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|
|League||National Basketball Association|
|Number of games||82|
|Number of teams||22|
|TV partner(s)||CBS, USA|
|Top draft pick||Magic Johnson|
|Picked by||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Top seed||Boston Celtics|
|Season MVP||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles)|
|Top scorer||George Gervin (San Antonio)|
|Eastern champions||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Eastern runners-up||Boston Celtics|
|Western champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Western runners-up||Seattle SuperSonics|
|Champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Finals MVP||Magic Johnson (Los Angeles)|
- 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.
- 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.
- It was the final season for future hall of famers Rick Barry, Walt Frazier and Pete Maravich.
|Team||1978–79 coach||1979–80 coach|
|Boston Celtics||Dave Cowens||Bill Fitch|
|Chicago Bulls||Scotty Robertson||Jerry Sloan|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Bill Fitch||Stan Albeck|
|Houston Rockets||Tom Nissalke||Del Harris|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Jerry West||Paul Westhead|
|New Orleans/Utah Jazz||Elgin Baylor||Tom Nissalke|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach|
|Detroit Pistons||Dick Vitale||Richie Adubato|
|Golden State Warriors||Al Attles||Johnny Bach|
|San Antonio Spurs||Doug Moe||Bob Bass|
|New York Knicks||39||43||.476||22||25–16||14–27||8–16|
|New Jersey Nets||34||48||.415||27||22–19||12–29||7–17|
|x-San Antonio Spurs||41||41||.500||9||27–14||14–27||14–16|
|x-Kansas City Kings||47||35||.573||2||30–11||17–24||18–6|
|y-Los Angeles Lakers||60||22||.732||–||37–4||23–18||19–11|
|x-Portland Trail Blazers||38||44||.463||22||26–15||12–29||13–17|
|San Diego Clippers||35||47||.427||25||24–17||11–30||13–17|
|Golden State Warriors||24||58||.293||36||15–26||9–32||8–22|
|5||x-San Antonio Spurs||41||41||.500||20|
|7||New York Knicks||39||43||.476||22|
|10||New Jersey Nets||34||48||.415||27|
|1||c-Los Angeles Lakers||60||22||.732||–|
|5||x-Kansas City Kings||47||35||.573||13|
|6||x-Portland Trail Blazers||38||44||.463||22|
|7||San Diego Clippers||35||47||.427||25|
|11||Golden State Warriors||24||58||.293||36|
- 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 Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||NBA Finals|
* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage
|Points per game||George Gervin||San Antonio Spurs||33.1|
|Rebounds per game||Swen Nater||San Diego Clippers||15.0|
|Assists per game||Micheal Ray Richardson||New York Knicks||10.1|
|Steals per game||Micheal Ray Richardson||New York Knicks||3.23|
|Blocks per game||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||Los Angeles Lakers||3.41|
|FG%||Cedric Maxwell||Boston Celtics||.609|
|FT%||Rick Barry||Houston Rockets||.935|
|3FG%||Fred Brown||Seattle SuperSonics||.443|
- 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
Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com
Players of the weekEdit
Players of the monthEdit
|November||Moses Malone (Houston Rockets) (1/1)|
|December||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/1)|
|January||George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)|
|February||Larry Bird (Boston Celtics) (1/1)|
|March||Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)|
- a Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach.
- Serrano, Shea (2017). Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated. New York: Harry N. Abrams. pp. Introduction. ISBN 978-1419726477.
- See 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