Gilbert Arenas

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Posted by sonny 03/05/2009 @ 07:11

Tags : gilbert arenas, basketball players, basketball, sports

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The Wizards of (Second-Best) Odds - Washington Post
(Photo by Jamie Rose for The New York Times) When I noticed that the Spurs beat out Boston to get Duncan 12 years ago, it took me back to one of Gilbert Arenas's more controversial comments from last season, when he told Post columnist Mike Wise in...
The Best of the Top Five - Washington Post
(Photo by Walter Ioss /Getty Images) Taken second overall out of tiny Winston-Salem State, Monroe became the rookie of the year in 1968 as he averaged 24.3 points and set the franchise record with 56 points in a game (until Gilbert Arenas broke it with...
Wizards think Blake - Washington Times
After slogging through the first 75 games with both franchise point guard Gilbert Arenas and top center Brendan Haywood sidelined with injuries, the Wizards finally got the majority of their pieces back, providing a glimpse of the team that had reached...
Roundtable: What Do the Wizards Do If They Pick 2nd? - Washington Post Blogs
But before selecting Rubio, the Wizards' point guard situation after Gilbert Arenas should be considered. Rubio, similarly to Javaris Crittenton, is potentially capable of playing alongside Arenas. Teams with title aspirations need dependable...
What Should the Wizards Do? - Washington Post
With team and player options, as many as 10 Wizards are already under contract for 2010-11, including more than $10 million each per season for Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas. But their salary situation isn't dire two seasons from now...
Roundtable: What Do the Wizards Do If They Pick 4th? - Washington Post
One is that Wizards management is completely committed to the Gilbert Arenas/Caron Butler/Antawn Jamison trio; otherwise, Jamison would have been traded to Cleveland and Arenas would have not been re-signed. The other is that the Big Three need another...
Wizards Have a Lot of Choices to Make This Summer - Bleacher Report
Sure Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison might play at a level equal to or higher than Butler, but Arenas hasn't played a full season in almost three years, and Antawn Jamison is the most likely of the "Big Three" to be traded....
Weekly Countdown: Best landing spots for draft's potential top picks -
The Wizards and Warriors would have to consider picking Rubio to play alongside Gilbert Arenas or Monta Ellis, respectively, as well as to serve as a replacement should either Arenas or Ellis suffer another injury. "I think he fits the best with...
Kings to follow the bouncing (pingpong) balls -- and await their fate - Sacramento Bee
1 pick, theirs was a far different story because former All-Star Gilbert Arenas played in just two games due to left knee surgery. "This (lottery) is probably bigger for (the Kings) than just about any team that's in the lottery," Lee said....
Glen Davis and Leon Powe are Unrestricted Free Agents? Inconceivable! - Clips Nation
Back when Gilbert Arenas signed with Washington, the Warriors were unable to match the Wizards offer. However, that was NOT because Arenas was unrestricted - it was because the Warriors did not have full Bird right's and were therefore not allowed to...

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Jay Arenas Jr. (born January 6, 1982, in Tampa, Florida) is an American professional basketball player in the NBA. He currently plays for the Washington Wizards.

Though born in Florida, Gilbert moved to California with his father at a young age, and became one of the best young basketball players to ever come out of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. He attended Grant High School in North Hollywood, and accepted a scholarship offer to the University of Arizona late in his junior year.From the time of his entry into the league, Arenas's popularity soared. He transformed himself from being a relative unknown to being voted by fans as an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference in 2007. Arenas overcame a 213,000 vote deficit at one point to edge out Vince Carter by just over 3,000 votes for the second of the two starting guard spots, the other spot going to Dwyane Wade. Arenas was most often nicknamed "Agent Zero," but has increasingly been referred to as "Hibachi," a nod to the small Japanese heating device, which literally translates to "bowl of fire." Both names have quickly become fan favorites in the Washington area.

When Arenas entered the 2001 NBA Draft out of the University of Arizona, he did not seem one of the best prospects. In high school, he was told he would never make it, so he took that on as a challenge and took the jersey number zero. Teams in the first round passed on Arenas because he lacked the size needed at the shooting guard position in the NBA and lacked the awareness and ball handling skills of a point guard. His dream was to be drafted by the New York Knicks, who had two picks in the first round. They had shown interest in him but they passed. With no position solidified and a shaky prospect at best, Arenas went the entire first round without being drafted.

The Golden State Warriors finally drafted him with the second pick in the second round (31st overall). Although the Warriors did not enjoy much team success during his tenure with them, Arenas quickly established himself as one of the league's bright young talents. In 2003, his second year in the league, Arenas received the NBA Most Improved Player Award and was named Most Valuable Player of the Rookie-Sophomore game during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

After that season, he was one of the most sought-after free agents of the NBA. He signed with the Washington Wizards, reportedly after flipping a coin to decide among several teams, including the Wizards, Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers. Arenas had a disappointing first season with the Wizards, battling a strained abdominal muscle injury all season. However, Arenas enjoyed great success in his second season in Washington. He teamed up with shooting guard Larry Hughes (22.0 points per game) in 2004-05 to give the Wizards the highest scoring backcourt duo in the NBA. Arenas was selected for his first NBA All-Star Game. He guided the team to a 45-win season and its first playoff berth since 1997. Arenas led the team in scoring with 25.5 ppg, and finished seventh in the league in that category. He also finished sixth in the league in steals per game in 2004-05 with 2.24 (Hughes led the league with 2.93 steals per game).

Known for his fierce competitiveness and somewhat unusual behavior, Arenas quickly became a fan favorite in Washington. In the fifth game of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2005, Arenas hit a 16-foot fadeaway as time expired to give the Wizards a 112-110 win over the Chicago Bulls. The Wizards eventually won the series, the franchise's first playoff series victory in more than a decade.

Arenas had a career year during the 2005-06 season in which he averaged 29.3 points, which ranked fourth among the scoring leaders, two steals (also fourth), and 6.1 assists per game. Despite his accomplishments, neither fans nor coaches selected Arenas to the 2006 All-Star Game. He was able to get in due to the injury to Indiana Pacers forward–center Jermaine O'Neal. He also participated in the Three-point Shootout, where he was the runner-up to Dirk Nowitzki in the contest.

During the offseason, Arenas said that he was willing to take a pay cut in order to give the Wizards additional money with which to sign available free agents. He has expressed a desire to win a championship with the Wizards. One of Arenas's most memorable play is a 40-foot jump shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Round 1 of the 2006 NBA playoffs.

During the 2006-07 NBA season, Arenas established himself as a threat in close game situations. On January 3, 2007, Arenas hit a 32-foot buzzer-beater to win the game against the Milwaukee Bucks, 108-105. Two weeks later on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day he hit yet another buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat the Utah Jazz, 114-111, in a thriller at the Verizon Center. This same scenario has been added as a cut scene in the video game NBA Live 2008. He also hit a game-winning layup as time expired to beat the Seattle SuperSonics on March 21, 2007.

In an overtime game versus the Los Angeles Lakers on December 17, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Arenas scored a career-high 60 points, adding 8 rebounds and 8 assists in helping lead the Wizards over the Lakers 147-141. Arenas now holds the Wizards' franchise record for most points scored in a game by an individual. The previous record was held by Earl Monroe with 56 points, achieved in 1968 which was also an overtime game against the Lakers. Arenas's 16 points in the extra period also set an NBA record for most points in one overtime period, surpassing Earl Boykins' record by one point.

Gilbert became noted during the season for his anger with his snub by Team USA for the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and assistant coach Mike D'Antoni cited Arenas's injury as the reason for his not making the team.

Arenas himself has noted that he withdrew from the United States national team for the 2006 FIBA World Championship because he felt that assistant coaches Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan had pre-determined the roster even prior to tryouts. Afterward, he stated that he planned on averaging 50 points against their respective teams (Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers). He succeeded at his goal versus powerhouse Phoenix, scoring 54 points, including 21-of-37 from the field, 6-of-12 three-pointers (while reportedly eyeing in the direction of Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo), in a high-scoring 144-139 Wizards win over the Suns. However, on February 11 versus the Blazers, he was held to a lowly nine points, including tying the Wizards' franchise record for three-point futility, going 0-for-8 from behind the arc, in a 94-73 loss versus Portland.

In February, 2007, during the final days of All-Star voting, Arenas was voted as a first-time starter for the 2007 NBA All-Star game for the Eastern Conference, edging out Vince Carter by a slight margin, with 1,454,166 votes to Carter's 1,451,156. At the time he was averaging 29.7 points per game, second in the league.

Towards the end of the season Arenas tore his MCL during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats when Gerald Wallace fell into his leg. The Wizards struggled to finish the season with Arenas and teammate Caron Butler both being injured. Washington earned a playoff berth, but was swept in the first round in a rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Arenas had only played in 8 games this season due to a knee injury, before he started practicing again in May, and returned to action on April 2, 2008 against the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 17 points in a 110-109 home loss.

Ten days prior, Arenas stormed out of the locker room before a game against the Detroit Pistons. He had wanted to play, but his doctor did not give him clearance. Arenas made a surprise return on April 9, when he came out of the locker room with 5:30 left in the first quarter. He finished the game scoring 13 points and dishing out 3 assists in helping the Wizards beat the Boston Celtics 109-95. He came off the bench for the rest of the regular season as not to disrupt the chemistry the Wizards had built without him. Arenas got his wish when they matched up against the Cavaliers for the third straight year; however, it was apparent he was not 100% healthy. In games 1-3, he played limited minutes, citing soreness in his surgically repaired knee. A few minutes before game 4 of their first-round playoff appearance against the Cavaliers, Arenas announced he would sit out the rest of the playoffs.

On June 9, 2008, Arenas officially opted out of the final year of his contract. Arenas also stated that he would consider re-signing with the Wizards if they were able to retain fellow free agent and teammate Antawn Jamison. The Wizards did indeed sign Jamison to a contract. Arenas was offered a five-year contract worth more than $100 million by the Golden State Warriors and another max deal by the Wizards, a six-year deal worth $124 million. On July 13, 2008, Arenas signed a contract worth $111 million over six years with the Wizards.

In the Washington, D.C. area, "Gilbertology" is the name given to Arenas's unorthodox behavior on and off the court, first coined by former Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan. After being criticized for shooting too much as a point guard, Arenas would play games nearly without shooting at all, and then score at will the next game.

While with the Warriors, he once took a shower at halftime in full uniform. Before every game he would take a teammate's jersey and hide it in the locker room to make him look for it. Warriors teammate Adonal Foyle called him a "lunatic," and Troy Murphy said he used to lick or put baby powder on donuts he was forced to deliver to the team as a prank.

Arenas has been said to play online poker during the halftime of games, instead of resting or preparing for the second half. He disputes the accuracy of these stories, saying he was misquoted. Arenas says he does not play for money nor does he play online; instead, he plays on a DVD game of poker. On road trips, he will often eschew team outings on the town in favor of sitting in his room, ordering products from infomercials, such as a colon cleanser. In the same interview he said he preferred sleeping on the couch rather than on his bed, and that he once ate 12 cheeseburgers while on a road trip with the Wizards in Canada.

At the end of each game, regardless of whether it is a home/road win or loss, Arenas takes off his jersey and tosses it to the crowd. He originally tossed his shoes into the crowd, explaining that jerseys were too expensive for him to pay for every game. After he signed a lucrative contract with Washington, he began to throw his jerseys out. Arenas agreed to become a team captain for the 2005-06 season after declining the previous year because he said that many times he didn't even believe the things he was saying to his teammates. He has recently been given the nickname "The Black President", and calls himself the "East Coast Assassin", in reference to his quest to prove his abilities to those who did not vote for him to be a 2006 Eastern All Star reserve. Arenas has also begun to refer to himself as "Agent Zero", a reference to his jersey number originally coined by sports blog The Wizznutzz.

During the 2003-04 season, Arenas tried to vote himself into the All-Star game, trading a pair of shoes and a jersey for a box of ballots.

In October 2006, an story stated that Arenas was converting his Washington, D.C. home to simulate high-altitude conditions, stating that he hoped the arrangement would help him have more energy, especially late in games.

Arenas does not wear size 13 sneakers on the court even though his feet are size 14½, as popularly believed. This was a misquote from an interview. He actually wears shoes a half-size larger.

During the 2006 NBA season, he began to shout the word "hibachi" as he took field goal attempts in games, explaining, "You know, a hibachi grill gets real hot. That's what my shot's like, so I've been calling it that: 'Welcome to the hibachi'." He has also stated that while he is scoring on opponents, he is "cooking chicken and shrimp" in reference to his "Hibachi grill," and that if his opponent wanted to double-team him, he would "cook fillet mignon" as well.

On December 23, 2006, Arenas told The Washington Post he had begun replacing "hibachi" with the phrase "quality shots," a direct reference to Kobe Bryant who had felt Arenas' shot selection was questionable and that he seemingly lacked a conscience. "Out of that whole game I probably took two bad shots," Arenas would respond. "And for me not to have a conscience? You're right. When you're an assassin, you don't have a conscience." Nonetheless, Kobe stated that Gilbert Arenas is one of the most difficult players to guard in the NBA.

According to Gilbert Arenas's blog, he predicted that he would hit the game winner against the Utah Jazz on January 15, 2007.

On January 23, 2007, when asked about Gilbert's remarks about predicting his next game against Portland, Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni jokingly said, "I can't wait to see what he does against Duke. He's gonna kill Duke." Gilbert then responded by saying that given their soft rims, he'd probably score 84 or 85 points at Duke, and that he'd be willing to give up playing an entire NBA season to play against them. He added, "I wouldn't pass the ball. I wouldn't even think about passing it. It would be like NBA Live or an NBA 2K7 game, you just shoot with one person.".

On February 18, 2007 during the All-Star game, Gilbert joined a line of dunking Elvis impersonators and completed a between-the legs dunk. According to his blog, Shaquille O'Neal promised him $100,000 to his Zer0 2 Her0 charity if he did it.

According to his blog, Arenas has said that although he was going to try to go an entire season without making one of his famous predictions, he promised the fans of the new and improved Boston Celtics that they would lose their season opener against the Wizards Boston went on to win that game. But the Wizards won the season series 3-1.

Arenas was raised by his single father in Florida and California after his mother, a drug addict, left him as a child. His paternal grandfather is originally from Cuba. He also has two children. His cousin is Javier Arenas, an all-star football player who is currently starting for the University of Alabama. Another cousin, Armando Murillo, is a cornerback at the University of Nebraska. Arenas attended Sherman Oaks elementary in Sherman Oaks, California and Grant High School in North Hollywood, California.

Arenas donated $100 for every point he scored in each home game during the 2006-07 season to local D.C. area schools, while Wizards team owner Abe Pollin is matching that contribution for each away game. He also mentors a D.C. boy who lost his family in a fire at age 10. Arenas takes him shopping, bowling, got him a job as a ball boy for the Wizards, and acts as a brotherly figure towards him.

Arenas also has his own shoe, the Adidas Gil Zero, as well as his own line of Adidas TS Lightswitch shoes.

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Jermaine O'Neal


Jermaine Lee O'Neal (born October 13, 1978) is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association. The 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), 258 lb (117 kg) forward-center had a successful high school career and declared his eligibility for the 1996 NBA Draft straight out of high school. He was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 17th pick of the first round, but O'Neal was unable to break into the first team in Portland and was traded to the Indiana Pacers in 2000. In his eight seasons with the club, he was voted an NBA All-Star six times, made the All-NBA teams three times, and was voted the NBA Most Improved Player in the 2001–02 season. He also led Indiana to the NBA Playoffs six times, including the Conference Finals in the 2003–04 season. He was traded to the Raptors before the 2008–09 season began, and traded to the Heat midway through the same season.

Jermaine O’Neal was born on October 13, 1978, in Columbia, South Carolina. Raised single-handedly by his mother, Angela Ocean, O'Neal also had an elder brother, Clifford. Ocean worked hard to support her sons, and left her children largely to their own devices. O'Neal found his love for athletics at a young age. Tall and quick, he enjoyed both football and basketball, but basketball was his favorite sport. Two of his basketball heroes were Hakeem Olajuwon and Bill Russell; O'Neal often marveled at the former's approach to the game, while he loved watching the latter's video highlights of his duels with Wilt Chamberlain.

O'Neal also played a lot of basketball. Each summer, he would play for an AAU team, and impressed onlookers with his athleticism and his ability to handle the ball with both hands. By the time he turned 14, the 6'4" O'Neal—now a confident guard who could drain three-pointers—entered Eau Claire High School of the Arts as a freshman in 1992. On his first meeting with basketball coach George Glymph, he made the bold promise to become the best player in the school's history. While O'Neal's first season was hardly noteworthy (he even played as quarterback for the Eau Claire team) things changed when he grew five inches over the next year and a half, and he was inspired to develop into a defensive powerhouse like his idol Russell. Glymph built his team's defense around O'Neal, and Eau Claire featured one of the most imposing frontcourts around. With O'Neal averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and 9 blocks a game, Eau Claire captured its third straight 3A state title in 1995.

The following July, the 16-year-old was to raise his profile yet again. At an ABCD summer basketball camp, he outplayed Tim Thomas, a rising star at that time. Before long, recruiting letters from various top colleges came pouring in. O'Neal, however, also faced great pressure off the court. That same year, the District Attorney contemplated prosecuting him for rape after he and his 15-year-old girlfriend were found partially nude in bed together by her father. The DA eventually did not prosecute O'Neal, but as the latter struggled to cope with the pressure on and off the court, Glymph stepped in, introducing discipline to his life and keeping his feet to the ground. At the same time, O'Neal's mother had met a new man, Abraham Kennedy, who also guided O'Neal along.

In his senior season at Eau Claire, O'Neal's averages of 22.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game ensured that he was voted First Team All-State, South Carolina’s Player of the Year and "Mr. Basketball". Named to USA Today’s All-USA Basketball Team, he earned a spot in the McDonald's All-America Game as well. Despite being one of the nation’s top prospects, O'Neal's future in college basketball was uncertain. He scored poorly on the SATs, and Glymph advised against him making the leap to the NBA. But it was only a year before that another South Carolinian—future NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett—had made a seamless transition from high school to the NBA, and O'Neal thought he could emulate Garnett.

O'Neal was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as the 17th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. The rookie was surrounded by veterans and emerging stars who could show him the ropes in Portland; forming the frontcourt with him were Arvydas Sabonis, Rasheed Wallace and Clifford R. Robinson. After missing the first 17 games with a bone contusion in his knee, O'Neal made his debut against the Denver Nuggets in December. At 18 years, one month and 22 days, he became the youngest player to play in an NBA game (a mark that has since been eclipsed by Andrew Bynum). Portland was mediocre in the first half of the campaign, but came to form as the playoffs approached and managed to finish third in the Pacific Division with a 49–33 win-loss record. While fans at the Rose Garden harbored thoughts of an upset against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, the Trail Blazers succumbed in four games. In O'Neal's first season, he appeared in a total of 45 games in the regular season, averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. For the most part, however, he came off the bench and only averaged 10.2 minutes a game. O'Neal doubted for a while if he had made the right decision to skip college—he watched with envy as good friend and fellow prep-to-pro draftee Kobe Bryant was enjoying a good rookie season—but he remained confident that the best had yet to come.

Despite his optimism, O'Neal found it difficult to break into the first team the following season. Brian Grant was acquired from free agency and new coach Mike Dunleavy planned to use Sabonis, Wallace and Grant as the starting frontcourt, while the presence of veteran Gary Trent also further reduced the sophomore's chances. Thus, O'Neal was not given meaningful minutes in the early part of the campaign, although he showed glimpses of his potential with occasional double double performances when he returned from an early-season injury. Portland eventually produced a similar win-loss record as the preceding season with 46 wins, finishing fourth in the division. In the playoffs, Dunleavy opted to go with a more youthful lineup: before the trade deadline, he had acquired point guard Damon Stoudamire, as well as forwards Carlos Rogers and Walt Williams. The move was designed to bolster the team's chances in the playoffs against teams that were bigger and more physical. Nevertheless, for the second time in two years, the Trail Blazers were eliminated by the Lakers in four games in the first round. And just like the season before, O'Neal hardly featured for Portland, playing only three minutes in one game.

In an unexpected move, Portland showed their willingness to invest in O'Neal by offering him a four-year contract worth $24 million. However, the new deal did not translate into more playing time for the power forward in the 1999–2000 season. Portland acquired Detlef Schrempf and Steve Smith during the 1999 offseason, which meant that O'Neal was once again consigned to the bench. His statistics remained unimpressive, averaging 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game during the regular season. In the meantime, the Trail Blazers continued to build on the success of their previous campaign. They notched 59 wins in the regular season, and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz en route to reaching the Western Conference Finals. Up against recent perennial rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, the team relinquished a 15 point lead in the fourth quarter of the pivotal Game 7, and lost 89–85. Not that O'Neal was heavily involved in any of this, however. With back-to-back Conference Finals disappointments coupled with a lack of playing time, he soon announced his intention to be traded. The Trail Blazers relented in the end and sent him to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for NBA All-Star Dale Davis. This move was greeted with surprise by the Indiana fans as the Pacers had just came off an appearance in the 2000 NBA Finals, and the trade involved losing a quality player for an unproven quantity in O'Neal. The Pacers roster also saw the departures of Mark Jackson, Rik Smits and Chris Mullin, and even coach Larry Bird stepped down. All of this meant that O'Neal arrived in Indianapolis facing intense pressure and scrutiny.

When O'Neal arrived at his new club, new coach Isiah Thomas—who had pushed for the O'Neal/Davis trade—told him that he simply needed to work harder on his game to succeed. At that time, Indiana was rebuilding and still revolved around veteran All-Star Reggie Miller. O'Neal turned out to be a revelation for his new club and it was not long before he established himself as a key player for his new team. Starting in 80 of the 81 regular season games he played in for the 2000–01 season, his statistics improved significantly as he averaged 12.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. The big man helped his team to a 41–41 record and the eighth playoff seed; he also led the league in total blocks (228, a franchise record), and led the Eastern Conference in double doubles. O'Neal kept up his form into the playoffs as well, averaging almost 9.8 points and 12.5 boards a game in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers, although the series was short-lived as the latter emerged victorious in four games.

The 2001–02 season proved to be the breakthrough season for O'Neal as he earned a trio of honors: winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award, being named an NBA All-Star, and making the All-NBA Third Team (becoming the second Pacer in history to do so after Reggie Miller). Leading his team in scoring (19.0) and rebounding (10.5), he chalked up 39 double doubles, which was third best in the conference and eighth best in the league. Indiana recorded 42 wins and qualified for the playoffs once again as the eighth seed, where they faced one of the hottest teams in the league at that time, the New Jersey Nets. The Pacers pushed the Nets all the way to Game 5, and even forced overtime twice, but the Nets prevailed in the end. The Nets had put Kenyon Martin on O'Neal after the latter put up a 30 point, 11 rebound performance in Game 1, and they succeeded in limiting him to just 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game over the series. As the Pacers reflected on yet another premature end to the postseason, they knew that O'Neal was next in line to succeed the 36-year-old Miller as the new face of the franchise. At the same time, the Pacers seemed to have found players in Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Al Harrington and Jamal Tinsley who complemented O'Neal. Indiana was on the brink of becoming a legitimate threat in the East.

The Pacers started the 2002–03 season well, winning 14 of their first 16 games, and had the best record in the East by the time the All-Star break arrived. The same team from the year before was playing better than ever, but the season fell apart in the latter half. For one, Brad Miller got injured and Indiana lost one of their most versatile players. Defensive lynchpin Artest suffered from too many emotional outbursts and this further hurt the Pacers, who could only finish the season 48–34. On his part, O'Neal kept up his All-Star numbers, averaging 20.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, being only one of three players in the NBA that year to pull off a 20/10. He was voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month twice, in January and April, and would go on to be named to the All-NBA Third Team again by the season's end. With no momentum heading into the playoffs, however, the Pacers were eliminated 4–2 by underdogs Boston Celtics, marking a first-round elimination for the third year in a row. Off the court, the team had also been facing family problems. Brad Miller's father-in-law and Tinsley's mother passed away during the season, and just before the playoffs, O'Neal's stepfather attempted suicide. When the season ended, O'Neal tried to keep his focus on basketball and considered the possibility of joining another team since he was now a free agent. The San Antonio Spurs, led by two-time NBA Champion Tim Duncan, looked an interesting proposition as perennial All-Star David Robinson had just retired. Much as it was tempting for O'Neal to make the switch, he opted not to uproot his family and signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Pacers. Even so, the offseason produced a few surprises for O'Neal when Isiah Thomas was replaced by Rick Carlisle, and Brad Miller left for the Sacramento Kings. Indiana was undergoing rebuilding yet again.

Despite all the changes, O'Neal spearheaded the Pacers to a league-best 61–21 record in the 2003–04 season. He remained a constant double-double threat, averaging 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds a game in the regular season. He also continued to rack up individual honors, making his third All-Star trip and being named to the All-NBA Second Team. Artest was instrumental to the team's success too as he enjoyed a breakthrough season, netting his first All-Star berth as well as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In the playoffs, Indiana gained revenge from the preceding season by sweeping Boston in the first round, before defeating the Miami Heat in the next. That sent them back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth time in 11 years, where they were disposed of by eventual NBA champions Detroit Pistons. In the series-deciding Game 6, O'Neal endured a sprained knee and managed to tally 20 points and 10 rebounds, but Rip Hamilton's inspired play ensured a close victory for the Pistons.

The Pacers looked to build on their previous campaign in the 2004–05 season, but all their plans came apart in November. In a game against the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills, a brawl broke out that spilled into the stands. O'Neal was one of the Pacers who fought with some of the fans and was suspended for 25 games by NBA Commissioner David Stern; team mates Artest and Stephen Jackson were suspended for the rest of the season and 30 games respectively. Following an appeal just before Christmas, O'Neal won a ten-game reduction in his sentence, but this did not mitigate the damage that Indiana had already suffered. Stripped of three of its core players, the team hobbled to a 44–38 record and the sixth seed. O'Neal appeared in only 44 games, his lowest total ever with Indiana. Although his scoring average improved to 24.3 points per game, his rebounding dropped and he was no longer the same intimidating presence on defense. Things worsened when he sprained his right shoulder in March. He played sparingly for the remainder of the regular season, hoping to recover in time for the playoffs. The Pacers drew the Celtics in the first round, and managed to salvage their season by winning the series 4–3. O'Neal, however, was not playing as well as he could have: his offensive output dropped, and he shot poorly from the field. When the Pacers met the Pistons in the semifinals, they were eliminated in six games, capping yet another frustrating season for O'Neal.

O'Neal continued his battle against injuries during the 2005–06 season, and played in only 51 games. Nevertheless, he averaged a team-high 20.1 points and 9.3 rebounds a game. He was voted by the fans as the starting forward for the Eastern Conference All-Star team (he was later replaced by Gilbert Arenas due to injury). The Pacers entered the playoffs as the sixth seed. They eventually lost to the New Jersey Nets in six games.

O'Neal missed 13 more games in the 2006–07 season as the Pacers missed the playoffs altogether.

O'Neal missed huge amounts of time, especially towards the end of the season, as the Pacers struggled to compete. O'Neal's production and stats declined as well. He had two years and $44 million left on his deal. The Pacers were looking to move the huge contract. On June 25, 2008, it was reported that O'Neal and the 41st pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Nathan Jawai would be sent to Toronto for T. J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovič, Maceo Baston and the 17th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Roy Hibbert. The trade was finalized on July 9, 2008.

O'Neal was given jersey #6 for the Raptors since his number with the Pacers (#7) was already owned by Andrea Bargnani. While he was expected to combine with Toronto's three-time All-Star Chris Bosh to form a strong frontcourt and provide greater rebounding and interior defense for the Raptors, O'Neal's arrival was dwarved by the Elton Brand signing pulled off by division rivals Philadelphia. O'Neal wasted no time in imposing his style on his new team: in the season opener at Philadelphia, he pointed to hecklers in the home crowd after making a dunk; in the team's second game, Toronto's center blocked a dunk from Golden State's Brandan Wright and thereafter waved a finger, as though to say "Don't come back here again." Even so, it took O'Neal some time to find his offensive game: he reached the 20-point mark twice in his first 23 games, before notching three straight thereafter. By the All-Star break, injuries had ruled the big man out for almost a quarter of Toronto's games, while Bargnani regained his starting spot with a streak of solid performances. This, coupled with the Raptors entering the break placed 14th in the conference and 13 games under .500, Toronto General Manager Bryan Colangelo looked to move O'Neal to bring in a wing player and free up the salary space. On 13 February 2009, O'Neal and Jamario Moon were traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. In his 41 games as a Raptor, O'Neal averaged 13.5 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.

Following his breakout season in 2000–01, O'Neal earned a spot on Team USA for the 2001 Goodwill Games. The Americans won all of their five games and the gold medal, and O'Neal led the team in blocks and shooting percentage, while finishing second in points and rebounds. The 2002 NBA Most Improved Player was selected to represent his nation again in the 2002 World Basketball Championship which was held in Indianapolis. This time round, the Americans had a lackluster tournament, and could only finish sixth. O'Neal averaged 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds over eight games. The next year, Team USA staged a comeback in the 2003 Tournament of the Americas. Winning all its ten games and the gold medal, the team qualified for the 2004 Olympics. O'Neal featured in every game in that tournament, averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. While he was earmarked as a core member of the team that would compete in the Olympics, a knee injury prevented him from participating in the games.

O'Neal is known for his outspokenness on race in the NBA. After the NBA enacted its controversial age-limit to enter the NBA Draft, O'Neal told reporters that he felt that race was a factor on why the NBA has a different standard than other professional sports leagues like the NHL or the MLB (where players frequently enter the draft immediately after high school).

O'Neal is married and has two children, a boy and a girl. He also owns a recording studio named Bogota Entertainment, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Vince Carter

Vincent Lamar Carter (born on January 26, 1977), known as Vince Carter, is an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently a shooting guard for the New Jersey Nets.

Carter, born in Daytona Beach, Florida, was a McDonald's All-American basketball player in 1995, out of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach. After high school, Carter spent three seasons playing basketball at the University of North Carolina, before entering the 1998 NBA Draft. Carter enjoyed tremendous popularity during his initial years in the NBA, especially after showcasing his athletic abilities in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, in which he competed alongside his third cousin and then teammate Tracy McGrady. He took the newly franchised Toronto Raptors to new heights, as he helped lead the team to three consecutive playoff berths. In 2004, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets, whom he currently plays for. Until 2006 Carter had perennially topped All-Star team voting.

In 1995, Carter began playing college basketball at North Carolina under Dean Smith and later, Bill Guthridge. During the 1997-1998 season, he was a member of new coach Bill Guthridge's successful "Six Starters" rotation with Antawn Jamison, Shammond Williams, Ed Cota, Ademola Okulaja and Makhtar N'Diaye. That season (his final college season), he averaged 15.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game to go along with career averages of 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Carter also became a pioneer of the internet during his collegiate career. In 1995, Carter became the second collegiate athlete, after teammate Shammond Williams, to have a website dedicated to him.

In 1998, Carter was drafted by the NBA's Golden State Warriors with the fifth overall pick, and then traded to the Toronto Raptors for Antawn Jamison, his college teammate and good friend. Carter's rookie season was the shortened 50-game 1999 season after the NBA locked out its players in 1998–99. Carter started almost every game for coach Butch Carter and eventually won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The next year, Carter was selected to an All-Star Team for the first time, averaged 25.7 ppg, made the Third Team All-NBA, and showcased his athleticism and dunking abilities in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He won the contest by performing an array of dunks including a 360° windmill, a between the legs bounce dunk, and an "elbow in the rim" dunk (also known as a "cookie jar" dunk or the "honey dip")." Though he never competed in the dunk contest again for safety purposes, Carter was voted into the Eastern Conference NBA All-Star Team starting lineup several times through fan balloting.

In Carter's first two seasons, he and his distant cousin Tracy McGrady formed a formidable one-two punch as Raptor teammates. The two led the Raptors to their first playoff berth in the 2000 NBA Playoffs, but they were swept by the New York Knicks in 3 games. Upon McGrady's departure to the Orlando Magic the following season, Carter became the Raptors' franchise player.

In 2000-01, his third season, Carter averaged a career-high 27.6 ppg, made the Second Team All-NBA, and was voted in as a starter in the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, while the Raptors finished the regular season with a franchise-record 47 wins. In the playoffs, the Raptors beat the New York Knicks in the first round and advanced to the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they took the Philadelphia 76ers to a decisive seventh game.

On the morning of the day of the Game 7, May 20, 2001, Carter attended his University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduation. In that game, Carter missed a game-winning shot with 2.0 seconds remaining. and shot just 6 of 18 from the field.

In the summer of 2001, Carter signed a $94-million, six-year extension with the Raptors. In addition, Carter announced that he would be hosting a charity basketball game featuring fellow NBA stars that would be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on August 3, 2001. The success of the first game encouraged Carter to make the game an annual summer event.

The next season was an injury-riddled one for Carter. He started in 60 games and he averaged 24.7 points per game. He was voted in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game but he couldn't participate due to injury. The Raptors did not fare well without their All-Star player. The team lost 17 of 18 games to drop to 30-38, then won 12 of their last 14 to finish at 42-40. Carter was injured during the 2002 Playoffs and his team was beat by the Pistons.

During the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, under great public pressure, Carter gave up his starting All-Star spot to the Washington Wizards' Michael Jordan to allow Jordan to make his final start as an All-Star.

During his Raptors tenure, Carter developed jumper's knee in his left knee. During the 2004 off-season, Carter became frustrated with the Raptors' management team as he was promised input by President Richard Peddie on the hiring of the next general manager. The Raptors failed to do so - Carter recommended Julius Erving, who arrived at Pearson Airport and never set foot at the Air Canada Centre for a legitimate meeting. On November 22, 2004, when pressed by the local media about his lack of dunks, Carter sarcastically responded, "I don't want to dunk anymore." During his 2004-2005 season, Carter posted a 15.9-point scoring average on reduced playing time before his eventual trade.

In late December 2004, there were allegations that Carter tipped off the opposing Seattle SuperSonics (the Raptors' opponents on November 19, 2004) of an upcoming Raptors play by yelling "It's a flare! It's a flare!". However, no further actions were taken and the accusations were found to be baseless. Sources report that Reggie Evans was the Sonics player who was the source for the story and he later back tracked on his accusation saying he didn’t hear anything from Carter about tipping plays in order to sabotage the Raptors. Ray Allen was the player guarding Carter on the inbounds pass standing right next to him, and he said he didn’t hear anything from Carter about sabotaging plays either.

Carter made it clear in the 2004 off-season that he wanted to be traded from the Raptors. On December 17, 2004, Raptors General Manager Rob Babcock traded Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and two future first-round draft picks. The trade to the Nets, combined with Carter's continually declining popularity with Raptors fans, also put an end to his charity basketball games in Toronto, with the last one being played in the summer of that year.

In early January 2005, he stated during a television interview with TNT's John Thompson to not giving effort in his last months as a Raptor; when asked if he always played hard, Carter replied, "In years past, no. I was fortunate to have the talent. You get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it." Though Carter's comments were perceived by Raptors fans as his confession to not giving his all as a Raptor, Thompson said the comments were misinterpreted, saying, "That boy never said to me, 'Coach, I just laid down and quit.' ...I was embarrassed and felt awful about it for his sake, because I knew what he was communicating to me. I think he was more expressing a desire of wanting to do better, as we all do." Despite Thompson's defense, publications including Sports Illustrated, the Toronto Star and have included pieces condemning Carter for offering a lacklustre effort in his last season as a Raptor. The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk wrote that Carter "cheated on (the Raptors). He quit on the floor.", and Carter has been booed by Raptors fans each time he has returned to play Toronto as a New Jersey net.

Carter guided the Nets to an eighth seed in the 2005 NBA Playoffs. Although New Jersey was swept in the first round by the Miami Heat, Carter finished the series with averages of 26.8 points per game, 8.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists; highlighted by a buzzer-beating two-point fadeaway shot in the first overtime of Game 3 that forced a second overtime.

Carter returned to Toronto on January 8, 2006 for the third time since his trade to the New Jersey Nets, and was given the same treatment by the fans that he received the first time he played against the Raptors in the Air Canada Centre. With the Nets trailing 102–104, Carter hit the winning three-point shot with 0.1 seconds left on the game clock and finished with 42 points and 10 rebounds. Carter considers this winning shot as his greatest ever, considering the atmosphere, the emotion and the hostility in the arena.

In the 2005-06 NBA season, he co-led the Nets to 49 wins, an Atlantic Division title, and the number three seed in the playoffs, while averaging 24.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. He led the Nets to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual NBA champions Miami Heat in five games. Carter averaged 29.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 11 playoff games.

On February 1, 2007, Carter was named, along with teammate Jason Kidd, as a reserve to the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, after losing out on a starting spot to Gilbert Arenas by 3,010 votes. Both Carter and Kidd made their eighth All-Star game appearance.

In a 120–114 overtime win over the Washington Wizards, April 7, 2007, Carter and Jason Kidd became the first teammates in over 18 years to record triple-doubles in the same game since the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen achieved this feat against the Los Angeles Clippers in 1989. Carter finished with 46 points, a career-high 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kidd finished with 10 points, tied a career-high with 16 rebounds, and tied a season-high with 18 assists. Carter's triple double is the second highest total for a triple double, second only to Alvin Adams of the Phoenix Suns who tallied 47 points and 18 rebounds over 30 years ago.

After the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers (lost series 4-2), rumors of the Nets trading Carter again arose. After the New York Knicks and Nets discussed a trade around February of Carter (which was ended with the trading deadline), the two teams again revisited the subject. Carter, who opted out of his contract on June 30, reportedly wanted a three-year, $60 million deal however, which the Knicks are wary of. On July 1, 2007 Carter signed a 4-year $61.8 million contract with the Nets.

On January 24, 2008, the Nets played on the road against the Golden State Warriors. The game was broadcast on TNT, and at the half-time show, Magic Johnson claimed that Carter's game was on the decline due to chronic injuries to his knees. This was proven to be unfounded as Carter had hurt his ankle in an October game against the Boston Celtics which would hinder him throughout the 2007-2008 season. Hampered by injuries, Carter was not named as one of the reserves for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. This marked the first time in his NBA career Carter was not named as an All-Star since his rookie season. Despite playing with an ankle injury, Carter finished the season strong with averages of 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists after the All-Star break. He was one of only three NBA players, along with Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, to average at least 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for the year, with averages of 21.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. He led the Nets in freethrow percentage, assists and steals per game (81.6%, 5.1, 1.2). Rod Thorn credited Carter for becoming a leader since the All-Star break, and said he believed that Carter could lead the Nets back to the playoffs the following year. Carter's injury was confirmed after undergoing a successful arthroscopic ankle surgery in the off-season.

For the 2008-09 season, Carter was voted team captain, a title that had been given to Jason Kidd for the previous 6 years. On November 21 2008, in a return to Air Canada Centre to play the Toronto Raptors, Carter scored 39 points in an overtime 129-127 win. After making a three to send the game into overtime, he scored the winning basket, a reverse dunk off an inbounds pass from Bobby Simmons, with 2.1 seconds left.

During the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Carter performed a memorable dunk when he flew over 7-foot-2 (2.18 m) French center Frédéric Weis. Carter stole the ball, sprinted, took off - legs spread in midair, and hit Weis's head as he bent over to avoid the collision, before slamming the ball. Teammate Jason Kidd said it was "One of the best plays I've ever seen." The French media later dubbed it "le dunk de la mort" ("the Dunk of Death"). The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal that year.

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Dirk Nowitzki


Dirk Werner Nowitzki (pronounced ) (born June 19, 1978) is a German professional basketball player who plays for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association. An alumnus of Röntgen Gymnasium Grammar School and DJK Würzburg basketball club, Nowitzki was drafted ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1998 NBA Draft, and was immediately traded to the Mavericks, where he has played ever since. Standing at 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m), Nowitzki plays the power forward position, but is also capable of playing other frontcourt positions like center or small forward.

Nowitzki is an eight-time NBA All-Star and eight-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and is the first European-born player in NBA history to receive the NBA Most Valuable Player award. He is the first Maverick ever to be voted into an All-NBA Team and also holds several all-time Mavericks franchise records. He led the German national basketball team to a bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and the silver medal in EuroBasket 2005, and was leading scorer and elected Most Valuable Player in both tournaments. Regarded as one of the best European players in basketball history, Nowitzki was named the Euroscar European Basketball Player of the Year by the Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport for five years in a row, the Mister Europa European Player of the Year by the Italian sports magazine Superbasket in 2005, and the FIBA Europe Basketball Player of the Year the same year.

Born in Würzburg, West Germany, Dirk Werner Nowitzki comes from an athletic family: his mother Helga was a professional basketball player and his father Jörg-Werner was a handball player who represented Germany at the highest international level. His older sister Silke, a local champion in track and field, also became a basketball player and now works for the NBA in International TV. Dirk was a very tall child; most of the time he dwarfed his peers by a foot or more. He initially played handball and tennis, but soon grew tired of being called a "freak" for his height and eventually turned to basketball. After joining the local DJK Würzburg, the 15-year-old attracted the attention of former German international basketball player Holger Geschwindner, who spotted his talent immediately and offered to coach him individually two to three times per week. After getting both the approval of Nowitzki and his parents, Geschwindner put his pupil through an unorthodox training scheme: he emphasized shooting and passing exercises, and shunned weight training and tactical drills, because he felt it was "unnecessary friction". Furthermore, Geschwindner encouraged Nowitzki to play a musical instrument and read literature to make him a more complete personality.

After a year, the coach was so impressed that he said to his pupil: "You must now decide whether you want to play against the best in the world or just stay a local hero in Germany. If you choose latter, we will stop training immediately, because nobody can prevent that anymore. But if you want to play against the best, we have to train on a daily basis." After pondering for two days, Nowitzki decided on the former. Geschwindner let him train seven days a week with DJK Würzburg players and future German internationals Robert Garrett, Marvin Willoughby and Demond Greene, and in the summer of 1994, the 16-year-old Nowitzki made the DJK squad.

When Nowitzki joined the team, DJK played in the Second Bundesliga, South Division. His first trainer was Pit Stahl, who played the tall teenager as an outside-scoring forward rather than an inside-scoring center to utilise his shooting skills. In the 1994–95 Second Bundesliga season, ambitious DJK finished as a disappointing sixth of 12 teams; the rookie Nowitzki was often benched and struggled with bad school grades, which forced him to study rather than work on his game. In the next 1995–96 Second Bundesliga season, Nowitzki established himself as a starter next to Finnish star forward Martti Kuisma and soon became a regular double-digit scorer: after German national basketball coach Dirk Bauermann saw him score 24 points in a DJK game, he stated that "Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest German basketball talent of the last 10, maybe 15 years". DJK finished second in the South Division, but could not earn promotion after losing 86–62 in the deciding match versus BG Ludwigsburg: in that game, Nowitzki scored only eight points.

In the 1996–97 Second Bundesliga season, the team's top scorer Kuisma left the team, and Holger Geschwindner replaced Pit Stahl as head coach. Filling Kuisma's void, Nowitzki averaged 19.4 points per game and led DJK again to second place after the regular season, but could not help his team gain promotion. In the following 1997–98 Second Bundesliga season, Nowitzki finished his "Abitur" (German A-levels), but had to do his compulsory military service in the Bundeswehr (German Military) which lasted from September 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998; Nowitzki described this period as "a tough time at first, we had no privileges and had to participate in all the drills… later it was much more relaxed". Concerning basketball, the 19-year old, who had grown to 6 ft 11 in (2.1 m) tall, forward flourished further, leading DJK to a 36:4 point total (in Germany, a victory gives 2:0 points and a loss 0:2) and ending as leading scorer with 28.2 points per game. In the promotion playoffs, DJK finally broke its bane, finishing at first place with 14:2 points and earning promotion; Nowitzki scored 26 points in the deciding 95–88 win against Freiburg and was voted "German Basketballer of the Year" by the German BASKET magazine.

Abroad, Nowitzki's progress did not go unnoticed. In 1996, FC Barcelona Bàsquet wanted to sign him, but Nowitzki refused to move before finishing his German A-levels. A year later, the teenager participated in the Nike "Hoop Heroes Tour", where he played against NBA stars like Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen. In a 30-minute show match, Nowitzki outplayed Barkley and even dunked on him, causing the latter to exclaim: "The boy is a genius. If he wants to enter the NBA, he can call me." On March 29, 1998, Nowitzki was chosen to play in the Nike Hoop Summit, one of the premier talent watches in U.S. men's basketball. In a match between the U.S. talents and the international talents, Nowitzki scored 33 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 14 rebounds and 3 steals for the internationals and outplayed future US NBA stars Rashard Lewis and Al Harrington. He impressed with an array of quickness, ball handling, and shooting range, and from that moment on a multitude of European and NBA clubs wanted to recruit him.

After leading DJK Würzburg to promotion and his A-levels and military service behind him, Nowitzki looked to the NBA for his future. Projected to be seventh pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, he passed up many college offers and leapt directly into the NBA as a then still rare prep-to-pro player. In particular Rick Pitino and Don Nelson, head coaches of the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks respectively, were highly interested in acquiring him. After a 45-minute private workout with Pitino, where Nowitzki showcased his versatile shooting, rebounding and passing skills, the Boston coach immediately compared him to Celtics legend Larry Bird; Pitino assured Nowitzki that he would draft him with the Celtics' first-round draft pick at number ten.

However, Pitino's plan was foiled by Nelson, whose team had the sixth pick. Nelson worked out draft day deals with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns: the Mavericks wanted Nowitzki and Suns reserve point guard Steve Nash; the Bucks desired muscular forward Robert Traylor, who was projected to be drafted before Nowitzki; and the Suns had set their sights on forward Pat Garrity, who was projected as a low first round pick. In the draft, the Mavericks drafted Traylor with their sixth pick, and the Bucks selected Nowitzki with their ninth and Garrity with their nineteenth pick. The Mavericks then traded Traylor to the Bucks for Nowitzki and Garrity, and they in return traded the latter to Phoenix for Nash.

In retrospect, Don Nelson had an outstanding trade instinct, essentially trading future career underachievers Traylor and Garrity for two future NBA MVPs, Nowitzki and Nash; in addition, both new recruits became best friends. Nowitzki became only the fourth German player in NBA history, following pivots Uwe Blab and Christian Welp and All-Star swingman Detlef Schrempf, who was a 35-year old veteran player of the Portland Trail Blazers when his young compatriot arrived. Nowitzki finished his DJK career as the only Würzburg player to have ever made the jump into the NBA.

In Dallas, Nowitzki joined a franchise which had last made the playoffs in 1990. Shooting guard Michael Finley captained the squad, supported by 7-foot-6 center Shawn Bradley, once a number two draft pick, and team scoring leader Cedric Ceballos, an ex-Laker forward. Nowitzki experienced a rocky start: prior to the 1998–99 NBA season, NBA commissioner David Stern wanted to introduce a salary cap, causing the NBA players' union to declare a strike, the combination putting the entire season in jeopardy. In limbo, Nowitzki returned to DJK Würzburg and played thirteen games before both sides worked out a late compromise that resulted in a shortened 1998-1999 schedule of only 50 instead of 82 regular season games.

When the season finally started, Nowitzki struggled. Played as a power forward by coach Don Nelson, the lanky 20-year old felt overpowered by the more athletic NBA forwards, was intimidated by the expectations as a number nine pick, and played bad defense, causing hecklers to taunt him as "Irk Nowitzki", omitting the "D" which stands for "defense" in basketball slang. He only averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 20.4 minutes of playing time. Looking back, Nowitzki said: "I was so frustrated I even contemplated going back to Germany… was like jumping out of an airplane hoping the parachute would somehow open." The Mavericks only won 19 of their 50 games and missed the playoffs, although Nowitzki completed the season with eight double-digit scoring games out of the last twelve.

In the 1999–2000 NBA season, Don Nelson wanted to use Nowitzki as a point forward to make use of his passing skills. One of the most important moves was made outside the hardwood: until then, the owner of the Mavericks was Ross Perot, Jr., who had bought the franchise for $125 million, but had no plans of investing in players and admitted he knew little of basketball. On January 4, 2000, he sold the Mavericks to Internet billionaire Mark Cuban for $280 million. Cuban quickly invested into the Mavericks and restructured the franchise, attending every game at the sidelines, buying the team a $46 million six-star Boeing 757 for traveling, and increasing franchise revenues to over $100 million. Nowitzki lauded Cuban: "He created the perfect environment… we only have to go out and win." As a result of Nelson's tutelage, Cuban's improvements and his own progress, Nowitzki significantly improved his averages. The sophomore now scored 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 35.8 minutes, had nine double-double games, and scored a career-high 32 points twice. He was voted runner-up in the NBA Most Improved Player Award behind Darrel Armstrong, and made it into the NBA All-Star Sophomore squad along with peers Paul Pierce and Vince Carter. In the traditional Rookie-Sophomore match, he scored 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in an overtime loss against the rookie team led by Steve Francis and Lamar Odom. The seven foot tall Nowitzki also was chosen for the NBA All-Star Three Point Shootout, becoming the tallest player ever to participate. After draining 15 three point shots in a row in the first shootout, he entered the final round, where he only was beaten by Jeff Hornacek. While he improved on an individual level, the Mavericks missed the playoffs after a mediocre 40–42 season.

In the following 2000–01 NBA season, Nowitzki further improved his averages, recording 21.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Now playing the power forward position, he became the second player in NBA history after Robert Horry to score 100 three-pointers and 100 blocks in the regular season, registering respectively 151 and 101 of them. As a sign of his growing importance, he joined team captain Finley as only one of two Mavericks to play and start in all 82 games and had 10 games in which he scored at least 30 points. Nowitzki became the first Maverick ever to be voted into the All-NBA squads, making the Third Team. In addition, his best friend Nash became a valuable point guard, and with Finley scoring more than ever, pundits were calling this trio the "Big Three" of the Mavericks.

Prior to the 2001–02 NBA season, Nowitzki signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension, which made him the second highest paid German athlete after Formula One champion Michael Schumacher. He continued to improve, now averaging 23.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, was voted into the All-NBA Second Team and into his first All-Star Game. He also had 13 games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, third behind Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan. Powered by new recruit Nick Van Exel, who became a high-scoring sixth man, the Mavericks "Big Three" convincingly made the playoffs with a 57–25 record.

In the first round they swept Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2002 NBA Playoffs 3–0: Nowitzki outscored Garnett with 33.3 points per game versus 24.0. In the second round, the Mavericks met the Sacramento Kings with rival power forward Chris Webber. After splitting the first two games, Kings coach Rick Adelman changed his defensive scheme: before, Webber had defended Nowitzki one-on-one, but now, the Kings coach ordered his smaller but quicker player Hedo Turkoglu to cover the German. Turkoglu should use his agility to play Nowitzki tightly, and if the taller Maverick tried to post up Turkoglu, Webber should double team Nowitzki. In Game 3 in Dallas, the Mavericks lost 119–125; Nowitzki scored only 19 points and said: "I simply could not pass Turkoglu, and if I did, I ran into a double team and committed too many turnovers." In Game 4, more frustration awaited the German: the Mavericks gave away a 14-point lead, although the entire Kings starting frontcourt of center Vlade Divac and power forward Chris Webber (both fouled out) and small forward Peja Stojakovic (injury) was eliminated in the closing stages of the game. Nowitzki missed two potentially game deciding jump shots, and the Mavericks lost 113–115 at home. In Game 5, the demoralised Texans were no match for the spirited Kings, lost 101–114 and were eliminated again. Among others, remarked that the Kings defended better than the Mavericks: in those five games, the statisticians counted 115 Sacramento layups against the Mavericks, meaning the Kings averaged 23 uncontested baskets (i.e. 46 easy points) per game. However, Nowitzki received a consolation award: the Gazzetta dello Sport voted him as "European Basketballer of the Year", his 104 votes lifting him over second-placed Dejan Bodiroga (54) and Stojakovic (50).

In the Western Conference Finals, the Mavericks met the San Antonio Spurs of Tim Duncan again. In Game 1 in San Antonio, Nowitzki scored 38 points on Duncan and led his team to a 113–110 win. In Game 2, Duncan quickly put Nowitzki in foul trouble, and the Spurs equalised the series with a 132–110 win. In Game 3, fate struck as Nowitzki went up for a rebound and Spurs guard Manu Ginobili collided with his knee, forcing him out of the series: without their top scorer, the Mavericks still fought valiantly and trailed 2–3, before Spurs guard Steve Kerr nailed a buzzer beater in Game 6 to end the series. Don Nelson later commented: "We were playing so well for so long and the bottom just dropped out... We went cold at the wrong time." Nowitzki only took little consolation in the fact that he again was voted "European Basketballer of the Year" and was named "Best European Basketballer" in a general survey of the NBA general managers.

In the 2003–04 NBA season, Mark Cuban and Don Nelson decided to add more offensive wing players to their squad. As a result, the Mavericks acquired two All-Star forwards, namely Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Antawn Jamison (for role players Danny Fortson, Jiri Welsch and Chris Mills) and Antoine Walker (Boston Celtics) who came for center Raef LaFrentz. Basketball experts were wary about latter trade, because it sent away the Mavericks starting center; they argued it left a hole in the middle that the aging, injury-prone backup pivot Shawn Bradley could not fill anymore. Unable to trade for a new center, Don Nelson decided to start the prolific rebounder Nowitzki at pivot, put Walker on Nowitzki's usual power forward spot and played Jamison as a high-scoring sixth man. To cope with his more physical role, Nowitzki put on 20 lb (9.1 kg) of muscle mass over summer, sacrificed part of his agility, and put more emphasis on defense rather than scoring: as a result, his averages fell for the first time in his career, dropping to 21.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, but he was still the Mavericks leader in scoring, rebounding, steals (1.2 spg) and blocks (1.35 bpg). These figures earned him nominations for the All-Star game and the All-NBA Third Team. Compiling a 52–30 record, the Mavericks met their familiar rivals Sacramento Kings again, but were eliminated in just five games.

Before the 2004–05 NBA season, the Mavericks were re-tooled again. Defensive center Erick Dampier was acquired from the Golden State Warriors, but Nowitzki's close friend Steve Nash left Dallas and returned to the Phoenix Suns as a free agent. During the season, long-time head coach Don Nelson resigned, and his assistant Avery Johnson took on coaching duties. In the midst of these changes, Nowitzki stepped up his game and averaged 26.1 points a game, a career-high, 9.7 rebounds, and his 1.5 blocks and 3.1 assists were also career numbers. In addition, Nowitzki scored at least 10 points in every game and was only one of four players who registered at least 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. On December 2, 2004, Nowitzki scored 53 points in an overtime win against the Houston Rockets, a career best. As a reward, Nowitzki was voted to the All-NBA First Team for the first time. He also placed third in the league's MVP voting, behind Nash and Shaquille O'Neal. By being elected to the All-NBA First Team, Nowitzki became the first player who did not attend a United States high school or college to be on the All-NBA First Team.

However, the Mavericks had a subpar 2005 NBA Playoffs campaign. In the first round, Dallas met the Houston Rockets of scoring champion Tracy McGrady and 7-6 center Yao Ming, and Nowitzki was expected to average high figures against unheralded forward Ryan Bowen: described Bowen as "overmatched" versus the German. Instead, Bowen limited Nowitzki to just 21 points in Game 1 and 26 points in Game 2, where the latter only hit 8 of 26 shots from the field. The Rockets took a 2–0 lead before the Mavericks won three games in a row. After losing Game 6, Dallas won Game 7 convincingly and won the series even though Nowitzki struggled with his shooting. In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Mavericks met the Phoenix Suns, the new club of Nash. They split the first four games, before the Suns won the last two games. In Game 6, which the Mavericks lost in overtime, Nowitzki was again not at his best: he scored 28 points, but also sank only 9 of his 25 field goal attempts; in addition, he was visibly irritated, repeatedly shouting at his team mates and missing all his five shots in overtime.

Prior to the 2005–06 NBA season, veteran Mavericks captain Michael Finley was waived over the summer, and now Nowitzki was the last player remaining from the Mavericks' "Big Three" of Nash, Finley, and himself. Nowitzki blossomed as the sole franchise player, averaging 26.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He improved his shooting percentage, setting personal season records in field goals (48.0%), three-point shots (40.6%) and free throws (90.1%). During the 2006 All-Star Weekend in Houston, Nowitzki scored 18 points to defeat Seattle SuperSonics guard Ray Allen and Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas in the Three-Point Shootout contest.

The Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they would again meet Nash and the Phoenix Suns. Nowitzki scored 50 points to lead the Mavericks to a victory in the crucial Game 5 with the series tied 2–2; the Mavericks would go on to win in six games and face the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals. A content Nowitzki commented: "We've been a good road team all season long, we believed in each other. We went through some ups and downs this season, but the playoffs is all about showing heart and playing together." Of Nowitzki's performance, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons would remark, "Dirk is playing at a higher level than any forward since Bird." The Mavericks took an early 2–0 lead, but then gave away a late 15-point lead in a Game 3 loss and finally fell to a scoring onslaught by Heat Finals MVP Dwyane Wade: Wade scored at least 36 points in the next four games, which the Heat all won. Nowitzki only made 20 of his last 55 shots in the final 3 games as the Mavericks lost the Finals series 4–2 to the Heat. The German was criticised by ESPN as "clearly... not as his best this series" and remarked: "That was a tough loss (in Game 3) and that really changed the whole momentum of the series... After that, they got confidence. They played a lot better afterwards".

The 2006–07 NBA season was to be the one Nowitzki would be named the league's Most Valuable Player. He recorded averages of 24.6 points on .502 shooting, 8.9 rebounds and a career-high 3.4 assists and led the Mavericks to a franchise-high 67 wins, which meant Dallas earned the first seed of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. Nowitzki was touted as the overwhelming favorite for the Most Valuable Player award, and was expected to lead the Mavericks to an easy win against the eighth seed Golden State Warriors. However, the Mavericks ended up losing to the Warriors in six games, marking the first time a #8 seed has beaten the #1 in a best of seven series in NBA history. In the clinching Game 6, Nowitzki shot just 2–13 from the field for only eight points. Defended by Stephen Jackson, Nowitzki averaged nearly five points less than his regular season average in that series and shot only 38.3% from the field as compared to 50.2% during the regular season. He described this loss as a low point in his career: "This series, I couldn't put my stamp on it the way I wanted to. That's why I'm very disappointed." In spite of this historic playoffs loss, Nowitzki was named the NBA's regular season Most Valuable Player and beat his friend and back-to-back NBA MVP Nash with more than 100 votes. He also became the first European-born player in NBA history to receive the honor.

The 2007–08 campaign saw another first-round playoffs exit for Nowitzki and his Mavericks. Despite a mid-season blockbuster trade that sent veteran NBA All-Star Jason Kidd to Dallas, the Mavericks could only finish seventh in a highly competitive Western Conference. In the playoffs, they faced rising starlet Chris Paul's New Orleans Hornets, and were eliminated in five games. The only positive highlights that season for the German were that he notched his first career triple-double against the Milwaukee Bucks February 6, 2008, finishing with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high 12 assists; then, on March 8, 2008, with 34 points, he surpassed Rolando Blackman with his 16,644th point to become the all-time points leader for the Mavericks.

Nowitzki has been playing for the German national basketball team since the 1999 FIBA European championships. In his debut tournament, the 21-year old rookie established himself as the main German scorer, but could not prevent that Germany only ended seventh and failed to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Games. In the 2001 FIBA European Championships, Nowitzki was top scorer with 28.7 points per game, and narrowly lost the MVP vote to Serbian player Peja Stojaković. Germany reached the semi-finals and were close to beating host nation Turkey, but down by three, Hedo Turkoglu hit a three-point buzzer beater, and the Turks eventually won in overtime. Germany then lost 90–99 against Spain, and did not win a medal. However, with averages of 28.7 points and 9.1 rebounds, Nowitzki led the tournament in both statistics, and was voted to the All-Star team. Back home, the German basketball team attracted up to 3.7 million television viewers, a record in German basketball history.

Nowitzki finally earned his first medal when he led Germany to a bronze medal in the 2002 World Championships. In the quarter-finals against the Pau Gasol-led Spain, Spain led 52–46 after three quarters, but then Nowitzki scored 10 points in the last quarter and led Germany to a 70–62 win. In the semi-finals, his team played against the Argentinian squad of 2000 Olympic Games MVP Manu Ginóbili, but despite leading 74–69 four minutes from the end and despite Argentina losing Ginobili to a foot injury, the South Americans won 86–80. However, the Germans won 117–94 against New Zealand in the consolation finals and won bronze, and tournament top scorer Nowitzki (24.0 ppg) was elected MVP. In Germany, now over four million television viewers followed the games.

The 2003 FIBA European Championships proved to be a major disappointment for Nowitzki and his German squad. In a preparation game, he suffered a foot injury after a collision with French player Florent Pietrus; as a result, Nowitzki played inconsistently and was also often target of hard fouls. In the decisive second round match against Italy (only the winner was allowed to play the medal round), Germany lost 86–84, finished ninth and did not qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games. Nowitzki scored 22.5 points per game (third overall), but in general seemed to lack focus and dominance due to his injury.

In the 2007 FIBA European Championships, in which the top three teams automatically qualified for the 2008 Olympics, Nowitzki led Germany to a fifth place. He was the leading scorer with 24.0 points per game. The fifth place meant that Germany fell short of direct qualification, but was allowed to participate in the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Nowitzki led Germany into a decisive match against Puerto Rico for the last remaining slot. In that crucial match, he scored a game-high 32 points and was vital for the 96–82 win which sent the German basketball team to their first Olympics since the 1992 Summer Olympics. Nowitzki was chosen to be the flag bearer for the German Olympic Team at the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Olympics.

Nowitzki is a versatile, all-purpose frontcourt player who mostly plays the power forward position, but has also played center, small forward and point forward throughout his career. With career averages of over 20 points and nearly 9 rebounds, he is a constant double-double threat. Nowitzki is considered one of the best shooters in the game, hitting over 85% of his free throws, connecting on almost 50% of his field goal attempts and on almost 40% of his three-point shots, and is also winner of the 2006 NBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout competition. His shooting accuracy, combined with his tall seven-foot frame, makes him a tough defensive assignment, because he can shoot over most players. lauds his versatility by stating: "The 7–0 forward who at times mans the pivot can strike fear in an opponent when he corrals a rebound and leads the break or prepares to launch a three-point bomb." One of the forward's main problems remains defense, where he averages just over one block per game and never made an All-Defense Team. However, in a 2005 ESPN article, Nowitzki was voted the tenth best power forward of all time and was lauded for his "revolutionary" outside shooting skills.

Nowitzki's career has also been rewarded with an array of awards. He has made the All-Star team seven times and the All-NBA Team eight times. He was voted NBA Most Valuable Player of the 2006–07 NBA season and became the first European-born player to achieve this milestone. Other achievements include winning the 2006 NBA All-Star Three Point Shootout, being voted "European Basketballer of the Year" five times in a row by Gazzetta dello Sport, and becoming leading scorer and elected Most Valuable Player in the 2002 FIBA World Championships and 2005 FIBA European Championships. Finally, he holds several Dallas Mavericks franchise records relating to scoring, free throw shooting and rebounding.

Nowitzki's older sister, Silke, described Nowitzki, four years her junior, as a confident, but low-key character who is unspoilt by money and fame. He also enjoys reading and playing the saxophone. Nowitzki passed his Abitur examination at Röntgen Gymnasium Grammar School of Würzburg. He also founded the "Dirk Nowitzki Foundation", a charity which aims at fighting poverty in Africa.

Nowitzki's career has been the subject of the book Dirk Nowitzki - german wunderkind by German sports journalists Dino Reisner and Holger Sauer. It appeared in 2004 at the CoPress Munich publishing house under the ISBN 3-7679-0872-7. The 160-page hardcover book follows Nowitzki's beginnings in his native Würzburg and documents his entry and ascent in the NBA, and ends at the beginning of the 2004–05 NBA season.

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Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors logo

The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California, representing the San Francisco Bay Area. The team is part of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play their home games at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The Warriors were founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, a charter member of the Basketball Association of America. They were owned by Peter Tyrrell, who also owned the Philadelphia Rockets of the American Hockey League. Tyrell hired Eddie Gottlieb, a longtime basketball promoter in the Philadelphia area, as coach and general manager. He named the team after an early professional team in the city.

Led by early scoring sensation Joe Fulks, they won the championship in the league's inaugural 1946–47 season by defeating the Chicago Stags, four games to one. (The BAA became the National Basketball Association in 1949.) Gottlieb bought the team in 1951.

The Warriors won their only other championship as a Philadelphia team in the 1955–56 season, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to one. The stars of this era in the team's history were Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston. In 1959, the team signed draft pick Wilt Chamberlain. Known as "Wilt the Stilt," Chamberlain quickly began shattering NBA scoring records and changed the style of play forever. On March 2, 1962, in a Warrior "home" game played on a neutral court in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks, a single-game record that the NBA ranks among its finest moments.

In 1962, Franklin Mieuli purchased the majority shares of the team and relocated the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area, renaming them the San Francisco Warriors, playing most of their home games at the Cow Palace (located on the border between San Francisco and Daly City), though occasionally playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose. The Warriors won the 1963-64 Western Division crown, losing the NBA championship series to the Boston Celtics, four games to one.

In the 1964–65 season, the Warriors traded Wilt Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers, as they only won 17 games that season. In 1965, the Warriors drafted Rick Barry in the first round. Barry was named NBA Rookie of the Year in his first season, then led the Warriors to the NBA finals in the 1966–67 season, where the team lost (four games to two) to the team that replaced the Warriors in Philadelphia, the 76ers. Angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due, Barry sat out the 1967–68 season, joining the Oakland Oaks of the rival American Basketball Association the following year. After four seasons in the ABA, Barry rejoined the Warriors in 1972.

With the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966, the Warriors began scheduling increasing numbers of home games at that venue. The 1970–71 season would be the team's last as the San Francisco Warriors. They changed their name to the Golden State Warriors for the 1971–72 season, playing almost all home games in Oakland. Six "home" games were played in San Diego during that season but more significantly, none were played in San Francisco or Daly City.

The Warriors won their only championship on the West Coast in 1974–75. In what many consider the biggest upset in the history of the NBA, the Warriors defeated the heavily favored Washington Bullets in a four-game sweep. That team was coached by former Warrior Al Attles, and led on the court by Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes and Phil Smith. So little was felt of the team's chances in the playoffs, even by their home fans, that the Coliseum Arena scheduled other events during the dates of the NBA playoffs. As a result, the Warriors did not play their championship series playoff games in Oakland; rather, they played at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

After changing their name from the San Francisco Warriors, the Warriors became (and remain) the only NBA team that does not include the name of their state or their city in their name (although "Golden State" is a well-known California nickname).

After a subpar stretch in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the team had a brief resurgence with coach George Karl, culminating in a famous 1987 Western Conference Semifinal match against Magic Johnson's Lakers, which is still shown on TV in the NBA's Greatest Games series.

In the game, the Warrior's NBA All-Star point guard Sleepy Floyd had an amazing performance in the second half, which is still the NBA playoff record for points scored in a quarter (29) and in a half (39). Floyd scored 12 consecutive field goals in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 51 points, and leading the Warriors to victory. The "Sleepy Floyd Game" was a catalyst for increased interest in the NBA in the Bay Area, which was furthered by new coach Don Nelson who engineered another successful string of wins in the late 1980s to early 1990s with the high scoring trio of point guard Tim Hardaway, guard Mitch Richmond, and forward Chris Mullin (collectively known as "Run-T.M.C." after the rap group Run-D.M.C.). However, coach Don Nelson wishing to get frontcourt players to complement his run-and-gun system, made a trade that broke up the Run-T.M.C. core by sending Richmond to the Sacramento Kings for Billy Owens while bypassing Dikembe Mutombo, who was selected next by the Denver Nuggets. Nelson was brought to the team by Jim Fitzgerald, who owned the team between 1986 and 1995. The following year, 1993-94, with first-round draft pick and Rookie of the Year Chris Webber playing alongside Latrell Sprewell, the Warriors made the playoffs.

The season after that, however, saw a rift form between Webber, Sprewell and Nelson. All three soon left the team, and the organization went into a tailspin. 1994-95 was the first season under current team owner Chris Cohan. While the Oakland Coliseum underwent a complete renovation, the 1996-97 Golden State Warriors played their home games in the San Jose Arena in San Jose, California, struggling to a 30–52 finish. Sprewell was suspended for the remainder of the 1997–98 season for choking head coach P. J. Carlesimo during a team practice in December 1997. He would not play until he was dealt in January 1999 to the New York Knicks for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings. Former GM Garry St. Jean and Dave Twardzik received much of the blame for the Warriors' struggles following the start of Chris Cohan's tenure, including Cohan himself. St. Jean brought in several players, such as Terry Cummings, John Starks, and Mookie Blaylock, who were well past their primes. Twardzik drafted several flops, such as Todd Fuller (while Kobe Bryant was still available) and Steve Logan (who never played an NBA game). In the following draft, the team selected Adonal Foyle while Tracy McGrady was still available. St. Jean did, however, draft the future 2-time NBA slam dunk champion Jason Richardson (from Michigan State), who would become a key player on the team until the end of the 2006–07 season.

For a few years, with rising stars Jason Richardson, Antawn Jamison and guard Gilbert Arenas leading the team, the Warriors seemed like a team on the rise. In the end the young Warriors just did not have enough in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. After the 2002–03 season, Garry St. Jean's earlier mistakes of committing money to players like Danny Fortson, Adonal Foyle and Erick Dampier were painfully felt by Warriors fans when the team was unable to re-sign up-and-coming star Gilbert Arenas, despite Arenas's desire to stay in the Bay Area.

After spending two years in the Warriors front office as a special assistant, Chris Mullin succeeded Garry St. Jean and assumed the title of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Among his first moves were the hiring of three former teammates to help run the organization: Mitch Richmond (special assistant), Mario Elie (assistant coach) and Rod Higgins (General Manager). Mullin hoped to build the team around Jason Richardson, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., and Troy Murphy—complementing them with experience in Derek Fisher, a free agent signed by Golden State after playing a key role on three championship Lakers squads, Calbert Cheaney, a playoff-tested sharpshooter and Adonal Foyle, an excellent shot-blocker who is perhaps better known for his off-court work as founder of the campaign finance reform organization, Democracy Matters. The team also drafted 7-foot center Andris Biedriņš from Latvia (11th overall). At the 2005 trading deadline, Mullin further added to the team by acquiring guard Baron Davis, bringing the team its first "superstar" since Mullin himself.

Warriors fans hoped that 2005-06 would finally be the season that the team ended their playoff drought. Despite the poor play of newly re-signed Mike Dunleavy, Jr. and the broken hand of first round draft pick Ike Diogu, the Warriors enjoyed a great start to the 2005–06 season. They entered the new year with a winning percentage over .500 for the first time since 1994, but lost their first five games of 2006 and managed to win only 13 more games through the end of March. Star Baron Davis often found himself at odds with coach Mike Montgomery. Furthermore, Davis failed to remain healthy and played in just 54 games. He suffered a sprained right ankle in mid-February and did not return for long before being listed as an inactive player the remainder of the season. The injury-prone Davis had not played a full season since the 2001–02 campaign until the 07–08 season in which he played all 82 games averaging 21.8 points a game (incidentally a contract year). On April 5, 2006, the Warriors were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 114–109 overtime loss to the Hornets, extending their playoff drought to 12 seasons.

During the offseason, the Warriors rebuilt themselves. First in the 2006 NBA Draft, the Warriors selected center Patrick O'Bryant with the 9th overall selection. They also traded Derek Fisher to the Utah Jazz for guards Devin Brown, Andre Owens and Keith McLeod, and signed training-camp invitees Matt Barnes, Anthony Roberson and Dajuan Wagner. Brown, Owens, Wagner, Roberson, Chris Taft and Will Bynum were all waived while Barnes established himself in the rotation. Golden State also announced that it had bought out the remaining two years of head coach Mike Montgomery's contract and hired previous Golden State and former Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson to take over in his place.

Entering the 2006–07 season, the Warriors held the active record (12) for the most consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance (see Active NBA non-playoff appearance streaks). The 2006–07 season brought new hope to the Warriors and the Warriors faithful. Fans hoped that the Warriors will eventually find themselves among the NBA's elite with Don Nelson leading a healthy Baron Davis, an ever-improving Jason Richardson, and future stars Monta Ellis and Andris Biedriņš.

On January 17, 2007, Golden State traded Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod to the Indiana Pacers for forward Al Harrington, forward/guard Stephen Jackson, guard Šarūnas Jasikevičius, and forward Josh Powell. Many Warriors fans praised GM Chris Mullin for the trade for getting rid of considerable financial burdens in Dunleavy and Murphy. The Warriors now sought to "run and gun" their way to the playoffs with a more athletic and talented team. On January 24, the Warriors won their first game with their revamped roster, with encouraging play from Monta Ellis, Al Harrington, and Baron Davis against the New Jersey Nets, ending dramatically on a buzzer beater from Ellis.

March 4, 2007 marked the turning point in the Warriors season. They suffered a 107–106 loss in Washington handing them their 6th straight loss when Gilbert Arenas hit a technical free throw with less than one second remaining. The loss dropped them to 26–35, a hole inspiring the squad to a point of total determination. On April 18, 2007, the Warriors clinched their first playoff bid since 1994 with a resounding 120–98 victory in their season finale at Portland. The Warriors closed out the regular season (42–40) with a 16–5 ending run. During the run, they beat Eastern top seed Detroit Pistons 111–93, snapping their 6-game losing streak and notching their first win on the tail end of a back-to-back. The Warriors also ended the Dallas Mavericks' 17-game win streak with five players recording double digits. "We Believe" became the Warriors' slogan for the last couple months of the season and the playoffs.

On April 22, 2007, the Warriors played their first playoff game in 13 years, and beat the Dallas Mavericks 97–85, holding MVP Dirk Nowitzki to just 4-of-16 shooting, making it 6 straight against the NBA-best, 67 game winners. But the Warriors were crushed by the Mavericks in Game 2 when both Baron Davis, sometimes referred to as "Boom Dizzle" by fans, and Stephen Jackson, also known as Captain Jack, were ejected from the game. Then the Warriors bounced back by winning both Games 3 and 4 at home, putting Dallas on the brink of elimination. A close Game 5 saw the Mavericks eke out a 118–112 victory to send the 3–2 series back to California. The Warriors led by 9 with 2:41 left in the game, but Dallas scored 15 straight points. On May 3, 2007, the Warriors, with the help of their explosive third quarter, eliminated the Mavericks and became the first #8 seed to beat a #1 seed in a seven-game series. This was the Warriors' first playoff series win in 16 years. The Warriors went on to play the Utah Jazz in the second round of the 2006–07 playoffs.

Facing the Utah Jazz in the Conference Semifinals, The Warriors dropped two close games at EnergySolutions Arena to open the series. The Warriors had the chance to win both games late. In Game 1, Stephen Jackson missed a wide open 3 pointer that would have put the Warriors ahead with 6 seconds left. In Game 2, the Warriors led by 3 with 15 seconds left, but missed free throws allowed the Jazz to tie the game and eventually win in overtime. The series then shifted to the Oracle Arena, where the Warriors won Game 3 in a convincing blowout. Baron Davis scored 32 points and electrified the crowd with a monster dunk on Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors won the game 125-105 to avoid going 0-3 in the series. The Warriors went on to lose Game 4 at home, in what was their first loss in Oakland in well over a month. The Jazz closed out the Warriors in Game 5 in Salt Lake City. In the end, the physical play of the Jazz simply wore down the smaller Warriors.

After reestablishing itself as a playoff contender in the past season, the team set high expectations for itself. A much challenging year was foreseeable because the "We Believe" generation of Warriors had already gotten attention of the whole league. Shooting guard Jason Richardson was also traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for rookie Brandan Wright. To make things harder, Stephen Jackson received a 7-game suspension for his firearm incident. The absence of Jackson hurt the Warriors, as the team opened the season with six straight losses. Things immediately turned around with Jackson's return. The Warriors quickly fought back into playoff position. Monta Ellis' rise, Baron Davis' solid injury-free season (21.6 points, 8 assists, 4.6 rebounds per game), and an overall improvement in chemistry, led to the good play of the team after the Jackson's return. It was the first time the Warriors had three players average 20 points per game since the T-M-C era (Davis at 21.7, Ellis at 20.7, Jackson at 20.1).

On January 29, 2008, the Warriors signed Chris Webber for the rest of the season. But the Warriors offense was too fast for Webber and he ended up playing only nine games, averaging 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game before been waived on March 25, 2008. Webber announced that he is officially retired from basketball due to persistent problems with his surgically repaired knee. On April 14, 2008, the Warriors were officially eliminated from the 2008 Western Conference Playoffs, after losing to the Phoenix Suns 122–116 in Phoenix, despite having 48-34 season. The Warriors sold out nearly every home game during the season averaging 19,631 per game, the highest in team history.

On June 30, 2008, Baron Davis opted out of the last year of his contract with Golden State. Days before July 9, when teams were officially allowed to sign free agents, he had verbally agreed to a five year, $65 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.

To replace Davis, Golden State offered Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand lucrative contracts, but Arenas re-signed with the Washington Wizards and Elton Brand signed with the Philadelphia 76ers. With the 14th pick of the 2008 NBA draft, the Warriors selected and signed Anthony Randolph out of LSU. On July 10, Golden State inked Clipper free agent Corey Maggette to a five year, $50 million deal.

On July 19, 2008, the Warriors signed Ronny Turiaf from the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, on July 22, 2008, the Warriors acquired Marcus Williams from the New Jersey Nets for a future first-round draft pick. On July 24, 2008, the Warriors resigned Monta Ellis to a new 6-year contract worth $66 million, matched the Clippers' July 17, three year, $9 million offer for Kelenna Azubuike, and signed second round draft pick Richard Hendrix. On July 26, 2008, the Warriors also resigned Andris Biedrins with a six-year contract worth nearly $63 million (including bonuses).

On November 21, 2008, the Warriors traded forward Al Harrington to the New York Knicks for guard Jamal Crawford.

On January 23, 2009, after missing 43 games due to injury and suspension, Monta Ellis returned in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He recorded 20 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.

Bob Fitzgerald does play-by-play and Jim Barnett does color commentary on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Together, they do over 70 Warriors games a year on CSN. They also host "Roundtable Live", a half-hour pre-game show leading up to the broadcast of select Warriors home games. Bob is in his 11th season broadcasting Warriors games while Jim is in his 23rd season. Matt Steinmetz and Scott Reese are the 3rd and 4th members of the broadcast team and do halftime and post-game analysis, while Jaymee Sire acts as the Warriors insider and sideline reporter.

Tim Roye, who is in his 13th season doing Warrior games, does the play-by-play by himself without a color commentator. Exceptions are when the game is on national television, in which case, Jim Barnett (not doing TV) does color commentary. The games are broadcasted on KNBR-AM. Games at night, 7:30 Pacific Time, are broadcast on 680, while early starts on the East Coast are broadcast on 1050 to avoid interrupting The Razor and Mr. T. After each game, Tim Roye, Bob Fitzgerald, and Jim Barnett discuss the just-finished game and then they preview the upcoming games. Damon Bruce does the pre-game and post-game shows live from Oracle Arena. Major sponsors of the Warriors radio broadcast are Bud Light, Lucky's, and Corona Light.

The team currently trains at Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, CA.

Meschery, Attles, Barry and Thurmond are also members of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.

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Source : Wikipedia