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It Only Happened Once: NBA Edition

May 27, 2014

Weird stuff that doesn’t happen everyday in basketball.

NBA It Happened OnceOnly team with three starters at the All-Star Game.

The 1982-1983 Philadelphia 76ers were one of the best teams in NBA history. Led by MVP Moses Malone and Julius Erving, they finished with a 65-17 record and only lost one playoff game en route to an NBA title. At that year’s all-star game, a (shared) record of four players were elected to represent the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game, with a record three in the starting lineup: Malone, Erving, and Maurice Cheeks. (The fourth player was Andrew Toney.)

Only team to win 70 regular season games.

The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls finished with a record of 72-10 (and in the playoffs, they went 15-3 and won the championship).

Only person to win an NBA title, be named Most Valuable Player, be the All-Star Game MVP, win an Olympic Gold Medal, and be named Executive of the Year.

It’s not Michael Jordan—it’s ’60s and ’70s Lakers great Jerry West. The guard racked up nearly every accolade possible in the NBA. He won an NBA title as a player and general manager, and was the NBA Finals MVP in 1969—which his team didn’t even win. He’s also an Olympic gold medalist (1960) and its West’s silhouette that makes up the NBA logo.

Only team owner to be banned from NBA.

In April, the NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life, following several instances of racist behavior. Only two other owners of major American sports teams have been forced out of their leagues: Marge Schott of the Cincinnati Reds, after she made racist and anti-gay comments, and George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees for several illegal financial dealings.

Only team owner to get a one-year suspension.

In 2000, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor earned a one-year hiatus and a $1 million fine for signing a player to a secret contract to get around salary cap restrictions.

Only time a fouled-out player was allowed to keep playing.

NBA teams can have a roster of 15 players, with 12 “actives” and three reserves in case of injuries. Last February, in a game against Cleveland, the injury-decimated Lakers were down to a team of only eight. A team has to have five players on the court, and that put the Lakers in trouble after Jordan Farmar left the game due to leg pain, Nick Young hurt a knee, and Chris Kaman fouled out. With four minutes left in the game, Robert Sacre fouled out, too. Due to a bizarre NBA rule, Sacre was allowed to stay in the game because otherwise the Lakers wouldn’t have had enough players. And somehow, the Lakers won the game, 119 to 108.

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