seattle in the 1968–69 season. Rule, improved on his rookie statistics with 24.0 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game.
The SuperSonics, only won 30 games and Bianchi was replaced by Wilkens as player/coach during the offseason. Wilkens and Rule both represented Seattle in the 1970 NBA All-Star Game, Wilkens led the NBA in assists during the 1969–70 season. In June 1970 the NBA owners voted 13–4 to work toward a merger with the ABA; the Oscar Robertson suit delayed the merger, the SuperSonics remained in Seattle. Early in the 1970–71 season, Rule tore his Achilles' tendon and was lost for the rest of the year. Wilkens was named the 1971 All-Star Game MVP, but the big news of the season came when owner Sam Schulman managed to land American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year and MVP Spencer Haywood following a lengthy court battle; the following season, the SuperSonics went on to record their first winning season at 47–35. The team, led by player-coach Wilkens and First Team forward Haywood, held a 46–27 mark on March 3, but late season injuries to starters Haywood, Dick Snyder, Don Smith contributed to the team losing eight of its final nine games.
For the 1972–73 season, Wilkens was dealt to Cleveland in a unpopular trade, without his leadership the SuperSonics fell to a 26–56 record. One of the few bright spots of the season was Haywood's second consecutive All-NBA First Team selection, as he averaged a SuperSonics record 29.2 points per game and collected 12.9 rebounds per game. The legendary Bill Russell was hired as the head coach in the following year, in 1975 he coached the SuperSonics to the playoffs for the firs