1994–95 NBA season

The 1994–95 NBA season was the 49th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Houston Rockets defeating the Orlando Magic 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals to be crowned champions.

1994–95 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationNovember 4, 1994 – April 23, 1995
April 27 – June 4, 1995 (Playoffs)
June 7 – 14, 1995 (Finals)
Number of teams27
TV partner(s)NBC, TBS, TNT
Top draft pickGlenn Robinson
Picked byMilwaukee Bucks
Regular season
Top seedSan Antonio Spurs
Season MVPDavid Robinson (San Antonio)
Top scorerShaquille O'Neal (Orlando)
Eastern championsOrlando Magic
  Eastern runners-upIndiana Pacers
Western championsHouston Rockets
  Western runners-upSan Antonio Spurs
ChampionsHouston Rockets
  Runners-upOrlando Magic
Finals MVPHakeem Olajuwon (Houston)
NBA seasons

Notable occurrencesEdit

Coaching changes
Team 1993–94 coach 1994–95 coach
Dallas Mavericks Quinn Buckner Dick Motta
Los Angeles Clippers Bob Weiss Bill Fitch
Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson Del Harris
Minnesota Timberwolves Sidney Lowe Bill Blair
New Jersey Nets Chuck Daly Butch Beard
Philadelphia 76ers Fred Carter John Lucas
Portland Trail Blazers Rick Adelman P.J. Carlesimo
San Antonio Spurs John Lucas Bob Hill
Washington Bullets Wes Unseld Jim Lynam
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Denver Nuggets Dan Issel Gene Littles
Gene Littles Bernie Bickerstaff
Golden State Warriors Don Nelson Bob Lanier
Miami Heat Kevin Loughery Alvin Gentry
  • The Houston Rockets became the lowest seeded team to ever win the NBA Finals, winning as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets also became the first team to defeat four opponents who had 50 or more wins en route to a title (Utah, Phoenix, San Antonio and Orlando); the only other team ever to accomplish that feat was the 2000–01 Los Angeles Lakers.
  • The 1995 NBA All-Star Game was played at America West Arena (now known as Talking Stick Resort Arena) in Phoenix, Arizona, with the West defeating the East 139–112. Mitch Richmond of the Sacramento Kings was named the game's MVP (Most Valuable Player).
  • Midway through the season, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls after an attempt at a minor-league baseball career. His announcement consisted of a two-word fax: "I'm back." Because the Bulls had already retired his number 23, he returned wearing number 45. However, he changed back to 23 during the playoffs.
  • An era came to an end as the Boston Celtics played their final season at the historic Boston Garden.
  • The Portland Trail Blazers played their final season at Memorial Coliseum (renamed as the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as of 2012). They would host a preseason game at the Coliseum in 2009.
  • The Chicago Bulls played their first game at the United Center.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game at Gund Arena (now known as Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse).
  • Due to extensive renovations to the Seattle Center Coliseum (renamed as KeyArena following the season), the Seattle SuperSonics played their home games at the Tacoma Dome, in nearby Tacoma, Washington.
  • Grant Hill became the first rookie in professional sports to lead fan balloting for the NBA All-Star Game.
  • The Orlando Magic became the first of the four late-1980s expansion franchises to reach the NBA Finals. They were swept in four straight games by the defending-champion Houston Rockets.
  • Lenny Wilkens passed Red Auerbach to become the NBA's all-time leader in wins, which stood for 15 years.
  • Moses Malone, the only remaining active former ABA player, announced his retirement after 19 NBA seasons. Malone, who came to the professional level without any college basketball experience, retired just in time for a new generation of prep-to-pro stars like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant to arrive on the scene.
  • In an effort to increase scoring, the NBA's competition committee voted to shorten the three-point field goal line to a uniform 22 feet around the basket beginning this season and lasting through the 1996–97 NBA season.[1] Orlando Magic forward Dennis Scott set a then-single season record for most three-pointers made with 267 during the 1995–96 NBA season (Later surpassed by Stephen Curry, who notched 402 three-pointers in the 2015–16 NBA season).[2] The NBA would revert to its original three-point field goal parameters of 23 feet, 9 inches (22 feet at the corners) at the start of the 1997–98 NBA season.[3]
  • The Western Conference Finals series between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets was notable for the lack of home team success. The home team lost each of the first 5 games of the series, with the Rockets finally breaking through with a home win in Game 6.
  • The Miami Heat made two blockbuster trades. The first one was 2 days before the season when Miami traded Rony Seikaly to the Golden State Warriors for Billy Owens and Sasha Danilovic. Then, 2 games into the season after a game against the Phoenix Suns, Miami traded Grant Long, Steve Smith and a 1996 1st round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for Kevin Willis and a 1996 1st round pick. The latter trade was so one-sided (Miami missed the playoffs altogether while Atlanta became a contender in the East) that it was credited with spurring the Heat to make their biggest decision in franchise history: hiring Pat Riley to be their coach and top executive.
  • In the last game of the regular season for both teams, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Sacramento Kings to obtain the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Had the Kings won, they would have qualified instead. They had missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons. As for the Nuggets, this was their final postseason appearance until 2004.
  • For the first time since the 1971–72 season, the league brought the first wave of third jerseys. The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings released new alternate uniforms for the season.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers retired James Worthy's jersey number 42 in December and the Boston Celtics retired the late Reggie Lewis jersey number 35 on their rafters, the last season in which both teams retired a jersey until 2017–18.
  • On November 5, 1994, the San Antonio Spurs first home of the season, against the Golden State Warriors, was delayed for 50 minutes as the pregame fireworks show triggered a water cannon that sent water blasting down on fans, players and coaches for four minutes before it was shut off.[4]

1994–95 NBA changesEdit