today-in-nba-history
Today In NBA History 1992: Michael Jordan Hits Six Three-Pointers Vs Portland (Video)
Monday , Jun , 03 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1992: Michael Jordan Hits Six Three-Pointers Vs Portland (Video)

21 years ago today, Michael Jordan had the greatest half in NBA Finals history.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Doesn't it seem like Michael Jordan was involved in every great Finals moment ever?

The Bulls defeated Portland 122-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 3rd, 1992. Michael Jordan, who finished with a game-high 39 points, set NBA Finals records for points scored in a half (35) and three-point field goals made in one half (6).

After the sixth made three-pointer, Jordan turned to the mid court TV camera and shrugged as if to say, “I guess everything’s going in.” Unknowingly, his shrug created one of the most indelible images in NBA history and added further to his legacy in the process.

Remember this? 

The two teams appeared headed to face each other for most of the season and comparisons were made between Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan throughout the season. Portland came out super hot to start the game, making their first seven field goal attempts, and took an eight point lead.

Then, Michael Jordan turned it on. Portland was leading by 1 at 45-44, but then Chicago went on a 22-6 run to grab a 66-51 halftime lead and take control, ultimately winning the game by 33 points.

"I started running for the three-point line; it felt like a free throw," Jordan famously said after the game. "I set another goal … a reasonable, manageable goal that I could realistically achieve if I worked hard enough. I approached everything step by step."

In any different era, the Portland Trailblazers squads of the early 90's would've walked away with at least one ring. The Seattle Supersonics of the late 90's would later feel the same sting of a Bulls team that is considered one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.

The Bulls would go on to win the series in six games. Michael Jordan was named Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, to go with his sixth straight regular season scoring titles.

 

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Today In NBA History 1981: “Dr. J” Julius Erving Named MVP
Monday , May , 27 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1981: “Dr. J” Julius Erving Named MVP

32 years ago today, Dr. J was king.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, making him the only player to win MVP honors in both the NBA and the ABA.

To this day, only a handful of players have revolutionized the entire game, not just the NBA, the way Dr. J did. And not just in terms of on the court success, of which he had plenty, but in terms of personal style. Dr. J was the alpha male of his era and even if you knew nothing about basketball, just seeing the way he floated across the court, told you he was the man everyone else wanted to be.

Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player Awards, and three scoring titles with the ABA's Virginia Squires and New York Nets (now the NBA's Brooklyn Nets) and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. He is the fifth-highest scorer in professional basketball history with 30,026 points (NBA and ABA combined).

And he wasn't just a finesse scoring type of player- Dr J was mean and reflected the era in which he played. Case in point, his fight with Larry Bird:

Erving was inducted in 1993 into the Basketball Hall of Fame and was also named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time team. In 1994, Erving was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the 40 most important athletes of all time.

For crying out loud, the term "slam" dunk was coined to describe the way Erving attacked the rim. Before him, dunking was a practice usually among big men to show their dominance, strength and physicality. There was no art or style to it. The dunk was judged by many as style over substance and unsportsmanlike. Erving, however, changed that misconception and turned the dunk into the most exciting, expressive shot in the game. The "slam dunk" became an art form and came to help popularize the sport.

With no Dr. J, there would be no Michael Jordan, no Charles Barkley, no Kobe, and certainly no LeBron James.

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Today In NBA History 1995: Elie’s “Kiss Of Death” Three Pointer
Wednesday , May , 22 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1995: Elie’s “Kiss Of Death” Three Pointer

18 years ago today, Mario Elie and the Houston Rockets capped off a ridiculous comeback.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Phoenix dominated the regular season for two years, only to be eliminated in the playoffs by the streaking Rockets both times.

From NBA.com:

Houston’s Mario Elie sank a three-pointer from the corner with 7.1 seconds left in the game, lifting the visiting Rockets to a 115-114 win over Phoenix in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinal Round series at America West Arena. With the win, the Rockets became the first NBA team in 13 years (since the ‘82 Sixers against Boston) to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series. Houston’s victory also broke a string of 20 consecutive wins by the home team in the deciding Game 7 of a playoff series. Just 24 hours later, Indiana repeated that feat by the road team after downing host New York 97-95 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Round series.

Check out the video here:

For Elie, it was the beginning of what would be a pivotal role during the Rockets run to the 1995 NBA title. After being a bench player all season, Elie was inserted into the starting lineup for the Finals and played the best basketball of his career. Elie averaged 16.3 points per game, almost double his regular season average, while shooting a 64% from the field. He was also 8 for 14 (.571) from the three-point line, hitting 7 of 10 three-pointers in Games 3 and 4.

The Rockets were already a ridiculously deep squad, so when Elie stepped up and started producing, the Orlando Magic had no answer as the Rockets romped to a 4-0 series sweep.

The shot Elie hit to seal the series victory over the Suns was particularly deflating to Suns fans. Not only because it ended their '95 season, but the previous year in the playoffs the Rockets also defeated the Suns in a seven game series after the Suns opened up a 3-1 series lead.

Ouch.

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Today In NBA History 1998: Mutombo Sets Record And We Interviewed Him
Tuesday , May , 07 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1998: Mutombo Sets Record And We Interviewed Him

15 years ago today, Dikembe Mutombo made history.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Mutombo is the greatest defensive player of his era and we spoke with him.

Atlanta's Dikembe Mutombo is named the winner of the 1997-98 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, becoming the first player in NBA history to win the award three times. But "Mount Mutombo" wasn't done there. Three years later, he would win the award again for the fourth time in his career.

The eight time All-Star led the league in blocks three times and rebounding twice, becoming arguably the most important non-offensive threat in NBA history.

We were lucky enough to interview Dikembe not long ago; here are a few excerpts. Read the full interview here.

HV: How did the finger wave come to become your signature move?

DM: It happened after my third year just before we beat the Seattle Supersonics in 1994 NBA playoffs. I was having such a great year and blocking shots and moving up in the league. I used to block the shot and then I would shake my hand and no one said nothing. One day I decided shaking the hand doesn't really mean nothing- maybe the best way to not come into the House of Mutombo it's best to wave my finger, so it worked out very cool. But it ended up getting me a lot of technicals.

 HV: How did the NBA come to ban that? Does David Stern call you personally?

DM: It came from the players. You would hear from someone like Phil Jackson or something, that maybe you better stop what you're doing it's costing you a lot of money. It was good for me to do in the players face, but if I could face the fans and wave my finger away from the players face, it would be great. That's why you see in the last five years I started doing it away from the players face. So I don't have to lose a couple of thousand dollars (laughing).

 HV: Who was your favorite NBA player to block? 

DM: That's a good question. To me, not just one in particular. But I think playing against Shawn Kemp. He was such a high jumping, athletic player.

HV: How gratifying was it to be the first eight seed to beat a one seed when your Nuggets beat Kemp's Sonics?

DM: One of my proudest successes of my career.

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Today In NBA History 1996: Bulls Go 72-10, Jordan Wins 8th Scoring Title
Tuesday , Apr , 23 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1996: Bulls Go 72-10, Jordan Wins 8th Scoring Title

The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls were arguably the best team in NBA history, led by arguably the greatest player in NBA history.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: The accomplishments of the 1995-96 Bulls only get more amazing as time passes.

17 years ago tonight, the Bulls defeated the Bullets 103-93 to finish the season with a 72-10 record and .878 winning percentage, which eclipsed the NBA record set by 1972 Lakers, who went 69-13 for an .841 percentage. The victory over Washington earned Chicago their 33rd road victory, the most ever in a season by an NBA team.

Chicago was ridiculously hot all year and consistent throughout. The Bulls finished the month of November with a 12-2 record but improved in each of the next two months, going 13-1 in December and 14-0 in January, running their record to 39-3 after three months. In February, the Bulls ran their record to 41-3 and became the fastest NBA team to 41 wins, again besting the '71-72 Lakers previous record.

After the incredible regular season, CHI didn't cool off, going 15-3 in the playoffs for a combined total record of 87-13. The Supersonics won three of those 13 games, while the Indiana Pacers were the only other team to beat them more than once that season, winning two games in the regular season by a total of five points.

During the same victory over Washington 17 years ago, Michael Jordan set an NBA record by winning his eighth NBA scoring title (breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record of seven) after accumulating 2,491 points in 82 games for a 30.4 ppg average. The 30+ ppg average was the last time Jordan would score 30+ points per game. And of the eight seasons he did score 30+, 30.4 was the second lowest- how many guys would KILL for a season like that? 

Another interesting piece of statistical information for you about MJ. Entering '95-'96, Jordan had made 303 of 987 attempts from beyond the arc in 10 seasons, hitting them .306% of the time.

In his 11th season, MJ hit 111 of 260, hitting treys at a clip of .427%, tied with Hubert Davis for 10th best percentage in the league.

It goes to show you why Jordan was great- even though he was the best ever, even already at that point, he worked on his weak areas until they were strengths.

With that kind of leadership and talent, it's no wonder why that Bulls had the success they did.

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