History UsefulNotes / NationalBasketballAssociation

21st Jul '16 12:21:50 AM dknights411
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* The '''Brooklyn Nets''' were formerly known as the New Jersey Nets [[note]]And before that the New York Nets, and before ''that'' the New Jersey Americans[[/note]]. They were one of four teams to merge into the NBA in the 70s from the merger with the rival ABA. In the Nets' ABA days, they were led by Dr J. himself, Julius Erving, and won two ABA Titles. Their years in the NBA, however, have not been as fruitful as the Nets have been mired in mediocrity throughout much of their history, with the only notable exception coming in the form of back to back trips to the NBA finals in 2002 and 2003 [[note]] The Nets lost both times, to the Lakers in 2002, and to the Spurs in 2003[[/note]]. In 2012, the Nets moved to Brooklyn to give the borough its first team since the Dodgers left for California in the 50s.[[note]]The NHL's New York Islanders would move into the same building a few years later.[[/note]]

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* The '''Brooklyn Nets''' were formerly known as the New Jersey Nets [[note]]And before that the New York Nets, and before ''that'' the New Jersey Americans[[/note]]. They were one of four teams to merge into the NBA in the 70s from the merger with the rival ABA. In the Nets' ABA days, they were led by Dr J. himself, Julius Erving, and won two ABA Titles. Their years in the NBA, however, have not been as fruitful as the Nets have been mired in mediocrity throughout much of their history, with the only notable exception coming in the form of back to back trips to the NBA finals Finals in 2002 and 2003 [[note]] The Nets lost both times, to the Lakers in 2002, and to the Spurs in 2003[[/note]]. In 2012, the Nets moved to Brooklyn to give the borough its first team since the Dodgers left for California in the 50s.[[note]]The NHL's New York Islanders would move into the same building a few years later.[[/note]]



* The '''Chicago Bulls''' are the team of the 90s, and remain one of the NBA's most popular teams. Led by UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls won six championships playing some of the greatest basketball the NBA has ever seen [[note]]The 1995-96 Bulls went 72-10, a record until the 2015–16 Warriors came along, en route to their fourth title[[/note]]. Interestingly, the Bulls date back to 1966 and had seen barely any success outside of the Jordan years. More recently, the Bulls have risen back to the top of the Eastern Conference with current stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, but the Bulls have not returned to the NBA Finals since the end of the Jordan era.

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* The '''Chicago Bulls''' are the team of the 90s, and remain one of the NBA's most popular teams. Led by UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls won six championships playing some of the greatest basketball the NBA has ever seen [[note]]The 1995-96 Bulls went 72-10, a record until the 2015–16 Warriors came along, en route to their fourth title[[/note]]. Interestingly, the Bulls date back to 1966 and had seen barely any success outside of the Jordan years. More recently, the Bulls have risen struggled to rise back to the top of the Eastern Conference with current stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, have flirted in and out being a top contender, but the Bulls have not returned to the NBA Finals since the end of the Jordan era.



* The '''New York Knicks''' are one of the NBA's most valuable franchise in terms of net worth[[note]]Both the Knicks and the Lakers are worth over $2.5 billion[[/note]]. A charter member of the NBA [[note]] The Knicks beat the Toronto Huskies 68-66 on 11/1/1946 in what is now considered the first NBA game ever [[/note]]. The Knicks won two titles in 1970 and 1973 led by Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, and Willis Reed. In the 90s, the Knicks were led by Patrick Ewing and went to two Finals in 1994 and 1999. More recently, the Knicks have been the victim of several seasons of mismanagement and horrible front office moves which rendered the Knicks into ButtMonkey status. They are trying to shed this image in more recent seasons with Carmelo Anthony and Latvian rookie Kristaps Porzingis on the court, and Phil Jackson in the front office.

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* The '''New York Knicks''' are one of the NBA's most valuable franchise in terms of net worth[[note]]Both the Knicks and the Lakers are worth over $2.5 billion[[/note]]. A charter member of the NBA [[note]] The Knicks beat the Toronto Huskies 68-66 on 11/1/1946 in what is now considered the first NBA game ever [[/note]]. The Knicks won two titles in 1970 and 1973 led by Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, and Willis Reed. In the 90s, the Knicks were led by Patrick Ewing and went to two Finals in 1994 and 1999. More recently, the Knicks have been the victim of several seasons of mismanagement and horrible front office moves which rendered the Knicks into ButtMonkey status. They are trying to shed this image in more recent seasons with Carmelo Anthony and Latvian rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis on the court, and Phil Jackson in the front office.



* The '''Houston Rockets''' date back to 1967 [[note]]They were the San Diego Rockets for their first four seasons before moving to Houston[[/note]] and are the former team of Hakeem Olajuwon, who won two championships in the '90s. The Rockets made an international splash in 2002 when they won the right to draft Chinese superstar Yao Ming. Sadly, injuries shortened not only Yao's career, but also fellow superstar Tracy [=McGrady=], which also affected the Rockets chances of competing against Kobe's Lakers, Dirk's Mavs, and Duncan's Spurs. After Yao retired in 2011, the Rockets were left in mediocrity limbo until a fortunate trade landed James Harden in Houston in 2012. Dwight Howard followed Harden into Houston the following season and the Rockets have established themselves as a true contender in the West.

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* The '''Houston Rockets''' date back to 1967 [[note]]They were the San Diego Rockets for their first four seasons before moving to Houston[[/note]] and are the former team of Hakeem Olajuwon, who won two championships in the '90s. The Rockets made an international splash in 2002 when they won the right to draft Chinese superstar Yao Ming. Sadly, injuries shortened not only Yao's career, but also fellow superstar Tracy [=McGrady=], which also affected the Rockets chances of competing against Kobe's Lakers, Dirk's Mavs, and Duncan's Spurs. After Yao retired in 2011, the Rockets were left in mediocrity limbo until a fortunate trade landed James Harden in Houston in 2012. Dwight Howard followed Harden into Houston the following season and Since then, the Rockets have established themselves as a true contender in the West.West, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2015.



* The '''Portland Trail Blazers''' date back to 1970 and are the former team of Clyde Drexler (made the Finals in 1990 and '92) and Bill Walton (who won their only championship in 1977). The Blazers are also unfortunately associated with not one but TWO drafts which they passed up picking a superstar in favor of a player whose career got cut short due to injuries, Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in 1984, and Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007 [[note]]There were legitimate basketball reasons why Portland chose the way they did, but the rest of the NBA will [[NeverLiveItDown not let Portland ever forget]][[/note]]. In recent years, the Blazers have overcome setbacks after setbacks to try to stay competitive in the Western Conference.

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* The '''Portland Trail Blazers''' date back to 1970 and are the former team of Clyde Drexler (made (who led Portland to the Finals in 1990 and '92) and Bill Walton (who won their only championship in 1977). The Blazers are also unfortunately associated with not one but TWO drafts which they passed up picking a superstar in favor of a player whose career got cut short due to injuries, Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in 1984, and Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007 [[note]]There were legitimate basketball reasons why Portland chose the way they did, but the rest of the NBA will [[NeverLiveItDown not let Portland ever forget]][[/note]]. In recent years, the Blazers have overcome setbacks after setbacks to try to stay competitive in the Western Conference.Conference, thanks in large part to the exploits of Damien Lillard.
16th Jul '16 6:57:53 PM KYCubbie
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* '''Nate Thurmond''' was a Hall of Fame power forward/center for the Warriors in the 60s and 70s. "Nate the Great" was a dominant scorer and rebounder, and the first player to record a quadruple-double (adding 12 blocks to a standard triple-double line). A native of Akron, Ohio, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls (ironically, just before the Warriors' 1975 title run) and finished his career with his hometown Cavaliers. Despite that, he remains primarily identified with the Warriors, and lives in San Francisco to this day.

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* '''Nate Thurmond''' was a Hall of Fame power forward/center for the Warriors in the 60s and 70s. "Nate the Great" was a dominant scorer and rebounder, and the first player to record a quadruple-double (adding 12 blocks to a standard triple-double line). A native of Akron, Ohio, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls (ironically, just before the Warriors' 1975 title run) and finished his career with his hometown Cavaliers. Despite that, he remains primarily identified with the Warriors, and lives continued to live in San Francisco to this day.until his death in July 2016.
13th Jul '16 10:20:55 PM KYCubbie
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* '''Tim Duncan''' played for the San Antonio Spurs for 19 seasons: many-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA, eight-time Defensive Team member, two-time MVP, five-time champion and three-time Finals MVP. Duncan has been said by many to be the greatest power forward in NBA history and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Spurs in 1997, a season in which Duncan not only won the Rookie of the Year award, but also teamed up with Hall of Famer David Robinson to create a legendary basketball duo – the so-called 'twin towers.' Duncan won his fifth ring in the 2014 NBA Finals, having claimed a championship in three different decades; he has carved his niche into NBA history by lifting his team into one of the Western elites. Because of his calm and unassuming style of basketball – even in his younger years when he was quicker and stronger than most other players – he was as likely to dominate with footwork and intelligence as with his natural talent and he rarely showboated or let his emotions show while playing - Shaquille O'Neal nicknamed Duncan "The Big Fundamental." Also because his personality off the court is also [[TheStoic quiet and unassuming]], he's a frequent target of Website/TheOnion. Wanted to be a pro swimmer as a child, but the hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic-sized swimming pool of the Virgin Islands. He could have continued to swim in the sea, but was [[ThreateningShark afraid of sharks]]. So he began playing basketball at [[LateArrivalSpoiler age fourteen]]. OneOfUs at times, as he's a D&D fan. His retirement during the 2016 offseason matched his personality—no farewell tour, no hype, just a statement to the press.
* '''Tony Parker''' was dual captain of the San Antonio Spurs, alongside Tim Duncan, before the latter's retirement. Originally more into soccer, Parker grew an interest in basketball after seeing UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan in action ([[PromotedFanboy sensing a pattern here]]). Moreover, Parker's two younger brothers, T.J. and Pierre, would go on to play basketball at college and professional levels. When he first joined the Spurs, he trained with ex-player Lance Blanks, but he was overwhelmed by Blanks' tough physical defense that coach Gregg Popovich almost gave up on him - the only thing that kept him from cutting him was by seeing a highlight reel of Parker's best plays. Deciding that Parker was worth the gamble, the Spurs drafted Parker as the 28th overall; his relative no-name kept him from being mentioned that much in pre-draft predictions, allowing the Spurs to take him under the radar. Since then, Parker's grown into one of the most skilled players currently in the league, slowly replacing Duncan as TheHero for the Spurs. He's also one of the few European NBA players - he was born in Belgium, but he was raised in France; his father was African-American, and his mother was a Dutch model.

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* '''Tim Duncan''' played for the San Antonio Spurs for 19 seasons: many-time All-Star, 10-time first-team All-NBA, eight-time Defensive Team member, two-time MVP, five-time champion and three-time Finals MVP. Duncan has been said by many to be the greatest power forward in NBA history and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Spurs in 1997, a season in which Duncan not only won the Rookie of the Year award, but also teamed up with Hall of Famer David Robinson to create a legendary basketball duo – the so-called 'twin towers.' Duncan won his fifth ring in the 2014 NBA Finals, having claimed a championship in three different decades; he has carved his niche into NBA history by lifting his team into one of the Western elites. Because of his calm and unassuming style of basketball – even in his younger years when he was quicker and stronger than most other players – he was as likely to dominate with footwork and intelligence as with his natural talent and he rarely showboated or let his emotions show while playing - Shaquille O'Neal nicknamed Duncan "The Big Fundamental." Also because his personality off the court is also [[TheStoic quiet and unassuming]], he's a frequent target of Website/TheOnion. Wanted to be a pro swimmer as a child, but the hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic-sized swimming pool of the Virgin Islands. He could have continued to swim in the sea, but was [[ThreateningShark afraid of sharks]]. So he began playing basketball at [[LateArrivalSpoiler age fourteen]]. OneOfUs at times, as he's a D&D fan. His retirement during the 2016 offseason matched his personality—no farewell tour, no hype, just a statement to the press.
* '''Tony Parker''' was dual is now the sole captain of the San Antonio Spurs, alongside Tim Duncan, before the latter's Spurs following Duncan's retirement. Originally more into soccer, Parker grew an interest in basketball after seeing UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan in action ([[PromotedFanboy sensing a pattern here]]). Moreover, Parker's two younger brothers, T.J. and Pierre, would go on to play basketball at college and professional levels. When he first joined the Spurs, he trained with ex-player Lance Blanks, but he was overwhelmed by Blanks' tough physical defense that coach Gregg Popovich almost gave up on him - the only thing that kept him from cutting him was by seeing a highlight reel of Parker's best plays. Deciding that Parker was worth the gamble, the Spurs drafted Parker as the 28th overall; his relative no-name kept him from being mentioned that much in pre-draft predictions, allowing the Spurs to take him under the radar. Since then, Parker's grown into one of the most skilled players currently in the league, slowly replacing Duncan as TheHero for the Spurs. He's also one of the few European NBA players - he was born in Belgium, but he was raised in France; his father was African-American, and his mother was a Dutch model.
13th Jul '16 10:17:47 PM KYCubbie
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* '''Arvydas Sabonis''', a Lithuanian great who is also in the Hall of Fame, is another example of WhatCouldHaveBeen (though infinitely less tragic than Dražen Petrović). During the last half of the 1980s, he was arguably the best center in the world, notably leading the Soviet national team to Olympic gold in 1988 - . However, he suffered numerous Achilles and knee injuries, and by the time he finally arrived in Portland in 1995, he had lost virtually all of his mobility.[[note]]When Portland's general manager consulted with the team doctor before signing him, the doctor said that Sabonis' leg X-rays would ''qualify him for a handicapped parking space!''[[/note]] Nonetheless, he remained an effective scorer, rebounder, and (for a big man) passer for seven seasons in Portland before he returned to Lithuania to finish his career. His son Domantas played two seasons of college basketball at Gonzaga before declaring for the 2016 NBA draft.

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* '''Arvydas Sabonis''', a Lithuanian great who is also in the Hall of Fame, is another example of WhatCouldHaveBeen (though infinitely less tragic than Dražen Petrović). During the last half of the 1980s, he was arguably the best center in the world, notably leading the Soviet national team to Olympic gold in 1988 - .1988. However, he suffered numerous Achilles and knee injuries, and by the time he finally arrived in Portland in 1995, he had lost virtually all of his mobility.[[note]]When Portland's general manager consulted with the team doctor before signing him, the doctor said that Sabonis' leg X-rays would ''qualify him for a handicapped parking space!''[[/note]] Nonetheless, he remained an effective scorer, rebounder, and (for a big man) passer for seven seasons in Portland before he returned to Lithuania to finish his career. His son Domantas played two seasons of college basketball at Gonzaga before declaring for the 2016 NBA draft.draft, and is now with the Thunder.



* '''Jack Twyman''' & '''Maurice Stokes''' — Two Hall of Fame forwards, one black (Stokes) and one white (Twyman), both UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}} natives who began their careers in 1955 when the team was known as the Rochester Royals and ended them as Cincinnati Royals. Stokes, an inside force and one of the league's top rebounders (and also a surprisingly good passer for his position), was an All-Star in each of his three NBA seasons. Twyman, a better scorer than Stokes, was an All-Star six times. In the last game of the 1957–58 regular season, Stokes suffered a serious head injury from a fall; several days later, he suffered a seizure that left him permanently paralyzed. Twyman stepped in, becoming Stokes' legal guardian and raising funds for his care through an annual exhibition basketball game featuring NBA players. Stokes died in 1970 (Twyman stayed around until 2012), but the fundraiser (which became a pro-am golf event after 1999) continued to benefit other needy ex-NBA players until the early 2000s[[note]]by which time the league was rich enough that it was better able to take care of former players[[/note]]. In 2013 the NBA introduced a new end-of-season award for the league's "best teammate" and named it for Twyman and Stokes, but only handed it out for two seasons.

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* '''Jack Twyman''' & '''Maurice Stokes''' — Two Hall of Fame forwards, one black (Stokes) and one white (Twyman), both UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}} natives who began their careers in 1955 when the team was known as the Rochester Royals and ended them as Cincinnati Royals. Stokes, an inside force and one of the league's top rebounders (and also a surprisingly good passer for his position), was an All-Star in each of his three NBA seasons. Twyman, a better scorer than Stokes, was an All-Star six times. In the last game of the 1957–58 regular season, Stokes suffered a serious head injury from a fall; several days later, he suffered a seizure that left him permanently paralyzed. Twyman stepped in, becoming Stokes' legal guardian and raising funds for his care through an annual exhibition basketball game featuring NBA players. Stokes died in 1970 (Twyman stayed around until 2012), but the fundraiser (which became a pro-am golf event after 1999) continued to benefit other needy ex-NBA players until the early 2000s[[note]]by which time the league was rich enough that it was better able to take care of former players[[/note]]. In 2013 Since 2013, the NBA introduced a new has an end-of-season award for the league's "best teammate" and named it for Twyman and Stokes, but only handed it out for two seasons.that bears their names.
11th Jul '16 11:25:03 PM KYCubbie
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* The '''Golden State Warriors''' are the Bay Area's team and have one of the deepest histories in the league. Originally the Philadelphia Warriors, the franchise won four championships in their history[[note]] Two in Philly in 1947 and again 1956, and two in California in 1975 and 2015[[/note]] The Warriors are notable for being the first team for UsefulNotes/WiltChamberlain before he joined the Philadelphia 76ers. Rick Barry led the Warriors to the title in 1975, which marked the beginning of a long dark period of mediocre basketball.[[note]]Although they did take out the top ranked Dallas Mavericks as an eight seed in 2007.[[/note]] Things changed dramatically for the Warriors when they drafted "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry (2009) and Klay Thompson (2011). With the additions of power forward Draymond Green in 2012 and head coach Steve Kerr in 2014, the Warriors established themselves as arguably the greatest shooting team in NBA history, winning the title in 2015, and followed that up by going 73–9 in the 2015–16 regular season, surpassing the 1995–96 Bulls for the best regular-season record in league history (though unlike the Bulls, they were defeated in the finals, despite at one point having a 3-1 series advantage over the Cavaliers). At this moment, the "Dubs"[[note]]A play on W, as in"[=DOUBle=] u"s[[/note]] are one of the greatest teams the league has ever seen, and thanks to their core's relative youth, a title threat for years to come.

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* The '''Golden State Warriors''' are the Bay Area's team and have one of the deepest histories in the league. Originally the Philadelphia Warriors, the franchise won four championships in their history[[note]] Two in Philly in 1947 and again 1956, and two in California in 1975 and 2015[[/note]] The Warriors are notable for being the first team for UsefulNotes/WiltChamberlain before he joined the Philadelphia 76ers. Rick Barry led the Warriors to the title in 1975, which marked the beginning of a long dark period of mediocre basketball.[[note]]Although they did take out the top ranked Dallas Mavericks as an eight seed in 2007.[[/note]] Things changed dramatically for the Warriors when they drafted "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry (2009) and Klay Thompson (2011). With the additions of power forward Draymond Green in 2012 and head coach Steve Kerr in 2014, the Warriors established themselves as arguably the greatest shooting team in NBA history, winning the title in 2015, and followed that up by going 73–9 in the 2015–16 regular season, surpassing the 1995–96 Bulls for the best regular-season record in league history (though unlike the Bulls, they were defeated in the finals, despite at one point having a 3-1 series advantage over the Cavaliers). At this moment, the "Dubs"[[note]]A play on W, as in"[=DOUBle=] u"s[[/note]] are one of the greatest teams the league has ever seen, and thanks to their core's relative youth, a title threat for years to come. And that was ''before'' they added Kevin Durant in the 2016 offseason...



* The '''Los Angeles Lakers''' are arguably the NBA's most popular team. They are one of the most accomplished franchises in sports, winning 16 championships and a record 31 appearances in the NBA Finals. The Lakers have been home to some of the greatest teams and greatest players the NBA has even seen, such as Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant. Many fans will remember the Lakers from the "Showtime" era of Magic and Kareem in the 80s that saw the Lakers win five championships and engage in an epic rivalry with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. Younger fans will most likely remember the Kobe Bryant years, with either the Shaq three-peat from 2000 to 2002, or the back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Either way, the Lakers have produced some of the most dominant eras in the NBA, which made them as big as a love-em-or-hate-em team as you'll ever come across. The ArtifactTitle name comes from their original city, Minneapolis, located in the "Land of a Thousand Lakes". Speaking of names which didn't fit a move...

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* The '''Los Angeles Lakers''' are arguably the NBA's most popular team. They are one of the most accomplished franchises in sports, winning 16 championships and a record 31 appearances in the NBA Finals. The Lakers have been home to some of the greatest teams and greatest players the NBA has even seen, such as Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, UsefulNotes/WiltChamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant. Many fans will remember the Lakers from the "Showtime" era of Magic and Kareem in the 80s that saw the Lakers win five championships and engage in an epic rivalry with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. Younger fans will most likely remember the Kobe Bryant years, with either the Shaq three-peat from 2000 to 2002, or the back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Either way, the Lakers have produced some of the most dominant eras in the NBA, which made them as big as a love-em-or-hate-em team as you'll ever come across. The ArtifactTitle name comes from their original city, Minneapolis, located in the "Land of a Thousand Lakes". Speaking of names which didn't fit a move...



* The '''Oklahoma City Thunder''' were formerly known as the Seattle [=SuperSonics=]. Founded in 1967, the Sonics had a history of moderate successes in the Northwest, winning the NBA title in 1979 and reaching the Finals on two other occasions. Unfortunately, the lack of a new arena deal in Seattle, coupled with the owners' ties to Oklahoma and the feverish support OKC gave the Hornets in their part-time home, prompted the move of the Sonics to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder in 2008 (this is still a sore point in Seattle, particularly as the league is still unclear regarding giving the city another franchise whether by relocation or expansion). In Oklahoma City, the franchise has grown into one of the league's top franchises, led by superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The young core of talent led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012. The Thunder are still one of the elite teams in the NBA, and are a perennial championship contender when Durant and Westbrook are healthy. Also of note with the Thunder are their loyal and passionate fans, who give the Thunder one of the toughest home court advantages for visiting teams.

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* The '''Oklahoma City Thunder''' were formerly known as the Seattle [=SuperSonics=]. Founded in 1967, the Sonics had a history of moderate successes in the Northwest, winning the NBA title in 1979 and reaching the Finals on two other occasions. Unfortunately, the lack of a new arena deal in Seattle, coupled with the owners' ties to Oklahoma and the feverish support OKC gave the Hornets in their part-time home, prompted the move of the Sonics to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder in 2008 (this is still a sore point in Seattle, particularly as the league is still unclear regarding giving the city another franchise whether by relocation or expansion). In Oklahoma City, the franchise has grown grew into one of the league's top franchises, led by superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The young core of talent led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012. The Thunder are were still one of the elite teams in the NBA, and are a perennial championship contender when Durant and Westbrook are healthy.were healthy... until Durant left for the Warriors as a free agent after the 2015–16 season, leaving the Thunder with a very uncertain future as a contender. Also of note with the Thunder are their loyal and passionate fans, who give the Thunder one of the toughest home court advantages for visiting teams.
11th Jul '16 11:18:59 PM KYCubbie
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* '''Kobe Bryant''' is a very skilled guard who played his entire career for the Lakers. Heralded as the heir to UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan, Bryant won five championship rings. When he was a rookie after being traded from the Charlotte Hornets, Kobe had a very strained relationship with Shaq, but they [[TeethClenchedTeamwork managed to achieve three consecutive championships]], the first in modern years since Michael Jordan. During the short time where he had to lead the team on his own, he ended up scoring the second-largest amount of points for an NBA player with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. [[RedBaron Nicknamed the Black Mamba]], Kobe's become the leader and the face of the Lakers, winning two more rings in 2009 and 2010 with Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest. Kobe owned a lot of the league's "youngest-to" records, until [=LeBron=] arrived in the league. His final season of 2015–16 marked his 20th with the Lakers, breaking the league record for longest single-team tenure previously held by John Stockton with the Jazz (see below). While the Lakers went through the franchise's worst season ever, Kobe continued to put on a show, going out in style with a 60-point performance in his final game.

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* '''Kobe Bryant''' is a very skilled guard who played his entire career for the Lakers. Heralded as the heir to UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan, Bryant won five championship rings. When he was a rookie after being traded from the Charlotte Hornets, Kobe had a very strained relationship with Shaq, but they [[TeethClenchedTeamwork managed to achieve three consecutive championships]], the first in modern years since Michael Jordan. During the short time where he had to lead the team on his own, he ended up scoring the second-largest amount of points for an NBA player with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. [[RedBaron Nicknamed the Black Mamba]], Kobe's become Kobe became the leader and the face of the Lakers, winning two more rings in 2009 and 2010 with Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest. Kobe owned a lot of the league's "youngest-to" records, until [=LeBron=] arrived in the league. His final season of 2015–16 marked his 20th with the Lakers, breaking the league record for longest single-team tenure previously held by John Stockton with the Jazz (see below). While the Lakers went through the franchise's worst season ever, Kobe continued to put on a show, going out in style with a 60-point performance in his final game.



** Pau, older by about 4 1/2 years, was developed in the youth system of FC Barcelona's basketball section.[[note]]FC Barcelona is actually a multi-sport club that fields teams in a wide range of sports. However, the only one that most people are familiar with, especially in the US, is the [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball football/soccer]] team.[[/note]] He played with the Barça senior side for three seasons, leading them to the ACB[[note]]the top Spanish league, then as now generally considered the world's second-best domestic league after the NBA[[/note]] and Spanish Cup titles in his final season there in 2000–01. Immediately after that season, he left for the NBA and the Grizzlies, winning Rookie of the Year honors. He went on to establish himself as an outrageously skilled player for his size, combining strong inside play, an even stronger midrange game, and very good interior defense. Moved to the Lakers after the 2007–08 season and had even greater success, with two championships. Declined somewhat due to age and the Lakers' collapse in the 2010s; moved to the Bulls after the 2013–14 season and had something of a resurrection there, earning his fifth All-Star and fourth All-NBA selections. Also known as one of the more cultured players in the league—speaks five languages (two of which he taught himself), deeply enjoys classical music and opera, and in fact wanted to be a doctor, going so far as to start medical studies in Barcelona before basketball got in the way.

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** Pau, older by about 4 1/2 years, was developed in the youth system of FC Barcelona's basketball section.[[note]]FC Barcelona is actually a multi-sport club that fields teams in a wide range of sports. However, the only one that most people are familiar with, especially in the US, is the [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball football/soccer]] team.[[/note]] He played with the Barça senior side for three seasons, leading them to the ACB[[note]]the top Spanish league, then as now generally considered the world's second-best domestic league after the NBA[[/note]] and Spanish Cup titles in his final season there in 2000–01. Immediately after that season, he left for the NBA and the Grizzlies, winning Rookie of the Year honors. He went on to establish himself as an outrageously skilled player for his size, combining strong inside play, an even stronger midrange game, and very good interior defense. Moved to the Lakers after the 2007–08 season and had even greater success, with two championships. Declined somewhat due to age and the Lakers' collapse in the 2010s; moved to the Bulls after the 2013–14 season and had something of a resurrection there, earning his fifth All-Star and fourth All-NBA selections. Left Chicago for the Spurs after the 2015–16 season, where he will try to partially fill the shoes of the now-retired Tim Duncan. Also known as one of the more cultured players in the league—speaks five languages (two of which he taught himself), deeply enjoys classical music and opera, and in fact wanted to be a doctor, going so far as to start medical studies in Barcelona before basketball got in the way.
11th Jul '16 10:50:31 PM KYCubbie
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* '''Tim Duncan''' is a veteran for the San Antonio Spurs: many-time All-Star, two-time MVP, five-time champion and three-time Finals MVP. Although perhaps now past his prime, Duncan has been said by many to be the greatest power forward in NBA history and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Spurs in 1997, a season in which Duncan not only won the Rookie of the Year award, but also teamed up with Hall-of-Famer David Robinson to create a legendary basketball duo - the so-called 'twin towers.' Duncan won his fifth ring in the 2014 NBA Finals, having claimed a championship in three different decades; he has carved his niche into NBA history by lifting his team into one of the Western elites. Because of his calm and unassuming style of basketball - even in his younger years when he was quicker and stronger than most other players, he was as likely to dominate with footwork and intelligence as with his natural talent and he rarely showboated or let his emotions show while playing - Shaquille O'Neal nicknamed Duncan "The Big Fundamental." Also because his personality off the court is also [[TheStoic quiet and unassuming]], he's a frequent target of TheOnion. Wanted to be a pro swimmer as a child, but the hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic-sized swimming pool of the Virgin Islands. He could have continued to swim in the sea, but was [[ThreateningShark afraid of sharks]]. So he began playing basketball at [[LateArrivalSpoiler age fourteen]]. OneOfUs at times, as he's a D&D fan.
* '''Tony Parker''' is one of the dual-captains of the San Antonio Spurs, alongside Tim Duncan. Originally more into soccer, Parker grew an interest in basketball after seeing UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan in action ([[PromotedFanboy sensing a pattern here]]). Moreover, Parker's two younger brothers, T.J. and Pierre, would go on to play basketball at college and professional levels. When he first joined the Spurs, he trained with ex-player Lance Blanks, but he was overwhelmed by Blanks' tough physical defense that coach Gregg Popovich almost gave up on him - the only thing that kept him from cutting him was by seeing a highlight reel of Parker's best plays. Deciding that Parker was worth the gamble, the Spurs drafted Parker as the 28th overall; his relative no-name kept him from being mentioned that much in pre-draft predictions, allowing the Spurs to take him under the radar. Since then, Parker's grown into one of the most skilled players currently in the league, slowly replacing Duncan as TheHero for the Spurs. He's also one of the few European NBA players - he was born in Belgium, but he was raised in France; his father was African-American, and his mother was a Dutch model.

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* '''Tim Duncan''' is a veteran played for the San Antonio Spurs: Spurs for 19 seasons: many-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA, eight-time Defensive Team member, two-time MVP, five-time champion and three-time Finals MVP. Although perhaps now past his prime, Duncan has been said by many to be the greatest power forward in NBA history and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Spurs in 1997, a season in which Duncan not only won the Rookie of the Year award, but also teamed up with Hall-of-Famer Hall of Famer David Robinson to create a legendary basketball duo - the so-called 'twin towers.' Duncan won his fifth ring in the 2014 NBA Finals, having claimed a championship in three different decades; he has carved his niche into NBA history by lifting his team into one of the Western elites. Because of his calm and unassuming style of basketball - even in his younger years when he was quicker and stronger than most other players, players – he was as likely to dominate with footwork and intelligence as with his natural talent and he rarely showboated or let his emotions show while playing - Shaquille O'Neal nicknamed Duncan "The Big Fundamental." Also because his personality off the court is also [[TheStoic quiet and unassuming]], he's a frequent target of TheOnion.Website/TheOnion. Wanted to be a pro swimmer as a child, but the hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic-sized swimming pool of the Virgin Islands. He could have continued to swim in the sea, but was [[ThreateningShark afraid of sharks]]. So he began playing basketball at [[LateArrivalSpoiler age fourteen]]. OneOfUs at times, as he's a D&D fan.
fan. His retirement during the 2016 offseason matched his personality—no farewell tour, no hype, just a statement to the press.
* '''Tony Parker''' is one of the dual-captains was dual captain of the San Antonio Spurs, alongside Tim Duncan.Duncan, before the latter's retirement. Originally more into soccer, Parker grew an interest in basketball after seeing UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan in action ([[PromotedFanboy sensing a pattern here]]). Moreover, Parker's two younger brothers, T.J. and Pierre, would go on to play basketball at college and professional levels. When he first joined the Spurs, he trained with ex-player Lance Blanks, but he was overwhelmed by Blanks' tough physical defense that coach Gregg Popovich almost gave up on him - the only thing that kept him from cutting him was by seeing a highlight reel of Parker's best plays. Deciding that Parker was worth the gamble, the Spurs drafted Parker as the 28th overall; his relative no-name kept him from being mentioned that much in pre-draft predictions, allowing the Spurs to take him under the radar. Since then, Parker's grown into one of the most skilled players currently in the league, slowly replacing Duncan as TheHero for the Spurs. He's also one of the few European NBA players - he was born in Belgium, but he was raised in France; his father was African-American, and his mother was a Dutch model.
3rd Jul '16 12:23:18 AM KYCubbie
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* '''Jimmy Butler''' – A 6'7" swingman (small forward/shooting guard) out of Marquette, Butler started out in 2011–12 as a bench player, being stuck behind Luol Deng in the rotation. An injury to Deng in the 2012–13 season gave Butler a chance to start, and he made the most of it, becoming a key rotation player even after Deng returned. Deng's departure for the Heat gave him the chance to start in 2014–15, and he ended up making his first All-Star appearance and winning the league's Most Improved Player award that season. Has an interesting backstory as well—his father abandoned the family when he was in infant, and his mother kicked him out of the house when he was 13; he was eventually taken in by the family of a fellow player at his high school.[[note]]The fellow player in question, Jordan Leslie, grew up to be an NFL practice-squad player. And, by the way, Butler is black and Leslie is white.[[/note]]

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* '''Jimmy Butler''' – A 6'7" swingman (small forward/shooting guard) out of Marquette, Butler started out in 2011–12 as a bench player, being stuck behind Luol Deng in the rotation. An injury to Deng in the 2012–13 season gave Butler a chance to start, and he made the most of it, becoming a key rotation player even after Deng returned. Deng's departure for the Heat gave him the chance to start in 2014–15, and he ended up making his first All-Star appearance and winning the league's Most Improved Player award that season. Has an interesting backstory as well—his father abandoned the family when he was in an infant, and his mother kicked him out of the house when he was 13; he was eventually taken in by the family of a fellow player at his high school.[[note]]The fellow player in question, Jordan Leslie, grew up to be an NFL practice-squad player. And, by the way, Butler is black and Leslie is white.[[/note]]



* '''Žydrūnas Ilgauskas''', "The Big Z", is the Cavaliers leader in games played, rebounds, and blocks, playing from 1996 to 2010. After a career year in the season before [=LeBron=]'s arrival, became one of his wingmen and got to the 2007 Finals, and even after deciding to retire in 2010 tried to get a title by following LBJ to the Heat (losing the 2011 Finals as well made Ilgauskas call it quits). His number 11 was retired, making him only the third European with his honor. One of the best Lithuanians not to represent the country's powerhouse national team (the Cavs vetoed his participation in the 2008 Olympics).
* '''Anderson Varejão''' was an EnsembleDarkhorse in Cleveland from 2004 to 2016, earning the nickname "Wild Thing" because of his WildHair (that at times would be homaged by wig giveouts) and energetic and relentless style of play, that earned him an All-Defensive Second Team induction once. First Brazilian to play in the NBA Finals, when the Cavs lost in 2007 to the Spurs. With limited play and the Cavs needing cap space for new signings, was traded halfway through 2015-16, and eventually signed with the Warriors - which like the Cavs got all the way to the Finals, making Varejão the first guy who played for both finalists the same season.

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* '''Žydrūnas Ilgauskas''', "The Big Z", is the Cavaliers leader in games played, rebounds, and blocks, playing from 1996 to 2010. After a career year in the season before [=LeBron=]'s arrival, became one of his wingmen and got to the 2007 Finals, and even after deciding to retire in 2010 tried to get a title by following LBJ to the Heat (losing the 2011 Finals as well made Ilgauskas call it quits). His number 11 was retired, making him only the third European with his honor. One of the best Lithuanians not to represent who wasn't a fixture for the country's powerhouse national team (the (he only played in three international matches, all before he came to the NBA; the Cavs vetoed his participation in the 2008 Olympics).
* '''Anderson Varejão''' was an EnsembleDarkhorse in Cleveland from 2004 to 2016, earning the nickname "Wild Thing" because of his WildHair (that at times would be homaged by wig giveouts) and energetic and relentless style of play, that earned him an All-Defensive Second Team induction selection once. First Brazilian to play in the NBA Finals, when the Cavs lost in 2007 to the Spurs. With limited play and the Cavs needing cap space for new signings, was traded halfway through 2015-16, and eventually signed with the Warriors - which like the Cavs got all the way to the Finals, making Varejão the first guy who played for both finalists the same season.
30th Jun '16 5:10:50 PM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* The '''Golden State Warriors''' are the Bay Area's team and have one of the deepest histories in the league. Originally the Philadelphia Warriors, the franchise won four championships in their history[[note]] Two in Philly in 1947 and again 1956, and two in California in 1975 and 2015[[/note]] The Warriors are notable for being the first team for UsefulNotes/WiltChamberlain before he joined the Philadelphia 76ers. Rick Barry led the Warriors to the title in 1975, which marked the beginning of a long dark period of mediocre basketball.[[note]]Although they did take out the top ranked Dallas Mavericks as an eight seed in 2007.[[/note]] Things changed dramatically for the Warriors when they drafted "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry (2009) and Klay Thompson (2011). With the additions of power forward Draymond Green in 2012 and head coach Steve Kerr in 2014, the Warriors established themselves as arguably the greatest shooting team in NBA history, winning the title in 2015, and followed that up by going 73–9 in the 2015–16 regular season, surpassing the 1995–96 Bulls for the best regular-season record in league history. (though unlike the Bulls they lost the title, despite going to the finals and even getting a 3-1 advantage over the Cavs there) At this moment, the "Dubs"[[note]]A play on W, as in"[=DOUBle=] u"s[[/note]] are one of the greatest teams the league has ever seen, and thanks to their core's relative youth, a title threat for years to come.

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* The '''Golden State Warriors''' are the Bay Area's team and have one of the deepest histories in the league. Originally the Philadelphia Warriors, the franchise won four championships in their history[[note]] Two in Philly in 1947 and again 1956, and two in California in 1975 and 2015[[/note]] The Warriors are notable for being the first team for UsefulNotes/WiltChamberlain before he joined the Philadelphia 76ers. Rick Barry led the Warriors to the title in 1975, which marked the beginning of a long dark period of mediocre basketball.[[note]]Although they did take out the top ranked Dallas Mavericks as an eight seed in 2007.[[/note]] Things changed dramatically for the Warriors when they drafted "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry (2009) and Klay Thompson (2011). With the additions of power forward Draymond Green in 2012 and head coach Steve Kerr in 2014, the Warriors established themselves as arguably the greatest shooting team in NBA history, winning the title in 2015, and followed that up by going 73–9 in the 2015–16 regular season, surpassing the 1995–96 Bulls for the best regular-season record in league history. history (though unlike the Bulls Bulls, they lost were defeated in the title, finals, despite going to the finals and even getting at one point having a 3-1 series advantage over the Cavs there) Cavaliers). At this moment, the "Dubs"[[note]]A play on W, as in"[=DOUBle=] u"s[[/note]] are one of the greatest teams the league has ever seen, and thanks to their core's relative youth, a title threat for years to come.
19th Jun '16 11:18:42 PM KYCubbie
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* '''Jimmy Butler''' – A 6'7" swingman (small forward/shooting guard) out of Marquette, Butler started out in 2011–12 as a bench player, being stuck behind Luol Deng in the rotation. An injury to Deng in the 2012–13 season gave Butler a chance to start, and he made the most of it, becoming a key rotation player even after Deng returned. Deng's departure for the Heat gave him the chance to start in 2014–15, and he ended up making his first All-Star appearance and winning the league's Most Improved Player award that season. Has an interesting backstory as well—his father abandoned the family when he was in infant, and his mother kicked him out of the house when he was 13; he was eventually taken in by the family of a fellow player at his high school.[[note]]The fellow player in question, Jordan Leslie, went on to be an NFL practice-squad player. Also, Butler is black, and Leslie is white.[[/note]]

to:

* '''Jimmy Butler''' – A 6'7" swingman (small forward/shooting guard) out of Marquette, Butler started out in 2011–12 as a bench player, being stuck behind Luol Deng in the rotation. An injury to Deng in the 2012–13 season gave Butler a chance to start, and he made the most of it, becoming a key rotation player even after Deng returned. Deng's departure for the Heat gave him the chance to start in 2014–15, and he ended up making his first All-Star appearance and winning the league's Most Improved Player award that season. Has an interesting backstory as well—his father abandoned the family when he was in infant, and his mother kicked him out of the house when he was 13; he was eventually taken in by the family of a fellow player at his high school.[[note]]The fellow player in question, Jordan Leslie, went on grew up to be an NFL practice-squad player. Also, And, by the way, Butler is black, black and Leslie is white.[[/note]]



** His incredible versatility leads to many comparing [=LeBron=] to many Hall of Famers, from Magic Johnson and UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan to Karl Malone and Oscar Robertson. Due to his athletic ability, he is one of the best slashers and finishers in basketball, having led the league in completed traditional three point plays during various points in his career. His size also allows him to rebound the ball effectively, and he regularly ranks among the league leaders in rebounds for his position. Furthermore, he is an unusually gifted passer for his position, averaging 8.6 assists per game during the 2009–10 campaign and finishing the year ranked sixth overall in that category. So yeah, when we say that he's versatile, ''we mean it''. Among his many great games include: dropping 48 points (including the last 30 for Cleveland and the game-winning layup) against the Pistons on a double-overtime Game 5 win (2007); 45 points against the Celtics in Game 7 (2008, a loss); 49 points against the Orlando Magic in Game 1 (2009, a loss); a game-winner against the Magic in the same playoffs (2009, Game 2); 43 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, two steals, and four blocks against the Denver Nuggets (2010, regular season loss); 40 points versus the Indiana Pacers (2012); and 45 points against the Celtics (2012).

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** His incredible versatility leads to many comparing [=LeBron=] to many Hall of Famers, from Magic Johnson and UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan to Karl Malone and Oscar Robertson. Due to his athletic ability, he is one of the best slashers and finishers in basketball, having led the league in completed traditional three point plays during various points in his career. His size also allows him to rebound the ball effectively, and he regularly ranks among the league leaders in rebounds for his position. Furthermore, he is an unusually gifted passer for his position, averaging 8.6 assists per game during the 2009–10 campaign and finishing the year ranked sixth overall in that category. So yeah, when we say that he's versatile, ''we mean it''. Among his many great games include: dropping 48 points (including the last 30 for Cleveland and the game-winning layup) against the Pistons on a double-overtime Game 5 win (2007); 45 points against the Celtics in Game 7 (2008, a loss); 49 points against the Orlando Magic in Game 1 (2009, a loss); a game-winner against the Magic in the same playoffs (2009, Game 2); 43 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, two steals, and four blocks against the Denver Nuggets (2010, regular season loss); 40 points versus the Indiana Pacers (2012); and 45 points against the Celtics (2012). And, to top it all off, he led both teams in the 2016 Finals in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocked shots—something that had never been done before in any playoff series.



* '''Zydrunas Ilgauskas''', "The Big Z", is the Cavaliers leader in games played, rebounds, and blocks, playing from 1996 to 2010. After a career year in the season before [=LeBron=]'s arrival, became one of his wingmen and got to the 2007 Finals, and even after deciding to retire in 2010 tried to get a title by following LBJ to the Heat (losing the 2011 Finals as well made Ilgauskas call it quits). His number 11 was retired, making him only the third European with his honor. One of the best Lithuanians not to represent the country's powerhouse national team (the Cavs vetoed his participation in the 2008 Olympics).

to:

* '''Zydrunas '''Žydrūnas Ilgauskas''', "The Big Z", is the Cavaliers leader in games played, rebounds, and blocks, playing from 1996 to 2010. After a career year in the season before [=LeBron=]'s arrival, became one of his wingmen and got to the 2007 Finals, and even after deciding to retire in 2010 tried to get a title by following LBJ to the Heat (losing the 2011 Finals as well made Ilgauskas call it quits). His number 11 was retired, making him only the third European with his honor. One of the best Lithuanians not to represent the country's powerhouse national team (the Cavs vetoed his participation in the 2008 Olympics).



* '''James Worthy''' was a small forward, drafted 1st overall by the Lakers; Los Angeles got him from a '''coin toss'''. Thriving in the Magic-led fast-break offense, Worthy immediately made an impact as a rookie, averaging 13.4 points per game and shooting a Laker rookie record .579 field goal percentage. Beyond just finishing a fastbreak with his trademark Statue of Liberty dunks or swooping finger rolls, Worthy was also one of the best baseline post players at the small forward position, with a quick spin move and a deadly turnaround jump shot. His nickname was "Big Game James", he continued to average over 20 points per game, even achieving triple double effort of 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 7, earning the Finals MVP as a result. A three-time champion and seven-time All-Star, Worthy's #42 was retired by Los Angeles, and he was elected into the Hall of Fame.

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* '''James Worthy''' was a small forward, drafted 1st overall by the Lakers; Los Angeles got him from a '''coin toss'''. Thriving in the Magic-led fast-break offense, Worthy immediately made an impact as a rookie, averaging 13.4 points per game and shooting a Laker rookie record .579 field goal percentage. Beyond just finishing a fastbreak fast break with his trademark Statue of Liberty dunks or swooping finger rolls, Worthy was also one of the best baseline post players at the small forward position, with a quick spin move and a deadly turnaround jump shot. His nickname was "Big Game James", he continued to average over 20 points per game, even achieving triple double effort of 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 7, earning the Finals MVP as a result. A three-time champion and seven-time All-Star, Worthy's #42 was retired by Los Angeles, and he was elected into the Hall of Fame.
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