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1979–80 NBA season

1979–80 NBA season

The 1979–80 NBA season was the 34th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals, and is notable for being the year in which the three-point field goal was adopted.

1979–80 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationOctober 12, 1979 – March 30, 1980
Apr 2–30, 1980 (Playoffs)
May 4–16, 1980 (Finals)
Number of teams22
TV partner(s)CBS, USA
Top draft pickMagic Johnson
Picked byLos Angeles Lakers
Regular season
Top seedBoston Celtics
Season MVPKareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles)
Top scorerGeorge Gervin (San Antonio)
Eastern championsPhiladelphia 76ers
  Eastern runners-upBoston Celtics
Western championsLos Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-upSeattle SuperSonics
ChampionsLos Angeles Lakers
  Runners-upPhiladelphia 76ers
Finals MVPMagic Johnson (Los Angeles)

Notable occurrences

  • The NBA officially adopts the three-point field goal. Boston Celtics guard Chris Ford made the first three-pointer on October 12, 1979, against the Houston Rockets.

  • The number of officials is reduced from three to two following a one-season experiment with three-man officiating crews. The three-official system will be re-adopted permanently for the 1988–89 season.

  • The Jazz relocate from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Salt Lake City, Utah, and move from the Central Division to the Midwest Division (with the Indiana Pacers replacing them).

  • The Kansas City Kings are forced to play most of the season at the Municipal Auditorium after the roof at Kemper Arena collapses due to high wind on June 4, 1979. The Kings played the 1972–73 and 1973–74 seasons at Municipal Auditorium while splitting their home schedule between Kansas City and Omaha.

  • Dr. Jerry Buss purchases the Los Angeles Lakers franchise from Jack Kent Cooke prior to the season.

  • The 1980 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, with the East defeating the West 144–136 in overtime. George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs wins the game's MVP award.

  • This was the first season the NBA had a cable television partner. The USA Network signed a three-year, 1.5 million dollar deal.

  • This was both Magic Johnson’s and Larry Bird’s rookie seasons and is considered to be the birth of the modern game.[1]

  • Darryl Dawkins broke two backboards: one at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium on November 13, 1979, and a second backboard 23 days later at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Because his dunks resulted in delays while teams went to find another backboard, the NBA eventually modified their basketball rims to make them collapsible.

  • Former NBA official and CBS analyst Mendy Rudolph died on July 4, 1979. All NBA referee shirts sport the No. 5 patch in his honor, and it was retired permanently.

  • Finishing 16–66, the Detroit Pistons suffer the worst NBA record since the infamous 1972–73 76ers won only nine games. In between, no team had won fewer than 22 in a season, but expansion and the availability of more-skilled players from overseas made such poor records more common in subsequent seasons.[2]

  • It was the final season for future hall of famers Rick Barry, Walt Frazier and Pete Maravich.

Coaching changes
Team1978–79 coach1979–80 coach
Boston CelticsDave CowensBill Fitch
Chicago BullsScotty RobertsonJerry Sloan
Cleveland CavaliersBill FitchStan Albeck
Houston RocketsTom NissalkeDel Harris
Los Angeles LakersJerry WestPaul Westhead
New Orleans/Utah JazzElgin BaylorTom Nissalke
TeamOutgoing coachIncoming coach
Detroit PistonsDick VitaleRichie Adubato
Golden State WarriorsAl AttlesJohnny Bach
San Antonio SpursDoug MoeBob Bass

Final standings

By division

Atlantic DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Boston Celtics6121.74435–626–1517–7
x-Philadelphia 76ers5923.720236–523–1819–5
x-Washington Bullets3943.4762224–1715–269–15
New York Knicks3943.4762225–1614–278–16
New Jersey Nets3448.4152722–1912–297–17
Central DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Atlanta Hawks5032.61032–918–2321–9
x-Houston Rockets4141.500929–1212–2920–10
x-San Antonio Spurs4141.500927–1414–2714–16
Cleveland Cavaliers3745.4511328–139–3216–14
Indiana Pacers3745.4511326–1511–3015–15
Detroit Pistons1666.1953413–283–384–26
Midwest DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Milwaukee Bucks4933.59828–1221–2115–9
x-Kansas City Kings4735.573230–1117–2418–6
Chicago Bulls3052.3661921–209–328–16
Denver Nuggets3052.3661924–176–3510–14
Utah Jazz2458.2932517–247–349–15
Pacific DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Los Angeles Lakers6022.73237–423–1819–11
x-Seattle SuperSonics5626.683433–823–1818–12
x-Phoenix Suns5527.671537–518–2219–11
x-Portland Trail Blazers3844.4632226–1512–2913–17
San Diego Clippers3547.4272524–1711–3013–17
Golden State Warriors2458.2933615–269–328–22

By conference

Eastern Conference
1z-Boston Celtics6121.744
2y-Atlanta Hawks5032.61011
3x-Philadelphia 76ers5923.7202
4x-Houston Rockets4141.50020
5x-San Antonio Spurs4141.50020
6x-Washington Bullets3943.47622
7New York Knicks3943.47622
8Cleveland Cavaliers3745.45124
8Indiana Pacers3745.45124
10New Jersey Nets3448.41527
11Detroit Pistons1666.19544

Western Conference
1c-Los Angeles Lakers6022.732
2y-Milwaukee Bucks4933.59811
3x-Seattle SuperSonics5626.6834
4x-Phoenix Suns5527.6715
5x-Kansas City Kings4735.57313
6x-Portland Trail Blazers3844.46322
7San Diego Clippers3547.42725
8Chicago Bulls3052.36630
9Denver Nuggets3052.36630
10Utah Jazz2458.29336
11Golden State Warriors2458.29336


  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs and first round bye

  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs and first round bye

  • y – Clinched division title and first round bye

  • x – Clinched playoff spot


Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.

First RoundConference SemifinalsConference FinalsNBA Finals
1Los Angeles4
5Kansas City1
1Los Angeles4
Western Conference
W1Los Angeles4
5San Antonio1
Eastern Conference

Statistics leaders

Points per gameGeorge GervinSan Antonio Spurs33.1
Rebounds per gameSwen NaterSan Diego Clippers15.0
Assists per gameMicheal Ray RichardsonNew York Knicks10.1
Steals per gameMicheal Ray RichardsonNew York Knicks3.23
Blocks per gameKareem Abdul-JabbarLos Angeles Lakers3.41
FG%Cedric MaxwellBoston Celtics.609
FT%Rick BarryHouston Rockets.935
3FG%Fred BrownSeattle SuperSonics.443

NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers

  • Rookie of the Year: Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

  • Coach of the Year: Bill Fitch, Boston Celtics

  • All-NBA First Team: Paul Westphal, Phoenix Suns George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers Larry Bird, Boston Celtics Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers

  • All-NBA Second Team: Dan Roundfield, Atlanta Hawks Marques Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks Moses Malone, Houston Rockets Dennis Johnson, Seattle SuperSonics Gus Williams, Seattle SuperSonics

  • All-NBA Rookie Team: Larry Bird, Boston Celtics Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers Bill Cartwright, New York Knicks David Greenwood, Chicago Bulls Calvin Natt, Portland Trail Blazers

  • NBA All-Defensive First Team: Bobby Jones, Philadelphia 76ers Dan Roundfield, Atlanta Hawks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers Dennis Johnson, Seattle SuperSonics Don Buse, Phoenix Suns (tie) Micheal Ray Richardson, New York Knicks (tie)

  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team: Scott Wedman, Kansas City Kings Kermit Washington, Portland Trail Blazers Dave Cowens, Boston Celtics Quinn Buckner, Milwaukee Bucks Eddie Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

*Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com [3] *

Players of the week

Oct 12 – 21Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)
Oct 22 – 28Michael Ray Richardson (New York Knicks) (1/1)
Oct 29 – Nov 4Marques Johnson (Milwaukee Bucks) (1/1)
Nov 5 – 11Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/2)
Nov 12 – 18Phil Ford (Kansas City Kings) (1/1)
Nov 19 – 25Walter Davis (Phoenix Suns) (1/1)
Nov 26 – Dec 2Adrian Dantley (Utah Jazz) (1/1)
Dec 3 – 9Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/2)
Dec 10 – 16Dan Roundfield (Atlanta Hawks) (1/1)
Dec 17 – 23Swen Nater (San Diego Clippers) (1/1)
Dec 24 – 30Mike Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers) (1/1)
Dec 31 – Jan 6Scott Wedman (Kansas City Kings) (1/1)
Jan 7 – 13Greg Ballard (Washington Bullets) (1/1)
Jan 14 – 20Dennis Johnson (Seattle SuperSonics) (1/1)
Jan 21 – 27George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)
Feb 4 – 10Rick Barry (Houston Rockets) (1/1)
Feb 11 – 17Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (2/2)
Feb 18 – 24Calvin Natt (New Jersey Nets) (1/1)
Feb 25 – Mar 3Larry Bird (Boston Celtics) (1/1)
Mar 4 – 10Cliff Robinson (New Jersey Nets) (1/1)
Mar 11 – 17Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) (2/2)
Mar 18 – 24Billy Ray Bates (Portland Trail Blazers) (1/1)
Mar 25 – 31Kevin Grevey (Washington Bullets) (1/1)

Players of the month

NovemberMoses Malone (Houston Rockets) (1/1)
DecemberKareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/1)
JanuaryGeorge Gervin (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)
FebruaryLarry Bird (Boston Celtics) (1/1)
MarchJulius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)


Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgSerrano, Shea (2017). Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated. New York: Harry N. Abrams. pp. Introduction. ISBN 1419726471.
Sep 24, 2019, 6:37 PM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgSee Berri, David J., Brook, Stacey L., Frick, Bernd, Fenn, Aju J. and Vicente-Mayoral, Roberto; ‘The Short Supply of Tall People: Competitive Imbalance and the National Basketball Association’; Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Dec. 2005), pp. 1029–1041
Sep 24, 2019, 6:37 PM
Citation Linkwww.nba.comNBA.com
Sep 24, 2019, 6:37 PM
Citation Linken.wikipedia.orgThe original version of this page is from Wikipedia, you can edit the page right here on Everipedia.Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.Additional terms may apply.See everipedia.org/everipedia-termsfor further details.Images/media credited individually (click the icon for details).
Sep 24, 2019, 6:37 PM