This is an archive of selected biographies that have appeared or will appear on the front page of Portal:Basketball. To nominate a biography, please see Portal:Basketball/Selected content nominations.
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Tim Duncan (born 1976) is a Virgin Islander American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6'11" (2.11 m), 260-pound (118 kg) power forward/center is a four-time NBA champion, a three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, and the current captain of the Spurs. He has also won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award twice, and has been voted into 11 NBA All-Star Games, 11 All-NBA Teams, and 11 All-Defensive Teams. Duncan graduated from college before entering the 1997 NBA Draft as the number one pick, and his list of accomplishments and leadership in the Spurs' NBA title runs in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007 have led basketball experts to consider him to be one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. Off the court, Duncan is known for his quiet and unassuming ways, as well as his active philanthropy. He holds an honors degree in psychology and created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States.
Michael Jordan is a retired American professional basketball player. Widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he became one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA (National Basketball Association) around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984 and quickly emerged as one of the stars of the league. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the foul line at Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness". Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include five NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances and three All-Star MVPs, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA record for highest career regular season scoring average with 30.1 points per game, as well as averaging a record 33.4 points per game in the playoffs. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century.
Magic Johnson (born 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired in 1991 after announcing that he had HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. He retired again for four years, but returned in 1996 to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time. Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA's all-time leader in assists per game. Johnson was a member of the "Dream Team", the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. He was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Yao Ming (born 1980) is a Chinese professional basketball player who plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently the tallest player in the NBA, at 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m). Yao, who was born in Shanghai, China, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association, winning a championship in his final year. He entered the 2002 NBA Draft, and after negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, he was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick of the draft. He has since been selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game in all six of his seasons, and has been named to the All-NBA Team four times. However, the Rockets have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since he joined the team, and he has missed significant time due to injury in each of the past three seasons. Yao is married to Ye Li, a former player for the China women's national basketball team. He is one of China's most well-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies, and he has been the richest celebrity in China for five straight years. He has also co-written an autobiography of his life with Ric Bucher, and his rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary film.
Juwan Howard (born 1973) is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He signed for the Heat (his eighth NBA team) in 2010, reaching the playoffs for the sixth time and making his first career NBA Finals appearance. Howard won his first NBA championship with Miami the following year. A one-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA power forward, he began his NBA career as the fifth overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets. Before he was drafted, he starred as an All-American on the Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team. At Michigan he was part of the Fab Five recruiting class of 1991 that twice reached the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Division I Basketball Championship. During his rookie year with the Bullets, he became the first player to graduate on time with his class after leaving college early to play in the NBA. After one season as an All-Rookie player and a second as an All-Star and an All-NBA performer, he became the first NBA player to sign a $100 million contract. He has developed a reputation as a humanitarian for his civic commitment.
Bill Russell (born 1934) is an American retired professional basketball player, widely considered one of the best in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. Playing center for the Boston Celtics, he was the centerpiece of their dynasty.
A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career, and jointly holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. He also won a 1956 Olympics gold medal as captain of the U.S. national basketball team.
Russell's shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics's success. He led the NBA in rebounds four times, and remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game.
Russell was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA and the first African American NBA coach. For his accomplishments in the Civil Rights Movement on and off the court, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Russell is a member of three basketball Halls of Fame (Naismith Memorial, National Collegiate, and FIBA) and the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is named in his honor.
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