Sunday, December 25, 2011

●Kareem Abdul-Jabbar chose not to play in the 1973 All-Star Game due to travel concerns after seven Muslims were killed earlier in the month at his home in Washington, DC.
●Magic Johnson retired prior to the 1991-92 season due to the HIV virus but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game.
●The 1993 East and West teams each carried eight substitutes as opposed to the usual seven.

Game - Player - Reason - Replacement
1952 - Larry Foust, FTW - Foot injury - Arnie Risen, ROC
1952 - Dolph Schayes, SYR - Wrist injury - Harry Gallatin, NYK
1953 - Fred Scolari, BLB - Knee injury - Billy Gabor, SYR
1955 - Arnie Risen, ROC - Ankle injury - Jack Coleman, ROC
1956 - Carl Braun, NYK - Injury - Johnny Kerr, SYR
1958 - Cliff Hagan, STL - Hand injury - None
1960 - Paul Arizin, PHW - Leg injury - Tom Gola, PHW
1962 - Larry Costello, SYR - Wrist injury - Sam Jones, BOS
1962 - Tom Gola, PHW - Hand injury - Johnny Green, NYK
1962 - Rudy LaRusso, LAL - Illness - None
1965 - Tom Heinsohn, BOS - Leg injury - Johnny Green, NYK
1968 - Nate Thurmond, SFW - Knee injury - Clyde Lee, SFW
1969 - Jerry West, LAL - Groin injury - Gail Goodrich, PHO
1970 - Nate Thurmond, SFW - Knee injury - Bob Rule, SEA
1973 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, MIL - ●Travel concerns - Bob Love, CHI
1973 - Rick Barry, GSW - Ankle injury - Connie Hawkins, PHO
1974 - Jerry West, LAL - Groin injury - Charlie Scott, PHO
1977 - Dave Cowens, BOS - Back injury - Phil Chenier, WSB
1977 - Bill Walton, POR - Achilles tendon injury - Don Buse, IND
1978 - Pete Maravich, NOJ - Knee injury - Doug Collins, PHI
1979 - Doug Collins, PHI - Foot injury - Bob Lanier, DET
1981 - Dan Roundfield, ATL - Knee injury - Mike Mitchell, CLE
1982 - Dan Roundfield, ATL - Knee injury - Kelly Tripucka, DET
1986 - Patrick Ewing, NYK - Knee injury - None
1986 - Michael Jordan, CHI - Foot injury - None
1987 - Ralph Sampson, HOU - Knee injury - Tom Chambers, SEA
1988 - Steve Johnson, POR - Hand injury - James Donaldson, DAL
1989 - Larry Bird, BOS - Foot injuries - None
1989 - Magic Johnson, LAL - Leg injury - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LAL
1990 - Karl Malone, UTH - Ankle injury - Rolando Blackman, DAL
1991 - Larry Bird, BOS - Back injury - Hersey Hawkins, PHI
1991 - Isiah Thomas, DET - Hand injury - None
1992 - Larry Bird, BOS - Back injury - Michael Adams, WSB
1992 - Magic Johnson, LAL - ●Retired - Tim Hardaway, GSW
1992 - Dominique Wilkins, ATL - Achilles tendon injury - Kevin Willis, ATL
1993 - Chris Mullin, GSW - Hand injury - ●None
1993 - Mitch Richmond, GSW - Hand injury - Terry Porter, POR
1994 - Charles Barkley, PHO - Knee injury - Gary Payton, SEA
1994 - Alonzo Mourning, CHH - Ankle injury - Horace Grant, CHI
1995 - Cedric Ceballos, LAL - Hand injury - Dikembe Mutombo
1997 - Charles Barkley, HOU - Ankle injury - Detlef Schrempf, SEA
1997 - Clyde Drexler, HOU - Hamstring injury - Chris Gatling, GSW
1997 - Patrick Ewing, NYK - Groin injury - Chris Webber, WSH
1997 - Alonzo Mourning, MIA - Heel injury - Joe Dumars, DET
1997 - Shaquille O’Neal, LAL - Knee injury - Kevin Garnett, MIN
2001 - Grant Hill, ORL - Foot injury - Latrell Sprewell, NYK
2001 - Alonzo Mourning, MIA - Kindney illness - Dikembe Mutombo, ATL
2001 - Shaquille O’Neal, LAL - Foot injury - Vlade Divac, SAC
2001 - Theo Ratliff, PHI - Wrist injury - Antonio Davis, TOR
2002 - Vince Carter, TOR - Quadriceps injury - Baron Davis, CHH
2002 - Karl Malone, UTH - Personal reasons - None
2002 - Shaquille O’Neal, LAL - Toe injury - Elton Brand, LAC
2003 - Chris Webber, SAC - Ankle injury - Peja Stojakovic, SAC
2006 - Jermaine O'Neal, IND - Groin injury - Gilbert Arenas, WAS
2007 - Carlos Boozer, UTH - Leg injury - Josh Howard, DAL
2007 - Allen Iverson, DEN - Ankle injury - Mehmet Okur, UTH
2007 - Jason Kidd, NJN - Back injury - Joe Johnson, ATL
2007 - Yao Ming, HOU - Knee injury - Carmelo Anthony, DEN
2007 - Steve Nash, PHO - Shoulder injury - Ray Allen, SEA
2008 - Caron Butler, WAS - Hip injury - Ray Allen, BOS
2008 - Kevin Garnett, BOS - Abdominal injury - Rasheed Wallace, DET
2009 - Chris Bosh, TOR - Knee injury - Mo Williams, CLE
2009 - Jameer Nelson, ORL - Shoulder injury - Ray Allen, BOS
2010 - Kobe Bryant, LAL - Hand injury - Jason Kidd, DAL
2010 - Allen Iverson, PHI - Personal reasons - David Lee, NYK
2010 - Chris Paul, NOH - Knee injury - Chauncey Billups, DEN
2010 - Brandon Roy, POR - Knee injury - Chris Kaman, LAC
2011 - Yao Ming, HOU - Foot injury - Kevin Love, MIN

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Notable Brawls in NBA History

Altercation - After an evening of verbal sparring, Sid Borgia [NBA Official] slugged Eli Roth, a Syracuse fan who had come down to courtside to confront him. Early in the fourth quarter Bill Russell [BOS] punched George Dempsey [SYR] in retaliation for a hard foul and both teams’ benches emptied during the ensuing melee. With about a minute remaining in the game Tom Heinsohn [BOS] and Dolph Schayes [SYR] engaged in another brawl and Borgia was struck by Heinsohn as he attempted to break up the fight. Paul Seymour [SYR Coach] then rushed Heinsohn during the altercation when Heinsohn knocked down Bob Hopkins [SYR]. Following the game Heinsohn and Gene Conley [BOS] tussled with Syracuse fans before the police restored order.
Penalties - n/a

Altercation - Following a collision involving Wilt Chamberlain [PHW] and Sam Jones [BOS], heated words were exchanged and Jones grabbed a photographer’s stool and used it to keep Chamberlain at bay. Shortly thereafter a fistfight broke out between Carl Braun [BOS] and Guy Rodgers [PHW] and both benches emptied and several spectators came onto the court. When the situation finally settled down Jim Loscutoff [BOS] charged Rodgers [PHW], who he felt had tripped him during the brawl and the fight escalated again. Tom Heinsohn [BOS], who had an altercation with Ted Luckenbill [PHW] was the only player ejected from the game.
Penalties - Tom Heinsohn [BOS], Sam Jones [BOS], Jim Loscutoff [BOS], Ted Luckenbill [PHW] and Guy Rodgers [PHW] are fined $50 each.

Altercation - After an elbow by Willis Reed [NYK] to the head of Rudy LaRusso [LAL], LaRusso retaliated by taking a swing at Reed. In the brawl that ensued Reed took on LaRusso, John Block [LAL] (who came out of the fight with a broken nose) and Darrall Imhoff [LAL] (who suffered a cut over his left eye). Reed and LaRusso were the only players ejected from the game.
Penalties - Willis Reed was given "a small fine."

Altercation - With 5:14 remaining in the game LaRue Martin [POR] scuffled with Dale Schlueter [PHI] and Mike Price [PHI] under the Philadelphia basket. Martin and Schlueter went to the floor as Terry Dischinger [POR] and Bob Davis [POR] joined in the fracas. Davis then began kicking Schlueter in the head, and John Q. Trapp (who was under suspension by Philadelphia) came in and bear-hugged Davis. Jack McCloskey [POR coach] restrained Schlueter, who was now up and trying to get at Davis. in the meantime, Dischinger and Price were yelling at each other, and after Dischinger pushed him, Price punched Dischinger in the mouth, loosening three of his teeth and cutting his hand in the process. Davis (requiring 14 stitches in his hand), Dischinger and Schlueter all found themselves going to the hospital for follow up care.
Penalties - Bob Davis [POR], Terry Dischinger [POR], LaRue Martin [POR], Mike Price [PHI] and Dale Schlueter [PHI] are fined $100 each.

Altercation - With 4:52 remaining to play in the second game of the NBA Championship Series an incident occurred when Darryl Dawkins [PHIL] wrestled a rebound away from Bob Gross [POR], who was thrown to the floor in the process. When the players got back to their feet they exchanged heated words and Dawkins took a swing at Gross but struck Doug Collins [PHI], who had stepped in as a peacemaker, instead, cutting him above his right eye (a cut which would require four stitches). Maurice Lucas [POR] then came up and struck Dawkins from behind and the benches emptied. In the brawl that followed fans filed onto the court and one took a punch at a Portland player, but was pulled away by Jack McMahon [PHI assistant coach]. Dawkins and Lucas were both ejected, with Dawkins going on to trash the Sixers’ locker room.
Penalties - Darryl Dawkins [PHI] and Maurice Lucas [POR] are each fined $2,500.

Altercation - Early in the third quarter Kevin Kunnert [HOU] and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [LAL] got into an altercation with Kunnert and Abdul-Jabbar pushing and elbowing each other. Abdul-Jabbar’s teammate Kermit Washington [LAL] then held up Kunnert by grabbing his shorts as he headed up the court. Kunnert then swung his elbow to break freak and connected with Washington. Abdul-Jabbar reacted by grabbing Kunnert from behind pinning his arms in the process and Washington hit Kunnert with a flurry of punches. Washington then turned and struck Rudy Tomjanovich [HOU] in the face as he ran toward the conflict, and Tomjanovich fell to the floor immediately, hitting the back of his head on the floor. Tomjanovich suffered a dislodged skull, cerebral concussion and severe facial fractures (including a broken jaw and nose). Washington was ejected from the game and Tomjanovich would up in the intensive care unit and was sidelined for five months.
Penalties - Kermit Washington [LAL] is fined $10,000 and suspended 60 games.

Altercation - Began in the third quarter of game three of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal when Tree Rollins [ATL] struck Danny Ainge [BOS] in the head with an elbow. Ainge then tackled Rollins and the benches emptied with Rollins biting Ainge’s finger at the bottom of the pileup with Ainge needing stitches to close the bite wound.
Penalties - Tree Rollins [ATL] is fined $5,000 and suspended five games; Danny Ainge [BOS] is fined $1,000; Nate Archibald [BOS], Rickey Brown [ATL], Quinn Buckner [BOS], ML Carr [BOS], Keith Edmonson [ATL], Scott Hastings [ATL], George Johnson [ATL], Wes Matthews [ATL], Kevin McHale [BOS], Tom McMillen [ATL], Rick Robey [BOS], Randy Smith [ATL], Scott Wedman [BOS] and Dominique Wilkins [ATL] were fined $150 each for leaving the bench area during the fight for a total of $8,100 in fines.

Altercation - The tone of the game became heightened with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter when Isiah Thomas [DET] threw a punch at Rick Mahorn [PHI], leading to the ejection of Thomas. Then with 14.8 seconds remaining in the game Dennis Rodman [DET] using a hard foul to stop Mahorn, who was going in for a layup. Bill Laimbeer [DET] then grabbed the ball and shoved it in Mahon’s face. As Laimbeer and Mahorn prepared to face off Charles Barkley [PHI] jumped in and pushed Laimbeer and they began to exchange punches. Both benches then emptied and when the fight was broken up Barkley, Laimbeer and Scott Hastings [DET] were ejected for throwing punches. Barkley was accosted by a spectator on his way to the locker room and two spectators were arrested after the confrontation.
Penalties - Charles Barkley [PHI] and Bill Laimbeer [DET] are fined $20,000 and suspended one game each; Scott Hastings [DET] is fined $10,000 and suspended one game; Isiah Thomas [DET] is fined $7,500; Mark Aguirre [DET], Ron Anderson [PHI], William Bedford [DET]; Scott Brooks [PHI], Lanard Copeland [PHI], David Greenwood [DET], Gerald Henderson [DET], Kurt Nimphius [PHI], Ken Payne [PHI], John Salley [DET] are fined $500 each for leaving the bench for a total of $162,500 in fines

Altercation - Just prior to the end of the first half Kevin Johnson [PHO] and Doc Rivers [NYK] became involved in an altercation that started with angry words but escalated soon after when Johnson hit Rivers with a forearm and knocked him to the floor when he set a pick on Johnson. Rivers then got up and he and Johnson then exchanges punches. Then, just as it appeared things were under control, Greg Anthony [NYK], who was in street clothes with an injury came onto the court and punched Johnson. Anthony, Johnson and Rivers were then ejected along with Danny Ainge [PHO], Anthony Mason [NYK] and John Starks [NYK].
Penalties - Greg Anthony [NYN] is fined $20,000 and suspended five games; Kevin Johnson [PHO] is fined $15,000 and suspended two games; Doc Rivers [NYK] is fined $10,000 and suspended two games; Jerrod Mustaf [PHO] is fined $10,500; John Starks [NYK] and Anthony Mason [NYK] are each fined $7,500; Eric Anderson [NYK], Rolando Blackman [NYK], Cedric Ceballos [PHO], Tom Chambers [PHO]; Hubert Davis [NYK], Richard Dumas [PHO], Frank Johnson [PHO], Tim Kempton [PHO], Bo Kimble [NYK], Negele Knight [PHO], Charles Oakley [NYK], Charles Smith [NYK], Mark West [PHO] and Herb Williams [NYK] are fined $500 each for leaving the bench, and the New York organization is fined $50,000 and the Phoenix organization is fined $25,000 for a total of $160,500 in fines.

Altercation - With 2:41 remaining in the second quarter a shoving match broke out between Jo Jo English [CHI] and Derek Harper [CHI], Harper then punched English and wrestled him to the ground as the teams’ benches cleared, all a few feet in front of the courtside seat of NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Penalties - Derek Harper [NYK] fined $15,000 and suspended two games; Jo Jo English [CHI] fined $10,000 and suspended one game; Greg Anthony [NYK], Rolando Blackman [NYK], Corie Blount [CHI], Anthony Bonner [NYK], Corey Gaines [NYK], Steve Kerr [CHI], Toni Kukoc [CHI], Luc Longley [CHI], Pete Myers [CHI], John Paxson [CHI], Charles Smith [NYK], Bill Wennington [CHI], Herb Williams [NYK] and Scott Williams [CHI] were each fined $2,500 for leaving the bench, and the Chicago and New York organizations were each fined $50,000, for a total of $162,500 in fines.

Altercation - During a timeout Vernon Maxwell [HOU] went a dozen rows into the stands and punched spectator Steve George, who had been heckling him, breaking his jaw. Maxwell, along with Robert Horry [HOU] and Larry Smith [HOU assistant coach], who also entered the stands, were ejected from the game. Maxwell later filed suit against George and his brother Nick George, claiming they had slandered him by accusing him of assault. George then filed a $4.5 million suit against Maxwell and the Rockets.
Penalties - Vernon Maxwell [HOU] is suspended for a minimum of 10 games and fined $20,000 for going into the stands.

Altercation - A brawl ensued when Dale Davis [IND] and Michael Smith [SAC] exchanged blows with 2:43 remaining in the third quarter, and both players were ejected. Thirteen players who left the bench area during the brawl received automatic suspensions from the league.
Penalties - Dale Davis [IND] and Michael Smith [SAC] are fined $20,000 and suspended 2 games each; Duane Causwell [SAC] is fined $7,500 and suspended 1 game; Travis Best [IND], Adrian Caldwell [IND], Tyus Edney [SAC], Duane Ferrell [IND], Fred Hoiberg [IND], Byron Houston [SAC], Mark Jackson [IND], Sarunas Marciulionis [SAC], Reggie Miller [IND], Olden Polynice [SAC], Dwayne Schintzius [IND], Lionel Simmons [SAC], and Walt Williams [SAC], were fined $2,500 and suspended 1 game each for leaving the bench, for a total of $80,000 in fines.

Altercation - After Rasheed Wallace [POR] hit a game-winning shot at the final buzzer, a fight broke out between Chris Mills [GSW] and Bonzi Wells [POR]. Spectators threw debris at the Portland players as they left the court after the game, and Wallace tried to go into the stands to get at a spectator who threw a wad of gum at him. Mills tried to get into the Portland locker room after the game to renew the fight, and later parked in front of the Portland bus and challenged the Blazers along with several friends.
Penalties - Chris Mills [GSW] is suspended for 3 games, Bonzi Wells [POR] is suspended for 2 games; Rasheed Wallace [POR] is fined $15,000 for attempting to go into the stands.

Altercation - A brawl ignited with 45.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when Ben Wallace [DET] was fouled hard by Ron Artest [IND] and he reacted by turning and pushing Artest in the face with both hands. The benches immediately emptied and punches were thrown. The scuffle continued near center court with Artest reclining on the scorer’s table when a cup thrown from the stand struck Artest and he ran into the stands and started exchanging punches with spectators. Stephen Jackson [IND] followed Artest into the stands and joined him in confronting the fans, with Rasheed Wallace [DET] and David Harrison [IND] also venturing near the stands. After Artest had returned to the court a fan dressed in a Pistons jersey approached him with his fist up and began yelling at Artest, and Artest responded by punching the fan as he left the court. Jermaine O’Neal [IND] and Anthony Johnson [IND] also struck a spectator who had ventured onto the court, and he was later carried off on a stretcher. The referees decided against playing the remainder of the game and a half-dozen spectators were treated for injuries. Wallace, Artest and Jackson were suspended indefinitely by the league the following day.
Penalties - Ron Artest [IND] is suspended for the remainder of the season (72 games); Stephen Jackson [IND] is suspended for 30 games; Jermaine O'Neal [IND] is suspended for 25 games; Anthony Johnson [IND] and Ben Wallace [DET] are suspended for 6 games; Chauncey Billups DET], Elden Campbell [DET], Derrick Coleman [DET] and Reggie Miller [IND] are suspended for 1 game for leaving the bench area.

Altercation - After a warning from Isiah Thomas [NYK Coach] to Carmelo Anthony [DEN], a brawl broke out at the conclusion of the game as Mardy Collins [NYK] committed a flagrant foul on J.R. Smith [DEN], after Collins and Smith began arguing, Nate Robinson [NYK], who was pulling Smith away, was pushed by Anthony. Smith and Robinson then fell into the front row of spectators and Anthony punched Collins. Jared Jeffries [NYK] then ran toward Anthony, but was restrained by a Denver player.
Penalties - Carmelo Anthony [DEN] is suspended for 15 games; J.R. Smith [DEN] and Nate Robinson [NYK] are each suspended for 10 games; Mardy Collins [NYK] is suspended for 6 games; Jared Jeffries [NYK] is suspended for 4 games; Nene [DEN] and Jerome James [NYK] are each suspended for 1 game each for leaving the bench area; and the New York and Denver organizations are fined $500,000 each.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pro Basketball Legal Cases 1987-1998

Collective bargaining began in February, 1987 with the points of contention being the players’ insistence on the elimination of the salary cap, college draft and the right of first refusal. On June 8, the NBA and the NBPA entered into a signing moratorium agreement to expedite the collective bargaining process and postpone any litigation. However, when the moratorium ended on October 1, the players immediately filed suit against the league seeking a ruling that the draft, the right of first refusal, and the salary cap violated antitrust laws. Two weeks later the NBPA announced that they would not engage in any more collective bargaining negotiations until the lawsuit was resolved. The NBA reacted to this by filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, asking the NLRB to direct the NBPA back to the bargaining table. In December U.S. District Court Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise ruled that the NBPA can proceed with their lawsuit with the current collective bargaining system in effect because there is a continuing collective bargaining relationship, but rejecting the league's position that the expired agreement could remain in effect permanently. The NBPA player representatives then responded by voting unanimously to decertify the union in order for the league to be subject to antitrust laws. After more wrangling, the two sides came to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement on April 26, 1988 which would eventually reduce the draft to two rounds and eliminate compensation on free agents completing their second contract.

After the state of Oregon added NBA to its Sports Action betting game on December 11, 1989 the NBA filed suit later in the month in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon claiming that the game violated federal anti-gambling statutes and the Oregon Constitution, also claiming infringement on the league’s property rights and trademarks.  After U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Marsh declined to dismiss the charges, the NBA filed a second lawsuit in April, 1990 alleging that the new lottery “Basketball Championship Pool” scratch-off game was based on the NBA Finals.  After disappointing ticket sales the Oregon Lottery Commission agreed in December, 1990 to exclude NBA games for at least five years in exchange for the NBA dropping their lawsuit.

In January, 1990 the Boston Celtics signed Brian Shaw, who had left the team in 1989 to play in Italy for Il Messaggero Roma, to a five-year contract for the 1990-91 season with a guarantee that Shaw would not play in Italy in 1990.  When Shaw informed the Celtics in June that he planned to return to Italy in 1990-91, the Celtics took Shaw to arbitration and the case was ruled in favor of the Celtics.  Shaw then appealed the decision claiming that the clause in which he agreed to cancel his contract with Il Messaggero Roma conflicted with the NBA’s agreement with the NBPA which barred players from cancelling their contract in order to sign with another team.  Shaw’s appeal was denied  on the basis that his the option to play in Italy in 1990-91 rested with him rather than the Il Messaggero club.

In 1990 the NBA Board of Governors voted to reduce the number of games that “superstations” such as WGN, WWOR, WPIX and WTBS could broadcast from 25 to 20.  The Chicago Bulls then filed suit against the NBA claiming that the NBA’s broadcasting rights violated antitrust law and restrained trade, with the Bulls’ request for an injunction allowing 25 broadcasts granted.  In 1992 the lawsuit was upheld on appeal and the number of broadcasts was set at thirty with the case was remanded back to district court.  In December, 1996 the Bulls and the NBA came to a settlement with the Bulls accepting 15-game limit.

After Spirits of St. Louis player Marvin Barnes left the team after conferring with Joe Caldwell, St. Louis informed Caldwell that he was suspended by the team by telegram and by letter dated December 3, 1974 (he later maintained that was never informed that his suspension was lifted, his contract was expired or that he was free to negotiate with other teams, while the Spirits claimed that Caldwell was not placed on a ‘reserve list’ as ABA bi-laws stipulated a suspended player would be in order to maintain his rights and that their rights to him expired in October, 1975).  Later that month Caldwell appealed his suspension through the ABAPA to the ABA Commissioner.  The Commissioner subsequently informed the Spirits that an indefinite suspension would not be permitted.  Shortly after that Caldwell notified the ABA that he would seek a remedy in court rather than through the league, and after a bench trial Caldwell was awarded his salary of $220,000 plus interest.  Caldwell then brought suit against the ABA in U.S. District Court on December 11, 1991.  The court ruled that Caldwell never requested that the Spirits put him on waivers and failed to apply to the league for clarification of his status.  Caldwell claimed that the failure of any of the other teams in the ABA to offer him a contract or tryout indicated that a boycott was in effect because he was the ABAPA President and was opposed to a merger with the NBA.   The case was dismissed on July 1, 1996 as the league did not have “total market control” to prevent Caldwell from playing and that Caldwell “failed to offer evidence which would enable a reasonable jury to find concerted action on the part of any of the defendants.”

In the collective bargaining of 1994 the NBPA demanded that the college draft, right of first refusal and salary cap system be abolished, choosing not to negotiate with the NBA until their current collective bargaining agreement expired.  The NBA then filed suit in U.S. District Court claiming that the continued operation under the expired collective bargaining agreement would not violate antitrust laws because the continuance was covered by labor law rather than antitrust law and that they were lawful even if antitrust law was applied.  The NBPA countered that a cartel such as the NBA member clubs should be barred from using economic coercion in collective bargaining.  The court then ruled in July, 1994 that antitrust laws did not prevent employers from acting jointly when bargaining with a common union.  On January 24, 1995 the U.S. Court of Appeals partially affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court, ruling that antitrust laws could not be applied to the collective bargaining negotiations between the NBPA and NBA, and based on that, ruled that it did not need to address the college draft, right of first refusal and salary cap.

In response to ongoing labor negotiations a group of dissident players (with Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Stacey Augmon, Dale Davis, Alonzo Mourning, Howard Eisley and Stacey King as the plaintiffs and heavily influenced by player agent David Falk) files an antitrust suit in Federal Court on June 28, 1995 in Minneapolis claiming that the NBPA, under the direction of Executive Director Simon Gourdine and President Buck Williams was not keeping them informed on the labor negotiations, with the group also circulating petitions to decertify the union.  The plaintiff’s main contentions being that the salary cap and college draft were illegal because the previous collective bargaining agreement had expired.  The filing of the suit derailed the agreement between the NBA and NBPA and led to a decertification vote by the NBPA members and a lockout by the NBA on July 1.  In September Judge David Doty said he would await the outcome of the player’s decertification movement before deciding to life the NBA lockout.  Later in the month the NBA players voted 226-134 against decertification and the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified 25-2 by team representatives the next day.

A lawsuit was filed in August, 1996 by the NBA in the U.S. District Court for Southern New York to prevent Motorola from transmitting scores and game information over their paging devices using STATS (Sports Teams Analysis and Tracking Systems), claiming it was unfair competition by misappropriation, false advertising, unfair competition by false advertising and false designation of origin, copyright infringement and unlawful interception of communications.  In January, 1997 the District Court dismissed all of the NBA’s charges except for the unfair competition by misappropriation, as well as dismissing Motorola’s counterclaim.  Motorola was found guilty of the unfair competition by misappropriation charge and a permanent injunction was issued, the court also  found that the playing statistics from the game were facts and therefore not subject to copyright law.

December 1, 1997 Sprewell choked Warriors Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo during practice after a heated argument, and returned and landed a grazing punch to Carlesimo’s head after practice.  The Warriors suspended Sprewell for a minimum of 10 games and “expressly reserved its right to terminate Sprewell's contract” after the incident.  Two days later, the Warriors terminated Sprewell’s contract.  On December 4 Sprewell filed a grievance under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement to challenge the suspension and the termination of his contract.  The arbitrator found that the suspension of Sprewell should be limited to the 1997-98 season and that the termination of his contract was “not supported by just cause because after the Warriors' initial suspension of Sprewell, any residual interest of the Warriors was absorbed by the NBA's investigation of the matter.”  On May 20 Sprewell filed suit against the Warriors seeking a decision to vacate the arbitration award, but the court dismissed his lawsuit without prejudice.

Pro Basketball Legal Cases 1974-84

After failing to meet approval by the NBA Board of Governors in 1972, who voted 13-2 against approving their purchase of the Boston Celtics franchise, Irving Levin and Harold Tipton failed an antitrust suit against the league in U.S. District Court, claiming their exclusion was based solely on their relationship with maverick Seattle SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman.  The court ruled that the exclusion of Levin and Tipton did not violate antitrust law based on their intent to become partners, rather than competitors.

After the NBA and ABA failed in their attempt to agree on a merger, the ABA revived their antitrust suit in January, 1974 seeking $100 million in damages against the NBA in Federal Court in San Francisco.  Claiming the NBA failed to act in good faith during the merger talks and had a monopoly on players, the ABA asked for an injunction to prevent the NBA from signing any college players for the next four years and preventing the NBA from enforcing all of its current player contracts beyond their expiration date.  The ABA also asked the court to prevent the NBA from signing any contracts not negotiated by or paid for by individual clubs.  The NBA Board of Governors responded by voting 18-0 against any merger with the ABA.  With the Oscar Robertson Suit already in place, the players effectively blocked a merger until their suit was settled and in 1976 after the suit was concluded and with the urging of Judge Robert L. Carter, the ABA and NBA resumed merger talks which culminated in four ABA franchises (Denver, Indiana, New York and San Antonio) joining the NBA for the 1976-77 season in a 22-team league and dismissal of the antitrust suit.

Filed December 8, 1975 in U.S. District Court separately from the NBPA’s suit on December 8, 1975, the ABA accused the NBA of participating in an unlawful conspiracy and combination to violate the Sherman Act by trying to eliminate the competition from the ABA, citing their imminent draft of ABA players who had signed as underclassmen (Mel Bennett, Charles Jordan, Moses Malone, Mark Olberding, Skip Wise.  Judge Robert L. Carter rules that there was no credible evidence that there was any conspiracy or that the applications by the Denver and New York ABA franchises for NBA membership resulted from any initiative on the NBA’s part.

After Marvin Webster completed his contract with Seattle in 1978, Webster signed a free agent contract with New York for five seasons at $600,000 a year. After Seattle decided not to match New York’s offer and upon failing to agree on compensation for Seattle, the case went before NBA Commissioner Lawrence O’Brien who awarded Seattle Lonnie Shelton, a 1979 first-round draft choice and $450,000. The NBPA then filed suit claiming the compensation was excessive, and after a four-day hearing the compensation award was found to be excessive based on an earlier compensation decision by O’Brien when Houston signed Rick Barry as a free agent. The Special Master then awarded a reduced compensation of Shelton and $200,000 to $250,000 in cash or New York's 1979 first round draft choice and $450,000.

In an infamous on-court incident, Rudy Tomjanovich of Houston was horribly injured (suffering facial and skull fractures, facial lacerations and a concussion) by a punch from Kermit Washington of Los Angeles during a December 9, 1977 game. Tomjanovich later filed a lawsuit against the Lakers citing vicarious liability for Washington’s actions. The jury awarded Tomjanovich $3.25 million in damages ($1.75 million in actual damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages), with the case then settled out of court for $2 million while the decision was waiting to be heard on appeal.

WALTON v. COOK [1981]
After numerous foot injuries during his playing career with the Portland Trail Blazers, star center Bill Walton (who had moved on to the San Diego Clippers as a free agent)  filed suit against Blazers team doctor Robert Cook and twenty additional physicians from the Oregon City Orthopedic Clinic for $632,000 in lost income and medical expenses and an additional $5 million in damages claiming negligent diagnosis and treatment of his broken foot while he played for the Blazers, and failure to provide accurate information on the nature of his injuries.  The case was settled in June, 1982 prior to trial for an undisclosed amount.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to move into the vacant Los Angeles Coliseum, the San Diego Clippers relocated without seeking league permission in May, 1984.  The league then filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Clippers and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission claiming the move was in violation of the NBA’s by-laws.   In March, 1986 Federal Judge Leland Neilsen dismissed the lawsuit citing a recent antitrust decision allowing the recent move of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles, but a Federal Court in San Francisco ruled that the NBA could proceed with its lawsuit in April, 1987.  Finally, in September, the Clippers and NBA reached an out-of-court settlement with the Clippers agreeing to pay the Los Angeles Lakers a $5.5 million indemnity for moving into the Lakers' territory and to sign documents acknowledging the validity of league bylaws regarding franchise movement.

Joe Caldwell signed a guaranteed five-year contract, $1.1 million with the Carolina Cougars on October 30, 1970, after Caldwell played the first four seasons for Carolina the franchise was sold to Daniel and Ozzie Silna who moved it to St. Louis as the Spirits of St. Louis, where they added rookie Marvin Barnes.  St. Louis then alleged that Caldwell persuaded Barnes, who was unhappy with his contractual situation, to breach his contract by leaving the team in November, 1974 (Caldwell had provided Barnes with the names of three agents, one of which, Marshall Boyar, was Caldwell’s own agent, who Barnes contacted.  Caldwell testified that it was Boyar who had advised Barnes to leave the team, while Barnes, in a sworn statement claimed that he came to the decision after talking to both Caldwell and Boyar).  After Barnes returned to the team and the Spirits suspended Caldwell on December 3 and then ultimately terminated his contract.  After the Spirits did not make a payment for $70,000 in deferred compensation on January 15, 1980, Caldwell filed suit against the team for breach of contract.   In July, 1982 the court ruled in favor of Caldwell, awarding him his salary $220,000 plus interest.

As a reaction to the threat of the owners implementing a salary cap outside of the collective bargaining process the NBPA filed Lanier v. National Basketball Association in U.S. District Court on July 28 in an effort to block it.  The owners then held a press conference the following day to announce that they were filing a an unfair labor practices suit against the NPBA with the National Labor Relations Board, and were seeking give-backs from the players, including a reduction in the size of team rosters from 12 to 10, elimination of their obligation regarding player pensions and other benefits, rights to 75% of the player’s shoe endorsements and the elimination of guaranteed contracts.  The players responded with proposal for increased benefits to offset the cost of living, all contracts be guaranteed and a share of the league’s television revenues.  In September Special Master Kinston Brewster ruled in the players favor stating that a salary cap would violate the settlement of the Oscar Robertson Suit.  In October, the NBA offered a new proposal - a guaranteed compensation plan (a fixed 40% of gross revenues up to $250 million and 30% thereafter) and maximum and minimum team salaries, with NPBA General Counsel Larry Fleisher stating that any agreement must take effect after the expiration of the Oscar Robertson Suit settlement in 1987.  The NBA then floated the possibility of up to five franchises being eliminated (Cleveland, Indiana, Kansas City, San Diego and Utah), and then filed a petition with the Special Master to delay free agent rights if the players go on strike causing the players to set a April 1, 1983 strike deadline.  Finally, in March, the players agreed to allow the implementation of a salary cap and a collective bargaining agreement was reached on March 30 which included a salary cap guaranteeing the players 53% of the NBA’s gross revenues (an expected $3.6 million per team in 1983-84), increased minimum salaries for rookies and a guarantee that the league will maintain 253 player jobs.

When Leon Wood was drafted with the 10th overall pick by Philadelphia in 1984, he was offered a one-year $75,000 minimum salary due to salary cap limitations.  Wood refused the offer and instead filed an antitrust suit against the league on September 14, in an effort to overturn the salary cap.  In October it was ruled that the salary cap and college draft fell under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and “At the time an agreement is signed between the owners and the players' exclusive bargaining representative, all players within the bargaining unit and those who enter the bargaining unit during the life of the agreement are bound by its terms.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pro Basketball Legal Cases 1969-1973

With the success of Connie Hawkins’ suit against the NBA for boycotting him after his name was mentioned in the investigation of the 1960-61 college point-shaving scandal, Doug Moe (who was dismissed after five minutes before the grand jury with all parties agreeing that his involvement was minor) and Roger Brown both filed their own lawsuits to recoup money lost due to the NBA’s boycott of them at the same time.  Moe been drafted by the Chicago Packers, but was blacklisted by the league, and then subsequently worked selling insurance, then did a stint in the United States Army and played professional basketball in Italy before signing with the ABA New Orleans club in 1967.  Brown was the first player signed by the Indiana Pacers in 1967 toiling as a factory worker at the General Motors Plant in Dayton, Ohio and playing AAU basketball for Jones Brothers Mortuaries. Ultimately they met with success as well and settled with the NBA out of court, with Brown remaining in the ABA as a player, and Moe as Larry Brown’s long-time assistant coach.

In 1969, after two years in Oakland, Pat Boone and Ken Davidson sold their ABA franchise to a group headed by Earl Foreman who moved the franchise to play in Washington, DC as the Washington Capitols.  Unhappy with the prospect of playing there, Rick Barry signed a five-year contract to play with the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors (who Barry had left in 1967 to join the Oaks) with the intent of joining them for the 1969-70 season, which the Capitols answered by filing a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the Warriors.  Despite claims from Barry and the Warriors that Barry’s contract with Oakland was not assignable to Washington and that Oakland signed Barry with “unclean hands,” the court ruled otherwise, granting the injunction and in effect forcing Barry to honor the final two years of his ABA contract.

In August, 1969 the ABA’s Denver Rockets signed underclassman Spencer Haywood to a three-year, $450,000 contract, and Haywood was clearly the best player in the ABA during the 1969-70 season averaging 30 points and 19.5 rebounds and winning the league’s MVP award.  Early in 1970 Haywood asked Denver to renegotiate his contract, and he and Denver agreed to rescind their prior agreement and they agreed to a six-year contract totaling an estimated $1.9 million.  The contract (which paid him $47,000 the first two years, $75,000 the remaining four and the rest through a mutual growth fund) was signed by Haywood and his legal guardian on April 1, 1970.  After consulting with an attorney in the summer of 1970 and being advised that the contract did not provide for guaranteed compensation totaling $1.9 million, Haywood gave written notice to Denver in November that he considered his contract to be invalid because of fraudulent misrepresentations made to him and that he disavowed and rescinded the contract.  In December Haywood signed a six-year, $1.5 million contract with Seattle of the NBA, despite the understanding that the NBA considered him to be ineligible because it had not been four years since the graduation of his high school class.  In January, Haywood was given a temporary injunction in U.S. District Court which prevented the NBA from taking punitive action against Seattle for signing him.  That temporary injunction was overturned by an Appeals Court in mid-February, but in early March the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Haywood’s favor and allowed him to remain in the NBA.  Denver and Haywood then reached an out-of-court settlement clearing the way for him to remain in Seattle.

Filed in April, 1970 amidst rumors of an NBA/ABA merger, the Oscar Robertson Suit (named after the sitting NBPA President) charged the leagues with conspiring to restrain competition through use of the reserve clause, college draft and Uniform Players Contract, looking to block any proposed merger under antitrust laws. In May, 1970 the U.S. District Court in New York agreed, issuing a restraining order to prevent the two leagues form merging and allowing them to continue merger talks in order to make a petition to Congress in order to get an antitrust exemption. When their proposal to Congress was unacceptable to the players the temporary restraining order was changed to allow for an agreement under the provision that it "deal specifically with and indicate the disposition of uniform player contracts, the common draft, and the reserve clause." In February, 1976 the two sides finally settled the Oscar Robertson Suit as they negotiated a system that gave the players limited free agency (with compensation for all player signings until 1980, after which teams held the right of first refusal to match free agent offers), eliminating the perpetual reserve clause included in the Uniform Player Contract, and paying the players $4.3 million in damages (which went to over 500 different players) and $1 million in legal fees. The NBA and ABA then negotiated a merger of the two leagues in June with four clubs - Denver, Indiana, New York and San Antonio joining the NBA.

When Atlanta signed Pete Maravich to a $2 million contract in 1970 it drastically changed their financial position and their relationship with joe Caldwell.  Caldwell held out for a similar contract, and eventually signed with the ABA’s Carolina Cougars in October (5 years, $1.1 million - $150,000 a year, $70,000 in deferred compensation through 1980).  The Hawks filed suit in Federal Court in Greensboro against Caldwell and Southern Sports Corp. of Greensboro in November, claiming the option year of his contract meant they held his rights for the 1970-71 season.  Judge Edwin M. Stanley ruled in Caldwell’s favor in January, 1971 stating that the Hawks had offered Caldwell less than 75% of his previous salary, which violating the reserve clause in his contract and made him a free agent.

After signing with the ABA’s Denver Rockets as an undergraduate in 1969 and being named the league’s Most Valuable Player Spencer Haywood took advantage of a loophole in his contract to sign a six-year $1.9 million contract with the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics in December, 1970 despite the NBA 25-year-old rule against signing college undergraduates. After receiving a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and sorting out a litany of lawsuits Haywood eventually suited up for Seattle (despite the protests of the league and the other clubs). After the temporary restraining order was overturned in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Haywood’s favor, preventing the league from taking action against the Sonics for playing him. Haywood’s challenging of the NBA ‘four-year rule’ lead to players being allowed to enter the league before their high school class had attended four years of college, first through by proving financial hardship, then eventually by simply announcing their intention to turn professional.

In August, 1969 the Carolina Cougars of the ABA signed Billy Cunningham, who was under contract with Philadelphia for the 1969-70 season, to a three-year, $455,000 contract to take effect after Cunningham played out his option year (1970-71) with Philadelphia.  Included in the contract was a provision that if Cunningham played the season with Philadelphia for a salary less than $100,000 Carolina would make up the difference no later than May 15.  In January, 1971 Cunningham orally agreed to sign a five-year, $1.175 million contract with Philadelphia, but the contract was not signed while insurance was being arranged.  In the meantime Cunningham, who was playing for $225,000, filed for payment of the agreement with Carolina.  When Carolina refused to make the payment, Cunningham notified the Cougars that he considered the contract breached, and then signing the contract with Philadelphia.  Carolina then filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Cunningham to prevent him from playing for any team other than Carolina, but the court ruled that Carolina had “unclean hands” and had breached their contract with Cunningham.  On appeal the court ruled that Carolina did not have “unclean hands” and that any breach of the contract was to unsubstantial to justify denying an injunction and issue an injunction for the duration of the contract, and that the contention that Cunningham’s contract was not assignable was meritless.  Cunningham then went on to play from 1971-72 to 1973-74, returning to Philadelphia in 1974-75.

In September, 1971 a Senate subcommittee began hearing on a possible ABA/NBA merger.  In March, 1972 the ABA filed an antitrust suit against the NBA seeking $100 million in damages, charging the NBA and its 14 clubs with violations of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act and asked the court to enjoin the NBA from continuing its illegal practices (which included applying economic pressure which enabled the NBA to sign 39 of 40 “superstars” for the 1967-68 season, using the option clause and inducing ABA players to breach their contracts).  In May Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr., chairman of the Senate antitrust and monopoly subcommittee tells Congress that the proposed merger between the NBA and ABA should be delayed until the league handles the discipline of the owners of the Cincinnati ownership who were revealed to be illegally concealing ownership of a Las Vegas casino, and until Curt Flood’s antitrust suit against Major League Baseball concludes. A Senate Judiciary Committee then agreed in September to a bill that would allow a merger while doing away with the reserve clause, but amendments to the bill (such as no entry fee for ABA clubs, a guarantee of 30% of the home gate to visiting teams, players being signed to one-year contracts with an option for a second year, and prohibition of the television of Tuesday, Thursday and Friday night games during the high school and college basketball season) made the bill unappealing to the NBA, and at the same time, a merger bill which the owners approved by a Senate committee, but did not meet the approval of the Senate or the NBA players.  In March, 1973 Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana introduced a bill in Congress that would allow a merger and do away with the uniform player's contract and the option clause but this alternative proved unpopular with the owners.  A decision by a federal court in August followed authorizing the ABA and NBA to seek a merger without Congressional approval, but the 1971 merger agreement in 1971 expired in January, 1974 and the merger talks stalled.

In 1969 when John Brisker became eligible for the annual NBA draft he went unselected, and the Philadelphia 76ers requested that Brisker be places on their supplemental draft list so they would have negotiating rights to him.  Brisker with Pittsburgh of the ABA and remained there until the club folded in 1972.  Brisker’s agent, AL Ross, then contacted the Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA expressing a desire to play there.  In June, 1972 NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy then notified Brisker that he was a free agent and Brisker signed with Seattle in August. A week after the signing Philadelphia filed formal charges with Commissioner Kennedy claiming that Seattle’s signing of Brisker violated NBA by-laws since he was still on Philadelphia’s draft list, Kennedy then went on to approve Brisker’s contract with Seattle and Philadelphia brought the signing before the NBA Board of Governors, who ruled that Seattle had violated the league constitution.  Kennedy then fined Seattle $10,000 and awarded their 1973 first-round draft choice to Philadelphia.  A suit was then filed in U.S. District Court in New York to invalidate the finding and compensation and U.S. District Court Judge John B. Tenney ruled that Kennedy had “usurped the authority of the NBA Board of Governors” and enjoined Philadelphia from exercising Seattle first-round draft choice and ruled that the NBA was not a party to the decision and the decision and did not require them to restore the pick to Seattle.  After delaying the NBA draft two weeks the NBA Board of Governors chose to restore the pick to Seattle and then award a bonus selection at the end of the 1973 draft and 1973 and 1974 second-round draft choices from Seattle.

After a stellar rookie season with the ABA’s Virginia Squires, Julius Erving signed with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks in April, 1972, agreeing to a five-year, $1.5 million contract (compared to the four-year, $500,000 deal Erving had received in 1971).  Erving then filed a suit against the Squires in District Court in New York in June, 1972, seeing the rescission of his contract and a awarding of damages for misrepresentation by his agent, Steve Arnold, who was also an agent for the ABA. Erving’s contract included an arbitration clause that the ABA Commissioner would arbitrate any contract disputes.  However, the Commissioner was listed as a partner of the law firm which represented Virginia.  A District Court had ruled that the Commissioner could not serve as arbiter and ordered the appointment of a replacement.  In an attempt to prevent Erving from playing for the Hawks Virginia filed a counterclaim asking that the case be sent to an arbiter and an injunction be issued to prevent Erving from playing for any other team than the Squires (he appeared in two preseason games as a Hawk).  The court granted the injunction to the Squires and remitted the case to arbitration.  Ultimately, Erving retired to the Squires for the 1972-73 season and was then traded to the New York Nets in 1973, where he was signed to a new contract.

Filed by The Munchak Corp. (owned by Ted Munchak), which assumed the business interests of the Carolina Cougars, who maintained that a typographical error in Joe Caldwell’s original contract with the Cougars multiplied his pension benefits tenfold (claiming that it should have read $60 per month for each year he played professional basketball, rather than $600).  It was ruled that the Cougars were in fact obligated to pay Caldwell pension payments of $6,000 a month beginning at age 55.  An appeal by Munchak was denied in 1980 by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BAA/NBA Lost Statistics


During the early years of the BAA and NBA there were several years in which the final standings resulted in ties.  To break the ties and to determine playoff positions the tied teams engaged in single game tiebreaker playoffs.  The league, however, did not include the individual statistics from these games in either the regular-season totals or in the playoff totals. (see next paragraph.)  As a result, players such as George Mikan, Dolph Schayes are lacking points scored in NBA games from their career records.  For example, George Mikan scored 35 points in a March 21, 1950 tiebreaker game for first place and 13 points on March 16, 1956 in a second place tiebreaker game yet neither is included in either his regular-season or playoff totals in any of the various NBA encyclopedias and official guides.  Logically, they should be included in one of the two categories.  Major League Baseball treats tiebreakers as part of the regular season and I believe that the NBA should do the same.  

To show how inconsistent the NBA was in its early days, the 1952-53 season also had two sets of ties.  The Boston Celtics and Syracuse Nationals tied for second place in the Eastern Division and the Milwaukee Hawks and Indianapolis Olympians tied for fourth in the West.  The Nats defeated the Celtics 72-68 on March 17, 1953, one day after the end of their regular season and the Olympians defeated the Hawks 74-69 on March 18, 1953, one day after the end of their regular season. Both sets of games were added to the regular season totals and all individual statistics from those two games were incorporated into the regular season totals as well. 

Nine different teams took part in the other eight tiebreaker games during the league’s first 10 years with the Chicago Stags, Minneapolis Lakers and St. Louis Hawks each participating in three games, the Fort Wayne Pistons, two games and the Baltimore Bullets, New York Knickerbockers, Rochester Royals, Syracuse Nationals and Washington Capitols, one each. There were 108 different players who played in tiebreakers and whose individual statistics in those games have been lost.  Jack Coleman and Slater Martin each played in four tiebreakers, seven players played in three tiebreakers each and 19 players in two each.  Max Zaslofsky and Slater Martin each scored 59 points in tiebreakers, Bob Pettit had 51, George Mikan, 48, Clyde Lovellette 47, Jack McMahon 44, Cliff Hagan, 43, Ed Macauley, 42, Stan Miasek, 41 and Chuck Share, 40. Slater Martin fouled out of three of his four tiebreaker games, Ed Kalafat and Vern Mikkelsen were each disqualified twice in tiebreakers. Mikkelsen holds the career record for most disqualifications with 127 and if these tiebreaker games are included as regular season games that record should now be 129.  He also fouled out of two other regular season NBA games that were not included in the "official" statistics (in the 1954-55 season against the Baltimore Bullets) but that’s another story.

In the 1957-58 season the Cincinnati Royals and Detroit Pistons tied for second place in the Western Division with records of 33-39 but that year the NBA did the sensible thing and let the two teams have a coin flip to decide home court advantage.  Since that year the NBA has instituted various methods to break regular-season ties and as a result the NBA tiebreaker game is a thing of the past. 

Details of the ten tiebreaker games as found in newspaper box scores appear below.

TIEBREAKERS # 1 and 2 - 1947-48 SEASON

The Western Division in the 1947-48 BAA season ended in an unusual fashion. The first place team, St. Louis Bombers had a record of 29-19 while the other three teams - Baltimore Bullets, Chicago Stags and Washington Capitols all had records of 28-20.
Two tiebreaker games were played to determine which two of the three teams would be placed second and third and qualify for the post-season playoffs. Chicago played Washington in the first game and after the Capitols, played Baltimore in the next game.

March 23, 1948 @ Chicago, IL

Irv Torgoff      3  4   6    10     Max Zaslofsky   9  6   8    24
Dick O’Keefe     0  1   2     1     Stan Miasek     4  4   6    12
John Norlander   3  1   1     7     Chuck Gilmur    2  6   7    10
John Mahnken     4  0   1     8     Jim Seminoff    6  1   4    13
Bones McKinney   1  2   3     4     Gene Vance      4  5   5    13
Bob Feerick      6  4   4    16     Marvin Rottner  1  0   0     2
Fred Scolari     7  2   3    16
Sonny Hertzberg  4  0   0     8
Jack Tingle      0  0   1     0
Totals          28 14  21    70     Totals         26 22 30     74

                1  2  3  4  T
WSC             ? 36 16 18 70
CHS             ? 32 27 15 74

March 25, 1948 @ Chicago, IL

Carl Meinhold     3  0  0      6     Max Zaslofsky    6  9  11    21
Paul Hoffman      0  2  3      2     Stan Miasek      4  8  12    16
Grady Lewis       1  2  2      4     Marvin Rottner   1  0   0     2
Connie Simmons    3  4  4     10     Chuck Gilmur     3  2   5     8
Kleggie Hermsen   4  6  8     14     Paul Huston      2  0   0     4
Dick Schulz       4  5  5     13     Andy Phillip     3  2   4     8
Buddy Jeannette   2  8  9     12     Gene Vance       3  1   2     7
Chick Reiser      3  7  9     13     Jim Seminoff     3  0   1     6
?                 0  1  1      1     Ben Schadler     0  0   0     0
Totals           20 35 41     75     Totals          25 22  35    72

                1  2  3  4  T
BLB            10 21 17 27 75
CHS            17 15 21 19 72

TIEBREAKERS # 3 and 4 - 1949-50 SEASON

The Central Division of the 17-team 1950 NBA featured a tie between the Minneapolis Lakers and Rochester  Royals for first place at 51-17 each and also one for third place between the Fort Wayne Pistons and Chicago Stags at 40-28 each.  Although all four teams qualified for the post-season playoffs, the two tied pairs played tiebreakers to determine their final positions.  The Lakers won an additional $1,000 for their team by winning their tiebreaker and finishing first.

March 20, 1950 @ Fort Wayne, IN

Fred Schaus      8  4   6  2 20     Max Zaslofsky     4  6   7  3 14
Bob Carpenter    5  3   3  0 13     Joe Graboski      1  2   2  2  4
Bob Harris       4  4   5  3 12     Odie Spears       4  0   0  4  8
Jerry Nagel      0  0   0  0  0     Stan Miasek       5  3   4  3 13
Howie Schultz    1  3   6  2  5     George Nostrand   0  1   1  1  1
Ralph Johnson    2  2   2  4  6     Kleggie Hermsen   3  2   5  4  8
Curly Armstrong  0  2   2  3  2     Frank Kudelka     0  3   7  5  3
Duane Klueh      4  1   2  1  9     Kenny Rollins     1  0   0  1  2
Clint Wager      0  1   1  1  1     Andy Phillip      3  2   2  3  8
Jack Kerris      3  6   6  3 12     Leo Barnhorst     4  0   0  4  8
John Oldham      2  2   3  4  6     Joe Bradley       0  0   0  1  0
Totals          29 28  36 23 86     Totals           25 19  28 31 69

               1  2   3   4  T
FTW              46         86
CHS              35         69

March 21 1950 @ Rochester, NY

Bob Davies     10  6   6  3 26     Vern Mikkelsen   3  6   7  4 12
Red Holzman     5  2   3  1 12     Arnie Ferrin     1  2   2  5  4
Pep Saul        0  1   1  0  1     Jim Pollard      3  3   3  2  9
Bill Calhoun    3  0   1  2  6     Tony Jaros       2  0   0  1  4
Arnie Risen     3  2   5  3  8     George Mikan    13  9  12  3 35
Ed Mikan        2  0   0  1  4     Bob Harrison     0  0   0  0  0
Arnie Johnson   1  1   1  5  3     Slater Martin    1  0   0  6  2
Jack Coleman    2  0   1  6  4     Herm Schaefer    5  2   2  3 12
Bobby Wanzer    2  7   8  0 11     
Fran Curran     0  1   1  1  1
Totals         28 20  27 22 76     Totals          28 22  26 24 78

                1  2  3  4  T
MPL               36       78
ROC               43       76

Notes - Tony Jaros hit a 40 foot set shot with two seconds remaining to win the game.
Attendance - 4,310 standing room only

TIEBREAKERS # 5 and 6 - 1952-53 SEASON

There were two ties for position in the 1952-53 season.  The Boston Celtics and Syracuse Nationals both finished the Eastern Division with records of 46-24 and were tied for second place.  The Milwaukee Hawks and Indianapolis Olympians tied for fourth place in the Western Division with records of 27-43. That year the top four teams in each division competed in the post-season playoffs so the Hawks-Olympians game determined which team of the two would make the playoffs. The Celtics-Nats game on the other hand only decided which team would receive the $1,500 second place team bonus money and home court advantage since the first round of the playoffs that year was contested between the first and fourth place teams and second and third place teams and the Celtics and Nats would meet in the playoffs regardless of the outcome of their tiebreaker.

In 1952-53, the NBA decided to include the tiebreaker games as part of their regular season statistics so that the NBA “official” statistics for the season show the Knicks with a first place record of 47-23, the Nats only one-half game behind at 47-24 and the Celtics at 46-25.  The NBA Official Guides and various basketball encyclopedias don’t even mention the fact that the regular season ended in a tie. All individual stats from the tiebreakers that season are also included with the regular season statistics.

March 17, 1953 @ Syracuse, NY (Syracuse Coliseum)

Dolph Schayes     6 11  15  3 23     Chuck Cooper   1  2   3  6  4
Bill Gabor        2  4   6  4  8     Bob Brannum    2  0   0  6  4   
Earl Lloyd        1  1   2  4  3     Bob Harris     3  7  10  5 13
Red Rocha         2  0   0  4  4     Ed Macauley    3  9  10  2 15
Noble Jorgensen   2  4   7  4  8     John Mahnken   0  0   0  1  0
Paul Seymour      4  9   9  4 17     Bob Cousy      5  6   9  6 16
George King       1  5   6  5  7     Bill Sharman   5  4   5  5 14
Wally Osterkorn   1  0   0  3  2     Bob Donham     1  0   0  4  2
Totals           19 34  45 31 72     Totals        20 28  37 35 68

                 1  2  3  4  T
SYR             19 16 14 23 72
BOS             16 17 21 14 68

Notes - Attendance 2,834
Officials - Arnie Heft and Joe Serafin
Schayes - 21 rebounds, 4 assists
Red Auerbach fined for "verbally attacking League President Maurice Podoloff outside the dressing room after the game.  The fine must be paid before the next game otherwise Auerbach will be banned from the bench."

March 18, 1953 @ Milwaukee, WI (Pius XI High School)

Leo Barnhorst   8  0   5  1 16     Jack Nichols       5  2   5  6 12
Bob Lavoy       2  1   2  6  5     George Ratkovicz   6  2   3  3 14
Mel Payton      1  1   2  1  3     Mel Hutchins       5  3   3  6 13
Bob Zawoluk     1  0   3  5  2     Bill Calhoun       4  5   7  2 13
Joe Graboski    4  7   8  4 15     John Payak         0  4   7  4  4
Paul Walther    2  6   7  6 10     Stan Miasek        1  0   1  3  2
Bill Tosheff    5  8   9  5 18     Al Masino          1  2   4  6  4
Gene Rhodes     1  3   3  0  5     Dillard Crocker    2  2   3  5  6
                                   Bucky McConnell    0  1   1  2  1
Totals         24 26  39 28 74     Totals            24 21  34 37 69

                 1  2  3  4  T
INO             16 18 14 26 74
MLH             19 12 17 21 69

Notes - Officials - Charley Eckman and Bill Biebel

TIEBREAKERS # 7 and 8 - 1955-56 SEASON

In the 1955-56 NBA season the New York Knickerbockers and Syracuse Nationals finished tied for third place in the Eastern Division with records of 35-37.  Since only the top three teams qualified for the post-season playoffs the Knicks and Nats played a tiebreaker to determine which of them would continue in the playoffs.  In the Western Division the Minneapolis Lakers and St. Louis Hawks tied for second place with records of 33-39 (both less than the Knicks and Nats.)  Although both the Lakers and Hawks qualified for the post-season playoffs they nonetheless played a tiebreaker to determine which of them would receive home court advantage in the best-of-three first round of the playoffs.

March 15, 1956 @ Syracuse, NY

Harry Gallatin   5  9  11  3 19     Dolph Schayes   6  2   3  6 14
Kenny Sears      6  6   8  4 18     Red Rocha       2  2   2  2  6
Ray Felix        3  3   8  5  9     Jim Tucker      3  0   0  3  6
Carl Braun       3  2   6  3  8     Ed Conlin       3  5   7  3 11
Jim Baechtold    0  1   1  1  1     John Kerr       6  0   4  3 12
Gene Shue        1  1   1  1  3     Earl Lloyd      3  0   0  4  6
Dick McGuire     2  0   1  5  4     Paul Seymour    2  4   6  3  8
Nat Clifton      6  3   5  4 15     George King     4  3   6  3 11
                                    Dick Farley     2  0   2  1  4
                                    Billy Kenville  1  2   2  0  4
Totals          26 25  41 26 77     Totals         32 18  32 28 82

                1  2  3  4  T
NYK            19 21 21 16 77
SYR            17 27 20 18 82

Notes - The game was played on a Thursday afternoon on a court laid down over ice since the Ice Capades were scheduled for that evening.
Attendance - 3,951
Officials - Sid Borgia, Mendy Rudolph

March 16, 1956 @ St. Louis, MO

Vern Mikkelsen     4  3   5  6  11     Bob Pettit      7  8  16  3 22
Dick Schnittker    4  6   6  4  14     Jack Coleman    6  2   3  1 14
Lew Hitch          0  0   0  1   0     Alex Hannum     3  0   2  5  6
Ed Kalafat         1  1   1  6   3     Chuck Share     6  9  17  5 21
Clyde Lovellette   6  5   7  6  17     Med Park        1  0   2  0  2
George Mikan       4  5   7  2  13     Jack McMahon    3  1   2  3  7
Whitey Skoog       4  2   2  5  10     Bob Harrison    0  1   3  4  1
Slater Martin      9 10  13  6  28     Bob Schafer     1  0   0  1  2
Chuck Mencel       1  5   6  0   7     Jack Stephens   2  2   4  6  6
Dick Garmaker      0  0   0  1   0     Al Ferrari      4  8  12  6 16
Totals            33 37  47 37 103     Totals         33 31  61 34 97

               1  2  3  4   T
MPL           27 25 29 22 103
STL           33 19 17 28  97

TIEBREAKERS # 9 and 10 - 1956-57 SEASON

The 1956-57 NBA regular season finished in an unusual way. In the Eastern Division, the New York Knickerbockers finished in fourth place with a record of 36-36 and did not qualify for the post-season playoffs. In the Western Division, the St. Louis Hawks, Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons all finished with records of 34-38, worse than the Knicks yet all three qualified for the playoffs.  However, to determine the final placing and consequent playoff matchups two tiebreaker games were held.  Minneapolis drew a bye for the first game and the Hawks received the home court for both tiebreakers since they won 8 of 12 games from both the Pistons and Lakers during the season.

March 14, 1957 @ St. Louis, MO

George Yardley   7 12      3  26     Bob Pettit      5  3      5  13
Mel Hutchins     4  5      3  13     Ed Macauley     6  6      5  18
Red Rocha        0  0      1   0     Jack Coleman    3  0      2   6
Bill Thieben     2  0      0   4     Chuck Share     2  6      2  10
Larry Foust      8  4      6  20     Jack McMahon   11  2      2  24
Bob Houbregs     3  4      2  10     Slater Martin   7  3      5  17
Billy Kenville   0  0      0   0     Cliff Hagan     6  3      5  15
Gene Shue        7  8      2  22     Med Park        4  4      3  12
Chuck Noble      1  0      4   2
Corky Devlin     2  2      2   6
Totals          34 35  43 23 103     Totals         44 27  36 29 115

               1  2  3  4   T
FTW           29 18 33 23 103
STL           21 45 24 25 115

March 16 1957 @ St. Louis, MO

Vern Mikkelsen     5  0      6  10     Bob Pettit      6  4      2  16
Dick Schnittker    1  8      2  10     Jack Coleman    3  1      4   7
Jim Paxson         1  2      1   4     Ed Macauley     5 14      4  24
Ed Kalafat         3  2      6   8     Cliff Hagan    11  6      4  28
Clyde Lovellette  11  8      1  30     Chuck Share     4  1      4   9
Walter Dukes       2  0      6   4     Alex Hannum     0  0      2   0
Bob Leonard        4  9      1  17     Irv Bemoras     0  1      0   1
Dick Garmaker      8  6      6  22     Jack McMahon    5  3      6  13
Chuck Mencel       2  2      2   6     Med Park        1  2      5   4
                                       Slater Martin   5  2      6  12
Totals            37 37  54 31 111     Totals         40 34  46 37 114

              1  2  3  4 OT   T
MPL          19 24 29 28 11 111
STL          22 21 27 30 14 114 

Notes - Fight between McMahon and Leonard but neither ejected.
Pettit played with a fractured left wrist in a cast.
Hawks won $4,000 first place money and bye in first round of Western Division Playoffs
Attendance - 3, 500 est.
National television - NBC - 2 pm. start