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Mario Antoine Elie (born November 26, 1963) is an American basketball coach and former basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Elie grew up in New York City and played college basketball at American International College, before being drafted in the seventh round of the 1985 NBA draft as the 160th overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Elie in 2008
|Born||November 26, 1963|
New York City, New York
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school||Power Memorial Academy|
(New York City, New York)
|College||American International (1981–1985)|
|NBA draft||1985 / Round: 7 / Pick: 160th overall|
|Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|Number||8, 20, 17|
|1987||Unión de Santa Fe|
|1991–1992||Golden State Warriors|
|1992–1993||Portland Trail Blazers|
|1998–2000||San Antonio Spurs|
|2003–2004||San Antonio Spurs (assistant)|
|2004–2006||Golden State Warriors (assistant)|
|2007–2009||Dallas Mavericks (assistant)|
|2009–2011||Sacramento Kings (assistant)|
|2011–2013||New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets (assistant)|
|2015–2016||Orlando Magic (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||6,265 (8.6 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,017 (2.8 rpg)|
|Assists||1,875 (2.6 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Elie began his professional basketball career with Ireland's Killester in 1986. He went on to play in Portugal and Argentina, as well as in the USBL, CBA and WBL. Elie first played in the NBA in 1990 for the Philadelphia 76ers and went on to play for the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns. A role player known for his defense and toughness, Elie won three NBA championships: two with the Rockets in 1994 and 1995 and one with the Spurs in 1999.
Early life and pre-NBA careerEdit
Elie attended Power Memorial Academy. After being cut from the freshman basketball team, Elie made the junior varsity team the following season; one of his teammates was future NBA star Chris Mullin. Elie played street ball in Central Park and other locations in New York City during the 1980s, earning the nickname "The Jedi" on the New York playgrounds.
After Division I schools failed to recruit him, Elie played college basketball at the Division II level for American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He led AIC to the NCAA Division II Tournament Quarter-Final and became the school's all-time leading scorer. He was selected with the 160th pick (out of 162 total) in the 1985 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, but was cut from the team during training camp.
In 1986, Elie started his professional career in Ireland with Killester, where he won Player of the Year honors.[better source needed] After a stint with the USBL's Miami Tropics, Elie played eight games in Argentina with Unión de Santa Fe. He then spent two seasons in Portugal with Ovarense, helping them win their first national title. He spent the 1989–90 season with the CBA's Albany Patroons. After a stint with the WBL's Youngstown Pride, Elie returned to the Patroons for the start of the 1990–91 season. He was named to the All-CBA First Team in 1989-1990 and 1990-1991.
In December 1990, he made his NBA debut, joining the Philadelphia 76ers on a 10-day contract. He played three games for the 76ers between December 28 and January 2. In February 1991, he joined the Golden State Warriors, where he remained for the rest of the 1990–91 season as well as the 1991–92 season. Elie spent the 1992–93 season with the Portland Trail Blazers before being traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the 1993–94 season.
Elie won two NBA championships with the Rockets, one in 1994 and one in 1995. During this period, Elie was dubbed the "Junkyard Dog" by his teammates. One highlight of Elie's career came when he hit a clutch three-pointer in Game 7 of the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns to put the Rockets ahead 113–110 with 7.1 seconds left. The shot is called the "Kiss of Death" by Rockets fans, as Elie made a taunting kissing gesture towards the Suns' bench shortly after he made it. While Elie was a key role player for the Rockets off the bench throughout the regular season and the playoffs, he became a starter in the 1995 NBA Finals. This move paid off for the Rockets, as Elie averaged 16.3 points per game in the Finals—almost double his regular season average—while shooting 64% from the field.
Elie played for the Rockets through the 1997–98 season and then signed with the San Antonio Spurs, where he played for two seasons. The Spurs reportedly signed Elie in an effort to add "nastiness" to their team. Elie started for the Spurs for much of the season. With Elie, the Spurs won their first-ever NBA championship in 1999.
In 2007, Elie was inducted into the New York Basketball Hall of Fame, and was named one of the top ten players in Houston Rockets history.
During his playing career, Elie was a role player with a reputation as a tough defender and fierce competitor, in addition to an accurate outside shot, who performed well in key situations.
On September 28, 2007, Elie was hired by the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach. He served with the Mavericks for one season. On June 22, 2009, Paul Westphal hired Elie as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings. On December 8, 2011, Elie was added to former teammate Avery Johnson's coaching staff with the New Jersey Nets. On June 26, 2015, he was hired by the Orlando Magic as an assistant coach.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Elie won an NBA championship|
- Kurkjian, Tim. "GAINING A FOOTHOLD HARDWORKING MARIO ELIE HAS BECOME THE ROCKETS' UNSUNG HERO--AND ACE SHOE SALESMAN". Vault.
- "The History of the Northeast-10 Conference". Northeast-10 Conference. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "1985 NBA Draft". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- https://vimeo.com/62940106 We Got Game…The Golden Age of Irish Basketball
- https://www.kauffmansports.com/mario-elie-news/2017/7/21/elie-back-where-he-belongs Elie back where he belongs
- https://www.lanacion.com.ar/135532-la-particular-historia-del-tirador-mario-elie La particular historia del tirador Mario Elie (in Spanish)
- "La Capital ::: on line". archivo.lacapital.com.ar.
- https://www.record.pt/modalidades/basquetebol/detalhe/mario-elie-e-carlos-lisboa-animam-nba-jam-session Mario Elie e Carlos Lisboa animam «NBA Jam Session» (in Portuguese)
- "Mario Elie signs with Suns". UPI.
- https://basketball.realgm.com/player/Mario-Elie/Summary/1182 Mario Elie Player Profile
- https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/e/eliema01/gamelog/1991/ Mario Elie 1990-91 Game Log
- "Mario Elie Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
“ August 2, 1993: Traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Houston Rockets for a 1995 2nd round draft pick (Don Reid was later selected).”
- "Two decades later, Mario Elie's 'Kiss' still resonates for Rockets fans - Houston Chronicle".
- Broussard, Chris (June 14, 1999). "N.B.A. FINALS; Elie Gives the Spurs Their Edge" – via NYTimes.com.
- McDonald, Jeff (June 20, 2019). "The Spirit of '99: An oral history of the Spurs' first NBA championship". San Antonio Express-News.
- "Off-topic conversation: Mario Elie - ExpressNews.com".
- "Mario Elie and P.J. Tucker: Role models and role players". April 28, 2018.
- Schultz, Dan. "Manu Ginobili and the 10 Greatest Guards in San Antonio Spurs History". Bleacher Report.
- Mavericks name Elie assistant coach
- Mario Elie among three new assistant coaches for Kings Archived 2009-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, NBA.com, accessed November 14, 2009.
- Nets add Carlesimo, Elie to Avery Johnson's coaching staff Archived 2015-10-14 at the Wayback Machine, NBA.com, accessed December 8, 2011.
- "Magic Name Griffin, Mathis, Elie and Henry Assistant Coaches". NBA.com. June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com