1980–81 NBA season

1980–811980–81 season198119801980-811980-81 NBA seasonregular season1980-81 season1980-1981 season1980–1981 season
The 1980–81 NBA season was the 35th season of the National Basketball Association.wikipedia
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1981 NBA Finals

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The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.
The 1981 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1980–81 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs.

Boston Celtics

BostonCelticsBoston Celtic
The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.
Led by the "Big Three" that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, the Celtics won the 1981, 1984, and 1986 championships.

Houston Rockets

HoustonSan Diego RocketsRockets
The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.
During the 1980–81 season, the Rockets finished the regular season with a 40–42 record.

Dallas Mavericks

Still, during the 1979 NBA All-Star Game weekend, NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien announced the league would add two new teams in the 1980–81 season, with teams in Dallas and Minneapolis.

San Antonio Spurs

San AntonioSpursSAS
For the first few seasons of the decade, the Spurs continued their success of the 1970s with records of 52–30 in 1980–81, 48–34 in 1981–82, and 53–29 in 1982–83 (it was during this period that the Spurs were moved to the Western Conference).

Bill Musselman

Ted Stepien, then owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, hired Musselman for his first NBA head coaching job in 1980.

Washington Wizards

Washington BulletsBaltimore BulletsWashington
In 1980–81, Washington played strong under the coaching of Gene Shue and Don Moran, finishing the regular season with a 43–39 record, and although they advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals in the playoffs, they had clearly lost their form of the late 1970s.

1981 NBA All-Star Game

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This was the 31st edition of the National Basketball Association All-Star Game and was played during the 1980–81 NBA season.

Sacramento Kings

Cincinnati RoyalsRochester RoyalsKansas City Kings
The Kings made the playoffs in 1979–80 and again in 1980–81, despite finishing the 1980–81 regular season at 40–42.

Nate Archibald

Tiny ArchibaldNate "Tiny" ArchibaldNathaniel Archibald
Archibald won his first and only NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in the 1980–81 season alongside young NBA star Larry Bird.

Magic Johnson

Earvin "Magic" JohnsonEarvin JohnsonMagic Johnson All-Stars
Early in the 1980–81 season, Johnson was sidelined after he suffered torn cartilage in his left knee.

Wes Unseld

He ended his playing career following the 1980–1981 season, and his #41 jersey was retired by the Bullets shortly thereafter.

Adrian Dantley

In Utah, Dantley reached his peak establishing his reputation as a prolific scorer, twice leading the league in scoring (in 1981 and 1984).

Otis Birdsong

He would spend four seasons with the Kings, averaging a career high 24.6 points per game during the 1980–81 season.

Larry Bird

BirdDrive: The Story of My Life[Larry] Bird
Before the 1980–81 season, the Celtics selected forward Kevin McHale in the draft and acquired center Robert Parish from the Golden State Warriors, forming a Hall of Fame trio for years to come; the frontcourt of Bird, McHale, and Parish is regarded as one of the greatest frontcourts in NBA history.

George T. Johnson

George JohnsonGeorge T. Johnson (basketball)
Johnson led the NBA in blocked shots per game three times, led the NBA in disqualifications in 1977–78 with 20, and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1980–81.

New York Knicks

New YorkKnicksNew York Knickerbockers
After improving to a 39–43 record in the 1979–80 season, the Knicks posted a 50–32 record in the 1980–81 season.

Jo Jo White

JoJo WhiteJoe WhiteJoseph White
White retired as a player after 1981 with the Kansas City Kings.

Kelvin Ransey

The 6'1" (1.85 m) Ransey was the fourth overall pick in the 1980 NBA draft, by the Chicago Bulls. He was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers before the season began. He was runner-up by one vote for NBA Rookie of the Year (to Darrell Griffith) in 1980–81. Ransey played for six years in the NBA for 3 different teams, averaging 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game. His best season, statistically, was his second, when he averaged over 16 points and 7 assists.

Bernard King

The Jazz traded King to the Golden State Warriors before the 1980–81 season.


Ironically, both Western Conference teams finished the regular season with a record 40–42, instead of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers (both teams finished with a 62–20 record).

Robert Reid (basketball)

Robert Reid
An Atlanta-born 6'8" forward from St. Mary's University, Texas, Reid played thirteen seasons (1977–1982; 1983–1991) in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Philadelphia 76ers. He had his best overall season in 1980-81, when he was the second leading scorer on the Rockets team that reached the NBA Finals before losing to the Boston Celtics. After the Rockets traded reigning MVP Moses Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers, however, Reid retired from basketball and moved to Miami, Florida. After a year away from basketball, he returned to Houston after they drafted Ralph Sampson with the first overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft. One of Reid's most notable moments in the NBA was his three-point shot in Game 5 of the 1986 Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers that tied the game with just seconds left, helping rally the Rockets into defeating the Lakers and reaching the 1986 NBA Finals.

Kevin McHale (basketball)

Kevin McHaleMcHalehimself
The trio of Hall of Famers became known as the "Big Three" and led the Celtics to five NBA Finals appearances and three NBA championships, in 1981, 1984 and 1986.

Mike Newlin

A feisty 6'4" (1.93 m), 200 lb (91 kg) guard from the University of Utah, he played 11 professional seasons (1971–1982), spending most of his time with the Houston Rockets. He played in several playoff series, including the 1977 Eastern Conference Finals, which the Rockets would lose to the Philadelphia 76ers led by Julius Erving. He also played for the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks. He had his finest season in 1980–81, when he averaged 21.4 points per game for the Nets, and he retired in 1982 with 12,507 career points.