Vince Carter

3.3911461492328 (1649)
Posted by bender 02/26/2009 @ 00:56

Tags : vince carter, basketball players, basketball, sports

News headlines
NBA: Vince Carter's Mother's Day gift saves lives - Honolulu Advertiser
Vince's younger brother Chris abused drugs and has multiple drug-related arrests. So this project, spearheaded by the Stewart-Marchman-Act-Foundation, was a slam dunk for Vince and his mom. Vince donated $1.6 million to help build "The Vince Carter...
Roundtable: What Do the Wizards Do If They Pick 3rd? - Washington Post Blogs
Yes, Toronto gave away Vince Carter for a quarter on a Benjamin Franklin and let Tracy McGrady walk, but Raptors President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo was not around for those mistakes and he is not going to trade Bosh unless he can get an...
Vince Carter: Leading Man, Leading the Way - New Jersey Nets News
COM East Rutherford, NJ—This is what we know about Vince Carter: At 32, he might not dunk as often or as spectacularly, might not make defenders flinch for fear of ending up posterized above some kid's bed, might not have shoe companies claiming credit...
Cougars take Game 1 of series - Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Carter and Lewis would score later in the inning on wild pitches. “We are very fortunate,” Cougars coach Vince Massey told the Savannah Morning News. “We fell behind during the first four innings, but Savannah Christian really hit the ball well....
Vince Carter – Embassy of Hope Foundation - New Jersey Nets News
The Embassy of Hope is a non-profit foundation established in 1998 by NBA basketball star, Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets, to help address the needs of children and their parents. Embassy of Hope is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) charitable...
lebron is on verge of greatness - Houma Courier
Remember Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner? The only notable thing he did was win two dunk contests. How about Vince Carter? While Carter has had a solid career, he's never been a player who could lead a team anywhere near a championship....
Supervisors continue with regional jail plans - Northern Virginia Daily
The supervisors and County Administrator Vince Poling seem confident that the state will be able to chip in 50 percent of the construction costs of a regional jail. Moseley last estimated Shenandoah County's share of a regional jail would be about...
Bobby Simmons: Three-Ball Barrage - New Jersey Nets News
The layups and free-throws often left the hands of the Nets' talented backcourt penetrators, Vince Carter and Devin Harris, but if they had to pass, the ball was likely headed toward the corner and Bobby Simmons' waiting fingertips. Next stop: Net....
League considers 2d overseas game - Philadelphia Inquirer
The Bills signed defensive end Jermaine McGhee and defensive back Kyle Ward, then released linebacker Vince Hall. Cowboys move minicamp. Team activities will move to a nearby high school stadium as the investigation continues into the collapse of...

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas in Washington Wizards uniform.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the top



Vince Carter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the top



New Jersey Nets

New Jersey Nets logo

The New Jersey Nets are a professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association that plays in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division. They are currently based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and play their home games at the Izod Center. The team is planning to relocate to the Brooklyn borough of New York City, but legal issues have complicated the move.

The franchise was established in 1967 as part of the American Basketball Association, with trucking magnate Arthur Brown as the owner. Brown had operated several AAU teams in and around New York City, and was viewed as an ideal pick to run the league's New York franchise. The team was originally known as the New York Americans, and Brown intended for it to play at the 69th Regiment Armory on Manhattan's east side, but pressure from the New York Knicks forced the Armory to back out three months before opening day.

Brown found it difficult to find a suitable venue in New York City. Some were booked solid, and others had owners who didn't want to anger the Knicks by opening their doors to a rival team. Scrambling for a venue, the team settled on the Armory in Teaneck, New Jersey, and changed its squad name to the New Jersey Americans, though its franchise name remained the New York Americans.

The Americans did fairly well in their first season, tying the Kentucky Colonels for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Division. However, the Armory was booked, forcing the Americans to scramble for a last-minute replacement.

They found one in the Long Island Arena in Commack, New York. However, when the Americans and Colonels arrived, they found a bizarre scene. The floor had several missing boards and bolts, and was unstable in several areas (one player claimed to have seen one side of the floor come up when he stepped on another). There was no padding on the backboards or basket supports, and one basket appeared to be higher than the other. There was also a large amount of condensation from a hockey game the previous night. After the Colonels refused to play, league commissioner George Mikan forfeited the game to the Colonels.

For the second year, the team opted to stay on Long Island, where it changed its name to the New York Nets. The team was renamed to "Nets" to rhyme with the names of two other professional sports teams that played in the New York metropolitan area at the time: Major League Baseball's New York Mets and the American Football League's New York Jets. "Nets" was also a nickname that related to basketball in general, since it is part of the hoop.

The team finished last in its first New York season and drew a paltry 1,108 a game – about half of what it had drawn a year earlier. They posted a hideous 17—61 record, and shuffled 23 different players on and off the roster. Brown sold the team to clothing manufacturer Roy Boe after that season. Boe got busy right away during the 1969 off season. After failing in their pursuit for UCLA star Lew Alcindor, who was drafted and then signed by the National Basketball Association's Milwaukee Bucks, the team acquired Rick Barry from the Virginia Squires and the Island Garden in West Hempstead became their new home. The Nets finished in third place and in the playoffs in 1969–70, and attendance went up threefold to 3,504. After two years at the Island Garden, the team moved to the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale for the 1971–72 season.

In 1972, two years after the acquisition of Barry, the Nets advanced to the ABA finals. However, they could not overcome the Indiana Pacers and lost the series four games to two. Barry left after that postseason, sending the Nets into rebuilding mode. The 1972–73 season was one of disappointment, as the Nets only won 30 games.

The 1973–74 season saw the Nets finally put all the pieces together. The key event of the season though would come in the 1973 offseason, however, as the Nets acquired Julius Erving from the Virginia Squires. With Erving, who was affectionately known as "Dr. J", the Nets ended the season with a franchise record 55 victories. After Erving was voted the ABA's MVP, the Nets advanced in the playoffs and won their first title, defeating the Utah Stars in the 1974 ABA Finals.

The success continued into the 1974–75 season as they topped the previous season's win record by winning 58 games — a record that still stands to this day. The Nets, though, were eliminated four games to one, by the Spirits of St. Louis in the first round of the 1975 ABA playoffs.

The Nets continued their winning ways in the 1975–76 season — the final season for the ABA, with Erving leading them to a successful 55-win season; he also was named MVP again that year. After a grueling series with the Denver Nuggets, the Nets won the last ABA championship series in league history in six games, giving the Nets their second championship in three years.

The summer of 1976 saw the ABA-NBA merger finally take place. As part of the merger agreement, four teams from the ABA — the Nets, Nuggets, Pacers and San Antonio Spurs — joined the NBA. The Nets and Nuggets had actually applied to join the NBA in 1975, but were turned away. Prior to their first NBA season, the Nets traded two draft picks to the Kansas City Kings for guard Nate Archibald. The Nets appeared to be poised to pick up where they left off in the ABA.

However, they got a rude surprise when the NBA forced them to pay $4.8 million to the Knicks for "invading" the Knicks' NBA territory. Coming on the heels of the $3 million that the team had to pay for joining the NBA, this left Boe short of cash, and he was forced to renege on a promised pay raise for Erving. Erving refused to play for the Nets under these conditions, leaving Boe no choice but to sell Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers for $3 million. Without Erving, the Nets wrote off the season as a lost cause. However, they lost all semblance of respectability when Archibald broke his foot in January. The team finished at 22—60, the worst record in the league. The team did set one record of sorts; in February 1977, they became the first NBA team ever to have an all-left-handed starting lineup, with Tim Bassett, Al Skinner, Bubbles Hawkins, Dave Wohl, and Kim Hughes.

Prior to the 1977–78 season, Boe moved the franchise back to New Jersey, renaming the team the New Jersey Nets. While the team awaited the completion of a new arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, they played four seasons at the Rutgers Athletic Center (later renamed the Louis Brown Athletic Center) on the Kilmer Campus (now "Livingston" Campus) of Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ. In 1978, Boe sold the team to a group of seven local businessmen (led by Joe Taub and Alan N. Cohen) who became known as the "Secaucus Seven". The first four years in New Jersey were disappointing, as the Nets suffered through four consecutive losing seasons.

The team moved into the Brendan Byrne Arena (known as the Continental Airlines Arena in 1996, and renamed the Izod Center in October 2007) in 1981 and experienced modest success with four consecutive winning seasons. In 1982–83, while coached by Larry Brown, the Nets were having their best season since joining the NBA. However, Brown accepted the head coaching job at the University of Kansas during the last month of the season and was suspended for the rest of the season. The Nets would never recover from the coaching change and would lose in the first round of the playoffs to their Hudson River rival New York Knicks.

In the 1983–84 season, the Nets fielded what was believed to be their best team since joining the league. Led by Darryl Dawkins, Buck Williams, Otis Birdsong, and Micheal Ray Richardson, the team won their first NBA playoff series, defeating the defending champion 76ers in the first round of the 1984 playoffs before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in six games.

Injuries plagued the team during the 1984–85 season, but the Nets still managed to win 42 games before being eliminated from the playoffs by the Detroit Pistons in three games. The Nets would not qualify for the playoffs for the next seven seasons (1991–92) and would not have a winning record for eight (1992—93).

During the early 1990s the Nets began to improve behind a core of young players, as New Jersey drafted Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson and acquired Drazen Petrovic in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite a losing record during the 1991–92 season, the Nets qualified for the playoffs, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, three games to one.

The team improved significantly in 1992–93, led by the trio of Coleman, Petrovic and Anderson, and former head coach, Chuck Daly. However, injuries to both Anderson and Petrovic toward the end of the season sent the team into a 1—10 slump to end the regular season. The Nets finished the season at 43—39 and were seeded sixth in the Eastern Conference and faced the Cavaliers again in the first round. With Anderson recovered from a broken hand and Petrovic playing on an injured knee, the Nets lost a tough five-game series. However, the optimism of a team jelling was destroyed on June 7, when Petrovic was killed in an automobile accident in Germany at the age of 28.

Despite the devastating loss of Petrovic, the Nets managed to win 45 games during the 1993–94 season. Anderson and Coleman made their only All-Star appearances this season. The Nets ended up losing to the New York Knicks the first round of the 1994 NBA Playoffs, three games to one. Daly resigned as head coach after the season and was replaced by Butch Beard.

The team struggled through the rest of the decade. During the mid-1990s the NBA's main image problem was that of the selfish, immature athlete and if one wanted to see a team that embodied that image, all one had to do was look at the Nets. In 1995, Coleman was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the poster child of the selfish NBA player, but with Anderson, Benoit Benjamin, Dwayne Schintzius and Chris Morris also on the roster, there were plenty of candidates for SI to choose from. The team's image was so poor that in an effort to shed its losing image, management considered renaming the team "Swamp Dragons" or the "Fire Dragons" in 1994, but rejected the idea. In both the 1994–95 and 1995–96 seasons, the Nets finished with identical 30—52 records.

In an effort to start anew, Coleman and Anderson were both traded during the 1995–96 season and John Calipari replaced Beard as head coach at the end of the season. Kerry Kittles was selected in the 1996 NBA Draft and midway through the 1996–97 season, the team traded for Sam Cassell. After a 26—56 win-loss season, the Nets made a major draft-day trade in June 1997, acquiring Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris and two other players for Tim Thomas. The only player from the early 1990s that the Nets retained was Jayson Williams, who was developing into a rebounding specialist.

The 1997–98 season was a lone bright spot for the Nets in the late 1990s. The team played well under Calipari, winning 43 games and qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the season. Power forward Jayson Williams was selected as a reserve in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. The Nets were seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference and lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 playoffs in three straight games. The Nets played well and came close to taking the first two games.

The "Secaucus Seven" sold the team in 1998 to local real estate developers, who the next year signed an agreement with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to form YankeeNets, a holding company that would own the two teams along with increasing leverage in future broadcast contracts by negotiating together. After getting offers from numerous broadcast partners, including what was their current rights holder Cablevision, YankeeNets decided to launch a new regional sports television called YES Network.

The 1998–99 season was delayed for three months due to an owners' lockout of the players. When the abbreviated 50-game season began, the Nets were a fashionable choice by experts as a surprise team. However, Cassell was injured in the first game and the team started poorly. With the Nets underachieving at 3–15, the Nets traded Cassell to the Bucks, while the Nets acquired Stephon Marbury from the Minnesota Timberwolves. After two more losses, Calipari was fired as head coach with the team at 3—17. The team never recovered from its poor start to finish at 16–34. With the Nets already eliminated from playoff contention in April, Marbury collided with Williams in a game against the Atlanta Hawks — Williams broke his tibia and would never play in the NBA again.

From 1990 to 1997 the Nets played on a parquet-designed floor similar to the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and the Minnesota Timberwolves during their home games at the Continental Airlines Arena.

In 2000, the Nets hired as the team president Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive best known for drafting Michael Jordan while he was the Bulls' general manager. Immediately, he began to assemble the components of the most talented team since the ABA champions of the mid-1970s. He started by hiring Byron Scott as coach. With the first pick in the 2000 Draft, the Nets selected Kenyon Martin from the University of Cincinnati. Stephon Marbury & Keith Van Horn had become a stars in New Jersey. Marbury made the All-NBA 3rd Team in 2000 and his very first All-Star Game in 2001. But despite his individual efforts, constant injuries hindered the team's chemistry & the Nets failed to the playoffs in each of Marbury seasons as a starter. On the night of the 2001 Draft, they traded the rights to their first round selection (Eddie Griffin) to the Houston Rockets for Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong, and selected Brian Scalabrine in the second round. The trade was widely considered a smart move by the Nets as they needed to get younger and clear out much of the dead weight that was on the bench, as the Nets had the lowest scoring and oldest bench in the league.

Just one day after the 2001 Draft, Jones made his boldest move. He traded all-star Marbury & role player Johnny Newman to the Phoenix Suns for All-Star/All-NBA point guard Jason Kidd and center Chris Dudley (who the Nets later released). The move gave the team something it had been lacking for practically its entire NBA existence, a floor leader who also made his teammates better. The Nets also signed former 76ers center Todd MacCulloch, who at the time was considered to be a rising center in the league. That season, the Nets had their best season in their NBA history & in the process became one of the most exciting teams in the league. The team won its first Atlantic Division title, finishing the regular season at 52–30 and were seeded first in Eastern Conference and faced Indiana in the first round of the 2002 NBA Playoffs.

After losing the first game at home, the Nets then went on to win the next two games, before losing game four on the road. In front of a sellout crowd, the Nets played one of the more memorable games in NBA Playoff history in game five. The Nets led by nine points with five minutes remaining in regulation, however Reggie Miller made a 35-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. After Miller sent the game into double-overtime with a driving dunk, the Nets pulled away for a 120–109 victory. It is the only game in NBA history to end every quarter—the first quarter, first half, third quarter, second half, and first overtime—tied.

In the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, they defeated the Charlotte Hornets four games to one to advance to the Eastern Conference Championship for the first time facing the Boston Celtics. This series is remembered for Kidd having his left eye swollen shut diving for a loose ball in game, he received 32 stitches. After winning game one versus the Celtics, the Nets lost game two at home. In game three, the Nets led by 21 points going into the final period, but a tremendous Celtic comeback gave the Celtics a 94–90 victory and a 2–1 series lead. In game four played on Memorial Day afternoon in Boston, the Nets led most of the way but once again the Celtics found a way to tie the game with a minute remaining. However, in this game the Nets made enough plays at the end of the game to win it — Harris made two free throws with 6.6 seconds left and when Paul Pierce missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 1 second left, the series was tied at two games each. In game five, the Nets went on a 20–1 run early in the fourth period to coast to a 103–92 victory and a 3–2 lead in the series. In game 6, the Nets trailed by 10 at halftime, but rallied in the second half to take the lead. Van Horn's three pointer off a Kittles pass with 50 seconds left in the game clinched the Nets their first Eastern Conference Championship, four games to two.

In the 2002 NBA Finals, the Nets were swept by Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. New Jersey was the third straight victim to fall to the L.A. dynasty, who had dominated both Indiana and Philadelphia. Kidd and company were just too inexperienced and ill-equipped to deal with the Lakers.

Before the 2002–03 season, the Nets traded Van Horn and MacCulloch to obtain Dikembe Mutombo from the 76ers. The move to improve the team did not work out as Mutombo sat out most of the season with a wrist injury, but received little time in the playoffs due to differences with coach Byron Scott. Despite Mutombo's absence, the Nets finished with a 49–33 record and repeated as Atlantic Division champs. Kidd in the process had his best season ever & contributions from Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, & Sixth Man of The Year Runner-Up Lucious Harris soften the load. In the 2003 NBA Playoffs, the Nets won their second consecutive Eastern Conference championship. They defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs four games to two, then swept the Celtics and Detroit Pistons in consecutive series to advance to the 2003 NBA Finals, this time facing the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs. They split the first four games in the series. At the same time, the Nets' home court hosted the New Jersey Devils third Stanley Cup celebration in 9 years, following their 3-0 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. However the Nets played erratically in a Game 5 loss at home to go down in the series three games to two. In Game 6, the Nets led the Spurs by 10 points on the road with 10 minutes remaining, but the Spurs went on a 19–0 run to take the title in six games. The loss in Game 6 meant New Jersey was denied from having both an NBA and an NHL title in the same year. Nonetheless, the Nets run through the Finals, coupled with the Devils winning the Stanley Cup, made the run part of a great chapter in New Jersey sports history.

Following the 2003 Finals, Kidd became a free agent and the Spurs pursued signing him away from the Nets. However, Kidd re-signed with the Nets, stating that he had "unfinished business" in New Jersey. Another factor in Kidd's decision was the signing of free-agent Alonzo Mourning. But Mourning's tenure with the Nets would be disastrous, as he missed most of the 2003–04 season due to a kidney ailment.

During the 2003–04 season, New Jersey performed poorly early in the season, and in late December head coach Byron Scott was fired. Lawrence Frank became the interim head coach on January 26, 2004, succeeding Scott, after serving as an assistant coach with the team since the 2000–01 season.

However, the Nets rebounded from this early season lull, and again won the Atlantic Division title, and swept their crosstown rival Knicks in the first round. However, their run of conference championships was halted in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals by the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons. After the teams split the first four games, each one large routs at home, the Nets took Game 5 in Detroit in triple-overtime, only to fall short in Game 6 in New Jersey. The Pistons won Game 7 in a rout and took the series 4 games to 3. Jason Kidd, playing on an injured knee that eventually required surgery after the season, was held scoreless in Game 7.

After the season, The Nets were forced to revamp the team. They traded Kerry Kittles and Kenyon Martin, to the Clippers and Nuggets respectively & released Rodney Rogers & long time Net Lucious Harris, because new owner Bruce Ratner was unwilling to pay the remainder of their contracts. They received only draft picks in return for two key players in the team's recent success. Unbeknownst to New Jersey however, was the fact that Kittles went under the knife for the fifth time to correct his knee, and Martin would need microfracture surgery in both knees. The 2004–05 season looked gloomy at first for the Nets. Their star Kidd was recovering from his own microfracture surgery and the young Richard Jefferson was handed the reins for New Jersey. The team got off to a 2–11 start, and even with Jason Kidd returning from injury, the outlook was bleak. However, the Nets made a major deal by obtaining disgruntled star Vince Carter from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Mourning, who was released by the Raptors (and subsequently rejoined the Miami Heat), Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and draft picks. Mourning himself had become disgruntled, saying the Nets "betrayed" him and that New Jersey's progress to that point was not what he "signed up for". This move made the Nets major players again, as they featured one of the top 1-2-3's in the league with Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson respectively. However, it was short lived, as Jefferson was injured in a game against the Detroit Pistons, and would require season ending surgery.

However, this would not doom the Nets entirely. Teamed with Kidd, a rejuvenated Vince Carter rallied the team from being more than 10 games out of the playoffs to gain the final seed in the Eastern Conference with a win in the last game of the season. However, the Nets could not overcome O'Neal again even with Jefferson back from his injury and were swept by the Heat in the First Round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs.

During the offseason of 2005, the Nets actively pursued a starting-quality power forward through free agency. They had drafted Antoine Wright, a 6' 7" swingman because all the talented power forwards were taken in the draft, and still needed to fill the void left by Kenyon Martin.

Eventually settling on Shareef Abdur-Rahim, they actively courted him and gained his approval even though they could only offer him the mid-level exception. In order to get him a larger, more lucrative contract, the Nets pursued a sign-and-trade with Portland. There, negotiations hit a snag because Portland demanded a first-round draft pick, which the Nets adamantly refused to part with. Eventually, the Nets agreed to give Portland a protected first-round pick and their trade exception acquired from the Kerry Kittles trade. This allowed the Nets to keep their mid-level exception for signing other players. However, Thorn decided to void the Abdur-Rahim trade when he failed his physical examination because of a pre-existing knee injury. Abdur-Rahim would vehemently deny any injury and said he felt like "damaged goods". He would need surgery at the end of the '07 season. To fill Abdur-Rahim's slot on the roster, the Nets acquired Marc Jackson from the Sixers.

They used part of the remaining mid-level exception to re-sign Clifford Robinson for two years in response to Brian Scalabrine's departure. A back-up to Kidd was also sought and they actively courted free agents such as Keyon Dooling before turning their attention to talented, but aggravating (at times) Jeff McInnis, whom they eventually signed and was a non-factor in the Nets Season due to injury and eventually was traded.

The Nets started the 2005–06 season slowly, struggling to a 9–12 record in their first 21 games. However, behind strong play by Carter, Kidd & Jefferson the team won their next 10 games (their final 8 games in December and first two games in January) to surge to top of the division. After the winning streak, the Nets returned to their earlier mediocre play (winning only 13 of their next 29 games), but starting on March 12 the Nets won their next 14 games in a row — the longest winning streak in the NBA this season and matching the franchise record set in 2004. The streak ended on April 8, 2006 when the Nets loss to the Cavaliers 108–102 at home. They set a team record with 20 road victories this season.

The Nets finished the 2005–06 regular season with a 49–33 record. They clinched their 4th Atlantic Division championship in the last five seasons and the 3rd seed the Eastern Conference playoffs, playing the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs. It seemed they had returned to their elite status of a few years back. They defeated the Pacers and advanced to the second round where they played the Heat, in a rematch of 2005's first round Eastern Conference loss. On May 16, 2006, the Nets lost the best-of-seven series 4–1 to the Heat. Nets fans were left to wonder what might have been as Cliff Robinson, one of the team's key defenders against Shaq, was suspended following Game 1 of that series for failing a drug test.

Highlights of the season include the naming of Vince Carter to the All-Star Team in 2006. Originally named as a reserve, an injury to Jermaine O'Neal elevated Carter to a starting position. Kidd, meanwhile, was named to the NBA All-Defensive team at the end of the season.

The 2006–07 NBA season fared poorly for the Nets but finished on a bright note, as they suffered a barrage of injuries starting in the preseason to mid December. Many experts predicted they would win the Atlantic easily (Charles Barkley went as far as to say the Nets would win the Eastern Conference), but the season did not turn out as hoped. The Nets finished the regular season at .500 (41–41) and lost the Atlantic Division title to the surprising Toronto Raptors. The early-season loss of Nenad Krstić to a freak knee injury and the two-month absence of Richard Jefferson caused by an ankle injury caused the Nets to stumble mid-season. However, Jefferson went back into action on March 9 against Houston and helped the Nets regain a winning momentum, allowing them to win 10 of their last 13 games. Among the highlights of the regular season were the naming of Kidd and Carter to the '07 East All-Star team and Kidd's selection to the 2007 All-Defensive 2nd Team. New Jersey finished with the 6th seed in the East and faced the 3rd seeded Toronto Raptors, feeding their newly developed rivalry. The Nets beat the Raptors in six games thanks in part to the fourth quarter heroics of Richard Jefferson on both ends of the floor lifting them to a one-point victory. Many sportswriters viewed picked the Nets to beat Cleveland, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Their playoff run ended, however, in the following round as they fell to LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers 4–2 in the best-of-seven series. Since their runs at the NBA title, New Jersey has been eliminated by three of the last four Eastern Conference champs, two of whom went on to win the title. In the 2007 NBA Draft, the Nets used the 17th pick to pick "troubled" Boston College player Sean Williams.

For the 2007–2008 season, many were excited for the upcoming season, but it resulted in what many Nets fans considered the most disappointing season of the decade. Early injuries to Vince Carter and Nenad Krstić disrupted the Nets season from the get-go. With little bright notes, the season was a complete mess: a 9-game losing streak for the Nets, the Jason Kidd "headache", trading their franchise player, and not making it to the post season for the first time in 7 years. However, there were a few bright notes, like young guys Josh Boone and Sean Williams becoming major contributors and Marcus Williams showing progress. Richard Jefferson ranked in top 10 scoring leaders of the season, at #9. And Vince Carter emerged as the leader of the Nets and was one of only 3 players (Kobe Bryant and Lebron James the other 2) to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists a game. The popular assumption is that with an off-season together they will be back in the post season, but team president Rod Thorn has already promised changes would be made, and Coach Lawrence Frank vowed that as long as he's at the helm "A season like this will never happen again".

The following offseason proved to be very busy for the Nets as well. On June 26, 2008, Richard Jefferson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. Jefferson's departure, along with that of Jason Kidd earlier that year, marked the beginning of a new era in the Garden State. On the 2008 NBA Draft night, with the 10th pick the Nets selected Stanford center Brook Lopez. With the 21st pick the Nets selected the UC Berkeley forward Ryan Anderson. With the 40th pick the team selected Chris Douglas-Roberts, out of the University of Memphis. On July 2, the Nets signed draftees Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson. On July 9, they signed remaining draftee Chris Douglas-Roberts.. The Nets filled out their now youthful roster by signing veterans Eduardo Najera & Jarvis Hayes, & trading for fiery Orlando point guard Keyon Dooling, a player they coveted for years. The Nets started off the 2008-2009 season on a positive note, but with the sprained ankle injury to point guard Devin Harris, they lost 3 straight games to the Pacers and to Miami. Upon his return, the Nets went on to win against the Atlanta Hawks twice, the 2nd team in the Eastern Conference with a 7-1 record. After splitting the next four games, Harris then led his team to a three game road winning streak, beating the Sacramento Kings in overtime, thrashing the Utah Jazz, and capping off the trip with a win against the Phoenix Suns. Harris has guided the Nets to a 9-7 record while averaging 25.3 points per game (fourth in the league) and has made himself a leading candidate for the NBA Most Improved Player Award. The Nets finished the first half of their season 19-22. The Nets are tied for 10th place with the New York Knicks.

In 2004, after failing to secure a deal for a new arena in Newark, New Jersey, YankeeNets sold the franchise to a group headed by real estate developer Bruce Ratner for $300 million, beating out a group led by Charles Kushner and Jon Corzine. While Kushner and Corzine wanted to keep the Nets in New Jersey, Ratner planned to move the team back to New York. In 2005 the Nets announced plans to locate the team in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. One of the members of the ownership group is rap mogul and Brooklyn native Jay-Z. The team would be renamed Brooklyn Nets (current working title), "New York Nets," or have a new name attached to its Brooklyn location.

The Barclays Center is the center of an extensive redevelopment project called the Atlantic Yards being built by Ratner's real estate development company. The site of the arena is nearby to the site that Walter O'Malley wanted to use for a new stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early 1950s. The plan was rejected and resulted in the team's relocation to Los Angeles in 1958. The Nets would be the first major professional sports team to play their games in Brooklyn since the departure of the Dodgers. The arena is in the final planning stages. The Nets originally planned to move across the Hudson River for the beginning of the 2009–10 season. However, on January 3, 2008 the team announced that it would not start to play at the Barclays Center until 2010 at the earliest. It is unknown whether the team will move during the middle of the 2009–10 season or wait for the beginning of the next season (2010–11). In September 2006, the team and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced an extension of their lease to keep the team in the Meadowlands until 2013, with a provision to leave as early as 2009 if the Brooklyn arena is completed.

In December 2008, construction on the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project, which would include the Nets’ $950 million Barclays Center, was scheduled to go forward, according to a Forest City Enterprises executive. Forest City chief executive Charles Ratner said the developers could afford to delay construction of the project in 2009 if the economy continued to struggle. If the Nets achieve their revised goal of a 2011 move to Brooklyn, arena construction likely would have to start by sometime in the spring of 2009, assuming a court battle over environmental review of the site has concluded.

The television home of the Nets is currently the YES Network, which the Nets joined after the merger of the operations of the Yankees and Nets (under the corporation banner YankeeNets). The Nets have stayed on YES despite the dissolution of YankeeNets and Bruce Ratner's purchase of the team. Prior to that the Nets' TV home was Fox Sports Net New York and SportsChannel New York.

The team's local broadcast partner is WWOR-TV, and games have aired on WLNY in the past as well.

The current flagship radio station of the Nets is WFAN, who took over the radio rights to the Nets after losing their basketball contract with the Knicks (who moved to WEPN). Prior to that, Nets games aired on WNEW-AM, WQEW, and WOR.

Marv Albert and Ian Eagle share television duties for the Nets (Albert calls a majority of the games; Eagle subs when Albert is not available due to other commitments). Chris Carrino is the radio voice for the Nets. Mike Fratello and Jim Spanarkel also share the YES color analyst duties (Fratello on the majority of the games; Spanarkel on games when Fratello is on TNT), with Tim Capstraw providing analysis on the radio.

Other broadcasters who have worked for the Nets include Howard David, Bob Papa, Bill Raftery, Kelly Tripucka, Albert King, Mike O'Koren, WFAN update man John Minko and Mark Jackson.

To the top



Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors logo

The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. They originally played their home games in the SkyDome, before moving to the Air Canada Centre (ACC) in 1999.

Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league attendance records and made the NBA Playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress and he was traded in 2004. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader, but they continued to struggle. However, with the appointment of Bryan Colangelo as General Manager and a revamp of the roster for the 2006–07 season, they qualified for their first playoff berth in five years and captured their first division title. In the following season, they advanced to the playoffs again.

The Toronto Raptors were established on 30 September 1993 when the NBA, as part of its expansion into Canada, awarded its 28th franchise to a group headed by Toronto businessman John Bitove. The Raptors, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, played their first games in 1995, and were the first NBA teams based in Canada since the 1946–47 Toronto Huskies.

Initial sentiment was in favour of reviving the Huskies nickname, but team management realized it would be nearly impossible to design a logo that did not look too much like that of the Minnesota Timberwolves. As a result, a nationwide contest was held to help name the team and develop their colours and logo. Over 2,000 entries were narrowed down to ten prospects: Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and Terriers. The final selection—Toronto Raptors—was unveiled on Canadian national television on 15 May 1994; the choice was influenced by the popularity of the film Jurassic Park. On 24 May 1994, the team's logo and first General Manager (GM), Isiah Thomas were revealed at a press conference. The team's colours of bright red, purple, black, and silver were also revealed; "Naismith" silver was chosen as an ode to Canadian James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. The team originally competed in the Central Division, and before the inaugural season began, sales of Raptors merchandise ranked seventh in the league, marking a successful return of professional basketball to Canada.

As GM, Isiah Thomas quickly staffed the management positions with his own personnel, naming long-time Detroit Pistons assistant Brendan Malone as the Raptors' head coach. The team's roster was then filled as a result of an expansion draft in 1995. Following a coin flip, Toronto was given first choice and selected Chicago Bulls point guard and three-point specialist B. J. Armstrong. Armstrong refused to report for training and Thomas promptly traded him to the Golden State Warriors for power forwards Carlos Rogers and Victor Alexander. Thomas then selected a wide range of players in the expansion draft, including veterans Jerome Kersey, Willie Anderson and his former Pistons teammate John "Spider" Salley.

Subsequent to the expansion draft, the Raptors landed the seventh pick in the NBA Draft Lottery, behind their fellow 1995 expansion club, the Vancouver Grizzlies. Thomas selected Damon Stoudamire, a point guard out of the University of Arizona, around whom the franchise would seek to construct its near future. Yet the selection of Stoudamire was met with boos from fans at the 1995 NBA Draft at the SkyDome in Toronto, many of whom wanted Ed O'Bannon of UCLA, an NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player.

In the team's first official NBA game, Alvin Robertson scored the first NBA points in Raptors history, while Stoudamire recorded 10 points and 10 assists in a 94–79 victory over the New Jersey Nets. The Raptors concluded their inaugural season with a 21–61 win–loss record, although they were one of the few teams to defeat the Chicago Bulls, who set an all-time NBA best 72–10 win–loss regular season record. With averages of 19.0 points and 9.3 assists per game, Stoudamire also won the 1995–96 Rookie of the Year Award.

In the 1996–97 season the team improved on its win record by nine games. They selected centre Marcus Camby with the second overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. By the end of the season, Camby earned a berth on the NBA's All-Rookie Team while Stoudamire continued to play well, averaging 20.2 points and 8.8 assists per game. As in the previous season, the Raptors were one of only 11 teams to topple the eventual 1997 Champions, the Chicago Bulls. The Raptors also defeated the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz and Miami Heat, all of whom were eventual Conference finalists. However, the Raptors struggled against teams who were not of championship calibre, including three losses to the 15–67 Boston Celtics.

Early in the 1997–98 season, the team suffered numerous injuries and slid into a 17-game losing streak. GM Isiah Thomas resigned after his ownership bid for the Raptors failed and was replaced by Glen Grunwald. With Thomas gone, Stoudamire immediately sought a trade. On 13 February 1998, he was shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers along with Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers for Kenny Anderson, Alvin Williams, Gary Trent, two first-round draft choices, a second-round draft choice and cash. Anderson refused to report to Toronto and was traded to the Celtics with Zan Tabak and Popeye Jones for Chauncey Billups, Dee Brown, Roy Rogers and John Thomas. When the trading deadline was over, the Raptors became the youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6. They had five rookies on their roster, including the 18-year-old Tracy McGrady, who at the time was the youngest player in the NBA. The inexperienced Raptors struggled throughout the season and their regular season record regressed to 16–66.

During the 1998 NBA Draft, in what became a defining move for the franchise, Grunwald traded the team's 4th overall pick Antawn Jamison to the Golden State Warriors for Vince Carter, who was selected 5th overall. To bring further credibility to the Raptors, Grunwald traded Camby to the New York Knicks for Charles Oakley, a veteran with playoff experience. Kevin Willis, another veteran acquired from the trade, solidified the centre position, while the coaching staff temporarily rotated Dee Brown, Alvin Williams and Doug Christie to play point guard. Both Christie and Williams became talented players in their own right; Christie developed into one of the elite defenders in the NBA, while Williams improved his play on the offensive end. New coach Butch Carter was also credited with much of the team's turnaround during the lockout shortened 1998–99 season. Although the team did not make the playoffs, many were optimistic with the impressive performances of Rookie of the Year Carter and a much improved McGrady.

During the 1999 NBA Draft, believing that the Raptors still lacked a strong frontcourt presence, Grunwald traded first-round draft pick Jonathan Bender for veteran power forward Antonio Davis of the Indiana Pacers. In the backcourt, Butch Carter rotated Carter, Christie, Williams and Dell Curry at the shooting guard position and Williams and Muggsy Bogues at point guard. The rotation of Davis, Oakley and Willis in the frontcourt and Carter's and McGrady's improvement helped the team make its first ever playoff appearance, fulfilling a promise Carter had made to fans in the previous season. Lacking significant post-season experience, Toronto was defeated 3–0 by the New York Knicks in the first round. Nonetheless, team improvements and the rise of Carter—who emphatically won the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest—attracted many fans around Toronto, many of whom were previously not basketball fans. The season was also the first full year played at the Air Canada Centre, after having played four years at the cavernous SkyDome, which was better suited to baseball and football. Overall, the Raptors concluded the season with a 45–37 record and ranked third in the Central Division.

Still, playoff failures and Butch Carter's media altercations surrounding Camby led Grunwald to replace Carter prior to the 2000–01 season with Lenny Wilkens, a Hall of Fame coach and player with more than 30 years of coaching experience. The team roster was also largely revamped, including the signing of veteran playmaker Mark Jackson on a four year contract. When Alvin Williams later emerged as a clutch performer, Jackson was traded to allow Williams more playing time. Vince Carter, who was originally assigned the small forward position, became more adept at playing the shooting guard position, and as a result, Doug Christie, the former shooting guard, was traded for forward Corliss Williamson. Williamson had a disappointing season and was replaced by defensive workhorse Jerome Williams. Although McGrady and Carter had showed impressive improvement at the same time, much of the media and fan attention was focused on Carter, who was the flashier player. Furthermore, McGrady and Carter shared the same natural position (small forward), making it impossible to keep both. Therefore, the Raptors management decided to trade McGrady to the Orlando Magic during the 2000 off-season for a first-round draft pick in a sign-and-trade deal.

As predicted by analysts, the team easily secured a playoff berth. Toronto defeated New York 3–2 in the first round, and Wilkens was praised for having Williams defend shooting guard Allan Houston and Carter defend small forward Latrell Sprewell, the two major Knicks offensive threats. The next series against the Philadelphia 76ers was a landmark for the Raptors in terms of performance and entertainment value. The Sixers relied on Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo for their respective offensive and defensive abilities, along with steady help from Aaron McKie. Toronto was the more balanced team with Carter, Williams and Davis providing much of the offensive game and Chris Childs and Jerome Williams providing the defensive pressure. Philadelphia took full advantage of the mismatch at centre while Toronto counteracted with a fast break offence with their shorter but quicker players. The series came down to the last few seconds of Game 7, when Carter's potential series-winning shot rolled off the rim. Carter was later widely criticized for attending his graduation ceremony at the University of North Carolina on the morning of Game 7. Despite the loss, the season is generally considered a watermark for the franchise, given the Raptors' best ever regular season record (47–35), and finishing second in the Central Division.

The relocation of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001 left Toronto as the NBA's only Canadian team. To ensure that Vince Carter would re-sign with the team, long-term contracts were given to Alvin Williams, Jerome Williams and Antonio Davis, while former NBA MVP centre Hakeem Olajuwon was signed to provide Carter with good support. The Raptors appeared to be on their way to another competitive season, with a 29–21 record going into the All-Star break and with Carter the top vote-getter for the All-Star game for the third consecutive year. Carter then suffered a bout of tendinitis, forcing him to miss the All-Star game and the rest of the season, and without their franchise player, Toronto lost 13 consecutive games. However, they were able to win 12 of their last 14 games, clinching a playoff spot on the last day of the regular season. The comeback featured some of the Raptors' best defense of the season, along with inspired performances by Antonio Davis and Keon Clark.

Despite Toronto's improved defensive performances, Carter's offence was sorely missed in the first-round series against the second-seeded Detroit Pistons. In the first game, Detroit overwhelmed Toronto 83–65 largely due to Ben Wallace's strong performance of 19 points, 20 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals. Detroit also won Game 2, but Toronto won the next two games at home to force a deciding and tightly contested Game 5 in Detroit. With 10.7 seconds left in the game, and the Raptors down 85–82 with possession of the ball, Chris Childs raced down the court and shot a three-pointer that missed badly, apparently trying to draw a foul on the play, instead of passing to a wide-open Dell Curry. In a post-game locker room interview, Childs repeatedly insisted that the Raptors had been down four points, not three. The Raptors' late-season surge was thus marred by a disappointing playoff exit; the Olajuwon experiment was also a bust, with the 39-year-old averaging career lows in minutes, points and rebounds. Furthermore, Childs, Clark, and Curry left the team, ensuring a new-look team for the next season.

The 2002–03 season began with the same optimism that the Raptors exhibited in three consecutive playoff seasons, although it faded early. Carter, while voted as a starter in the 2003 All-Star Game, suffered a spate of injuries. Antonio Davis expressed disinterest in Toronto, and Wilkens' laissez-faire attitude created a team that lacked the motivation and spirit of the previous years' teams. The team was ravaged with injuries, losing an NBA record number of player games due to injury. Furthermore, the Raptors recorded the dubious honour of being the only team in NBA history to not dress 12 players for a single game in a season. Wilkens was criticized heavily by the Toronto media for his inability to clamp down on his players when necessary, especially given this was the year that Wilkens overtook Bill Fitch for the most losses by an NBA coach, with his loss total getting dangerously close to his win total. The Raptors ended the season with a 24–58 record and Wilkens was sacked. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, when the Raptors were given the 4th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and brought another star to Toronto in Chris Bosh.

Canadian country singer Shania Twain helped launch the new red Raptors alternate road uniform at the start of the 2003–04 season, and the jerseys made their debut in a 90–87 season-opening victory on 29 October 2003 against the defending Conference Champion New Jersey Nets. The Raptors were inconsistent throughout the season, partly due to injuries to key players Jalen Rose, Alvin Williams and Carter, with Davis and Jerome Williams traded early in the season for Rose and Donyell Marshall. On 1 November 2003, the Raptors even tied an NBA record for fewest points scored in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, losing 56–73. After 50 games, Toronto was 25–25 and in a position to make the playoffs, but injuries to key players again sent the Raptors plummeting down the standings. Rose, Carter, and Williams all suffered injuries as the Raptors struggled to a record of 8–24 in their remaining games. The Raptors fired GM Glen Grunwald on 1 April 2004, after the team ended the season three games short of the eighth and final playoff spot. The notable individual season performances were Carter's 22.5 ppg, Marshall's 10.7 rpg and rookie Bosh, a 6-10 forward-centre who averaged 11.5 ppg and 7.4 rpg and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. In this transitionary season, the Raptors improved their regular season record to 33–49.

Head coach Kevin O'Neill was fired immediately after Grunwald's termination, after making some remarks which were taken to question the team's commitment to winning. He was replaced by Sam Mitchell, a former NBA forward and assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Rob Babcock was named GM on 7 June 2004, alongside the appointments of Wayne Embry as senior advisor and Alex English as director of player development.

In the 2004–05 season, the team moved into the Atlantic Division. Babcock picked Rafael Araújo—selected eighth overall—in the 2004 NBA Draft, in a move that was criticized by fans and analysts. Franchise player Carter demanded a trade during the offseason which finally came to fruition mid-season, ending his six-year tenure. Following the trade, Carter acknowledged he had not tried his hardest in the past few seasons. Toronto received Alonzo Mourning, forwards Eric Williams and Aaron Williams and two mid-to-late future first round picks from the New Jersey Nets. Mourning chose to not report to Toronto, forcing Babcock to buy out the remainder of his contract at a reported $10 million, leaving him free to sign with the Miami Heat. Eric and Aaron Williams were supposed to add defensive toughness and rebounding, but were generally under-utilized for the entire season. Analysts had predicted Babcock got the bad end of the deal, and the trade eventually cost him his job.

Carter's departure heralded a new era for Toronto. Bosh stepped up to the role of franchise player and performed well in his sophomore campaign, ranking tenth in the league in defensive rebounds. In contrast to Bosh's emergence, Araújo struggled to keep a spot in the line-up, and became unpopular with fans and local media. Although the ACC was often well attended, due to the Raptors' 22–19 home record, their inability to win on the road (11–30) and poor defensive record made Sam Mitchell's first year as head coach unimpressive. Additionally, Mitchell had problems dealing with Rafer Alston, who openly expressed his unhappiness with Mitchell in a post-game interview. Later in the season, Alston was suspended two games for "conduct detrimental to the team" for reportedly walking out of a scrimmage during practice. Notwithstanding the unrest, in their first season competing in the Atlantic Division, Toronto maintained the same regular season record of 33–49 as the previous season.

The Raptors continued to rebuild during the 2005 NBA Draft, selecting Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham, Roko Ukic and Uros Slokar, with Villanueva's selection being very controversial amongst basketball pundits and Raptors fans alike. The Raptors started their training camp by trading Alston to the Houston Rockets for Mike James, and signing free agent José Calderón as a backup for James. Despite the infusion of new players, Toronto's overall 2005–06 season was a disappointment; they set a franchise record by losing their first nine games and 15 out of their first 16 games. With losses mounting and media scrutiny intensifying, the Raptors hired legendary ex-Purdue coach Gene Keady as an assistant off the bench to help develop the young Raptors team, as well as establish a defensive persona for the team.

On 15 January 2006, the Raptors set a franchise points record in a 129–103 win over the Knicks when Villanueva hit a three-pointer late in the game, but less than a week later, the Raptors gave up an 18-point lead against the Los Angeles Lakers, and allowed Lakers star Kobe Bryant to score 81 points, the second highest single-game total in NBA history. With media scrutiny intensifying once more and the Raptors entrenched at the bottom of the league in defensive field goal percentage, Toronto fired GM Rob Babcock.

The 2005–06 season was not a total disaster. Villanueva's play impressed both fans and former critics as he came in second in NBA Rookie of the Year and recorded 48 points in an overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the most points scored by any rookie in franchise history and the most by a rookie in the NBA since 1997. Bosh was also named a reserve forward for the Eastern All-Star Team in the 2006 game, becoming the third Raptor after Vince Carter and Antonio Davis to appear in an All-Star Game. On 27 February 2006, the team named Bryan Colangelo, the 2004–05 NBA Executive of the Year, the President and GM of the Raptors. Known for his success in transforming a lottery Phoenix team into a 62-win offensive juggernaut, his hiring gave hope to many fans. Still, Toronto ended the season weakly when Bosh suffered a season-ending thumb injury. The Raptors lost 10 in a row after Bosh's injury and finished the season with the fifth worst record (27–55) in the NBA.

The 2006–07 season represented a watershed year for the Raptors franchise. The roster was overhauled, including the selection of 2006 NBA Draft number one pick Andrea Bargnani, the acquisition of point guard T. J. Ford in exchange for Charlie Villanueva, and the signing of shooting guard Anthony Parker and small forward Jorge Garbajosa. Bosh was given a three-year contract extension, while Maurizio Gherardini of Benetton Treviso was hired as the club’s vice-president and assistant general manager.

The first half of the season produced mixed results as Toronto struggled towards the .500 mark. However, Toronto ended the regular season with a 47–35 record, securing the third seed in the Eastern Conference for the 2007 NBA Playoffs along with the Atlantic Division title, as well as homecourt advantage for the first time in franchise history. Bosh recorded career-highs in ppg and rpg and was voted to start in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. The Raptors were also praised for their improved defense, ball-sharing and tremendous team chemistry. Colangelo, Gherardini and Mitchell were credited with Toronto's turnaround this season, which was one of the best in NBA history in terms of league standing and defensive ranking. Mitchell was subsequently named the 2006–07 NBA Coach of the Year, the first coach in Raptors history to receive the honour, while Colangelo was named 2006–07 Executive of the Year. On 24 April 2007, the Raptors won their first playoff game in five seasons, with an 89–83 victory over the New Jersey Nets, but lost the series 4–2.

Several changes to the roster were made before the 2007–08 campaign as Toronto sought to reproduce the same form as the previous campaign. Most notably, the Raptors acquired Carlos Delfino in a trade with Detroit for two second round draft picks, and signed Jamario Moon and three-point specialist Jason Kapono as free agents. On the other hand, veteran swingman Morris Peterson joined the New Orleans Hornets. Despite being defending division champions, the Raptors were widely tipped as outside contenders for the division and conference titles. Bargnani's inability to play well consistently, coupled with injuries to Garbajosa (75 games), Bosh (15 games) and Ford (31 games) derailed the possibility of a smooth campaign as the Raptors chalked up six fewer wins than the previous season. The Raptors ceded the division title to Boston, and qualified for the 2008 NBA Playoffs as the sixth seed where they were pitted against the Orlando Magic, but were eliminated in five games. Whereas the preceding season was considered a success, the 2007–08 campaign was considered a disappointment. Weaknesses in Toronto's game—rebounding, defence, and a lack of a swingman—were brought to sharp focus during the playoffs, and changes were expected to be made to the roster.

As it turned out, a blockbuster trade was agreed in principle before the 2008–09 campaign: six-time All-Star Jermaine O'Neal was acquired from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Ford (who had become expendable with the emergence of Calderón), Rasho Nesterovič, Maceo Baston, and Roy Hibbert, the 17th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, giving the Raptors a potential boost in the frontcourt. Meanwhile, Bargnani, who had spent the summer working on his interior game, was projected to come off the bench. The Raptors also introduced a black alternate road jersey for the season similar to the earlier purple design that was dropped a few seasons ago. The jersey has a Canadian flavour with a maple leaf featured on the back neck of the jersey, symbolizing the Raptors as "Canada's team". Despite the introduction of O'Neal who brought home the rebounds and the blocks and a much improved Bargnani, the Raptors were too inconsistent. Following a 8–9 start to the season, Mitchell was fired on 3 December 2008, and replaced by long-time assistant Jay Triano on an interim basis. Triano tweaked with the starting line-up to no avail as the Raptors fell to 21–34 prior to the All-Star break. On 13 February 2009, O'Neal and Moon were traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

The Raptors have enjoyed a consistent fanbase throughout their history. From 2000 to 2002, the Raptors led the league in sellouts, but attendances dipped slightly between 2003 and 2006. This improved during the 2006–07 regular season, an average of 18,258 fans attended each game (13th in the league), which translates to 92.2% of the ACC's seating capacity. Following the success of the 2006–07 season, Toronto became one of the league leaders in season ticket sales for the 2007–08 season.

The value of the Raptors franchise has risen over the years. With the continued popularity of the Raptors, the value of the franchise rose from US$125 million in 1998 to $315 million in 2006, $373 million in 2007, and $400 million in 2008 according to reports by Forbes. The Raptors are also the only NBA team with their own television channel, Raptors NBA TV, a localised version of the league's U.S. channel NBA TV. Their television ratings, however, are considerably lower than other more established Toronto sports teams and other sporting events shown on Canadian television.

On game day, the fans are usually entertained by the Raptor mascot, the Raptors Dance Pak, and the 4 Korners Raptors Soundcrew during pre-game, time-outs, and intervals. Giveaways are usually bundled with tickets to encourage attendance; further, whenever Toronto scores more than 100 points and wins in a home game, fans can redeem their tickets for pizzas at Pizza Pizza locations throughout Ontario.

The Raptors Foundation is the charitable arm of the Raptors, dedicated to assisting Ontario’s registered charities that support programs and sports initiatives for at-risk children and youth. The Foundation strives to lift spirits and change lives for young people by supporting local and provincial organizations that provide recreational, educational and other youth-oriented activities. Through its community ties and with the help of its corporate partners, donors, Raptors players and volunteers, the Foundation has successfully raised more than $14 million between 1995 and 2007, and reached out to thousands of charities. The Raptors Foundation is one of three parts of the Raptors' community service program. The other projects are Raptors Community Relations and Raptors Basketball Development, both of which focus on providing basketball development programs. The Toronto Raptors lead the NBA for amount of money donated to the community.

To the top



Steve Francis

Steven D'Shawn Francis (born February 21, 1977, in Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S.) is an American professional basketball player, who is currently a free agent. Nicknamed "Stevie Franchise" and self-described as "Steve-O", he was known early in his career for his crossover dribble, driving ability, and flashy dunks.

Francis grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, with little money and no father. He was nicknamed "Wink" as a child. After his mother died of cancer in 1995, his grandmother raised him. He stopped playing schoolboy basketball for two years after his mother's death.

Francis attended the San Jacinto College of Texas in 1997, and the Allegany College of Maryland in 1998. Francis became the first player to take two unbeaten teams into the National Junior College Tournament.

Francis transferred to the University of Maryland in 1998 for his junior season. The addition of Francis helped propel the Terrapins to a #5 preseason ranking. Francis made an instant impact as Maryland's starting shooting guard, scoring 17 points in the season opener against Western Carolina. Francis and the Terps gained national attention with impressive showings in the Puerto Rico Shootout and a 62-60 win over #5 Stanford in the BB&T Classic. The Terps climbed to a #2 national ranking by early December.

The Terrapins finished second in the ACC and Francis was named to the All-ACC first team and the All ACC Tournament team. The Terrapins were a number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament but were defeated by St. John's in the Sweet 16. Under Francis' leadership, Maryland finished with a school record-setting 28 wins and only 6 losses and were ranked #5 in the final Associated Press poll.

Francis finished the season averaging 17 points per game, 4.5 assists per game, and 2.8 steals per game. He was a consensus second-team All-American and was named a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year Awards. Although he stated he was "99% sure" he would return to Maryland for his senior season, he opted to enter the NBA draft.

On February 17, 2002, Francis' #23 jersey was honored (but not retired) by Maryland in a ceremony preceding the game against the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils. Francis sat on the team's bench during the game and cheered as the Terrapins upset the Blue Devils 87-73.

Francis, out of the University of Maryland, was the second overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He publicly announced that he did not want to play for the Grizzlies, citing the distance from his Maryland home, taxes, endorsements, and God's will. Francis was heavily criticized for his antics, especially in Vancouver. Francis did relent somewhat, as he briefly considered joining the Grizzlies, but after contentious negotiations, and an incident at the Vancouver airport, the Grizzlies and Francis decided they needed to part ways.

Francis got his wish when he was subsequently traded to the Houston Rockets that summer in a three-team, 11-player blockbuster deal that brought Michael Dickerson, Othella Harrington, Antoine Carr and Brent Price, plus first- and second-round picks to the Grizzlies. It was the largest trade in NBA history. He and Elton Brand shared Rookie of the Year honors, and Francis was the runner-up to Vince Carter in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.

Despite the individual accolades, the Rockets finished with a 34-48 record in his rookie season. In his second year, the Rockets improved to a 45-37 record, but still missed the playoffs. In his 3rd year, Francis played in only 55 games due to a foot injury and recurring migraines due to Meniere's disease. However, he was voted in as a starter by the fans for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game for the first time in his short career. Despite this, the Rockets posted a 28-54 record which helped win the draft lottery and land them the first pick. In 2002 NBA Draft, they chose 7'6 center Yao Ming. Steve and Yao gelled together in their first season together and they both were selected as starters in the 2003 All-Star Game. On January 17, 2003, Francis scored a career-high 44 points in a nationally televised game against the Lakers. The Rockets posted a better record, 43-39, but it wasn't enough to get them to the playoffs.

The Rockets finally got it together in 2003-2004 season. When Rudy Tomjanovich stepped down in 2003, Jeff Van Gundy became the replacement coach. Jeff Van Gundy's coaching style did not fit Steve's style of play, even though he made the All Star game in the 2003-04 season; his stats declined from 21.0 PPG 6.2 APG 6.2 RPG to 16.6 PPG 5.5 RPG 6.2 APG. The Houston Rockets made the playoffs that year in 2003-04, their 1st playoff berth since 1999 and Steve Francis's only playoff appearance. Despite Francis's performance in the playoff series, averaging 19.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, and 7.6 apg, the Rockets lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 4 games to 1. As his relationship with coach Van Gundy deteriorated, it was apparent that the Rockets franchise wanted to go in a different direction. Ultimately, coach Jeff Van Gundy sought to make Yao the focus of the Rockets' offensive attack. However, rather than focusing the offense on Yao, the Rockets traded Francis and others for Tracy McGrady.

During Francis' first tenure in Houston, he averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.63 steals in 374 games (372 starts).

On June 29, 2004, Francis was traded to the Orlando Magic along with Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato in a seven-player deal that sent Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines to Houston.

At first, Francis was unhappy with the trade, but adapted to his new environment. Francis flourished in the "run n' gun" offense of interim head coach Chris Jent. After posting a career-low 16.6 points per game the previous year with the Rockets, Francis averaged 21.3 PPG, 7.0 APG and 5.8 RPG in his first season with the Magic. The Magic started out the year fast in the 2004-05 season, with Francis hitting several game-winning shots early in the season. In the middle of the season, Mobley was traded to the Sacramento Kings, which upset Francis. The Magic slumped late and missed the playoffs.

The following season, a disgruntled Francis was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. On February 5, 2006, there were rumors that he could be traded to the Denver Nuggets for Earl Watson but they were later dismissed and GM Otis Smith publicly announced that he would not trade Francis. However, rumors persisted that Francis would be traded to the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Denver Nuggets.

On 22 February, 2006, one day before the NBA's trade deadline, Steve Francis was traded to the New York Knicks for small forward Trevor Ariza and the expiring contract of shooting guard Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway. Prior to the trade, the Denver Nuggets reportedly offered both Watson and Kenyon Martin for Francis, but the deal never took place. He made his Madison Square Garden debut on Friday, February 24 when the New York Knicks faced the New Jersey Nets, and scored 16 points in a 94-90 loss for the Knicks. He wore jersey #1 with the Knicks as his usual #3 was already assigned to Stephon Marbury. Francis has endured a recurring injury, tendinitis in his right knee, and as a result began the 2006-07 season averaging only 11.3 ppg, as opposed to his career 18.4 ppg. He returned on February 10, 2007 vs the Utah Jazz. On March 10, Francis hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against the Washington Wizards, ending one of his best games as a Knick in front of his hometown. On 2007 draft night, June 28, the Knicks traded Francis and Channing Frye to the Portland Trail Blazers for Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones, who then bought out the remaining two years of Francis's contract for a reported $30 million, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and the L.A. Clippers pursued Francis. On July 20, Francis chose the Rockets; signing a two-year $6 million contract with them, although the Heat offered the most money. However, he failed to make Rick Adelman's rotation coming out of the preseason. He averaged 5.5 points and 3 assists in ten games before undergoing season-ending surgery stemming from an earlier left quadriceps tendon injury.

Francis used his contract option to come back to the Houston Rockets for the 2008–09 NBA season. He lost 15 pounds for training camp, but he was not able to play in the beginning of the season due to the recovery period of his injury.

The Houston Rockets traded Francis to the Grizzlies on Christmas Eve, 2008. The Rockets sent Francis and a 2009 draft pick that Houston had previously received from the Grizzlies for a conditional pick in 2011. The move allows the Rockets to drop under the luxury tax threshold. They can sign another player, if desired (Rockets signed Dikembe Mutombo on December 31, 2008).

On January 27, 2009, it was reported that the Grizzlies waived Steve Francis.

To the top



Tracy McGrady

Entering the league after graduating from high school, McGrady eventually became a seven-time All-Star. He led the league in scoring in 2003 and 2004. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2004. McGrady was ranked #75 on SLAM magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of All Time in 2003. McGrady has never advanced to the second round of the playoffs in his whole career despite his seven trips to the playoffs: one with the Toronto Raptors, three with the Orlando Magic and three with the Houston Rockets. McGrady's style of play has been compared to that of George Gervin.

Tracy McGrady played high school basketball at Auburndale High School in Auburndale, Florida for three years. He then transferred to Mount Zion Christian Academy, in Durham, North Carolina. McGrady created a national buzz after his performance in the Adidas ABCD Camp, where the best high school players in the U.S. are invited annually. He was named High School Player of the Year by USA Today.

McGrady was drafted ninth overall in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause had arranged a draft-day trade to send Scottie Pippen to the Vancouver Grizzlies for the fourth overall selection, which he would have used to draft McGrady. Krause was forced to call off the deal when Michael Jordan threatened to retire if it was made.

In McGrady's first two seasons with the Raptors, he averaged less than 10 points per game, mainly coming off the bench. In his second season, he began playing alongside his third cousin, Vince Carter, who would go on to win the Rookie of the Year Award that season. The 1999–2000 season was McGrady's first breakout season in the NBA. He was a starter in 34 games out of 79, averaging 15.4 points per game, and a career-high 1.9 blocks per game. McGrady also competed in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, finishing third, behind Carter and Steve Francis.

In 2000, the duo of McGrady and Carter helped lead the Raptors to the playoffs, for the first time in franchise history. However, the team was swept 3–0 by the New York Knicks in the first round. McGrady was often overshadowed by Carter during his time in Toronto, and he became a free agent in the summer of 2000. In the off-season, he expressed interest in playing for family and friends in his home state of Florida.

On August 3, 2000, McGrady was dealt to the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade deal. In Orlando, he played alongside Grant Hill, who had been acquired that summer in hope of bringing Orlando back among the Eastern Conference's elite teams. However, ankle injury limited Hill to only 4 games and McGrady became the leader and 1st scoring option of the team. For the first time in his career McGrady was selected as an All-Star when he was voted by the fans to start in the midseason classic for the Eastern Conference. At season's end he was presented with the 2001 NBA Most Improved Player Award. Even though McGrady had elevated his game from solid contributor to star, the Magic were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks.

The following season, McGrady continued his great play. With Hill struggling with injuries, the Magic was a one-man show. He made his second All-Star team and First Team All-NBA while averaging 25 points per game. The Magic posted a 44–38 record for the year but they were beat again in the first round of the playoffs, this time by the Charlotte Hornets.

In the 2002–03 season, McGrady averaged 32.1 points per game and captured the NBA scoring title, becoming the youngest player to do so since the ABA-NBA merger. Despite McGrady's personal accolades, the Magic failed to reach the second round of the playoffs. In a rather infamous moment, during the 2003 NBA Playoffs, the Magic (who were an #8 seed) surprisingly took a 3-1 series lead against the heavily favored #1 seed Detroit Pistons. Prior to the fifth game in Detroit, McGrady was quoted as saying that how wonderful it was to "finally be in the second round (of the playoffs)". Orlando, however, lost Games 5, 6, and 7 by an average of more than 20 points, and Detroit advanced to the second round.

In the 2003–04 season, he once again captured the NBA scoring title, averaging 28 points per game, and set a career high with 62 points against the Washington Wizards on March 10, 2004. With this performance, he became the fourth player in the past 12 years to score over 60 points in a game.

On June 29, 2004, McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines were traded to the Houston Rockets in a seven-player deal that sent Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato to the Magic. In his first year with the Houston Rockets, McGrady teamed with 7'6" center Yao Ming, to end the season ranked 5th in the Western Conference. On December 9, 2004, he scored 13 points in the last 33 seconds of a game against the San Antonio Spurs, with four consecutive 3 pointers (one of which was part of a four-point play), including a steal and the game-winning 3 pointer with 1.7 seconds left in the game that helped the Rockets win 81–80.

Despite McGrady's play in the first round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Houston was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in game seven by 40 points.

In the early 2005–06 season, McGrady missed eight games because of multiple back spasms. His back problems resurfaced on January 8, 2006 when he had to be taken out at halftime in a game against the Denver Nuggets on a stretcher to the hospital because of severe back spasms. He had been out for five games. Since his return, the spasms have still been a problem for McGrady. In the 2005–06 season the Rockets were 2–15 in games he did not play in and 2–16 in games McGrady did not finish. While McGrady was injured for five games with his back injury, the Rockets did not win a single game. Other injuries include him falling on his tailbone in a game against the Indiana Pacers.

In the 2006–07 season, McGrady started out slowly, and after missing 7 games with back spasms he visited a doctor. In an interview with TNT, McGrady said that he thought that his body was slowing down. He believed that he could no longer be as explosive as he was in the past due to his back injury. Shortly after another bout with back spasms, McGrady went to Waco, Texas where Dr. John Patterson performed "Synergy Release Therapy" to cure his chronic back problems, particularly the back spasms. Since Yao Ming was having another breakout season, he was deferring to Yao as the number one option. However, since Yao went down with a leg injury, McGrady stepped up his overall play, re-establishing himself as one of the game's premier players and by doing so has led Houston to the 5th best record in the league. On December 29, 2006, he became the third youngest player in NBA history to reach 14,000 points and 4,000 rebounds. However, in the playoffs, the Rockets lost their first round series to the Utah Jazz 4-3, again preventing McGrady from advancing to the second round of the playoffs. A tear fell down his cheek during the press-conference after losing game seven 103–99 to the Utah Jazz in the 2007 Playoffs. Prior to the series with the Jazz, McGrady had stated in an interview with Stephen A. Smith that if he and the Rockets failed to make it out of the first round again, it was "on me". The Jazz eliminated the Rockets in six games, despite McGrady recording 40 points and 10 rebounds in the decisive Game Six, a 113-91 loss.

On February 18 2009, McGrady announced on his website that he would have surgery on his left knee and miss the remainder of the 2008-09 season. He had already missed 18 games before the All-Star break, including a two-week stretch in January, and said before the season that his knee was not healed from his off-season surgery. Head coach Rick Adelman, who found out about the announcement when he read the newspaper in the morning, criticized McGrady for not informing the team of the decision. He decided to have microfracture surgery in Chicago on February 24, 2009.

McGrady is currently under a contract which will end following the 2009–10 NBA season, and the contract is worth an estimated $21.1 million per year.

McGrady has three children—daughters Layla Clarice, Laycee Aloe, and son Laymen Lamar—with his wife CleRenda Harris, whom he had dated for 10 years. Their son was born on December 27, 2005 during a 82–74 loss against the Utah Jazz in which McGrady left during halftime to see his girlfriend going into labor. The couple were married on September 12, 2006 in Mexico. McGrady and Vince Carter are third cousins; McGrady learned that his grandmother and Carter's grandmother were cousins at a family reunion while he was still in high school and Carter played at the University of North Carolina. The two played together with the Toronto Raptors for two years before McGrady left for free agency. After McGrady left, he and Carter had a short feud, but this was resolved in a short period of time.

Tracy has a younger brother Chance McGrady who was a part of the National Finalist Memphis Tigers basketball team but saw limited playing time.

In 2002, McGrady signed a lifetime partnership with Adidas, agreeing to an endorsement deal that will last through his playing career and beyond. He also appeared on the cover of NBA Live 07.

McGrady has traveled to the Darfurian refugee camps in Chad with John Prendergast and Omer Ismail of the ENOUGH Project. McGrady is actively recruiting NBA players to support a sister schools initiative linking schools in Darfurian refugee camps to American middle schools, high schools and universities.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia