1953 – Robert Parish is born in Louisiana. Parish is a Hall of Famer who played 1,611 games in the NBA over 21 seasons. Parish has played in more games than any other player in the NBA and ABA combined, with the 2nd ranked player being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on 1,560 games. Parish is a 4x NBA Champion (1981, 1984, 1986, 1997), a 9x NBA All-Star and was also inducted into the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
1997 – The first WNBA Finals are held in Houston in a single game series – the following season the WNBA changed to a best of 3 series. The Houston Comets defeated the New York Liberty 65-51 on their way to becoming the first WNBA Champions. Cynthia Cooper, who was the regular season MVP, won the Finals MVP after scoring 25 points.
1978 – Current Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is born in Philadelphia. Kobe has played all 16 years Lakers and is a 5x NBA champion (2000-2002, 2009, 2010) as well as a 2x NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010). Kobe was the MVP of the league in 2008, has appeared in 14 NBA All-Star Games (winning the All-Star MVP in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011) as well as being on 14 All-NBA Teams.
1890 – Maurice Podoloff is born in the Russian Empire, now called Ukraine. Podoloff was the first president of the NBA in 1946 and stepped down from the position in 1963. The NBA regular season MVP is named in his honour.
1992 – Larry Bird announced his retirement after 13 seasons in the NBA – all playing for the Boston Celtics. Larry is still one of the most known basketball players in the history of the NBA, mostly for his famous on-court rivalry with Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Bird was a 3x NBA champion (winning the Finals MVP in 1984 and 1986), a 3x NBA MVP and a 12 time NBA All-Star. Larry Legend was a member of the 1992 Dream Team in the Barcelona Olympics as well as a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and eventually having his number 33 retired by the Boston Celtics. When Bird retired, his career numbers stand around with the legends of the game. His free throw percentage of 88.6% is still ranks 10th in NBA history and his 21,791 points have him as the 29th all time leading scorer – 24.3 points per game (16th in NBA history).
1936 – The first basketball Gold Medal game is played in the Olympics at Berlin. USA defeat Canada 19-8 in front of 1,000 spectators – including Dr. James Naismith (the creator of basketball) – during a rainstorm on an outdoor court.
1959 – Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. is born in Michigan. Magic was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996. Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists over 13 seasons, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have had Magic’s #32 jersey retired since 1992. Magic is a 3x NBA MVP (1987, 1989, 1990) as well as a 12x NBA All-Star, winning 2 NBA All-Star MVPs in 1990 and 1992. Magic won 5 NBA championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) as well as being named the NBA Finals MVP in 1980, 1982 and 1987. Magic was drafted number 1 overall in the 1979 draft after 2 years at Michigan State University where he averaged 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.9 assists.
1994 – The “Dream Team II” demolishes Russia 137-91 to win the Gold Medal in the FIBA World Championship in Toronto.
1969 – The Boston Celtics are sold for $6 million. At the time, that was the most a professional basketball team had ever been sold for.
1976 – Antoine Walker is born in Chicago. Walker played 12 seasons in the NBA – most notably with the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat – as well as in 3 NBA All-Star games (1 start). Walker averaged 17.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists for his career.
1930 – Jerry Tarkanian is born in Ohio. Tark the Shark was known for his coaching career at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) but retired with a career record of 990 wins – 228 losses (81.3%).
1979 – Rashard Lewis is born in Louisiana. So far, Lewis has averaged 16.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists per game over 14 seasons in the NBA. He has played for the Seattle Super Sonics, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards and made 2 All-Star appearances.
1992 – The United States “Dream Team” won the Gold Medal in the Olympics in Barcelona. The team won by an average of 43.8 points and is still considered the greatest team assembled in any sport of all time. The roster included:
- Charles Barkley
- Larry Bird
- Clyde Drexler
- Patrick Ewing
- Magic Johnson
- Michael Jordan
- Christian Laettner
- Karl Malone
- Chris Mullin
- Scottie Pippen
- David Robinson
- John Stockton