Sept. 27, 1983 - Larry Bird signed a 7-year, $15 million contract with the Celtics

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Larry Bird became the highest paid Celtic at the time.

In 1983-84 the Celtics would go 62-20 and finally get back to the NBA Finals after a three year hiatus. In the final, the Celtics came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, winning their 15th championship. Bird renewed his college rivalry with Lakers star Magic Johnson during this series.

"My first dunk was actually in sixth grade." - Vince Carter

BTW.

"Assists is what Earvin is all about. That’s what my whole life has been, assisting others." - Magic Johnson

The point man.

"My father made me who I am. He gave me a basketball and told me to play with the ball, sleep with the ball, dream with the ball. Just don’t take it to school. I used it as a pillow, and it never gave me a stiff neck." - Shaquille O’Neal

Hoop dreams.

Aug. 29, 1974 - Moses Malone is the first ball player drafted from high school

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Moses Malone was immediately signed by the Utah Stars. He became an instant success, averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds per game in his rookie season. He played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) until the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. He then played 19 successful seasons with 7 NBA teams. He won the NBA championship, along with the Finals Most Valuable Player Award, with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. His other achievements include 3 Most Valuable Player Awards, 12 consecutive All-Star Game selections, 8 All-NBA Team selections and 6 rebounding titles. He has been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was also named in the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list announced at the league’s 50th anniversary in 1996.

Aug. 18, 1992 - Larry Bird, 35, announced his retirement from basketball

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Larry Bird had been bothered by back problems for years, and his back became progressively worse. After leading the Boston Celtics to a 29–5 start to the 1990–91 season, he missed 22 games due to a compressed nerve root in his back, a condition that would eventually lead to his retirement. He had off-season surgery to remove a disc from his back, but his back problems continued and he missed 37 games during the 1991–92 season. His past glory would be briefly rekindled, however, in a game that season in which he scored 49 points in a double-overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. During the 1992 Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bird missed four of the seven games in the series due to those recurring back problems.

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"Everybody in the world has an ego. The only difference between us is we have a reason to have an ego." - Charles Barkley, on the ‘Dream Team’

#KillYourEgo.

"I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury, unless it’s completely debilitating, I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming." - Kobe Bryant

Here to stay!

"The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me." - Larry Bird

FYI

#MJMondays

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Who gon’ stop me, huh?

Michael Jordan takes on the Detroit Pistons (Buck Wiliams, Isiah Thomas and Bill Lambeer).

July 12, 1996 - Jordan signed a one-year $30 million contract with the Chicago Bulls

This was the biggest single-season contract ever in American team sports. The one year contract suggested Michael Jordan may leave the Chicago Bulls after the 1996-97 season, or retire. Jordan rewarded the franchise by delivering its fifth league championship.

The following season, Jordan became the only NBA player to sign a contract worth over thirty million dollars in a season. During the 1997-98 season, Jordan earned $33,000,000. He also proved his worth by winning a sixth NBA title for the Chicago Bulls.

July 10, 1989 - The Chicago Bulls named Phil Jackson as head coach to replace Doug Collins

Phil Jackson was hired as assistant coach, under Doug Collins, for the Chicago Bulls in 1987, and was promoted to head coach in 1989. It was around this time that he met Tex Winter and became a devotee of Winter’s triangle offense. Over nine seasons, Jackson coached the Bulls to six championships, winning three straight championships over separate three-year periods. The “three-peat” was the first since the Boston Celtics won eight titles in a row from 1959 through 1966.

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"The competitor to be feared the most is the one who never worries about others at all, and goes on making himself better all the time." - Blake Griffin

Self improvement.

July 9, 1968 - 76ers trade Wilt ‘the Stilt’ Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers

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First season with the Lakers (1968-69)
avg: 20.5 ppg, 21.1 rpg, lost NBA Finals

Rest of stay with the Lakers (four years)
avg: 16.7 ppg, 18.7 rpg, won 1 NBA title

Wilt Chamberlain was the centerpiece of a major trade between the 76ers and the Lakers, making it the first time a reigning NBA Most Valuable Player was traded the next season. Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke gave Chamberlain an unprecedented contract, paying him $250,000 after taxes; in comparison, previous Laker top earner Jerry West was paid $100,000 before taxes. Chamberlain spent his final five campaigns in Los Angeles and helped the Lakers to the NBA Finals four times in those five seasons. The most notable season was 1971-72, in which he scored only 14.8 points per game. But his contributions came in other forms. At age 35, he managed to grab 19.2 rebounds per contest and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

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"I’m not slowing down. I don’t care who’s in the hole. If they’re going to foul me, I’m going to get up and keep going hard at them." - Derrick Rose

"…Goin’ straight through the hole
You ain’t got no game
I’m breakin’ ya out the frame
Coming through like a train”
- B Real - Hit ‘em High (The Monstar’s anthem)

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