Pau Gasol

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Posted by pompos 03/23/2009 @ 19:07

Tags : pau gasol, basketball players, basketball, sports

News headlines
Teammates have to get Lakers' Gasol moving - Yahoo! Sports
The Los Angeles Lakers would love — and need — for Pau Gasol(notes) to come up big in Game 7 against the Houston Rockets Sunday. Lakers' coach Phil Jackson appears to have a plan, according to the Orange County Register. "If he can catch it on the move...
Lakers-Nuggets: Five burning questions and more - NBA.com
A seven-game series of highs and lows did end with a Sunday afternoon's rout, as Pau Gasol scored 21 to keep Los Angeles' defense of its conference crown alive. "We learned that if we play hard every night and we're ready to compete, starting on the...
For Lakers, Game 7 will mean new life or a dead end - Los Angeles Times
After Saturday's practice, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol put in extra work on pick-and-roll defense with Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis, part of a concentrated attempt to "control Brooks," Gasol said. "He has been feeling comfortable, especially at...
Lakers Role Past Rockets With a Little Help From Gasol - Bleacher Report
by Nathan Rollins (Member) The losers of game 6 of the Western Conference Semi Finals Los Angeles Lakers game back with a chip on their shoulder and home court advantage and plunked the Houston Rockets 89-70, behind Pau Gasol's 21 points, 3 blocks,...
LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian -- Game On! - TMZ.com
LA Laker Pau Gasol was player of the game -- on the court ... Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Inappropriate or purely promotional comments may be removed. E-mail addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm...
Kobe Bryant All-NBA again - Los Angeles Times
Pau Gasol is named to the third team. By Mike Bresnahan Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was selected to the All-NBA first team for a seventh time, the league announced today. Pau Gasol was selected third team All-NBA. The voting was done by 122 writers and...
Chat with Chris Sheridan - ESPN
First things first, especially to those of you in Espana: Bravo to Pau Gasol. He was a force today, came through huge after I had repeatedly and viciferously doubted what he'd do in the big game, based upon his recent history in the biggest of games....
Real Lakers show up, rout Rockets 89-70 in Game 7 - Forbes
By BERNIE WILSON , 05.17.09, 06:00 PM EDT Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically silenced the doubters and the Houston Rockets, winning Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals 89-70 on Sunday. With Gasol scoring 21 points...
Lakers' Gasol has finesse, skill rare for 7-footer - Houston Chronicle
Los Angeles Lakers 7-footer Pau Gasol doesn't possess the kind of physical brute force typically associated with a player of his size. He doesn't bowl people over in the lane, choosing instead to use his finesse and quickness to dominate....
Van Gundy is safe - NewsOK.com
→Houston's Luis Scola repeatedly getting the best of Pau Gasol has some in the Lakers organization wondering if Gasol will pick up his game. His inconsistent play in the series raises doubts whether LA can win a title. →Miami can't begin negotiating...

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol Santa Maria.jpg

Gasol began playing basketball with his school team called Alvirne, and he eventually signed with C.B. Cornella. When he was sixteen, he began playing for Barcelona's junior team, which won both the 1998 Albert Schweitzer Tournament and the 1998 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. After moving to the senior team, Gasol played just eleven total minutes in the 1998-99 season, and averaged under 15 minutes per game in the next year. However, in his final season in Europe, Gasol averaged 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in just under 24 minutes per game. Barcelona was victorious in the Spanish National Cup championship game in 2001, and Gasol was named Most Valuable Player. After entering the NBA Draft, Gasol was selected third overall in the first round in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, who traded his draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

In Gasol's first season with the Grizzlies, he won the Rookie of the Year Award, and was named to the All-Rookie first team. He averaged 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and was also the only team member to play in all 82 games that season. Gasol led the team in scoring (19.0 points per game) in his second year with the team, and for the second year in a row, played in all 82 games. Gasol missed the first game of his career, during his third year, with a foot injury on April 5, 2004, which snapped his string of 240 consecutive games played. He grabbed the 1,500th rebound of his career on November 12, 2003, against the Orlando Magic and scored his 3,000th career point on October 31, 2003, against the Boston Celtics. Despite having 22 points in Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs, the highest by a Memphis players in the playoffs, his team was eliminated in the first round, not winning a single game against San Antonio. This was both the Grizzlies and Gasol's first trip to the NBA Playoffs. He scored 31 points and blocked four shots on January 11, 2005, against the Indiana Pacers to earn 5,000 points and 500 blocks in his career, becoming the 10th fastest player to reach 5,000 points/500 blocks since 1973-74. He also helped his team make it to the playoffs for the second time in his career, but they were eliminated in the first round and did not win a single game against the Phoenix Suns.

In his fifth year with the team, he became the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder on March 24 against the New York Knicks when he grabbed his 3,072nd rebound in a Grizzlies uniform. He made 29 consecutive free throw attempts from January 24 to January 28, tying the second best mark in Grizzlies history, including two straight games going 12-12 from the line, tying the best single-game mark in franchise history. Gasol and the Grizzlies returned to the playoffs for the third time in his and his team's history. Once again, they were eliminated in the first round and did not win a single game against the Dallas Mavericks.

On February 9, 2006, making his first appearance, Gasol was selected to play in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas as a reserve center for the Western Conference. At the time, he was one of four players ranked among Western Conference forwards in the top ten in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots. He was the first Spanish basketball player as well as the first Grizzlies player to ever make it to the All-Star Game.

Gasol missed the first 23 games of the 2006-07 NBA season due to a broken foot suffered near the end of Spain's semifinal win over Argentina in the 2006 FIBA World Championship. He would go on to be named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, which Spain won. He had a season-high 34 points (most by a Grizzly that season), and eight rebounds and tied a career-high and franchise record with eight blocks on January 29 against the Sacramento Kings, and surpassed Shareef Abdur-Rahim as the franchise's all-time leader in free throw attempts on January 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. He became the all-time franchise leader in field goals made on February 6 against the Houston Rockets, and became the all-time franchise leader in minutes played on February 7 at Dallas. He surpassed Shareef Abdur-Rahim (7,801 points) as the Grizzlies' all-time leading scorer on March 7, 2007, against the Toronto Raptors (7,809 points at the time). On January 24, 2007, Gasol recorded his second career triple-double against the hosting Utah Jazz, garnering 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. He also registered 2 blocks and one steal.

On February 1, 2008, Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers along with a 2010 second round draft pick for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks. Albeit, there has been a bit of controversy surrounding the trade. Chris Wallace denied in an ESPN article that he had been ordered by owner Michael Heisley to make the Grizzlies more attractive to a potential buyer. Heisley has been trying to sell the franchise for two years. Wallace said, "No one put pressure on me to do this, and Michael Heisley has actually been reluctant to move Pau." He also said that they had been "trolling" the waters for a while and dealt with a number of teams. He selected the Lakers deal because "it didn't get any better than this." When Gasol departed the Grizzlies, he held twelve franchise records, including games played, minutes played, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, offensive, defensive, and total rebounds, blocked shots, turnovers, and points. Per game statistics, he leads Memphis in defensive and total rebounds along with blocked shots. On February 5, he made his first Lakers appearance in a game against the New Jersey Nets, during which he scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in a 105-90 win over the Nets. On March 14, Gasol sprained his ankle in a game against the New Orleans Hornets, stepping on the foot of teammate Vladimir Radmanović in the first quarter. Gasol was expected to miss the remaining three games of the Lakers' road trip after x-rays came up negative. Gasol returned to the starting lineup on April 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers and played nearly thirty-two minutes, registering 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists. He admitted to feeling limited with the swelling in his ankle still present. Gasol helped the Lakers finish the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference (57-25), with him in the starting lineup the Lakers went 22-5. Kobe Bryant has also stated that playing with Gasol clicked from the start.

In the Lakers first win over the Denver Nuggets, he contributed 36 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocked shots. When the Lakers swept the first round of the 2007-08 playoffs against the Nuggets, it was Gasol's fourth trip to the playoffs and the first time he had not been on the losing end of a series. His previous team, the Grizzlies, did not make it to the playoffs for the second year in a row. This was Gasol's first trip beyond the first round as his team, the Lakers, made it to the Conference finals after defeating the Utah Jazz. He contributed 17 points and 13 rebounds in the Lakers clinching win to advance them to the conference finals. On May 31, he recorded a career high 19 rebounds in an NBA Western Conference Finals clinching win against the San Antonio Spurs. This marked his first trip to the NBA Finals, and he became the first Spaniard to reach the finals. Gasol scored 14.7 points per game on .532 shooting in the 2008 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, below his scoring average of 18.9 points a game during the regular season, however, he led the Lakers in rebounding with 10.2 rebounds per game throughout the championship series, up from his regular season average of 8.4. Los Angeles lost in six games against Boston in the Finals, including a 131-92 loss in Game 6. During the 2008 NBA Playoffs, Gasol was the second best Laker in points (16.9), rebounds (9.3) and assists per game (4.0). He also led the team in blocks per game (1.90) and was tied with Lamar Odom with the most postseason double-doubles (10).

Gasol was selected to his second All-Star appearance as a reserve for the Western Conference squad during the 2008-2009 season, his first as a Laker, scoring 14 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in 17 minutes of play. He was also named Western Conference Player of the Month, averaging 20.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game after helping the Lakers to an 11-2 record for the month of February than included road wins over Boston and Cleveland.

Gasol is currently in his eighth year in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is very athletic and quick for a 7 footer, and plays the power forward and center positions. He has often been compared with fellow European players Toni Kukoč and Dirk Nowitzki, holding career averages of 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He is a refined scorer from both inside and midrange, his overall game is near-ambidextrous, and makes it a nightmare for opposing teams to defend. Gasol uses a variety of midrange jumpers, hook shots, up-and-under moves and shot fakes to score very efficiently. He is also an above-average shot blocker, with a career average of 1.8 blocks per game. Statistically, he shoots a 22.7 percent when it comes to three pointers. Before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2007-08 season, he had only played with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2008. When he was traded to the Lakers, he maintained the same number on his jersey, still playing with the number 16. In his career, Gasol has never been ejected. Gasol scored his 10,000th point in a game against the Jazz on the 2nd of January 2009. He finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the win.

Pau Gasol's mother, Marisa, is a medical doctor, and his father, Agustí, is a nurse administrator. When Pau was born, his family was living in Cornellà, but he was born in Barcelona, at Sant Pau Hospital, where both of his parents worked. When he was six years old, his family moved to another Barcelona suburb, Sant Boi de Llobregat, where he spent the remainder of his childhood. Gasol was never interested in football, but loved basketball. The first sport he played was actually rugby, before switching to basketball. He is described as "a family boy and the perfect student, a tad shy, and a bit of a joker." His younger brother, Marc, who is 7 feet tall and 280 pounds, is also a professional basketball player, currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies.Marc was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, 48th overall, in the 2007 NBA Draft and his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, as part of the deal that sent Gasol to the Lakers. Gasol currently resides in Marina del Rey and is single.

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Spain national basketball team

Spain national basketball team celebrating the Championship won in Tokyo.

The Spain national basketball team is the basketball team representing Spain in international competitions. As of June, 2008 they are the reigning World Champions and third in the FIBA World Rankings for men. .

The Spanish team came in second place at the first European basketball championship, the Eurobasket 1935 held by the International Basketball Federation's FIBA Europe continental federation. They defeated Belgium in the preliminary round and Czechoslovakia in the semifinals to qualify for the final match against Latvia. The Spaniards lost the game 24-18 to finish with the silver medal.

Early basketball scores were low compared to modern day final scores: new rules which came to increase dynamism such as the three-point shot were still far away from being implemented in 1935. Spain scored fewer points, 64, than every other team except Hungary and Romania, the two last-place teams in the field of ten. However, they also gave up fewer points than any other team except Latvia, the champions.

Before the Spanish national team won the gold medal in the 2006 FIBA World Championship (see below), their greatest international success was reaching the final in the 1984 Summer Olympics Basketball Tournament which took place in Los Angeles. The other finalist being the U.S.A. national team (led by Patrick Ewing and featuring a young Michael Jordan), which won the final and with it the gold medal. Spain, thus, took the Olympic silver medal.

Continuing the success started at the 2006 FIBA championship, Spain reached again the final at the 2008 Olympics. Fourteen years after, this time the final was played again against the U.S.A. national team, which was led by Kobe Bryant and nicknamed in this occasion "the Redeem Team". The Americans won after a remarkable close game and the Spanish team took its second Olympic silver medal.

On September 3, 2006, Spain won the gold medal game at the 2006 FIBA World Championship against the Greek national team. The game, held in Saitama, Japan, ended with a final score of 70-47. This marked the first time the Spanish national basketball team won the gold medal in the World Championships.

Pau Gasol was named the tournament MVP, and Jorge Garbajosa also made the All-Tournament team.

Spain hosted the 2007 Eurobasket. At this competition, the same 12 players that won the 2006 World Championship in Japan made it through to the final. This increased expectations for the Spanish national team to become the first national team to win the first Eurobasket held right after having won the previous FIBA World Championship. However, they were defeated by the Russian national basketball team. Spain, thus took the silver medal.

In August 2008, prior to their competing in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the Spanish national mens' basketball team were photographed posing in what British media reports described as a 'racist' and 'insensitive' image. However, the Chinese embassy in Spain promptly declared that they "did not consider the gesture as racist" nor "offensive". The image was requested for an advertising campaign for a courier company and was published in a Spanish national daily sports newspaper.

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Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics logo

The Boston Celtics (pronounced "sell-ticks") are a professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, playing in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team is owned by Wycliffe Grousbeck and coached by Doc Rivers, with Danny Ainge as the President of Basketball Operations. Founded in 1946, their 17 NBA Championships are the most for any NBA franchise, while the 1959-to-1966 domination of the NBA Championship, with eight straight titles, is the longest consecutive championship winning streak of any North American professional sports team to date. They currently play their home games in the TD Banknorth Garden.

The Celtics either dominated the league or played a large part in the playoffs in the late 1950s through the mid 1980s. After the deaths of top draft pick Len Bias in 1986 and all-star Reggie Lewis in 1993, the team fell into a steady decline, only making the playoffs four times from 1996 to 2007. The franchise has recently returned to prominence with the acquisition of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen during the 2007 off-season. On June 17, 2008, the Boston Celtics won their 17th championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 in the 2008 NBA Finals.

The Celtics were formed in 1967 as a team in the Basketball Association of America, and became part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the merger of the BAA and the National Basketball League to form the NBA in the fall of 1949. In 1950, the Celtics became the first franchise to draft an African American player, signing Chuck Cooper.

The Celtics had struggled during their early years, until the hiring of Coach Red Auerbach. One of the first major players to join the Celtics was Bob Cousy, whom Auerbach initially refused to draft. Cousy eventually became the property of the Chicago Stags. When that franchise went bankrupt, Cousy was acquired by the Celtics in a dispersal draft. After the 1955–56 season, Auerbach made a stunning trade. He sent perennial All-Star Ed Macauley to the St. Louis Hawks along with the draft rights to Cliff Hagan in exchange for the Hawks' first round draft pick, the second overall. After negotiating with the Rochester Royals, Auerbach used the pick to select University of San Francisco center Bill Russell. Auerbach also acquired Holy Cross standout, and 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year, Tommy Heinsohn. Russell and Heinsohn worked extraordinarily well with Cousy, and they were the players around whom Auerbach would build the Celtics for more than a decade. Russell, who delayed joining until the middle of the 1957 season in order to play for the U.S. Olympic Team, had an immediate impact.

Russell went on to play almost every game of the season, and the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals and defeated the St. Louis Hawks in seven games, giving the Celtics the first of their record 17 NBA Championships. In 1958, the Celtics again advanced to the NBA Finals, this time losing to the Hawks in 6 games. However, with the acquisition of K.C. Jones that year, the Celtics began a dynasty that would last for more than a decade. In 1959, with Cousy at point guard, Russell at center and Heinsohn at forward, the Celtics won the NBA Championship after sweeping the Minneapolis Lakers. Still coached by Auerbach, the Celtics won seven more consecutive championships, extending their streak to eight in a row. During that time, the Celtics met the Lakers in the Finals six times, starting an intense and often bitter rivalry. The Celtics would eventually meet the Lakers a total of 11 times in the NBA Finals. In 1964, Auerbach made the Celtics the first team to have an all African American starting lineup.

After the 1966 championship, Auerbach retired as coach and Russell took over as player-coach. With his appointment, Russell also became the first African American coach in the NBA. Auerbach would remain the General Manager, a position he would hold well into the 1980s. However, that year the Celtics' string of NBA titles was broken as they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The aging team managed two more championships in 1968 and 1969, defeating the Lakers each time in the NBA Finals. Russell retired after the 1969 season, effectively ending a dominant Celtics dynasty that had garnered 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons. The streak of 8 consecutive NBA championships is the longest streak of consecutive championships in U.S. professional sports history.

The 1970 season was a rebuilding year, as the Celtics had their first losing record since the 1949–50 season, the year prior to Auerbach's arrival. However, with the acquisition of Dave Cowens, Paul Silas, and Jo Jo White, the Celtics soon became dominant again. After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1972, the Celtics regrouped and came out determined in 1973 and posted an excellent 68–14 regular season record. But the season ended in disappointment, as they were upset in 7 games by the New York Knicks in the Conference Finals. The Celtics returned to the playoffs the next year, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals in 1974 for their 12th NBA Championship. The teams split the first four games, and after the Celtics won Game 5 in Milwaukee they headed back to Boston leading three games to two, with a chance to claim the title on their home court. However, the Bucks won Game 6 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nestled in a hook shot with three seconds left in the game's second overtime, and the series returned to Milwaukee. But Cowens was the hero in Game 7, scoring 28 points, as the Celtics brought the title back to Boston for the first time in five years. In 1976, the team won yet another championship, defeating the Phoenix Suns in 6 games. The Celtics advanced to the 1976 NBA Finals, which featured one of the greatest games in the history of the NBA. With the series tied at two games apiece, the Suns trailed early in the Boston Garden, but came back to force overtime. In double overtime, a Gar Heard turn-around jumper at the top of the key sent the game to an unprecedented third overtime, at which point the Celtics prevailed. Tommy Heinsohn coached the team for those two championships. After the 1976 championship and a playoff appearance in 1977, Boston went into another phase of rebuilding.

In the 1977 NBA Draft, the Celtics drafted a young forward from the UNC Charlotte named Cedric Maxwell. Maxwell did not contribute much in his rookie season, but he showed promise. Auerbach's job became even tougher following the 1977–78 in which they went 32–50 as John Havlicek, the Celtics All-Time leading scorer, retired after 16 seasons.

In 1977–78, the Celtics owned two of the top eight picks in the 1978 NBA Draft. Since the Celtics had two draft choices, Auerbach took a risk and selected junior Larry Bird of Indiana State with the 6th pick, knowing that Bird would elect to remain in college for his senior year. The Celtics would retain his rights for one year, a rule that was later changed, and Auerbach believed that Bird's potential would make him worth the wait. Auerbach also felt that when the college season ended the Celtics would have a great chance to sign Bird. Auerbach was right and Bird signed soon after leading Indiana State to the NCAA Championship game, where they fell to a Michigan State University team that was led by Magic Johnson.

The other important story of the Celtics' 1978–79 season was the ongoing dispute between Auerbach and new owner John Y. Brown. The dispute nearly led Auerbach to resign as General Manager for a position with the New York Knicks. With public support strongly behind Auerbach, Brown elected to sell the team rather than face the wrath of the city for being the man who drove Red to a hated rival. During his short ownership, Brown orchestrated a trade for Bob McAdoo that Auerbach despised, and the team unraveled. The Celtics would struggle through the season, going 29–53 without Bird. Newcomers Chris Ford, Rick Robey, Cedric Maxwell and Tiny Archibald failed to reverse the team's momentum.

Bird debuted for the Celtics during the 1979–80 season, a year after his selection. With a new owner in place, Auerbach made a number of moves that would bring the team back to prominence. Auerbach traded the unhappy McAdoo, a former NBA scoring champion, to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for guard M. L. Carr, a defensive specialist, and two first-round picks in the 1980 NBA Draft. He also picked up point guard Gerald Henderson from the CBA. Carr, Archibald, Henderson and Ford formed a highly competent backcourt, with their unique skills blending in perfectly with the talented frontcourt of Cowens, Maxwell and Bird, who would go on to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors. The Celtics improved by 32 games, which at the time was the best single-season turnaround in NBA history, going 61–21 and losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

After the season, Auerbach completed what may be the most lopsided trade in NBA history. Auerbach had always been a fan of stockpiling draft picks, so even after the success of 1979–80 the Celtics had both the 1st and 13th picks in the 1980 NBA Draft left over from the M. L. Carr trade. Auerbach saw an opportunity to improve the team immediately, sending the two picks to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for center Robert Parish and the Warriors first round pick, the 3rd overall. With the draft pick, Auerbach selected University of Minnesota power forward Kevin McHale. With these three future Hall of Famers on the team the Celtics had a core in place to become a dominant team in the NBA.

The Celtics went 62–20 under coach Bill Fitch in 1980–81, despite losing center Dave Cowens to retirement late in training camp. Once again the Celtics matched up with the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics fell behind 3 games to 1 before coming back to win a classic 7th game, 91–90. The Celtics went on to capture the 1981 NBA Championship over the Houston Rockets, just two years after Bird had been drafted. Maxwell was named NBA Finals MVP.

In 1983–84 the Celtics would go 62–20 and finally get back to the NBA Finals after a three year hiatus. In the final, the Celtics came back from a 2–1 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, winning their 15th championship. Bird renewed his college rivalry with Lakers star Magic Johnson during this series. After the series the Celtics traded Henderson, whose dramatic steal in game 2 altered the course of the series and gave the Celtics a chance, to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for their first round pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.

In 1985, the Lakers and Celtics met again, but this time the Lakers took the championship. During the following offseason the Celtics acquired Bill Walton from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Cedric Maxwell. Walton was a big star with the Portland Trail Blazers, but injuries had kept him from living up to expectations. He was also a lifelong Celtics fan and willing to come off the bench, deferring to the three big men already with the team. Walton was a big part of the Celtics' success in 1986.

In 1985–86 the Celtics fielded one of the best teams in NBA history. The 1986 Celtics won 67 games, going 40–1 at their home, the Boston Garden. Bird won his third consecutive MVP award after having arguably his finest season, and Walton won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. They won their 16th championship and last of the 20th century, easily defeating the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.

Thanks to the 1984 trade of Gerald Henderson and the subsequent fall of the Seattle SuperSonics, at the end of the 1985–86 the Celtics owned not only the best team in the NBA but also the second pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. The Celtics drafted Len Bias with the pick and had high hopes for the young University of Maryland star. Fans believed Bias had superstar potential, and that he would be the perfect complement to the aging, but still strong, Celtics. The hope was that his presence would ensure that the franchise would remain a powerhouse after Bird, McHale and Parish retired. Unfortunately, Bias died 48 hours after he was drafted, after using cocaine at a party and overdosing. It would be the first in a long string of bad luck for the Celtics, and many fans believe the Celtics have never recovered from the loss of Bias. Despite the loss of Bias, the Celtics remained competitive in 1986–87, going 59–23 and again winning the Eastern Conference Championship.

After the 1987–88 season, head coach K.C. Jones retired. Jones was replaced as head coach by assistant Jimmy Rodgers. Rodgers faced immediate trouble in 1988–89 when, only 6 games into the season, Larry Bird decided to have surgery to remove bone spurs in both feet. The injury was to sideline Bird until well after the All-Star Break, although supposedly he would be able to return. However, despite his best attempts to return he was unable to make it back as the Celtics stumbled to a 42–40 record and a first round playoff defeat to the Detroit Pistons.

Bird returned in 1989–90 to play in 75 games and lead the Celtics to a 52–30 record. In the playoffs, after winning the first two games of a Best of 5 series against the New York Knicks, the Celtics collapsed, losing 3 straight, including the decisive 5th game at the Boston Garden. In the wake of the embarrassing defeat, Rodgers was fired and replaced by assistant coach (and former Celtic player) Chris Ford.

Under Ford's leadership the Celtics improved to 56–26 in 1990–91, recapturing the Atlantic Division title even though Bird missed 22 games with a variety of injuries. In 1992, a late season rally allowed the Celtics to catch the New York Knicks and repeat as Atlantic Division champions. The team finished 51–31 and again matched up with the Indiana Pacers in the First Round, this time sweeping the series 3 games to 0. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals the Celtics lost a grueling 7 game series to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 4 games to 3. Due to back problems, Larry Bird played in only 45 of the 82 regular season games, and only 4 of the 10 playoff games.

After thirteen seasons with the club and winning a gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics with the Dream Team, Bird retired in 1992 primarily due to his back injuries.

At the time of Bird's retirement former Celtics guard Chris Ford was the coach of the Celtics. 26-year old Reggie Lewis (out of Boston's Northeastern University) was seen as Bird's successor as the franchise player for the Celtics. Lewis, a small forward, fainted during a 1993 first round playoff matchup with the Charlotte Hornets. It was later revealed that Lewis had heart problems, yet he was able to get doctors to clear him for a comeback. He died of a heart attack after participating in a pickup basketball game during the offseason. The Celtics honored his memory during the following season by retiring his number 35.

In 1994, the Celtics hired former player M. L. Carr to be the team's new G.M. In his first draft in charge of the Celtics, he drafted University of North Carolina star Eric Montross with his first round draft pick. The Acie Earl era was already nearing an end, as Montross became the new heir apparent in the paint.

1994–95 was the Celtics' final season in the Boston Garden. The Celtics signed the aging Dominique Wilkins as a free agent, and he led the team in scoring with 17.8 PPG. Second-year player Dino Radja, a power forward from Croatia, added an interior presence to the team that had been lacking in 1993–94. The Celtics made the playoffs, losing to the heavily favored Orlando Magic in 4 games.

In 1995, the Celtics moved from the Boston Garden into the Fleet Center (renamed the TD Banknorth Garden in 2005). Carr fired Chris Ford and took the coaching reins himself. After drafting Providence College star Eric Williams, the Celtics struggled to a 33–49 record. Things got worse in 1996–97 as the Celtics lost a franchise record 67 games, winning only 15 times despite the emergence of 1st-round draft pick Antoine Walker.

Carr stepped aside to another job in the organization when the Celtics convinced Rick Pitino to join the franchise as the team's president, front office manager, and head coach. Unfortunately for the franchise, Pitino was not the savior everyone expected him to be, although he acquired several talented young players during his tenure.

The Celtics received the third and sixth draft picks in the 1997 NBA Draft, and used the picks to select a brand new backcourt. They drafted Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer and dismantled much of the young team that lost 67 games the year before. David Wesley and Rick Fox were let go, and Williams was traded to the Denver Nuggets for a pair of second round draft picks.

The following year the Celtics drafted Paul Pierce in the 1998 NBA Draft, a college star who had been expected to be drafted much higher than the Celtics' tenth overall pick. Other notable players Pitino acquired were Walter McCarty and veteran Kenny Anderson, both for future Finals MVP Billups. Pitino failed to coach any successful teams and resigned in 2001.

Following the resignation of Rick Pitino, the Celtics improved greatly under coach Jim O'Brien. Paul Pierce matured into an NBA star and was ably complemented by Antoine Walker, along with the other role players acquired over the years. The team finished the season going 24–24 under O'Brien (after going 12–22 before Pitino's resignation) and following the 2000–01 season O'Brien was given the job of head coach on a permanent basis. As a result of numerous trades, the Celtics had three picks in the 2001 NBA Draft, a luxury that seemed to set the franchise up well for the long term. General Manager Chris Wallace used the picks on Joe Johnson, Joe Forte (a favorite of Red Auerbach) and Kedrick Brown.

The Celtics entered the 2001–02 season with low expectations. The team's success in the latter stages of 2000–01 was largely forgotten, and critics were surprised when the team, along with the New Jersey Nets, surged to the top of the Atlantic Division ahead of teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, who were fresh off a trip to the NBA Finals. The Celtics won a hard-fought five-game series with the 76ers in the first round, 3 games to 2. Pierce scored 46 points in the series-clinching blowout at the Fleet Center. In the Conference Semifinals, the Celtics defeated the favored Detroit Pistons 4 games to 1 in a series best remembered for the Celtics low-scoring Game 3 victory, which they won 66–64. In their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since 1988, the Celtics would jump out to a 2–1 series lead over the New Jersey Nets, after rallying from 21 points down in the fourth quarter to win Game 3, but would lose the next three games to fall 4 games to 2.

In 2003, the Celtics were sold by owner Paul Gaston to Boston Basketball Partners LLC, led by H. Irving Grousbeck, Wycliffe Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca, Robert Epstein, David Epstein, and John Svenson. The team made it back to the playoffs but were swept by the Nets in the second round, despite bringing Game 4 to double overtime.

Before their elimination, the team hired Danny Ainge to take over the front office, pushing Chris Wallace to another job in the organization. Ainge believed the team had reached its peak and promptly stunned the team by sending Antoine Walker to the Dallas Mavericks (along with Tony Delk). In return, the Celtics received the oft-injured Raef LaFrentz and a first-round draft pick in 2004.

The Celtics made the playoffs, only to be badly swept in the first round by the Indiana Pacers, losing all 4 games by blowout margins.

The Celtics were a young team under new coach Doc Rivers during the 2004 season, yet they seemed to have a core of good young players, led by rookie Al Jefferson, to go along with a selection of able veterans. The Celtics went 45–37 and won their first Atlantic Division title since 1991–92. The Pacers defeated them in the first round yet again, with the series culminating in an embarrassing 27-point loss in Game 7 at the Fleet Center.

The Boston Celtics continued to rebuild on the night of the 2006 NBA Draft. Danny Ainge traded the rights to seventh overall pick Randy Foye, Dan Dickau and Raef LaFrentz to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and a future second-round pick. A subsequent trade with the Philadelphia 76ers for Allen Iverson was reported as a potential move beneficial to each team, although such a trade never happened and Iverson was shipped to the Denver Nuggets in December. Orien Greene was waived, and the Celtics replaced him by trading a first-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft to the Phoenix Suns for rookie Rajon Rondo. In the second round the Celtics added Leon Powe to the team, and later signed Villanova star Allan Ray as an undrafted free agent.

The 2006–07 season was a gloomy one for the franchise. The season began with the death of Red Auerbach at the age of 89. Auerbach was one of the few remaining people who had been a part of the NBA since its inception in 1946. The Celtics went 2–22 from late December 2006 through early February 2007 after losing Paul Pierce to injury, the result of a stress reaction in his left foot (he would later miss the latter part of March and all of April because of swelling in his left elbow). At first, the Celtics received a much needed boost from guard Tony Allen but he tore his ACL on a needless dunk attempt after the whistle in a game vs. the Indiana Pacers on January 10, 2007. The Celtics recorded a record of 24–58, second-worst in the NBA, including a franchise record 18-game losing streak that lasted from January 5 to February 14. As the streak grew, some suggested that Pierce sit out the rest of the season to the let the young players such as Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Rajon Rondo and Delonte West get more experience.

After a dreadful 2006-2007 season, rumors flared that Paul Pierce wanted out of Boston. Furthermore, head coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge were both in danger of losing their jobs. The franchise was in need of help, in hopes of getting the first or second pick in the first round in the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery pick (in which they were in favor) for either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. But shockingly, the Celtics landed the #5 pick and the Portland Trail Blazers landed with the first pick and drafted Greg Oden, followed by Kevin Durant who was drafted second by the Seattle SuperSonics (who moved to Oklahoma City in 2008-2009 and became known as the Oklahoma City Thunder). Jeff Green was in favor of joining the Celtics franchise, but Danny Ainge traded the rights to Green, alongside with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, to the Supersonics for Ray Allen and the rights to Glen Davis. Rumors were spreading across the media about Kevin Garnett coming to Boston after demanding that he wanted to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves, believing the Timberwolves were not the team to help him win a championship. He also first said that he did not want to join the Celtics franchise because they were not a championship team. But after the Celtics obtained Allen from the Supersonics, Garnett was finally convinced of the Celtics' desire to win a championship and wanted to join the franchise. So, a blockbuster trade was made. For Garnett, the Celtics traded Al Jefferson, Gerald Green (the first Celtic to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest since Dee Brown in 1991), Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, a 2009 first round draft pick, and cash considerations. A dynasty was rebuilding and the future Big Three (also known as the Boston Three Party) was in place.

Their first matchup in the 2008 NBA Playoffs was against the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. At home, the Celtics were dominant: their lowest home margin of victory against the Hawks in the playoffs was 19 in Game 2. However, the surprising Hawks were able to beat the Celtics in all three games in Atlanta. The series went seven games, with the home team winning each game. The second round pitted Boston against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Once again the series went to seven games. Game 7 saw Paul Pierce and LeBron James in a shootout with each scoring over 40 points, but the Celtics emerged victorious 97-92. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Celtics faced the Detroit Pistons. In Game 2, the Celtics finally lost at home for the first time in the playoffs. However, the Celtics bounced back to win Game 3 on the road in Detroit. The series continued and the Celtics took down the Pistons in six games, winning the deciding game on the road.

The 2008 NBA Finals were contested with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and a Los Angeles Lakers team in the middle of a dominant playoff run. They swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round, defeated the Utah Jazz in the second round in six games, and extinguished the repeat hopes of the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in five games in the Western Conference Finals. Factoring in the Lakers strong playoff run to the Finals and the Celtics problems of even reaching the Finals with two 7-game series, the Lakers were expected to beat a seemingly tired Boston team. The first games of the series started with the Celtics once again dominating at home. Game 1 saw Paul Pierce suffer a knee injury early in the game only to come back and make 70 percent of his attempted field goals, resulting in a 98–88 Celtics win. In Game 2, Boston nearly lost a 24-point lead only to win 108–102. The Lakers returned to Staples Center and won Game 3, 87–81. When Los Angeles took a 24-point lead in the second quarter of Game 4 the Celtics appeared to be losing control of the series. Led by a bench that outscored the Lakers bench by 20 points, the Celtics took over Game 4 with a 97–91 victory, the biggest comeback in NBA Finals history. Although the Los Angeles Lakers won Game 5, 103–98, the series went back to Boston for Game 6, and the Celtics finished off Los Angeles with a 131–92 victory. Game 6 was the most lopsided win in a NBA Finals game since the Chicago Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz by 42 points in the 1998 NBA Finals, and the all-time largest margin of victory in a deciding game. Paul Pierce was named NBA Finals MVP. The Celtics had won their record 17th NBA championship, the first new banner for the TD Banknorth Garden, and the franchise's first championship in 22 years.

The Boston Celtics began the 2008-2009 NBA Season with a dominating 27-2 record, the best record of a first-29-game team in NBA history. They also had a pair of 10+ game winning streaks (19–franchise record and 12, respectively), not seen since the 1985-86 season. Both streaks, however, were snapped by their archrivals and last year's Finals opponents , the Los Angeles Lakers, on December 25, 2008 (92-83) and February 5, 2009 (110-109, OT), denying themselves home-court advantage in case both teams were tied for the best record and made the NBA Finals. Still, the Celtics headed into the All-Star break with 44 wins, more than the league-best Lakers (42-10). The 44 wins before the All-Star break are tied for the most in league history. After the All-Star break, Kevin Garnett got injured in a loss against the Utah Jazz, then Sam Cassell was traded to the Sacramento Kings and Patrick O'Bryant to the Toronto Raptors for 2nd round picks and to add more valuable free agents for their playoff push. After a week, they signed Mikki Moore off waivers from the Kings to boost their frontline, and signed Stephon Marbury from the New York Knicks.

The Boston Celtics have a long-standing rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, which is widely regarded as the league's greatest rivalry, as these two teams have faced each other 11 times in the NBA Finals, with the most recent being the 2008 NBA Finals. The teams have won a combined 31 NBA championships in the 62 NBA seasons, making both teams accountable for half of all NBA championships. In the 1960s, the Celtics faced and defeated the Lakers six times in the NBA Finals, despite the efforts of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. The rivalry was renewed in the 1980s, when the Lakers and Celtics won 8 of the 9 NBA Championships awarded from 1980–1988 (the Lakers won 5 while the Celtics won 3), and played each other in the NBA Finals on 3 occasions. The rivalry cooled off as the Celtics slipped into mediocrity in the mid- and late-'90s until they met in the 2008 Finals.

In the Eastern Conference, the Celtics long-standing rivals have been the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Wilt Chamberlain in the 1960s, and by Julius Erving and Moses Malone in the 1970s and 1980s. The Celtics-Sixers rivalry in the 1980s was marked by intense personal confrontations between Larry Bird and Julius Erving. Their most recent playoff rivalry came in the '02 First Round, as then-Sixer Allen Iverson and Paul Pierce, both prolific scorers of their time, went head-to-head.

Another fierce rivalry formed in the 1980s between the Celtics and the Detroit Pistons. The two franchises met in the playoffs 5 times between 1985 and 1991, and more than once there was a physical confrontation between a Celtic and Detroit's Bill Laimbeer. The rivalry, like their rivalry with the Lakers, cooled in the 1990s as the Celtics slid into a long decline, although there was a renewal of interest when the teams met in the 2002 East Semifinals, and later in the 2008 East Finals.

A relatively new rivalry surfaced between the Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their rivalry came to a head in the 2008 NBA Playoffs where LeBron James and the Cavaliers faced the retooled Celtics in the 2nd round. Particularly memorable was the individual rivalry between James and Paul Pierce. Overall, however, it was a defensive battle as both teams outwit each other with their particular brand of defense. Currently they are the top two teams in the NBA, and there is a possibility of both teams facing off in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Boston's other fierce rivals included the Atlanta Hawks (dating back to the late 1950s, which resurfaced during the rivalry of Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins, and later in 2008), Milwaukee Bucks (during the mid-1980s), Indiana Pacers (1991–92 and 2003–05; both involved Larry Bird as a player and as an executive), New York Knicks (both were original NBA franchises, and have never moved to another city nor changed its nickname), and New Jersey Nets (2002 and 2003). In addition, the San Antonio Spurs have provided a tough challenge for Boston, especially since adding Tim Duncan with the number one pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. Since then, the Spurs racked up 18 straight wins against Boston before the streak was broken on St. Patrick's Day 2007, concomitantly ending a 17-year, 15-game drought in San Antonio.

Individually, Paul Pierce has been developing rivalries on the court with LeBron James, Ron Artest and Keon Clark. During games between the Celtics and the Cavaliers, Pierce and James often combine explosive scoring with defensive intensity.

The Boston Celtics released a new logo for the 1995–96 season, although the depiction of a leprechaun spinning a basketball has been in use since the early 1950s. The logo was originally designed by Zang Auerbach, the brother of Celtics head coach Red Auerbach. The logo has received numerous tweaks over the years; the latest version decorated the leprechaun in a gold vest to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary.

The most familiar version, however, is the one-colored logo used during the Larry Bird era, with the leprechaun traced in black and only green and white clothes, which is still used on some TV networks whenever the current Celtics logo is unavailable or in classic Celtics references. The Celtics also have various alternative logos, with the most popular being a white shamrock with the letters "Celtics" above it, wrapped in a green circle, which has been used since the 1998–99 season.

The Celtics jerseys have always been green on away games and white on home games since their inception in 1946. Except for some minor modifications, most notably the serifed version of the uniforms during the Bill Russell era, the jerseys remained unchanged through the years.

Beginning in 2005–06, the Celtics began using alternate road jerseys which are green with black trim and the word "Boston" on the front side of the jersey. The alternate road jersey was rarely seen with few appearances in its first 2 seasons, but in 2007–08 it has been used much more often, in more than half of the road games.

Also in 2005–06, the Celtics began a tradition of wearing their green jerseys with gold trim as part of the St. Patrick's Day celebrations the NBA puts into place every third week of March. Except for the words "Boston" in front and the gold trim, the St. Patrick's Day jerseys resemble the regular road jerseys.

During the 2006–07 season, the Celtics wore a commemorative patch of a black shamrock with the nickname "Red" in green letters on the right top of the jersey in remembrance of Red Auerbach, who died shortly prior to the beginning of the season.

During the NBA Europe Live Tour prior to the 2007–08 season, the Celtics used the alternate road jerseys in their game against the Toronto Raptors in Rome, except that the words "Boston" on the front side of the jersey and the shamrock on the shorts and on the reverse side of the jersey contained the green, white and red tricolors of the Italian flag. In the second game in London, the regular road jerseys featured a patch containing the Union Jack.

At the 2008–09 season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics wore a modified version of their home uniforms, accented with gold, to commemorate last season's championship team.

The team has honored deceased members of the Celtics family with a commemorative black band on the left shoulder strap of the jersey. It has been featured seven times in the history of the franchise: Walter Brown (1964–65), Bob Schmertz (1975–76), Joan Cohen (1989–90), Johnny Most (1993–94), Reggie Lewis (1993–94), Dorothy Auerbach (2000–01) and Dennis Johnson (2006–07).

The team also had the tradition of wearing black sneakers through most of their history, except during the early 1980s when they wore green sneakers. Beginning with the 2003–04 season, the team began to wear white sneakers at home games.

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San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs logo

The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The Spurs are one of four former American Basketball Association teams (along with the Nets, Pacers, and Nuggets) to remain intact in the NBA after the 1976 ABA-NBA merger and is the only former ABA team to have won an NBA championship, which they have done four times. As of July 2008, the Spurs rank third among active franchises for the highest winning percentage in NBA history. With the 2007 sweep, the Spurs have the second highest winning percentage in NBA Finals history. They have only missed the playoffs 4 times as an NBA franchise.

In their 32 NBA seasons, since 1976–1977, the Spurs have captured 15 division titles, which gives the Spurs the most division titles in the NBA during that 32-year span (the Lakers are second with 14).

The Spurs are located in the San Antonio area, and the city shares a special bond with the team almost unmatched in the rest of the NBA, partially due to this being the city's only team in any of the four major U.S. professional sports. Spurs players are active members of the San Antonio community, and many former Spurs are still active in San Antonio, like David Robinson (basketball) with Carver Academy and George Gervin with the George Gervin Youth Center.

In part because of this community involvement, Spurs fans have been among the most loyal in the NBA. The Spurs set several NBA attendance records while playing at the Alamodome, including the largest crowd ever for a NBA Finals game in 1999, and the Spurs continue to sell out the smaller, more intimate AT&T Center (formerly SBC Center) on a regular basis. The Spurs' rallying cry of "Go Spurs, Go!" has endeared itself to the city of San Antonio, and the phrase pops up all over the city as the season progresses into the playoffs and the Spurs inch closer to a possible title.

San Antonio has also garnered praise for the way its citizens celebrate Spurs championships. When the Spurs win a title, San Antonians jam up the streets downtown, march around waving flags, throw confetti and honk car horns until dawn, but with little incidence of crime. The team floats down the San Antonio Riverwalk on boats where fans can view their champions.

A unique part of every Spurs season comes in February when the team is forced into an extended road-trip due to the occupation of its arena by the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. This is informally known as the "Rodeo Road Trip," and a time that typically starts the Spurs' run to the playoffs; indeed, starting in 1999 the Spurs have consistently posted phenomenal road records during this period, including an NBA-record longest single road trip winning streak (8 games, achieved in 2003).

As of the 2007–2008 season, the Spurs have one of the highest winning percentages of any professional team, in any sport, since the turn of the millennium.

The San Antonio Spurs started out as the Dallas Chaparrals of the original version of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1967. Led by Player/Coach Cliff Hagan the Dallas Chaparrals were one of 11 teams to take the floor in the inaugural season of the upstart ABA. The Chaps second season was a bit of a disappointment, as the team finished in 4th place with a mediocre 41–37 record. In the playoffs the Chaparrals quickly fell to the New Orleans Buccaneers. The team suffered from poor attendance and general disinterest in Dallas. In fact, during the 1970-71 season, the name "Dallas" was dropped in favor of "Texas" and an attempt was made to make the team a regional one, playing games in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Tarrant County Coliseum, as well as Lubbock, Texas, at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, but this proved a failure and the team returned full-time to Dallas in time for the 1971-72 season, splitting their games at Moody Coliseum and Dallas Convention Center Arena.

After missing the playoffs for the first time in their existence in the 1972-73 season, the team was put up for sale. The team was acquired by a group of 36 San Antonio business men, led by Angelo Drossos and Red McCombs who actually leased the team from the original Dallas ownership group, relocated the team to San Antonio, Texas and renamed them the San Antonio Gunslingers. However, before they even played a game the name was changed to Spurs. The team's primary colors were changed from the red, white, and blue of the Chaparrals to the now familiar silver and black motif of the Spurs.

In the first game at the HemisFair Arena the Spurs would lose to the San Diego Conquistadors, despite attracting a noisy crowd of 6,000 fans. A smothering defense was the team's image, as they held opponents less than 100 points an ABA record 49 times. The early Spurs were led by ABA veteran James Silas, and the team would get stronger as the season went on as they twice took advantage of the Virginia Squires, acquiring Swen Nater, who would go on to win Rookie of the Year, in November, and "The Iceman" George Gervin in January. The ABA tried to halt the Gervin deal, claiming it was detrimental to the league, but a judge would rule in the Spurs' favor, and Gervin made his Spurs debut on February 7. The Spurs would go on to finish with a 45-39 record, good for 3rd place in the Western Division. In the playoffs, the Spurs would battle the Indiana Pacers to the bitter end before falling in 7 games. Following the season, the ownership decided to complete the purchase and to keep the team in San Antonio permanently.

The team quickly made themselves at home at San Antonio's HemisFair Arena, playing to increasingly large and raucous crowds. Despite a respectable 17-10 start during the 1974-75 season, Coach Tom Nissalke was fired as owners become tired of the Spurs' slow defensive style of games. He would be replaced by Bob Bass, who stated that the Spurs would have an entirely new playing style: "It is my belief that you cannot throw a set offense at another professional team for 48 minutes. You've got to let them play some schoolyard basketball." George Gervin and James Silas took that style to heart, as the Spurs became an exciting fast breaking team on the way to a solid 51-33 record, good enough for 2nd place in the West. Gervin: "Our whole theory was that you shoot 100 times, we'll shoot 107." However, in the playoffs the Spurs would fall to the Indiana Pacers in 6 games.

Even though playoff success would elude the team, the Spurs had suddenly found themselves among the top teams in the ABA. In 1976, the ABA folded, threatening the future of San Antonio's sole professional sports franchise. The NBA, however, decided to admit four ABA teams into the league, with the Spurs being one of them, along with the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers and the New York Nets.

The Spurs and the other three ABA teams agreed to pay the owners of two other strong ABA teams that folded instead of joining the NBA. John Y. Brown, Jr., the owner of the Kentucky Colonels, received $3 million, which he used to purchase the NBA's Buffalo Braves and later the Boston Celtics, after selling star guard Louie Dampier to the Spurs. The owners of the Spirits of St. Louis received a portion of all television profits during their NBA tenure, which amounts to roughly 1/7th of the Spurs' television profit every year. This agreement has placed particular financial pressure on the Spurs and the other three former ABA teams.

Although there was some initial skepticism in league circles regarding the potential success and talent levels of the incoming ABA teams, the Spurs would prove worthy of NBA inclusion during the 1976-77 season with a record of 44-38, good for a tie for fourth place overall in the Eastern Conference. This was done in spite of significant handicaps the NBA imposed on the incoming ABA teams, limiting their draft picks and television revenues during their early time in the merged league.

During the 1977-78 season, George Gervin and David Thompson of the Denver Nuggets battled all season for the NBA scoring title. On the final day of the season, Thompson took the lead by scoring 73 points in an afternoon game against the Detroit Pistons. That night Gervin knew that he needed 58 points against the Jazz in New Orleans. Gervin got off to a good start by scoring 20 points in the 1st Quarter. In the 2nd, The Iceman was even better, setting a single period record with 33 points. Early on in the 3rd period Gervin scored his 58 points on the way to 63 capturing the scoring title. While Gervin was lighting up the scoreboard the Spurs were winning the Central Division with a 52-30 record. However, in the playoffs the Spurs would be stunned in 6 games by the Washington Bullets despite an outstanding series from Gervin who averaged 33.2 ppg. The following season in the 1979 Conference Finals the Spurs led the series 3-1 but the Bullets came back to win the last 3 games and came from behind to win the 7th game 107-105 handing the Spurs an absolute heartbreaking loss. The Spurs would have to wait another 20 years to make it to their first NBA finals.

The Spurs would go on to capture 5 division titles in their first 7 years in the NBA and became a perennial playoff participant. However, in the playoffs, the Spurs would never find a break, losing to teams like the Washington Bullets, the Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the 80s progressed, the Spurs would see their shares of highs and lows. For the first few seasons of the decade, the Spurs continued their success of the 1970s with records of 52–30 in 1980-81, 48–34 in 1981-82, and 53–29 in 1982-83. Despite their regular season success, the Spurs were unable to win any NBA championships, losing in the Western Conference playoffs to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 1981 and the Los Angeles Lakers in in 4 games 1982 and in 6 games in the 1983 Western Finals despite getting both wins at the Forum in the 1983 series. They lost every home game in both series in 1982 and 1983 vs the Lakers as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and co were too strong. The Spurs didn't make the conference finals until 1995.

After the 1984-85 season, Gervin, who arguably had been the Spurs' biggest star, was traded to the Chicago Bulls in what effectively signaled the end of the era that began when the Spurs first moved to San Antonio.

The next four seasons were a dark time in Spurs' history, with the team having a combined record of 115–215 from 1985-86 until 1988-89. The losing seasons and dwindling attendance often caused the Spurs to be mentioned as a potential candidate for relocation to another city. The lone bright spot during this period was the Spurs being awarded the top pick in the 1987 NBA draft through NBA Draft Lottery. The Spurs used this selection on United States Naval Academy standout David Robinson. Although drafted in 1987, the Spurs would have to wait until the 1989-90 season to see Robinson actually play, due to a two-year commitment he had to serve with the United States Navy. Although there was speculation that Robinson might choose not to sign with the Spurs and to become a free agent once his Navy commitment ended, Robinson decided in the end to come to San Antonio.

Although the 1988-89 season was the second-worst in Spurs history at 21–61, it was notable for several reasons. It was the first season of full ownership for Red McCombs, who was an original investor in the team and helped solidify local ownership for the team. Additionally, the 1988–89 season featured the debut of Larry Brown as the Spurs head coach who moved to San Antonio after winning the NCAA National Championship with the University of Kansas in 1988.

As the 1980s ended, the 1989–90 season proved to be the rebirth of the Spurs franchise. With his tour of duty over, David Robinson arrived to the Spurs along with the newly added Terry Cummings and 1989 draftee Sean Elliott. With these additions, the Spurs achieved the then-biggest one-season turnaround in NBA History, finishing with a record of 56–26. The Spurs eventually lost in the Western Conference semifinals after losing a seven-game series to the eventual Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers. Robinson had one of the most successful rookie seasons for a center in NBA history, finishing the season as Rookie of the Year while averaging 24.3 points and 12.0 rebounds.

The Spurs began the 1990s with great optimism. The team became a perennial playoff presence, although unable to advance further than the second round of the NBA Playoffs under Brown's tutelage. Late in the 1991-92 season, McCombs fired Brown and replaced him with Bob Bass who finished the season as interim head coach. Without a healthy David Robinson, the Spurs were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. McCombs made national headlines during the summer of 1992 with the hiring of former UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian. The Tarkanian experiment proved a flop, as the coach was fired 20 games into the 1992-93 season with the Spurs record at 9–11. After Rex Hughes filled the coaching shoes for one game, NBA veteran John Lucas was named head coach. It was Lucas's first NBA coaching assignment although he had gained recognition in league circles for his success in helping NBA players rehab from drug abuse.

The Lucas era started out successfully. His coaching propelled the team to a 39–22 finish over the rest of the regular season, and the team reached the Western Conference semi-finals, losing to the Phoenix Suns. The 1992-93 season also marked the last that the Spurs would play in HemisFair Arena. In 1993, local businessman Peter M. Holt and a group of 22 investors purchased the Spurs from Red McCombs for $75 million.

The following season, the Spurs first in the newly built Alamodome, Lucas led the Spurs to a 55–27 record but the team suffered a loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz, which led to the immediate firing of Lucas as head coach. Prior to the season the Spurs traded fan-favorite Elliott to the Detroit Pistons in return for rebounding star Dennis Rodman.

Lucas was replaced by former Pacers coach Bob Hill for the 1994-95 season, which would turn out to be the Spurs' most successful regular season until 2006. Elliott returned to the team after an uneventful season with the Pistons, and the team finished with the NBA's best record at 62–20. David Robinson was named the league's Most Valuable Player. The Spurs reached the Western Conference Finals, but lost to the eventual NBA Champion Houston Rockets 4–2. After the pregame MVP award ceremony honoring David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon dominated the game, outscoring Robinson 42–22 in a narrow 1 point Rockets win. The Spurs lost Game 2 at home but took Games 3 and 4 in Houston. Game 5 of the series was highlighted by the famous Dream Shake move by Hakeem Olajuwon in Game 5 at the Alamodome the Spurs lost 113–95 in front of 35,000 fans and lost the series in Houston in Game 6. Throughout the season, and particularly in the playoffs, there appeared to be friction developing between Rodman and several Spurs' teammates, most notably Robinson, and Rodman was traded after the season to the Chicago Bulls who would win the next 3 titles.

The Spurs finished the next season (1995-96) under Hill at 59–23 and lost in the Western Conference semi-finals to the Jazz. Few observers could have predicted how far the Spurs would fall during the 1996-97 season. An injury limited Robinson to just six games during the season, and Elliott also missed more than half the season due to injury. The Spurs ended the season with a 20–62 record, the worst in franchise history. Hill only lasted 18 games as coach that season, eventually being fired and replaced by Spurs General Manager Gregg Popovich, who had also served a stint under Brown as an assistant coach.

Although the 1996-97 season was not successful on the court for the Spurs, the offseason proved to be the opposite. With the third-worst record in the league, the Spurs won the NBA's draft lottery, which gave them the top pick in the 1997 draft. The Spurs used their pick to select Wake Forest University product and consensus All-American Tim Duncan.

Duncan quickly emerged as a force in the NBA during the 1997-98 season, averaging 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game as a power forward. He was named First Team All-NBA while winning Rookie of the Year honors. The team ended up at 56–26, breaking their own record in 1989–90 for the biggest single season improvement for wins, but once again lost to the Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals. While both Duncan and Robinson played low-post roles, the two seamlessly meshed on the court. The March 14, 1998, game against the Chicago Bulls set the Spurs' current regular-season home attendance record. An Alamodome crowd of 37,492 came to see Michael Jordan's last visit as a Bull, as he led the team to its third-straight and most recent championship.

With a healthy Robinson and Duncan and the additions of playoff veterans such as Mario Elie and Jerome Kersey, the Spurs looked forward to the 1998-99 season. Prior to the beginning of training camps, however, the NBA owners, led by commissioner David Stern, locked out the players in order to force a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBA Players Association (NBAPA). The season was delayed over three months until resolution on a new labor agreement was reached in January 1999.

Playing a shortened 50-game season, the Spurs ended up with a 37–13 record. The team was just as dominant in the playoffs, rolling through the Western Conference with a record of 11–1. In the NBA Finals, they faced the New York Knicks and, on June 25, 1999, won the series and the franchise's first NBA Championship in Game 5 (final score: 78–77) on the Knicks' home court, Madison Square Garden. Duncan was named the Finals MVP. The victory by the Spurs was not only the first NBA title to be won by a former ABA team, but also was the first Finals appearance by a team from the ABA. It was also the first Finals appearance by an 8th seeded team, by the Knicks. The Spurs also set a new NBA Finals one-game attendance record when 39,554 fans attended Game 2. The previous record was set only two days earlier, when 39,514 spectators attended Game 1.

Coming off their first NBA Championship the Spurs were still among the best teams in the West and battling for first place in the Midwest Division during the 1999-2000 season. On March 14 the Spurs playoff spirits got a lift when Sean Elliott, who received a kidney transplant prior to the season, returned and played in the last 19 games. As the season wound down Tim Duncan would suffer a knee injury and the Spurs finished in second place with a 53–29 record. Without Duncan, the Spurs would be knocked out of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns in four games. The long-term viability of the Spurs franchise in San Antonio was, however, achieved during the 1999-2000 season, as Bexar County voters approved increases on car rental and hotel taxes which would allow for the construction of a new arena near the Freeman Coliseum.

The Spurs finished with 58–24 records for both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons but found themselves suffering playoff ousters in both seasons from the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers getting swept from the 2001 Conference Finals and losing in 5 games during the 2002 Second Round.

Entering the 2002-03 season, the team knew it would be memorable for at least two reasons, as David Robinson announced that it would be his last in the NBA and the Spurs would begin play at their new arena, the SBC Center, named after telecommunications giant SBC, whose corporate headquarters are located in San Antonio (SBC became AT&T after its acquisition of its former parent company). To mark this occasion, the Spurs revamped their "Fiesta Colors" logo and reverted to the familiar silver and black motif (though, during the time of the Fiesta logo, the uniform remained silver and black).

This version of the Spurs was very different from the team that had won the title a few years earlier. Second-year French star Tony Parker, drafted by the Spurs in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft, was now the starting point guard for the Spurs. The squad featured a variety of newly acquired three-point shooters, including Stephen Jackson, Danny Ferry, Bruce Bowen, Steve Kerr, Steve Smith and Argentina product Manu Ginóbili, a 1999 second-round draft choice playing in his first NBA season. Mixing the inside presences of Duncan and Robinson with the newer outside threats, the Spurs earned a 60–22 record. In the playoffs, the Spurs defeated the Suns, Lakers and Dallas Mavericks en route to facing the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals. The series against the Nets marked the first time two former ABA teams would play each other for the NBA Championship. The Spurs won the series 4–2, giving them their second NBA Championship in franchise history. Duncan was named both the NBA Regular Season and Finals MVP for the season. Robinson would retire after this season. By winning the NBA Championship in 2003, the Spurs denied New Jersey from having both NBA and NHL titles. During the NBA finals, the New Jersey Devils shut out the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the 2003-04 season, coming off their second NBA Championship, the Spurs, playing with 9 new players, struggled early as they missed the presence of David Robinson while the new players struggled to fit in, as they held a 9-10 record on December 3. However, the Spurs would turn it around, as they ended December on 13-game winning streak and quickly climbed back to the top of the NBA standings. The Spurs would battle all year for the top spot in the Western Conference, as they ended the season on another strong note winning their final 11 games. However, they would fall 1 game short of a division title and the best record in the West, posting a record of 57-25. In the playoffs, the Spurs remained hot as they swept the Memphis Grizzlies in 4 straight games. In the second round, the Spurs found themselves in another showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs' winning streak would continue as they captured the first two games at home, bringing their winning streak from the end of the regular season up to 17 games. However, as the series shifted to Los Angeles, the Spurs would suddenly have trouble finding the basket, as they lost both games as the Lakers evened the series. The series was playing out similarly to the match-up between the two teams a year earlier. In Game 5 at the SBC Center, Tim Duncan seemingly delivered the Spurs a 73-72 win as he gave the Spurs a lead with a dramatic shot with just 0.4 seconds remaining. However, the Lakers' Derek Fisher would launch a game-winner as time expired which would go in, giving the Lakers a stunning 74-73 win to take a 3-2 series lead. The Spurs protested the shot, arguing that the clock started late, which the Spurs claimed was why replays showed Fisher got off the shot in time. An AP report and the three officials in attendance stated that replays showed the shot was released by Fisher before time expired. The officials, however, could not consider the Spurs' claim that the clock did not start immediately when the ball was inbounded. After the stunning loss, the Spurs traveled to Los Angeles for Game 6, where they lost the game and the series. The Spurs spent the following offseason tweaking the team.

With the acquisition of guard Brent Barry from Seattle, and the later additions of center Nazr Mohammed from New York (acquired in a midseason trade of Malik Rose), and veteran forward Glenn Robinson from free agency, alongside regulars Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, and Tim Duncan, the Spurs finished the 2004-05 season with the second-best record in the Western Conference at 59–23, and the best record in the Southwest Division. In the postseason, the Spurs defeated the Denver Nuggets 4–1, the Seattle SuperSonics 4–2 and the Phoenix Suns 4-1 before advancing to the NBA Finals, where they won the NBA championship for a third time in seven years on June 23, 2005 by defeating the Eastern Conference champion and defending NBA Champion Detroit Pistons, four games to three. Tim Duncan was named Finals MVP, becoming only the fourth player to win the MVP award three times (joining Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Michael Jordan). Also, Manu Ginóbili established himself as an NBA star, earning local, national, and international fan praise (particularly in his home country of Argentina) and a berth in that season's All-Star Game.

In the 2005-06 season, the Spurs acquired veteran free agent Michael Finley who along with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili and newly-named All-Star Tony Parker, broke their franchise record for wins in a season (63-19) and qualified for the playoffs for the ninth year in a row. (Until this season, the Spurs and Indiana Pacers shared the NBA's longest active consecutive playoff appearance streak with nine in a row — see Active NBA playoff appearance streaks - though San Antonio has qualified for its 10th consecutive appearance during the 2006–07 season, while Indiana's playoff streak ended.) However, the defending-champion Spurs were eliminated in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks in a 7-game semifinal series that, due to a quirk in the playoff ranking system, featured the two top teams in the conference.

After their disappointing defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, the Spurs entered the 2006-07 season refreshed with renewed determination, as they felt fatigue played a large role as they failed to win a second straight NBA Title. The Spurs began their 2007 season on foreign soil as they opened up their training camp in France in October 2006, which they thought could build camaraderie between players.

With a 97-91 opening-night victory on November 2 at Dallas, Gregg Popovich became the fourth head coach in North American professional sports history to post 10 straight opening night victories (others are: Tom Landry, Bill Fitch and George Allen). The Spurs got off to a strong start in the regular season, winning 11 of their first 14 games, including victories over Dallas, Phoenix and Houston. During that stretch, Tim Duncan became the 98th member of the 15,000-point club at Seattle. However, the Spurs franchise-record 12-game road winning streak came to a halt with a 111-102 loss at Golden State on November 27. With a win against Sacramento on December 2, 2006, the Spurs moved past the Celtics to become the second winningest franchise in NBA history (based on winning percentage) at .595. But as the season unfolded, the Spurs failed to live up to their lofty expectations. Following a 9–7 record in January, the Spurs started February with a 1–3 record. They struggled down the stretch in many of those defeats, and the Spurs quickly found themselves far behind the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns. In fact, the Spurs were, during this period, a mere 1.5 games ahead of the third-place Houston Rockets in the Southwest Division. Trade rumors began swirling around the Spurs. Unaccustomed to struggling during the regular season, the Spurs were frustrated. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, Popovich had to choose whether or not to keep the team together. His decision was not to make a trade. Then, it was as if their whole season had magically turned around in one moment. With quiet determination, the Spurs spent the rest of the season flying under the radar, winning thirteen games in a row during February and March. The Spurs won those games with either tough defense or by hitting big shots down the stretch. The Spurs were an NBA-best 25–6 in the final 31 games. During the 31-game stretch, the Spurs averaged 98.8 points while holding their opponents to 87.9 ppg. With that streak, the Spurs began climbing back up in the Western Conference standings. Despite their massive turnaround, the Spurs would not catch the Mavs who won the Southwest Division by nine games. However, with the NBA's top ranked defense and a 58–24 record, the Spurs entered the postseason in good shape.

When the bell rang for the second season, they were able to put the Denver Nuggets away in five games. While the Spurs were bouncing the Nuggets, the Mavericks, who had an NBA best 67–15 record in the regular season, were unraveling, losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The Mavericks' upset loss set the Spurs second-round series against the Phoenix Suns as the key series in the entire NBA Playoffs, as this series featured the teams with the two best records remaining in the Western Conference. The Spurs went on to win 4–2 in the very contentious and controversial series versus the Suns. The series featured a Robert Horry foul on Steve Nash toward the end of the fourth game which resulted in Horry being suspended for two games. Those who said the second-round series against the Suns was the true NBA Finals would be proven right, as the Spurs easily dispatched the Utah Jazz in five games to reach the NBA Finals. In the 2007 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers and captured their fourth title in nine years. Duncan proclaimed that that championship was "the best" of the four championships, and acknowledged he played "sub-par" and thus received only one vote for NBA Finals MVP from a panel of ten. The award was won by Tony Parker who dominated in the Finals averaging 24.5 ppg on 57% shooting. Tony Parker became the first European-born player to win the Finals MVP. Just before the 2007 NBA Draft, the Spurs purchased the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, becoming the second NBA team to purchase an NBADL team. This move made the Spurs the sole NBA affiliate of the Toros and gave them greater control over the management of the team, including coaching and the offensive and defensive schemes.

The 2007-2008 season saw the Spurs go 56–26 and finish 3rd in the Western Conference where 7 games separated all 8 playoff teams. The season was also marked by major trades and acquisitions by many teams, most notably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen being acquired by the Boston Celtics, Pau Gasol going to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Shaquille O'Neal going to the Phoenix Suns. Although the Spurs avoided any major deals, they still made a mid-season trade to acquire Kurt Thomas from Seattle. Despite a strong 17–3 start and an 11-game winning streak between February and March, the Spurs stayed relatively under the radar of the major trades and other quickly rising teams. The Spurs faced Phoenix in the first round in a rematch of the previous year's controversial semifinal series. The Spurs rode the momentum of a thrilling Game 1 win (thanks in part to a rare, extra-clutch OT 3-pointer by Tim Duncan) to defeat the Suns in five games. The Spurs second round opponent would prove to be more than a handful as the veteran Spurs faced Chris Paul the up-and-coming New Orleans Hornets. The Spurs and the Hornets would battle for seven hard fought games (with New Orleans earning the upper hand throughout much of the series), but the Spurs scrapped together a game 7 win on the road (marking their first ever game 7 win on the road and series win after being down 0–2) to advance to the Western Conference Finals against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, where their run would come to an end after five games.

Despite the setback in 2008, the Spurs still have their core players (Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili) under contract until at least 2010.

For a complete list of current and former players, see the San Antonio Spurs players category.

The Spurs have been successful among NBA teams in finding foreign talent as demonstrated by selecting Manu Ginóbili ( 1999 NBA Draft 57th pick) and Tony Parker ( 2001 NBA Draft 29th pick) who have both become All Stars. The Spurs own the NBA rights to the players listed in the table below. The typical pattern is to allow the player to develop in leagues outside the USA. The player is free to negotiate contracts in other leagues and is not obligated to play in the NBA. Sometimes, a player's overseas contract may have an expensive buyout clause that would discourage the Spurs from seeking to bring him in.

1During the 1996–97 season, Bob Hill coached 18 regular season games. Hill was fired on December 10, 1996, and Gregg Popovich coached the remaining 64 regular season games. 2During the 1992–93 season, Jerry Tarkanian coached 20 regular season games. Tarkanian was fired on December 18, 1992. Rex Hughes then coached one regular season game, and John Lucas coached the remaining 61 regular season games as well as the playoffs. 3During the 1991–92 season, Larry Brown coached 38 regular season games. Brown was fired on January 21, 1992, and Bob Bass coached the remaining 44 regular season games as well as the playoffs. 4During the 1983–84 season, Morris McHone coached 31 regular season games. McHone was fired on December 28, 1983, and Bob Bass coached the remaining 51 regular season games. 5During the 1979–80 season, Doug Moe coached 66 regular season games. Moe was fired on March 1, 1980, and Bob Bass coached the remaining 16 regular season games as well as the playoffs.

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Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks logo

The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Hawks are coached by Mike Woodson, who is in his fifth season at the helm.

The franchise was formed in 1946 as the National Basketball League's Buffalo Bisons. The Bisons featured center Don Otten and coach Nat Hickey, but on December 27, 1946 - only thirteen games into their inaugural season - owner Ben Kerner moved the team to Moline, Illinois (See Buffalo Memorial Auditorium) and renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in the Quad Cities area. The Tri-Cities were Moline, Rock Island, IL, and Davenport, IA. The Tri-Cities Blackhawks were named after the Black Hawk War that was mostly fought in Illinois. The Blackhawks became one of the National Basketball Association's 17 original teams after a merger in 1949 of the 12-year-old NBL and the four-year-old Basketball Association of America. The Blackhawks reached the playoffs in the NBA's inaugural year, under the leadership of coach Red Auerbach. However, the following season, after the team drafted Bob Cousy and made the blunder of trading his rights to the Chicago Stags (who would later surrender him in a dispersal draft to the Boston Celtics after they folded), they failed to qualify for the postseason. In 1951, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee, WI, and became the Hawks. In 1953, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, and in 1955 the Hawks moved yet again, this time to St. Louis, MO.

In 1957, the team advanced to the 1957 NBA Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime thriller in game seven. In 1958, the Hawks again advanced to the NBA Finals under coach Alex Hannum and captured their only NBA Championship in game 6 against the Celtics.

The Hawks remained one of the NBA's premier teams for the next decade. In 1960, under coach Ed Macauley, the team advanced to the Finals yet again, but lost—again to the Celtics—in yet another game seven thriller. The following year, with the acquisition of rookie Lenny Wilkens, the Hawks repeated their success, but met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games.

The next few years the Hawks remained contenders, every year advancing deep into the playoffs and also capturing several division titles. Despite the success, Kerner became wary of the now-aging 10,000-seat Kiel Auditorium. The Hawks occasionally played at the St. Louis Arena (mostly against popular opponents), but Kerner was not willing to move the team there full-time because it hadn't been well-maintained since the 1940s. Kerner wanted a new arena to increase revenue. However, he was rebuffed by the city on several occasions. In 1968, the team was sold to Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins and Georgia Governor Carl Sanders and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. While a new arena was being constructed, the team spent its first four seasons playing in Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Cousins' firm soon developed the Omni Coliseum, a 16,500-seat, state-of-the-art downtown Atlanta arena, for the Hawks and the expansion Atlanta Flames hockey franchise, which opened in 1972 as the first phase of a massive sports, office, hotel and retail complex, most of which is now the CNN Center.

The years after the move showcased a talented Hawks team, including Pete Maravich, and Lou Hudson. However, after this period of success, the Hawks experienced years of rebuilding. The rebuilding process appeared to be the right direction when they ended up with the 1st and 3rd picks overall in the 1975 NBA Draft. However, it took a turn for the worse when draft picks David Thompson and Marvin Webster both signed on with ABA franchises.

In 1976 Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner bought the team and hired Hubie Brown to become head coach. In 1980, the Hawks finished with 50 wins and won the Central Division. In 1982, the franchise acquired superstar Dominique Wilkins and promoted Mike Fratello to head coach a year later. From 1985–89, the Hawks were among the league's elite, winning 50 games or more each season. However, the team could not advance past the semifinals of the Eastern Conference playoffs, losing to eventual Eastern conference and/or NBA champions in Boston and Detroit. After several seasons of mediocrity, Lenny Wilkens was hired as head coach in 1993. In the 1993–94 season, coach Wilkens led the team to 57 victories, tying a team record. However, the team fell short again in the playoffs, losing to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern semis in six games. The season was also marred with the trading of Dominique Wilkins, who remains the franchise all-time leading scorer, for Danny Manning, who quickly left via free agency to Phoenix after the season ended. In 1995, coach Wilkens broke the record (previously held by coach Red Auerbach) for most victories by an NBA head coach with victory number 939. Despite a couple of 50+ win seasons afterward, the Hawks were quickly ousted from the playoffs on both occasions, which led to further apathy by local fans who quickly grew accustomed to Hawk failures in the playoffs.

In 1999, the Hawks traded Steve Smith to Portland for Isaiah Rider and Jim Jackson. Smith had been one of the Hawks' most popular players during the 1990s and had recently been awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his charitable endeavors. By contrast, Rider had a history of behavioral problems both on and off the court. Rider's troubled conduct continued after his arrival in Atlanta. Rider missed the first day of training camp and was late for two games. After reports that he smoked marijuana in an Orlando hotel room during a January road trip, the league demanded that he attend drug counseling, and fined him a total of $200,000 until he agreed to go. When he showed up late for a March game, the Hawks released him. . The Hawks later traded Jackson away the following season. In every season since the Smith/Rider trade, the Hawks have found themselves at or near the bottom of the NBA standings.

In 2001, Atlanta Hawks drafted Spanish Pau Gasol at 3rd pick overall, but his rights were ceded to the Vancouver Grizzlies in a trade involving Shareef Abdur-Rahim. In February 2004, the Hawks had the distinction of having NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace play one game for the team. Wallace was traded from Portland to the Hawks along with Wesley Person for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff, and Dan Dickau. In his lone game for the Hawks, Wallace scored 20 points, had 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 assists and a steal in a loss to the New Jersey Nets. After the game he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons in a three-way trade with the Boston Celtics. In turn, Detroit sent guard Bobby Sura, center Zeljko Rebraca, and a first-round draft pick to the Hawks. The Boston Celtics also sent forward Chris Mills to Atlanta to complete the deal.

In March 2004, the team was sold to a group of executives by the name of Atlanta Spirit LLC by Time Warner (who inherited the Hawks and Braves upon its merger with Turner Broadcasting in 1996), along with the Atlanta Thrashers pro ice hockey team, with which the Hawks share the Philips Arena, which replaced the Omni. After the change in ownership, though, the Hawks still struggled. In the 2004–05 season, the Hawks gained the notorious reputation of the league's worst team with a mere 13 victories (five less than even the expansion Charlotte Bobcats and the struggling New Orleans Hornets). Despite their league-worst record though, the Hawks only landed the number two pick in the 2005 NBA Draft (the first pick went to the Milwaukee Bucks). With the second pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Marvin Williams of the University of North Carolina. The previous year, the Hawks drafted Josh Childress and Josh Smith from the 2004 Draft and Salim Stoudamire in the second round of the 2005 Draft. In the 2006 Draft, the Hawks selected former Duke star Shelden Williams with the fifth overall pick.

However, despite the recent influx of talent acquired in the draft, they still hold the longest drought of not drafting an All-Star or Pro Bowl player in North American pro sports (23 years), going back to their 1984 selection of Kevin Willis.

In the summer of 2005, the Hawks completed a sign-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns that landed Atlanta Joe Johnson in return for Boris Diaw and two future 1st round picks. They also signed Zaza Pachulia from the Milwaukee Bucks. These changes occurred after an apparent power struggle between the owners for nearly three weeks before the moves were made. . Unfortunately, while the power struggle over Johnson has been resolved, the ownership situation remains in flux, with litigation still ongoing.

When the Golden State Warriors qualified for the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the Hawks acquired the dubious distinction of being the NBA team that had gone the most consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance. (Eight in a row, see Active NBA non-playoff appearance streaks). They also held the dubious distinctions of most consecutive 50-loss seasons (four) and the having the 2nd longest run (behind the Rochester/Cincinnati/Kansas City/Sacramento Kings) of not winning an NBA title (49 years). All of the franchise's NBA Finals appearances and lone NBA championship took place over 40 years ago when the team resided in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they have yet to advance beyond the second round of any playoff format in their entire Atlanta existence, which now spans 39 seasons.

However, hope and redemption appeared to be on the horizon for the Hawks in 2007. With the third pick of the NBA draft, they selected Al Horford from the Florida Gators. They also acquired, from the Indiana Pacers, the 11th pick of the draft, which they used to select Acie Law IV from Texas A&M University.

The season started brightly as they won the season opener against the Dallas Mavericks 101–94, sending hope to Hawks fans. In addition, the last time they won a season opener was 1998, the last time the franchise made the playoffs.

But once again, the Hawks organization made dubious headlines when the NBA granted the first appeal of a protested game in 25 years on January 11, 2008. The Miami Heat protested a scoring error during the clubs' December 19, 2007 contest. Due to a communications error, the Hawks official scorer had erroneously assessed a sixth foul on Heat center Shaquille O'Neal with 51.9 seconds remaining in overtime, disqualifying him from the game. The Hawks, who had won that game by a 117–111 margin, were stripped of the victory. On March 8, 2008, both teams replayed the final 51.9 seconds of the game as the Hawks won 114–111. The replay was held a few weeks after O'Neal had been traded to the Phoenix Suns from the Miami Heat. Atlanta also won the regular season game. For the 2007–08 season, the Atlanta Hawks changed their colors and uniforms to navy blue, red and white, which marks the first time since their days in St. Louis that they wore those colors.

On February 16, 2008 Atlanta acquired guard Mike Bibby from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright and a 2008 second round draft pick.

On April 14, 2008, despite having a 37–45 record, the Hawks clinched their first playoff berth since the 1998–99 season, and in the first round surprised the favored Boston Celtics, the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and eventual NBA champion, by pushing the series to seven games. The Hawks won all three games in Philips Arena before falling in Boston 99-65 in game seven.

On May 7, 2008 Billy Knight resigned as general manager being effective July 1, 2008. Knight said it was time to "take a break" following a season when his authority appeared to be weakened by unsuccessful lobbying with owners to fire coach Mike Woodson.

These are the Atlanta Hawks uniforms worn since the 2007-08 season.

Hagan, Pettit, Macauley, Lenny Wilkens, and Bob Ferry, all of whom played for the Hawks in St. Louis, have been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

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Source : Wikipedia