Kwame Brown

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Posted by pompos 02/25/2009 @ 15:25

Tags : kwame brown, basketball players, basketball, sports

News headlines
The Best of the Top Five - Washington Post
How can Kwame Brown not crack the top 5! I demand a retraction! what is noticeable here is how many times the Bullets were able to get into the top 5 back in the 1960's and then have the chance to select core players who went on to distinguished NBA...
What can Kwame Brown do for you? - Washington Business Journal
When Kwame Brown was 16 and growing up in the District's Mount Pleasant neighborhood, he and two friends started their own business, the Three Amigos. The business plan was simple. On weekends and after school, they waited outside hair salons,...
Kwame Brown won't rush decision on option - Detroit Free Press
BY VINCE ELLIS • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • May 15, 2009 Decision time is coming for Pistons center Kwame Brown, but his camp is in no rush to decide if he will return next season. Brown's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Thursday that Brown will take his...
Illinois politics in DC - Washington Examiner
Last week, she and other former city employees met with DC Councilmen Harry Thomas, Michael Brown and Kwame Brown, hoping to persuade them to eliminate or modify personnel laws dealing with the Management Supervisory System....
10 Council members back same-sex marriage bill - Washington Blade
The Washington Times story, published May 6, reported that Council members Kwame Brown (D-At Large), Michael Brown (I-At Large), Thomas, Alexander and Barry indicated through staff members that they were each undecided on whether to vote for the full,...
Charlotte Bobcats: Try a Little PB&O and Let Felton Go - Bleacher Report
I hope this isn't MJ's "Kwame Brown" pick. Nazr Mohammed (Trade): He is not and never will be a consistent player. That's Emeka Okafor (Keeper): Until he improves his scoring average closer to 20 ppg, he's a role player, not a star player....
Rock on . . . - Deseret News
Isn't that what Kwame Brown was thinking? The guy who streaked Citi Field last week told reporters he had been planning the caper for eight years. That's only six years longer than it took to build the stadium. Retired steroid-user Jose Canseco is...
Gray vs. Rhee: About More Than Numbers - Washington Post Blogs
Council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large), one of the members Rhee was scheduled to talk to this week in an effort to walk back Monday's decision, said he planned to tell her as much. "You want more money for reform efforts, tell me you want $27 million...
Cutting corporate tax rates, vacant property tax not a priority ... - Bizjournals.com
Councilman Kwame Brown, D-at large and chair of the economic development committee, said he will propose moving the sports agency's marketing and administrative functions into the convention center authority but moving maintenance duties of RFK Stadium...
VINCE ELLIS' BLOG What changes will the Pistons make this off-season? - Detroit Free Press
Besides, Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Kwame Brown and Allen Iverson are all unrestricted free agents. Iverson is a goner with Wallace likely out, too. McDyess' future is a little more up in the air. It's Brown's option whether he will stay or not,...

Kwame Brown

Kwame James Brown (born March 10, 1982 in Charleston, South Carolina) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. The 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), 270 lb (120 kg; 19 st) center was the 1st overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, and was the first number one draft pick to be selected straight out of high school. He has also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

Brown was consistently rated as the "best high school player" in his class, which also included high school standouts Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. He was the high school player of the year as a senior in Georgia. Brown finished his high school career at the historic Glynn Academy (in Brunswick, Georgia) as the school's all-time leading rebounder (1,235) and shot-blocker (605), and also finished second all-time as a scorer and he was named to the 2001 McDonald's All-American Team.

Perhaps as a result of hype and high expectations, Brown's rookie season was marred with a lack of maturity as well as criticism from both the media and Jordan. In his rookie year, Brown averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and was already predicted to be a draft bust.

However, the Wizards believed in Brown's potential. In his second season as a professional, Brown saw more action in the league. He started 20 out of the 80 games he played and the total minutes he played doubled. Brown improved his numbers, posting averages of 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. In his third season, Brown continued to improve, posting career highs in both points (10.9) and rebounds (7.4). He also demonstrated his great potential during a game against the Sacramento Kings, during which he registered 30 points and 19 rebounds.

After his first three years in Washington, Brown's future with the Wizards appeared dubious, as he rejected a five-year, $30 million contract offer, electing instead to test the free-agent market when his contract expired after the season. In his fourth season, Brown took a noticeable step back in his development and was limited to 42 games due to injuries. His highest-scoring game of the season was only 19 points, compared to his season-high of 30 the year before, and he averaged just 7.0 points per game. Late in the season, criticism increased; he feuded with Gilbert Arenas, other teammates, and his coach Eddie Jordan. The local press did little to help the situation, and he became even less popular with fans.

During the first round of the 2005 playoffs, in which they played against the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards played a video before their first game of the series, in which Arenas instructed the fans not to boo Brown when he entered the game. The fans complied, even though Brown played only four minutes in the game. In the next several days after the game, Brown skipped a practice and a shootaround, as well as the next game, claiming that he thought he would punch Arenas if he entered the game. He skipped another practice with a supposed stomach ailment, only to be seen later that night at a Chinese eatery. The Wizards responded by suspending Brown for the rest of the playoffs.

On August 2, 2005, Brown and Laron Profit were traded to the Lakers in exchange for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins. This move was met with some controversy from fans who disliked Brown's reputation and his label as an "under-achiever." In the beginning of the season, he averaged just above 6 points and 6 rebounds.

On December 26, 2005, he played his first game at the Washington Wizards' MCI Center (now known as Verizon Center) as a Laker. The sold-out crowd of 20,173 fans loudly booed him upon entering the game and whenever he touched the ball. In the second quarter, Brown was looking the other way when teammate Saša Vujačić threw a pass his way. The ball bounced off his head and landed out of bounds, which was met with loud cheers from the crowd. Brown called the reception "weak" and stated that "they should be cheering that I'm gone." The Wizards won the game 94-91.

When Lakers center Chris Mihm went down with a season-ending ankle injury on March 12, 2006, Brown took over the starting center position. During his stint as a center, he raised his averages from 6.1 points and 6.3 rebounds to 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds and started every game for the Lakers in the playoffs. Surprisingly, Kwame Brown became a central part of the Lakers seven-game series with the Phoenix Suns. Although they ended up losing the series, it had appeared that Kwame Brown's potential was beginning to show. The surprising consistency Brown showed while playing center prompted Phil Jackson to make Brown the starting center in the 2006-2007 season. Brown was injured at the beginning of the season and Mihm was also out with injury for the whole season, so the starting job at center was given to the young Andrew Bynum. After playing the majority of the minutes at center despite the bench role, he was given the starting job in early December. Brown again became injured in the 2007-08 season which allowed Bynum to start again at the center position where he has now flourished. However, when Bynum suffered a knee injury that appeared to jeopardize the Lakers' playoff chances, Brown regained his starting position. As a starter, Brown disappointed many fans with his lackluster performance and apparent lack of focus during games, highlighted by one game where he missed an open dunk and registered more turnovers (7) than rebounds (6) en route to a Lakers loss. Though Kobe Bryant stuck by his teammate after the game and rebuked Lakers fans who booed Brown, it increasingly appeared that the chances that Brown would recognize his potential were diminishing and with them the Lakers' chances of making the playoffs that year.

On February 1, 2008, Brown was traded along with Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and the Lakers' 2008 and 2010 first-round draft picks for Pau Gasol and a second-round pick in 2010. The trade was widely seen around the league as a steal for the Lakers, as they were able to obtain the star Gasol for the maligned Brown. The trade helped vault the Lakers to the first seed in the Western Conference by the end of the season, while doing little to help the already struggling Grizzlies. On July 1, 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies chose not to sign Kwame Brown to a new contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.

On July 28, 2008, ESPN.com reported that the Detroit Pistons signed Brown to a 2-year deal worth $8 million. The second year is a player option.

Brown was under a Los Angeles Police Department investigation of a rape allegation in 2006. A woman reported that Brown sexually assaulted her after Game 3 of the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. He was cleared of all charges by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office on July 11, 2006.

According to a police report, on the night of Saturday, January 13, 2007, Kwame Brown was accused by a man of throwing a cake at him. The man said that as he was carrying the 2 x 2 foot chocolate cake down the street in Hermosa Beach, California, he spotted Brown's Lakers teammate Ronny Turiaf who agreed to pose for a photograph with him. The Lakers had been out celebrating Turiaf's birthday when Brown then arrived on the scene, who grabbed away the cake and threw it back at the man. The man offered no reason for the cake throw in the report. It was said Brown was actually attempting to throw it at Turiaf as a joke, believing the cake belonged to him but missed. They then dispersed, with Brown departing in a limousine. A "grand theft of a person" case was presented by detectives to the city attorney's office, but Brown was not prosecuted. Brown later compensated the man by buying him dinner at the Arena Club at the Staples Center.

Early on Saturday, September 29, 2007, Brown was arrested after his cousin Charles Warren Jr. was pulled over by police and charged in Valdosta, Georgia after being caught driving the opposite direction down a one-way street. A police spokesperson said that during the investigation, Brown told police the car belonged to him and that he was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident. He became disruptive and tried to interfere with the inquiry. Brown was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a police investigation.

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Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers logo

The Los Angeles Lakers are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, which they share with their fellow NBA rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, and their sister team, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.

The Lakers' franchise was founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan before moving to Minneapolis, where the team got its official title from the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes." The Lakers won five championships before relocating to Los Angeles in the 1960–61 NBA season. The Lakers lost all of their eight appearances in the NBA Finals in the 1960s, despite having help from Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. In 1972, the Lakers won their sixth title under coach Bill Sharman. The Lakers' popularity soared in the 1980s when they won five additional championships during a nine-year span with the leadership of Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and coach Pat Riley, the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Two of those championships during that span were against their arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics. With the help of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers played in five of the nine NBA Finals in the 2000s, winning three of them consecutively from 2000 to 2002 and losing the last two in 2004 and, most recently, the 2008 NBA Finals without O'Neal.

The Lakers hold records for having (at the end of the 2007–08 season) the most wins (2,905), the highest winning percentage (61.5%), the most NBA Finals appearances (29), the fewest non-playoff seasons with five (tied with San Antonio Spurs), and the second-most NBA championships with 14, behind the Boston Celtics' 17. They also hold the record for compiling the longest consecutive win streak (33) in U.S. professional team sports (also an NBA record) in the 1971–72 season. 14 Hall of Famers have played for the Lakers, while four Hall of Famer (John Kundla, Bill Sharman, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson) have coached the team. Four Lakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award.

The Lakers began in 1946 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000. The team was relocated to Minneapolis for the 1947 season. The Lakers, who already had a solid roster with forward Jim Pollard and playmaker Herm Schaefer, added center George Mikan, who quickly became the most dominant player in the game. With Mikan leading the way during their first year, the Lakers won their division by 13 games with a 43–17 record. In the 1949 BAA Championship the Lakers continued their dominance, beating the Washington Capitols three games to one. The following season, the team improved to 44–24, winning the Western Division. In the playoffs, the team defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round.

In the 1951–52 season the Lakers won 40 games, finishing second in its division. Facing the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, the Lakers won in seven games. With a 48–22 record in the 1952–53 season, the team went to the NBA Finals again after defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western Finals. The team won their second straight championship over The Knicks. Though Lakers star George Milkan suffered from knee problem throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 points per game. Clyde Lovellette, who was drafted in 1952 was able to help the team win the Western Division, along with Milkan. The team was able to win their third straight championship in the '50s when they defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games. Following Milkan's retirement in the 1954 offseason, the team struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although defeating the Royals in the first round, the Lakers were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the next round. For the rest of the fifties, the team failed to average above .500 and never returned to the Finals.

In their last year in Minneapolis, the Lakers went 25–50 and won the number two pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. The team selected Jerry West from West Virginia University. During the 1960 offseason, the Lakers became the NBA's first West Coast team when the owner, Bob Short, decided to move the team to Los Angeles. Although the team featured Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich, the attendance fell dramatically in their first five years in Los Angeles and the team lost the NBA Finals four times to the Boston Celtics in five seasons. The Lakers moved to a brand-new arena, The Forum, in 1967, after playing seven seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. That season saw the team repeating its pattern, losing to the Celtics in the 1968 NBA Finals.

On July 9, 1968, the team acquired Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers for Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. The Lakers and Celtics met again in the finals, and the Lakers had the home court advantage for the first time. They could not get past their rivals, however, and lost in seven games; the Celtics emerged from the series with their 11th NBA Championship in 13 seasons. Jerry West was named the first-ever Finals MVP; this remains the only time that a member of the losing team has won the award. In 1970 the team returned to the finals, and for the first time, they did not have to face the Celtics; instead the team met the New York Knicks, who defeated them 4–3. The next season the Lakers were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks, led by future Laker Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the Western Conference Finals.

The 1971–72 season brought several changes. Owner Jack Kent Cooke brought in Bill Sharman as the new coach, and Elgin Baylor announced his retirement early in the season after realizing that his legs were not healthy enough. The team, however, still won 14 straight games in November and 16 straight games in December. The team then won three straight to open the year of 1972 but on January 9, the Milwaukee Bucks ended the streak by defeating the Lakers, 120–104. By winning 33 straight games, the Lakers notched the longest winning streak of any team in American professional sports. The team won 69 games that season, setting a new NBA record for wins in a season, until the Chicago Bulls won 72 games in 1995–96. Chamberlain averaged a career-low 14.8 points but led the league in rebounding with 19.2 per game. West led the league in assists, with 9.7 assists per game, and averaged better than 25 points. At the end of the season, Bill Sharman was named NBA Coach of the Year. The Lakers eventually made it to the finals where they took revenge on the New York Knicks by winning in five games, bringing the first NBA title to Los Angeles.

During the 1972–73 NBA season, the Lakers did not match their record from their previous season, but they did clinch another Pacific Division title by winning 60 games. Wilt Chamberlain, playing in his final season, again leading the league in rebounding. The team triumphed over the Chicago Bulls after seven games during the conference semifinals but then easily defeated the Golden State Warriors in the Western Division Finals. The team then met the New York Knicks in the 1973 NBA Finals. The Lakers took the first game by three points, but the Knicks took the series in five games. Following the season, Wilt Chamberlain retired after a 15 year NBA career. For the 1973–74, the team was hampered by the loss of Jerry West, who played only 31 games before his legs finally gave out. Gail Goodrich who averaged 25.3 points, helped the team to a late-season surge. Trailing the Golden State Warriors by three games with seven left to play, the Lakers rallied to win the Pacific Division with a 47–35 record. The team advanced to the playoffs but managed only one win against the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals. Following the season, Jerry West retired, ending his 14 year playing career.

After missing the playoffs in the 1974–75 season, the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the league's premier big man at that time. Abdul-Jabbar wanted out from Milwaukee, demanding a trade to either New York or Los Angeles. He was eventually traded to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Junior Bridgeman, and Dave Meyers. Abdul-Jabbar had an MVP season for the Lakers in 1975–76, leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. The Lakers struggled in January, with a 3–10 record. At season's end, Abdul-Jabbar won the fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but the team finished out of the playoffs with a 40–42 record.

Jerry West replaced Bill Sharman as head coach during the offseason. It took another MVP season from Abdul-Jabbar to carry the team back to the top of the Pacific Division, as the Lakers finished the 1976–77 season with a league-best 53–29 record. They defeated the Warriors in a seven-game series to open the postseason before being defeated by Portland in the Western Conference Finals. During the offseason, the Lakers picked up Jamaal Wilkes from Golden State and signed first-round draft pick Norm Nixon. In the first two minutes of the first game of the 1977–78 season, Abdul-Jabbar punched Bucks Kent Benson for an overly aggressive elbow and broke his hand. The team won 45 games despite not having Abdul-Jabbar for nearly two months. During the 1978–79 season, the team posted a 47–35 record but lost to the SuperSonics in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

During the 1979 NBA Draft, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected 6'9" Earvin Johnson from Michigan State. The Lakers won 60 games in Johnson's rookie year. The Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the 1980 championship series thanks to an MVP performance by the rookie Johnson, who started for the injured Abdul-Jabbar. He finished with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists en route to the Lakers' second championship in Los Angeles. The 1980–81 season was a disappointment, though, as the Lakers lost Magic Johnson for most of the season to a knee injury. The team turned in a 54–28 record and finished second behind the Phoenix Suns in the Pacific Division. But the Houston Rockets, led by Moses Malone, stunned the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Owner Jerry Buss fired coach Paul Westhead after the Lakers went 7–4 to start the 1981–82 season. Buss promoted Assistant Coach Pat Riley to head coach on November 19 and the team won 17 of its next 20 games. The Lakers took the Pacific Division title and swept both the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers then stretched its postseason winning streak to nine games by taking the first contest of the NBA Finals from the 76ers. The team won the Finals four games to two; the team's playoff record that year was 12–2. On draft night in 1982, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected James Worthy from North Carolina. The Lakers clinched the Pacific Division with a 58–24 record, advancing to the 1983 NBA Finals by defeating Portland and San Antonio in the first two rounds. The Sixers, however, won the series and the championship in four straight games.

By the 1984–85 season, the Lakers' "Showtime" era, the most successful era in team history, was in full swing. The team won the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year. The Lakers lost game one of the NBA Finals by a lopsided score of 148–114, in what is now remembered as the "Memorial Day Massacre". The Lakers were resilient and behind 37–year old Finals MVP Abdul-Jabbar, and they were finally able to defeat Boston in six games. The team won the title in the Boston Garden, thus making the 1985 Lakers the only visiting team to ever win an NBA championship there.

In the 1985–86 season, they went 24–3 in their first 27 games and finished with 62 wins, clinching their fifth straight division title. The Houston Rockets, however, defeated the Lakers in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets won the series when Ralph Sampson hit a 20–foot jumper as time expired in game five at The Forum. The next season the Lakers accumulated 65 wins, the second-most in franchise history up to that point. Johnson then notched his last Finals MVP award as the Lakers defeated their arch rival Celtics in the finals, highlighted by Johnson's running "baby hook" shot to win game four at Boston Garden with two seconds remaining. Prior to the 1986–87 season, the Lakers let go of Maurice Lucas, moving A. C. Green into the starting lineup, and picked up Mychal Thompson from the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson won his first career NBA Most Valuable Player Award while leading the Lakers to a 65–17 record, the second-best mark in franchise history. Michael Cooper was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

The Lakers met the Celtics in the NBA Finals by sweeping the Denver Nuggets, losing just one game to the Golden State Warriors, and then swept the Seattle SuperSonics in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers routed the Celtics in the first two games of the Finals, and the teams then split the next four contests, giving the Lakers their second championship in three seasons. Johnson was named the NBA Finals MVP, to go with his regular-season MVP trophy. At the Lakers' championship celebration in Los Angeles, coach Riley brashly declared that the Lakers would repeat as NBA champions in the next season. During the 1987–88 season, the Lakers won, taking their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title, and subsequently meeting the Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals. The Lakers took the series in seven games, and James Worthy's triple double earned him a Finals MVP award. In the 1988–89 season, the Lakers won 57 games. The team made it to the NBA Finals, facing the Detroit Pistons again. The Pistons took advantage of the injuries of Byron Scott and Magic Johnson and took the series in four games.

On June 28, 1989, after twenty professional seasons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. During the 1990 offseason, 1987 Defensive Player of the Year winner Michael Cooper also announced his retirement. The team made another Finals appearance in 1991 but lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls in five games. On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced he had tested positive for HIV and that he would retire immediately. In their first season without Magic, they only won 43 games. In addition, they were eliminated after only four games in the first round. During the 1993–94 season, the team won only 33 games and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in franchise history.

For the next two seasons, the team made the playoffs but were eliminated in the second and first round, respectively. During the 1996 off-season, however, the Lakers signed Shaquille O'Neal and acquired rookie Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac. They used their 24th pick in the draft to select Derek Fisher. During the season, the team traded Cedric Ceballos to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry.

O'Neal led the team to a 56–26 record, their best effort since 1990–91, despite missing 31 games with a knee injury. O'Neal averaged 26.2 ppg and 12.5 rpg and finished third in the league in blocked shots (2.88 bpg) in 51 games. The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs. O'Neal scored 46 points in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, it marked the highest single-game playoff scoring output by a Laker since Jerry West scored 53 against the Celtics in 1969. In the next round, the Lakers lost four games to one.

In the 1997–98 season, O'Neal and the Lakers had the best start in franchise history, starting 11–0. O'Neal missed 20 games due to an abdominal injury. All season, the Lakers battled with Seattle for the Pacific Division title. In the final two months of the season, the Lakers won 22 of their final 25 games. With their late-season surge, the Lakers overtook Seattle atop the Pacific at 61–21. The Lakers defeated Portland three games to one, in the first-round best-of-five. In the next round, the team faced Seattle. Although Seattle won the first game, the Lakers responded with four straight wins and took the series. The Lakers were swept in four games by the Utah Jazz, being one series short of reaching the Finals for the first time since 1991.

During the middle of the 1998–99 season, All-Star guard Eddie Jones and center Elden Campbell were traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The team also acquired J. R. Reid, B. J. Armstrong, and Glen Rice. The team finished 31–19 in the shortened season, which was fourth in the Western Conference. The team defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs but were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in the next round.

Prior to the 1999–00 season, the Lakers hired former Bulls coach Phil Jackson as head coach and re-signed veterans Brian Shaw, John Salley, Ron Harper, and A. C. Green, who was with the Lakers during the "Showtime" era. The team also moved to a new arena, the Staples Center. At the start of the season, they won 31 of their first 36 games. They won 67 games, the most games since they won 65 in the 1986–87 season. The team eliminated the Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns in the first two rounds of the playoffs. After taking a three games to one lead in the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers came back to force a game seven. The team was down by 15 points but went on a 19–4 run to tie the game. The Lakers won 89–84 and went to the NBA Finals. The team defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers four games to two in the 2000 NBA Finals to win their first title since 1988. The following season, the team won 11 fewer regular season games. The team, however, swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Trail Blazers in three and the Kings and Spurs in four. The team met Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals; the Sixers took game one in overtime. But the team came back, taking four in a row to clinch their second straight title. The team had a 15–1 record in the postseason, the best in NBA history. The Lakers won 58 games in the 2001–02 season but the Sacramento Kings clinched the Pacific Division. The team eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, three games to none, and the San Antonio Spurs four games to one, in the second round. The team faced the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Finals; the series went to seven games, the last of which ended in a six-point overtime win in favor of the Lakers. The Lakers then achieved a three-peat by sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.

In the beginning of the 2002–03 season, they started 11–19. The team went 39–13 for the rest of the season and won 50 games. The team faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs; the Lakers took the series in six games. The team was eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs four games to two in the Western Conference Semifinals. The following offseason, the Lakers signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Three of the "big four", however, struggled with injuries: Shaquille O'Neal suffered from a strained calf, Karl Malone with an injured knee and Kobe Bryant with a shoulder injury. Ending up with a 56–26 record, they clinched the Pacific Division and entered the playoffs as the number two seed. They defeated the Houston Rockets, Spurs, and Timberwolves in the first three rounds of the 2004 NBA Playoffs, before they succumbed to the Detroit Pistons in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals.

During the 2004 offseason, the team entered the rebuilding phase when O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler and a first-round draft pick. The team also traded Rick Fox and Gary Payton to the Boston Celtics, for Chris Mihm, Marcus Banks, and Chucky Atkins. Derek Fisher, frustrated with losing playing time, opted out of his contract and signed with the Warriors. As Phil Jackson was not brought back to coach the team for the 2004–05 season, the team hired Rudy Tomjanovich. With only Kobe Bryant remaining on the team, they finished with a 34–48 record in 2004, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in their franchise history. Since the team failed to make the playoffs, the team was in the 2005 Draft Lottery, their first since 1994.

With the tenth overall pick, The Lakers selected Andrew Bynum, a center from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. The team also traded Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. Jackson returned to coach the team after Rudy Tomjanovich resigned midway through the previous season. On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest total in NBA history. Ending the season with a 45–37 record, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. After taking a three games to one lead in the first round, the Phoenix Suns came back to take the series in seven games. In the following season, they won 26 of their first 39 games. For the rest of the season, they lost 27 of their last 43 games, including a seven game losing streak. The team was eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns again, four games to one.

After a season ending injury to Andrew Bynum in January 2008 of the 2007–08 season, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and two first round draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol and a second round draft choice. After the trade, the Lakers went on to clinch the first seed in the Western Conference with a 57–25 record. Kobe Bryant was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the first Los Angeles Lakers guard to have won the award since Magic Johnson won the award in 1990. The Lakers went to the playoffs and defeated the Denver Nuggets in four games, the Utah Jazz in six games, and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in five games. They entered the NBA Finals for the first time in four years, facing their long-time rivals, the Boston Celtics, whom they had not played in the Finals in 21 years. The Lakers eventually lost the series in six games.

The Lakers have had a long rivalry with the Boston Celtics. They met in the NBA Finals 11 times, the Celtics have won nine while the Lakers have won two. The first meeting in the Finals was in 1959. Despite being swept by the Celtics, the Lakers managed to keep every game close in the Finals. The teams met five more times in the sixties, with the Celtics winning each time. Even though the two teams have met in the Finals three times (1984, 1985, and 1987) and have only played each other twice each season, their rivalry in the 1980s continued with renewed fervor. The 1984 series was even personified as Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson. Their most recent meeting in the finals was in 2008, where the Celtics defeated the Lakers in six games to clinch their seventeenth title.

The rivalry against the Sacramento Kings started in 2000, as the Lakers eliminated the Kings in the 2000 NBA Playoffs. During the 2002 Western Conference Finals, The Kings were up 99–97, and with two seconds remaining, Vlade Divac knocked the ball away as far away from the net as he could. Robert Horry, who waited behind the three-point line, then launched a game-winning three-pointer as time expired to give the Lakers a 100–99 victory.

In a preaseason game between the Kings and Lakers, Lakers forward Rick Fox elbowed Kings guard Doug Christie, while trying to protect the ball. Christie fell to the floor and when he got up, received a shove to the face from Fox. Christie responded with a punch to Fox's jaw and both players were separated and ejected. The players left the court through separate tunnels, but Fox ran to the Kings' end and confronted Christie.

Given the team's proximity to Hollywood, the large Lakers fanbase includes many celebrities, most of whom can regularly be seen at the Staples Center during home games. Jack Nicholson, for example, has held season tickets since the 1970s. From 2002 and 2007 the team averaged just over 18,900 fans, which was still in the top ten in the NBA. The team sold out every home game during the 2007–08 season.

Their television ratings are higher than other NBA teams; the 2008 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics drew a 9.3 rating, which were higher than the 2007 NBA Finals. According to Forbes magazine, the Lakers are the second most valuable basketball franchise in the United States, valued at approximately $584 million, surpassed only by the New York Knicks.

The Laker nickname came from the state of Minnesota being the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The team's colors are purple, gold and white. The Lakers logo consists of the team name, "Los Angeles Lakers" written in purple on top of a gold basketball. Purple uniforms are used for road games and gold uniforms are used for home games. The team also wears white jerseys for Sunday and holiday home games.

Since the Lakers were established in 1948, the team has only missed the NBA playoffs five times. The team has 14 NBA titles and has appeared in the NBA Finals 15 other times. These appearances include eight NBA Finals appearances in the 80s. The best record posted by the team was 69–13, in 1972; the worst record was 19–53, in 1957–58.

The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, located at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles. The Staples Center opened in 1999 and seats up to 18,997 for Laker Games. The Staples Center is also home to fellow NBA team, Los Angeles Clippers, their sister team of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Sparks, the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings and the Arena Football League's Los Angeles Avengers. The arena is owned and operated by AEG and L.A. Arena Company. Before moving to Staples Center, the Lakers played their home games at The Forum in Inglewood, California for 31 years. The team played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in their first seven years in Los Angeles. While team played in Minneapolis, the team played their home games at the Minneapolis Auditorium, from 1947 and 1960.

The Lakers have had 16 Hall of Famers (15 players and one broadcaster) who contributed to the Lakers. The Hall of Famers include (in alphabetical order): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Connie Hawkins, Magic Johnson, Clyde Lovellette, Slater Martin, Bob McAdoo, George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, James Worthy and Jerry West. Chick Hearn was the Lakers broadcaster for 42 seasons until he died in 2002.

The Lakers have had three first overall picks in their history: Elgin Baylor (selected in 1958), Magic Johnson (selected in 1979) and James Worthy (selected in 1982). The Lakers have also had two Lottery picks in their history: Eddie Jones (selected tenth overall in 1994) and Andrew Bynum (selected tenth overall in 2005). Other draft picks include Jerry West, Gail Goodrich in the 1960s, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon in the 1970s, and A.C. Green and Vlade Divac in the 1980s, Elden Campbell, Nick Van Exel, Derek Fisher, and Devean George in the 1990s, Luke Walton, Saša Vujačić, and Ronny Turiaf in the 2000s.

There have been 21 head coaches for the Lakers franchise. The franchise won their first five NBA championships, from 1949 to 1954, all while coached by John Kundla. Pat Riley is the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Riley was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. John Kundla, Bill Sharman, and Phil Jackson have also all been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Jerry West, Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, and Kurt Rambis have all played and head coached for the Lakers.

Chick Hearn was the team's broadcaster for 41 years until his death in 2002. Hearn broadcasted 3,338 consecutive games between November 21, 1965 and December 16, 2001. Paul Sunderland, who had filled in for a couple of games while Hearn recuperated in 2001–02, was named the permanent play-by-play announcer. Stu Lantz was retained as the color commentator. Sunderland's contract expired in the summer of 2005, and the team chose not to renew it. Joel Meyers moved in alongside Lantz as the TV announcer, while Spero Dedes and former Laker player Mychal Thompson on the radio. The current teams are Dedes and Thompson on radio and Meyers and Lantz on television.

As of 2007–08, Lakers radio broadcasts are heard on KLAC in English and KWKW in Spanish. KLAC has had the team's radio broadcast rights since the 1976–77 season. Telecasts are split between KCAL-TV (road games) and Fox Sports Net West (home games), unless they are chosen for national broadcasts on ABC. KCAL has been the Lakers' over-the-air television broadcaster since 1977, dating back to when the station was the RKO General-owned KHJ-TV, which is longer than any other station currently airing NBA games. Prior to KHJ, Laker games were televised on KTLA. The team games are broadcasted in High Definition on FSN West HD, and on KCAL HD.

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Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards logo

The Washington Wizards are a professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The team now known as the Wizards began play as the Chicago Packers in the 1961-62 season. The next season, they changed their name to the Zephyrs. In 1963 the franchise moved to Baltimore, Maryland and became the Baltimore Bullets (no relation to the 1940s–50s Bullets franchise). In their first year in Baltimore, the Bullets finished 4th in a 5–team Western Division.

Prior to the 1964-65 NBA season the Bullets pulled off a blockbuster trade, sending Terry Dischinger, Rod Thorn and Don Kojis to the Detroit Pistons for Bailey Howell, Don Ohl, Bob Ferry and Wali Jones. The trade worked out well; Howell proved to be a hustling, fundamentally sound player who helped the Bullets get into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In the 1965 NBA Playoffs, the Bullets stunned the St. Louis Hawks 3–1, and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. In the finals, Baltimore managed to split the first four games with the Los Angeles Lakers before losing the series 4–2.

In the late 1960s, the Bullets drafted two future Hall of Famers: Earl Monroe, 1967 draft, #2 overall and Wes Unseld, 1968 draft, #2 overall. The team improved dramatically, from 36 wins the previous season to 57 in the 1968-69 season, and Unseld received both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. The Bullets reached the playoffs with high expectations to go further, but they were eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round. The next season the two teams met again in the first round, and although this one went to 7 games, the Knicks emerged victorious again.

In the 1970-71 season, the 42–40 Bullets again met the Knicks, this time though in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the Knicks team captain Willis Reed injured in the finals, the injury-free Bullets took advantage of his absence, and in Game 7 at New York's Madison Square Garden, the Bullets' Gus Johnson made a critical basket late in the game to lift the Bullets over the Knicks 93–91 and advance to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. They were swept in four games by the powerful Milwaukee Bucks.

Even after Monroe was traded (to the Knicks), the Bullets remained a playoff contender throughout the 1970s. Following a less than spectacular 1971-72 NBA season, the Bullets improved dramatically by acquiring Elvin Hayes from the Houston Rockets and drafting Kevin Porter. After a slow start the Bullets began to make their charge in December, posting a 10–4 record on the way to capturing the Central Division title for the 3rd straight year. The Bullets would again face the Knicks in the 1973 NBA Playoffs, losing for the fourth time in five series against New York.

In 1973, the team moved to Landover, Maryland and became the Capital Bullets; they changed their name to the Washington Bullets the following season.

During November 1973, while waiting for the completion of their new arena in Landover, the Bullets played their home games at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park. The Capital Centre (later known as the USAir/US Airways Arena) opened on December 2, 1973, with the Bullets defeating the SuperSonics. Through the mid-1990s, the Bullets still played a few games per season in Baltimore.

The 60–22 Bullets made it back to the 1975 NBA Playoffs. That year Washington posted a 36–5 home record at the Capital Centre. In the first round of the playoffs, they survived a 7–game series against the Buffalo Braves as both teams won all of their games at home. In the Eastern Conference Finals, they beat the defending NBA Champion Boston Celtics in 6 games to advance to the NBA Finals. The Bullets were favorites to win the NBA Championship, but were shockingly swept by the Rick Barry-led Golden State Warriors in 4 games. They lost game 4 at the Capital Centre.

The loss at the NBA Finals lingered into the 1975-76 NBA season as they won 12 fewer games than last year, and in the playoffs they were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 7 games. After the season the Bullets fired head coach K.C. Jones, despite having a career 62% winning percentage as the Bullets head coach.

In the 1976-77 NBA season under new head coach Dick Motta, the Bullets would again fall short of the Central Division title for the second straight year. Elvin Hayes finished 6th in the league in rebounds with 12.5 rebounds per game. After opening the 1977 NBA Playoffs with a 3–game series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Bullets took a 2–1 series lead in the second round of against the Houston Rockets. With a chance to take a 3–1 series lead at home, the Bullets would lose 107–103 as the Rockets went on take the series in 6 games.

Although they had future hall of famers Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld on the team, The Bullets finished the season 44–38 and were a longshot to win the NBA Championship, but coach Dick Motta used the famed phrase "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings". This became the rallying cry for the Bullets as they finished a playoff run that led to the NBA Finals, defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in 7 games to bring a professional sports championship to Washington D.C. for the first time in 36 years.

In the 1978-79 NBA season the Bullets moved to the Atlantic Division, capturing the title in their first season there. They entered the 1979 NBA Playoffs having lost 8 of the final 11 games to finish the regular season at 54–28. In the playoffs the Bullets nearly blew a 3–1 series lead against the Atlanta Hawks, but managed to hold off the Hawks in 7 games.

In the Eastern Conference Finals, they trailed the San Antonio Spurs 3–1, but they mounted a comeback by winning 2 straight games to force a Game 7 at the Cap Center. The Bullets would rally again, overcoming a 4th–quarter deficit to beat George Gervin and the Spurs 107-105 in one of the NBA's all-time greatest games and advance to the NBA Finals and a rematch with the Seattle SuperSonics.

In Game 1 of the Finals, the Bullets defeated the SuperSonics, 99-97, on two game-winning free throws. However, they lost the next four games - and the series - to Seattle. Still, just appearing in the series gave the Bullets the distinction of being the only team to play in the NBA Finals four times during the 1970s.

Age and injuries finally caught up with the Bullets. In the 1979-80 NBA season, they barely made the playoffs as they captured the sixth and final playoff spot with a tiebreaker despite posting a 39–43 record. In the playoffs, they were swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in a 2–game playoff series. The following year the Bullets failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Wes Unseld retired and Elvin Hayes was traded to the Houston Rockets the following season.

In '81, Washington played strong under the coaching of Gene Shue and Don Moran, finishing the regular season with a 43–39 record, and although they advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals in the playoffs, they had clearly lost their form of the late 70's. The Bullets continued to play with the same talent they had in the previous year. They finished with a winning record, but in a highly competitive Atlantic Division they finished last and missed the playoffs.

The next two years saw the Bullets continue to play mediocre basketball as they finished with losing records but they made the playoffs in the new expanded NBA Playoffs format that involved the 16 best teams to make the playoffs; the Bullets were eliminated in both years in the first round.

In 1985, the Bullets acquired Manute Bol, whose specialty was blocking shots. That year, he blocked 397 shots (a Bullets record), part of a team that blocked 716 shots (a Bullets team record). But the Bullets finished with a disappointing 39–43 record, and were eliminated by the 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Bullets acquired center Moses Malone from the Philadelphia 76ers for center Jeff Ruland the following season for hope of improvement. Moses would lead the team in scoring with a 24.1 points per game as he would be joined by Jeff Malone who averaged 22.0 points per game. The Bullets' 42–40 record would be their last winning season until the 1996-97 NBA season. Washington was eliminated by the Detroit Pistons in 3 games in the playoffs.

The Bullets selected Muggsy Bogues twelfth overall in the '87 Draft, who at 5'3" is the smallest player in NBA history. The Bullets would get off to a slow start as coach Kevin Loughery was fired 27 games into the season with the Bullets holding an 8–19 record. To replace Loughery, the Bullets hired former MVP Wes Unseld. Under Unseld the Bullets improved as they were able to reach the playoffs again with a record of 38–44. After losing the first 2 games on the road in the first round of the 1988 NBA Playoffs to the Detroit Pistons, the Bullets fought back and forced a 5th game with 2 home wins. They would lose game 5 by 21 points. It would be 9 years before Washington would return to the NBA Playoffs.

The Bullets got off to a 5–1 start in 1989, but hopes of a good season faded quickly as they lost 16 of 18 games from Mid-December to Mid-January. They would finish with a 31–51 record despite stellar seasons by Jeff Malone and Bernard King, who averaged 24.3 and 22.3 points per game respectively to lead the team.

The lone highlight of the Bullets 30 win 1990–91 season was the successful comeback effort by Bernard King as he recovered from knee surgery he suffered while playing for the Knicks in the 1984-85 NBA season to finish 3rd in the NBA in scoring with a 28.4 points per game. In 1990, the team would name Susan O'Malley as its president, the first female president of a franchise in the history of the NBA. She is the sister of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley and the daughter of former Dodger owner Walter O'Malley.

The Bullets posted records of 25–57 in the 1991–92 season and 22–60 in the 1992–93 season due to injuries and inconsistent play.

Injuries would continue to bite the Bullets as key players Rex Chapman and Calbert Cheaney (the club's 1st round draft pick) miss significant stretches, and Pervis Ellison misses almost the entire season. The result was a miserable 24–58 record for the 1993-94 season, but help from the Michigan Wolverines was on the way.

The Bullets selected Juwan Howard in the 1994 NBA Draft and traded Tom Gugliotta along with three first round draft picks to the Golden State Warriors for the rights to Chris Webber. While the season started out with promise, a shoulder injury to Chris Webber (ironically against the Warriors) caused him to miss 19 games and the Bullets struggled through the rest of the season finishing a then franchise worst (percentage wise) 21–61. Webber averaged 20.1 ppg and 9.6 rpg but declined surgery for his dislocated shoulder. This would prove costly for the next season.

The Bullets' 95–96 season seemed over before it started as Webber suffered a dislocated left shoulder in a preseason game against Indiana on October 21 and opened the season on the injured list. He was activated on Nov. 27, but strained his shoulder against New York on Dec. 29. After hoping the injury would get better with rest, Webber finally underwent surgery on Feb. 1 which sidelined him for the remainder of the season. The Bullets were 9–6 with Webber in the lineup as he averaged a team-high 23.7 points plus 7.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.80 steals in 37.2 minutes per game when he was able to play. Other players injured included Mark Price (who only played in 7 games) and Robert Pack (31 games played out of 82). Bright spots of the season included the selection of Rasheed Wallace in the 1995 NBA Draft and the All-Star play of Howard. Juwan averaged a career best 22.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg and kept the Bullets slim playoff hopes alive until the end of the season. The Bullets improved to 39–43 but just missed the playoffs.

Washington, boasting the league's tallest player (center Gheorghe Mureşan 7'7"), two very athletic forwards (Juwan and Webber) and one of the league's top point guards (Rod Strickland), struggled at the start of the 1996–97 season to a 22–24 start. That led to the dismissal of Head Coach Jim Lynam. Bernie Bickerstaff, an assistant coach with the Bullets when they won their only NBA Championship in 1978, was called upon to resurrect his former team. The Bullets responded, winning 16 of their final 21 games to finish 44–38, their best record since 1978-79. The late surge enabled the Bullets to climb within reach of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the final playoff spot. In a winner-take-the-eighth-playoff-spot game with the Cavaliers on the season's final day, the Bullets squeezed past Cleveland 85–81 to end the franchise's longest playoff drought. And while the Bullets were swept by the Bulls in the first round, they lost the three games by a total of just 18 points, a sign that the team is one to be reckoned with.

Webber led the way in scoring (20.1 ppg), rebounding (10.3) and blocks (1.9) and shot 51.8 percent from the floor to make his first All-Star team and became the first All-star of the franchise. Howard averaged 19.1 ppg and 8.0 rpg, while Strickland averaged 17.2 ppg and 1.74 spg and finished fifth in the league in assists with 8.9 per game. Muresan dominated the middle and led the NBA in field goal percentage (.599). Washington also received valuable contributions from Calbert Cheaney (10.6 ppg) and Tracy Murray (10.0 ppg).

In 1995, owner Abe Pollin announced he was changing the team's name because Bullets had acquired violent overtones that had made him increasingly uncomfortable over the years. The final straw was the assassination of his longtime friend, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A contest was held to choose a new name and the choices were narrowed to the Dragons, Express, Stallions, Sea Dogs, or Wizards. On May 15, 1997, the Bullets officially became the Washington Wizards. The change generated some controversy because Wizard is a rank in the Ku Klux Klan. A new logo was unveiled and the team colors were changed from the traditional red, white and blue to blue, black and bronze, the same colors as the Washington Capitals, a hockey team also owned by Pollin (the Capitals were traditionally red, white, and blue and would return to that scheme in 2007). That same year the Wizards moved to the then MCI Center, now called Verizon Center. The Verizon Center is also home to the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Georgetown Hoyas men's college basketball team.

In 1998, they became the brother team to the WNBA's Washington Mystics.

The newly-named Wizards began the 1997-98 season playing 5 home games at the Capital Centre before moving to the new MCI Center on December 2, 1997. The Wizards finished the season with a 42–40 record including 4 straight victories to end the season but just missed the playoffs. Highlights of the season included Webber leading the team in scoring (21.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg). Strickland led the league in assists (10.5 apg) before suffering an injury near the end of the season. Tracy Murray averaged 15.1 ppg off the bench including a 50 point game against Golden State. Off court distractions led to the trade of Webber to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe in May 1998.

The Wizards finished the lockout shortened season of 1998-99 with a record of 18-32. Mitch Richmond led the team in scoring with a 19.7 ppg average. In the 1999-00 season, the Wizards finished with a 29–53 record. Mitch Richmond led the team with 17.4 ppg. 1999 NBA Draft pick Richard Hamilton led the team in scoring the following season with 18.1 ppg on a team that finished with a 19-63 record (a franchise low).

On February 23, 2001, the Wizards were involved in a blockbuster trade days before the trading deadline. The team sent Juwan, Obinna Ekezie and Calvin Booth to the Dallas Mavericks. In return, Washington received Hubert Davis, Courtney Alexander, Christian Laettner, Loy Vaught and Etan Thomas along with $3 million.

After retiring from the Chicago Bulls in early 1999, Michael Jordan became the Washington Wizards’ president of basketball operations as well as a minority owner in January 2000. However in September 2001, Michael Jordan came out of retirement at age 38 to play basketball for the Washington Wizards. Jordan stated that he was returning “for the love of the game.” Because of NBA rules, he had to divest himself of any ownership of the team. Before the All-Star break, Jordan was only one of two players to average more than 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds as he led the Wizards to a 26–21 record. Unfortunately, after the all-star break, Jordan’s knee could not handle the workload of a full-season as he ended the season on the injured list, and the Wizards concluded the season with a 37–45 record. Still, Jordan had led the Wizards to an 18-win improvement from the previous season.

Jordan announced he would return for the 2002-03 season, and this time he was determined to be equipped with reinforcements, as he traded for All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and signed budding star Larry Hughes. Jordan even accepted a sixth-man role on the bench in order for his knee to survive the rigors of an 82–game season. However, a combination of numerous team injuries and uninspired play led to Jordan’s return to the starting lineup, where he tried to rebound the franchise from its early-season struggles. By the end of the season, the Wizards finished with a 37–45 record once again. Jordan ended the season as the only Wizard to play in all 82 games, as he averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in 37.0 minutes per game.

After the season, Wizards' majority owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan as team president, much to the shock of teammates, associates, and the public. Michael Jordan felt he was betrayed, thinking that he would get his ownership back after his playing days ended, but Pollin justified Jordan's dismissal by noting that Jordan had detrimental effects on the team, such as benching Larry Hughes for Tyronn Lue, making poor trades, and squandering the teams' 2001 1st round draft pick on high schooler Kwame Brown who never panned out. Without MJ in the fold the following year, the Washington Wizards were not expected to win, and they didn’t. Despite the signing of future All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas, the team stumbled to a 25–57 record in the 2003-04 season.

The Wizards replaced Jordan's managerial role with coach Eddie Jordan and General Manager Ernie Grunfeld. The team's current roster only has two holdovers from the Michael Jordan era: Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood.

The 2004-05 NBA season saw the team (now in the new Southeast Division) post its finest regular season record in 26 years (45-37) and marked the first time the franchise had ever made the playoffs as the Wizards. In the offseason, the team traded Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner, and the draft rights to Devin Harris for Antawn Jamison. During the regular season, the scoring trio of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes was the highest in the NBA and earned the nickname of "The Big Three." Hughes also led the NBA in steals with 2.89 steals per game. Arenas and Jamison were both named to the 2005 Eastern Conference All-Star team, marking the first time Washington had two players in the All-Star game since Jeff Malone and Moses Malone represented the Bullets in the 1987 All-Star Game.

With a 93-82 win over the Chicago Bulls on April 13, 2005, the Wizards clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1996-97. Long suffering fans celebrated by buying over 16,000 playoff tickets in two and a half hours the day tickets went on sale. In game 3 of the first round against the Bulls, the Wizards won their first playoff game since 1988. Adding to the "long-overdue" feeling was the fact that game 3 was also the first NBA playoff game to be held within Washington, D.C. city limits. In the Wizards' game 5 victory in Chicago, Arenas hit a buzzer-beater to win the game and the Wizards took their first lead in a playoff series since 1986. In Game 6 at the MCI Center, Jared Jeffries picked up a loose ball and went in for an uncontested tiebreaking dunk with 32 seconds left, thus giving the Washington Wizards a 94-91 win and the team's their first playoff series win in 23 years. They were only the 12th team in NBA history to win a playoff series after being down 0-2.

In the conference semifinals, the Wizards were swept by the Miami Heat, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2005 NBA Playoffs.

The 2005–06 NBA season was one filled with ups and downs. During the offseason, Washington acquired Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels. During the regular season, the Wizards again had the best scoring trio in the NBA, this time consisting of Arenas, Jamison and Butler as the "Big Three." The Wizards started the 2005–06 season at 5–1, but went on an 8–17 funk to go to 13–18 through 31 games. Then, they went 13–5 in the next 18 games. On April 5, 2006, the team was 39–35 and looking to close in on the 45 win mark achieved the previous year, until Caron suffered a thumb sprain and the Wizards lost all five games without him. Butler returned and the team pulled out their final three games, against the Pistons, Cavs and Bucks, all playoff bound teams, to finish the year at 42–40 and clinch the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. They averaged 101.7 points a game, 3rd in the NBA and tops in the East and clinched a playoff berth for the second year in a row for the first time since 1987.

Their first round match up with Cleveland was widely seen as the most evenly matched series in the 2006 NBA Playoffs. The teams exchanged wins during the first two games in Cleveland, with Game 2 highlighted by the Wizards holding LeBron James to 7-25 shooting from the floor while Brendan Haywood gave James a hard foul in the first quarter that many cited as the key to shaking up the rest of LeBron's game. In Game 3 at the Verizon Center, James hit a 4-footer on the way down with 5.7 seconds left to take the game and the series lead for the Cavs with a 97–96 win. Arenas missed a potential game winning 3-pointer on the other end to seal the win for the Cavs. Game 4 saw the Wizards heat up again, as Gilbert scored 20 in the fourth quarter after claiming he changed his jersey, shorts, shoes and tights in the locker room and the Wizards won 106–96. Yet in Games 5 and 6, the Cavs would take control of the series, both games decided by one point in overtime.

In Game 5, despite the Wizards being down 107-100 with 1:18 to play, the team drove back and eventually tied the game on Caron Butler's layup with 7.5 seconds remaining to send the game to OT, where James would score on a blatant travel that the referees seemed to ignore due to preferential star treatment with 0.9 seconds left in overtime to send the Cavs to a 121-120 win. The series came back to the newly-named Verizon Center for Game 6, where the game went back and forth all night. The Wizards blew a 14-point first-quarter lead, then for 24 minutes, from early in the second quarter to early in the fourth, neither team led by more than five points at any time. The Wizards blew a seven point lead with just under 5 to play and needed Arenas to hit a 31-footer at the end of regulation to take the game to overtime. In OT, Gilbert missed two key free throws after James taunted Arenas at the line. Cleveland rebounded the ball, went downcourt and Damon Jones hit a 17-foot baseline jumper with 4.8 seconds remaining to give the Cavs the lead for good. Butler would miss a 3-pointer on the other end to seal the game, and the series, for the Cavaliers.

The 2006-07 season started out very promising for the Wizards. In the offseason they signed free agents DeShawn Stevenson and Darius Songaila. Etan Thomas beat out Haywood for the starting center job. After starting the season 0-8 on the road, Washington rebounded to win 6 of 7 away from Verizon Center. After a 4–9 November, Washington went 22–9 through December and January. Arenas scored a franchise-record 60 points against the Lakers on December 17. Both he and Eddie Jordan were named player of the month and coach of the month for December, respectively. On January 3 and again on January 15, Gilbert hit buzzer-beating three-pointers to beat Milwaukee and Utah.

On January 30, Antawn Jamison went down with a sprained left knee in a win against Detroit. Washington went 4–8 in the 12 games without him. On February 3, Songaila made his Wizards debut against the Lakers. On February 18th, Eddie Jordan became the first Wizards/Bullets coach to coach the NBA All-Star Game since Dick Motta in 1978-1979. Arenas played in his 3rd straight All-Star game and Caron Butler made his All-Star Game debut.

On March 14, Butler went out with a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup for six games. He returned for only three games until he fractured his right hand on April 1 against Milwaukee. On April 4, Gilbert suffered a season-ending knee injury, of the meniscus. An April 15th article in The Washington Post pointed out that with Arenas and Caron gone, the team had lost 42.3% of their offensive production, quite possibly "the most costly" loss for any team in the midst of a playoff hunt in NBA history.

Despite their late season struggles without Arenas and Butler, the Wizards still managed to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, taking the 7th seed at 41-41. They were swept 4 games to none in a rematch of last year's first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite a depleted roster, the Wizards still managed to keep things close in every game in the series and only lost the final three games by a combined 20 points. Business-wise, the team enjoyed their best attendance figures in the post-Michael Jordan era with a season attendance of 753,283 (18,372 per game) .

The Wizards retained a majority of their roster from the 2006–07 season, only losing Jarvis Hayes to Detroit, Calvin Booth to the Philadelphia 76ers, and Michael Ruffin to the Milwaukee Bucks as free agents. Washington also signed Oleksiy Pecherov, the team's first-round pick in 2006, as well as 2007 picks Nick Young and Dominic McGuire. Etan Thomas missed the regular season after undergoing open-heart surgery.

The team began the season starting 0–5, but rebounded to win six straight. After 8 games, Gilbert Arenas underwent surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee, as well as a microfracture surgery. This was the same knee he had injured the previous year. The injury forced Arenas out for a total of 68 games. Midway through the season, Caron Butler was forced to the sidelines for a total of 20 games with what initially was a strained hip flexor, but turned out to be a labral tear. Despite all of the injuries, the Wizards managed to go 43-39 on the regular season, good for 5th place in the Eastern Conference and a first-round playoff matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third straight season.

The Washington Wizards will be having minor modifications on their team jerseys and logos. To accommodate the gold/black alternate jerseys they introduced last season along with the design change on the Verizon Center floor, they changed their secondary team colors from bronze to metallic gold, and the player's name on the back of the jersey is changed from white/blue with bronze trim to gold (blue on home uniforms) with a change in lettering.

The Wizards emerged from the offseason retaining two of their main pieces of their core: Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison. Arenas signed a 6-year, $111 million contract, while Jamison signed a 4-year, $50 million contract. The Wizards did not, however, re-sign guard Roger Mason, who signed with the San Antonio Spurs. The Wizards did add guards Dee Brown and Juan Dixon, and drafted JaVale McGee 18th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft.

In September, Gilbert Arenas underwent a third operation on his surgically repaired left knee to clean out fluid and debris, and is expected to miss at least the first month of the season. In the first game of the preseason, Antawn Jamison suffered a right knee contusion, and is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. Center Brendan Haywood also announced that he will undergo surgery on his right wrist and is expected to miss four to six months. The preseason also marked the return of Etan Thomas who had missed all of the 2007-2008 season while recovering from open heart surgery.

In the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Wizards matched up with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a first-round matchup, in what would turn out to be the first of (as of 2008) three consecutive postseason matchups, as well as James' first-ever playoff appearance. The series was considered to be one of the most evenly matched of all first-round series that year. After suffering a loss in Game 1, Washington came back to win Game 2 and steal home-court advantage heading back to Verizon Center for Game 3. However, Cleveland stole home-court advantage right back. Washington came back to tie the series at two apiece with a win in Game 4, but suffered two consecutive one-point overtime losses(in which LeBron James traveled but was not called) and thus were eliminated 4 games to 2.

The Wizards and Cavaliers met again in the 2007 NBA Playoffs, this time as a 2-7 matchup. The injury-riddled Wizards (they were missing Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler) were swept 4-0 by Cleveland. Antawn Jamison averaged a team-high 32 points per game in the series.

In April 2008, Arenas made comments saying Cleveland was only a .500 team since a midseason blockbuster trade. After the conclusion of the 2007-08 regular season, the Wizards and Cavaliers were pitted against each other yet again in a 4-5 first-round matchup. Following a regular-season win on March 13th, guard DeShawn Stevenson made comments saying LeBron James was "overrated." James responded to the comment by saying that he would not return the insult, as that would be "almost like Jay-Z made by Soulja Boy." Soulja Boy made an appearance at Game 3 of the series (played in Washington) in support of the Wizards; his music was played over the PA system. Jay-Z, a close friend of James, got involved in the rivalry as well, making a song that trashed Stevenson. The day after Game 3, James reserved a private room at a D.C. area nightclub called "Love" for himself and his teammates. Jay-Z's new song was played while Cavs guard Damon Jones made negative gestures about the Wizards. Unbeknownst to the Cavaliers, Wizards star Caron Butler and his wife were also present, and they stormed out of the nightclub. According to the ABC broadcast of Game 4, Butler and the Wizards have sworn never to visit that particular club again, despite often frequenting it in the past. After suffering a late-game loss in Game 4 at the hands of a Delonte West three-pointer, Washington won a nail-biting Game 5 in Cleveland to bring the series back to Washington for Game 6 of the series. Prior to Game 6, Darius Songaila, a reserve forward, was suspended for hitting LeBron James in the face in the first quarter of Game 5, and without Songaila, the Wizards suffered a season-ending defeat to Cleveland, and lost the series 4–2.

Dating back to the start of the 2005-06 season, the Wizards and Cavaliers have played each other a combined 31 times (including preseason), far more than they have played any other team in the league.

The Hall also honors Arnold "Red" Auerbach, who played collegiately at D.C.'s George Washington University, and Horace "Bones" McKinney, who played for the Washington Capitols in the early days of the NBA. Both men also coached the Capitols, who played from the NBA's founding in 1946 until the team folded in 1951.

Most games are carried on TV on Comcast SportsNet which is available in the Washington, D.C. area and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic states. Alternate local carriers include WDCW-TV and cable station NewsChannel 8. Wizards games are announced by Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier. Chris Miller serves as a sideline reporter for some broadcasts (including most Wizards' home games). On the radio, Wizards games are broadcast on WTEM-980 AM, with Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor doing analysis.

Blogs that cover the Wizards include Bullets Forever, Truth About It, and The Wizznutzz.

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Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum.jpg

Andrew Lee Bynum (born October 27, 1987 in Plainsboro, New Jersey) is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was drafted 10th overall by the Lakers in 2005. Bynum became the youngest player ever to play an NBA game later that year, breaking Jermaine O'Neal's record. Amidst the 2007–08 season, he suffered a serious injury on his left kneecap, and eventually missed the rest of the season and all of the playoffs. He made a successful return at the beginning of the 2008–09 season. In January of 2009, however, he suffered another serious injury, this time to his right knee. But this time he had torn his MCL, and he will miss 8 to 12 weeks. He has yet to recover.

In the 2005 NBA Draft, Andrew Bynum was selected 10th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. At age &0000000000000017.00000017 years, &0000000000000244.000000244 days, Bynum was 12 days younger than former Indiana Pacers player Jermaine O'Neal, the previous youngest player drafted by an NBA team. After selecting him in the draft, the Lakers hired Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to work with Bynum. On November 2, 2005, during the Lakers' season opener against the Denver Nuggets, Bynum played six minutes and became the youngest player ever to play in an NBA game at age &0000000000000018.00000018 years, &0000000000000006.0000006 days. During the game, he missed his two field goal attempts but had two rebounds and two blocks. In his second season, Bynum was still the youngest player in the league, due to his draft year being the last a player could be drafted straight out of high school.

In a game against the Miami Heat on December 25, 2005, a memorable event took place between former Laker Shaquille O'Neal and Bynum. To start off, O'Neal dunked over Bynum on a putback attempt. On the next play, Bynum spin-moved past O'Neal and dunked the ball. He then ran down the court and shoved O'Neal, who retaliated by elbowing Bynum's upper chest. Teammate Kobe Bryant quickly stepped in between the two. Both Bynum and O'Neal received technical fouls for the incident.

Bynum averaged 7.8 points on 55 percent shooting, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots in 22.5 minutes per game, along with 10 double-doubles. He showed flashes of dominance but was far from consistent. He had career highs of 16 rebounds and seven blocks January 26, 2006 against the Charlotte Bobcats. His first career double-double November 7 included a career-high 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he had 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks January 5 against Denver Nuggets.

With Lakers centers Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown injured at the start of the 2006–07 season, Bynum served as their starting center. Bynum Scored a career-high 18 points and had a career-high 9 rebounds in 24 minutes against the Phoenix Suns on October 31, 2006, making seven of his eleven attempts from the field. He appeared in 82 games and started 53 and finished the season with averages of 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds, in just over 21 minutes per game. He also averaged 1.6 blocks per game. Coach Pete Newell was impressed with Bynum's development, and stated that teammate Kobe Bryant should back off on his criticism towards Bynum. During the off-season prior to the 2007–08 season, many teams made offers for Bynum, including the New Jersey Nets and the Indiana Pacers. However, the Lakers exercised a fourth-year contract option on him.

Bynum played 35 games and started in 25 games during the season. His best game of the season came on Christmas Day against the Phoenix Suns, when he made 11-of-13 shots for 28 points to complement 12 boards, four assists and two blocks. Bynum kept playing solidly and being a reference in the post with averages of 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks while leading the NBA with a .636 field goal percentage.

On January 13, 2008, he suffered an injury during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Bynum partially dislocated his left kneecap when he landed awkwardly on teammate Lamar Odom's left foot while attempting to grab a rebound. In March, there were reports that he could return before the end of the 2007–08 season or the first round of the playoffs; however, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that he did not foresee Bynum making serious contributions any time soon in April. In May, rumors about his return were put to rest when Bynum underwent arthroscopic surgery on his kneecap performed by Dr. Steven Gecha in Princeton, New Jersey. In September 2008, Bynum said that he was 100% healthy and was ready to participate in training camp, which was scheduled to begin at the end of the month, after working with his trainer. On October 30, 2008, he agreed to sign a 4 year, $58 million dollar deal with the Lakers.

Andrew Bynum set a new career high in scoring with 42 points to go along with 15 rebounds, 8 offensive and 3 blocked shots on January 21, 2009. Also, on back to back game versus the Washington Wizards he scored 23 points to go along with 14 rebounds, 4 offensive on January 22, 2009.. While playing against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 31, 2009, Kobe Bryant had an off balanced shot, fell and collided with Bynum's right knee, resulting in a right knee sprain. His return date is unknown. On February 2, 2009 it was revealed that Andrew Bynum had suffered a torn MCL in his right knee and will be out 8-12 weeks. This is the second straight year that Bynum has suffered a major knee injury against the Memphis Grizzlies. This could potentially place Bynum out for the remainder of the NBA's regular season as well as the start of the playoffs. Last season's injury was preceded by six dominant games in which Bynum averaged 13.1 points and 10.2 rebounds. This time Bynum had averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds in his previous five games, posting five straight double-doubles for the first time in his career.

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Chucky Atkins

Kenneth Lavon "Chucky" Atkins (born August 14, 1974 in Orlando, Florida) is an American professional basketball player, currently with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.

Atkins was undrafted following a college career at the University of South Florida, taking his game to Europe where he played for Cibona Zagreb in Croatia from 1997-1999. Prior to that, in 1996-97, he was with the LaCrosse Bobcats in the CBA (team later folded).

Atkins began his NBA career in 1999 with the Orlando Magic, with immediate impact (all games played, averaging 9 points and four assists per game). He then played for the Detroit Pistons (being included in a July 2000 deal which brought Grant Hill to Orlando) and Boston Celtics (being traded midway through 2003-04 for Mike James, thus not appearing in the 2004 NBA Finals).

In 2004, Atkins was traded in a multi-player deal which sent Gary Payton to Boston and Atkins to the Los Angeles Lakers. During 2004-05, he registered career-highs in points (14 ppg) and minutes (35), playing and starting in all 82 regular season contests.

Atkins was traded along with Caron Butler to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit in the 2005 offseason. As Atkins appeared sparingly throughout the season, the Wizards bought out the remainder of his contract on January 18, 2006. Atkins had voiced displeasure with the amount of playing he was receiving, and he and the team both felt a change of scenery was needed.

On January 23, 2006, Atkins signed as a free agent with the Memphis Grizzlies, replacing the injured Damon Stoudamire. Atkins averaged in double figures throughout his 1/2 season stint in Tennessee.

Atkins signed as a free agent on July 2007 with the Denver Nuggets. A hernia injury plagued him throughout most of the year, and he failed to have a significant impact in 2007-08.

On January 7, 2009, the Nuggets traded Atkins, along with a 2009 first round draft pick and cash considerations, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Johan Petro and a 2009 second round draft pick.

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Caron Butler

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James Caron Butler, widely known as Caron Butler (born March 13, 1980), is an American professional basketball player, currently starting at small forward for the NBA's Washington Wizards.

Butler was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, where he suffered through a rough childhood; he was arrested 15 times before the age of 15. After a brief career at Washington Park High School, he enrolled at Maine Central Institute where he was successful enough to receive a scholarship to play at UConn for coach Jim Calhoun.

He lives in Centreville, Virginia with his wife, Andriea, and daughter, Mia. He has another daughter, Camary, and son, Caron Jr., who live in Racine.

At Connecticut, Butler lost 15 pounds off his frame and developed his perimeter game. As a freshman, Butler led the Huskies, only two years removed from a National Championship, in both scoring and rebounding with 15.6 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game respectively. The summer after his freshman season he started for the US team that took home gold in the 2001 FIBA World Championship for Young Men. Butler followed his spectacular rookie campaign with an even better sophomore season. Butler averaged 20.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore leading the Huskies to both regular season and tournament Big East titles. He was named co-Big East player of the year (along with Pittsburgh's Brandin Knight) and a second-team All American. Butler led the Huskies to the Elite 8 of the NCAA basketball tournament. Despite 32 points from Butler, the Huskies lost a close game to eventual national champion Maryland Terrapins. After the season Butler declared for the NBA draft.

He was a lottery pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, selected with the 10th overall pick by the Miami Heat. He is remembered for his comments on draft day after nine teams passed over him, saying that he was going to make them pay for the rest of his career. In his first season with the Heat, he averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds. During his second season his stats fell slightly to 9 points and 4 rebounds, with an injury-hampered effort all season. He played in only 68 games in his second year. In 2004 Miami nearly scored a huge upset, pushing the favored Indiana Pacers to six games before falling in the conference semifinals. At the end of the season, he was traded along with Lamar Odom and Brian Grant to the Lakers in exchange for Shaquille O'Neal.

Caron Butler was traded along with Chucky Atkins to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. Then before the 2005-06 season opener, he inked a 5-year, $46 million dollar deal with the team. He became part of Washington's new "Big 3", previously made up of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes (now with the New York Knicks) who Butler replaced in the 2005-06 season. Butler was nicknamed "Tough Juice" by coach Eddie Jordan for his aggressive and passionate play, epitomized by Butler's 20 rebounds in Game 6 of the Cavaliers series.

Butler is known offensively for his face up line drive jumper, as well as his athleticism and ability to finish around the rim.

On January 17, 2007, Butler converted his first game-winning basket, a dunk following a pass from DeShawn Stevenson with 2.2 seconds remaining against the Knicks to give the Wizards a 99-98 win. Butler was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for January 15–21, 2007.

Butler enjoyed his best season as a professional in 2007, with career-high averages of 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.

Caron Butler was named as a reserve to the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team, his first appearance.

He broke his hand late in the 2006-07 season attempting to block a shot and was forced to sit out during the playoffs along with the injured Gilbert Arenas and watch as the Wizards were swept in the opening round by Cleveland.

On February 13, 2008, Butler, who was out with a left hip flexor strain, and later diagnosed as a small labral tear of the left hip joint, was selected as a reserve for the East in the 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, Louisiana, but was forced to sit out. He was replaced by Commissioner David Stern with Celtics guard Ray Allen.

Due to the injury, Butler missed 20 of the Wizards' last 35 games in the 2008 season. He returned to the lineup on March 13 (his 28th birthday), when the Wizards hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers. He registered 19 points (8-for-18 field goals) five rebounds in 41 minutes played in the Wizards' 101-99 win over the Cavs.

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Source : Wikipedia