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.

Mario Elie
Mario Elie 2008 (Flickr).jpg
Elie in 2008
Personal information
Born (1963-11-26) November 26, 1963 (age 56)
New York City, New York
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolPower Memorial Academy
(New York City, New York)
CollegeAmerican International (1981–1985)
NBA draft1985 / Round: 7 / Pick: 160th overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career1986–2001
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number8, 20, 17
Coaching career2003–present
Career history
As player:
1986–1987Killester
1987Miami Tropics
1987Unión de Santa Fe
1987–1989Ovarense
1989–1990Albany Patroons
1990Youngstown Pride
1990Albany Patroons
1990–1991Philadelphia 76ers
19911992Golden State Warriors
1992–1993Portland Trail Blazers
19931998Houston Rockets
19982000San Antonio Spurs
2000–2001Phoenix Suns
As coach:
2003–2004San Antonio Spurs (assistant)
20042006Golden State Warriors (assistant)
20072009Dallas Mavericks (assistant)
20092011Sacramento Kings (assistant)
20112013New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets (assistant)
2015–2016Orlando Magic (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points6,265 (8.6 ppg)
Rebounds2,017 (2.8 rpg)
Assists1,875 (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.

Elie began his coaching career in 2003 as an assistant with the Spurs, and later held similar positions with the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic.

Early life and pre-NBA careerEdit

Elie, who is of Haitian heritage, grew up in New York City. He was named "Mario" for opera singer Mario Lanza.[1]

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.[1] 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.[citation needed]

After Division I schools failed to recruit him, Elie played college basketball at the Division II level for American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.[1] He led AIC to the NCAA Division II Tournament Quarter-Final[2] and became the school's all-time leading scorer.[1] He was selected with the 160th pick (out of 162 total) in the 1985 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks,[3] but was cut from the team during training camp.[1]

In 1986, Elie started his professional career in Ireland with Killester, where he won Player of the Year honors.[4][better source needed] After a stint with the USBL's Miami Tropics,[5] Elie played eight games in Argentina with Unión de Santa Fe.[6][7] He then spent two seasons in Portugal with Ovarense, helping them win their first national title.[8] He spent the 1989–90 season with the CBA's Albany Patroons.[5] After a stint with the WBL's Youngstown Pride, Elie returned to the Patroons for the start of the 1990–91 season.[citation needed] He was named to the All-CBA First Team in 1989-1990 and 1990-1991.[9]

NBA careerEdit

In December 1990, he made his NBA debut, joining the Philadelphia 76ers on a 10-day contract.[10] He played three games for the 76ers between December 28 and January 2.[11] In February 1991, he joined the Golden State Warriors,[10] where he remained for the rest of the 1990–91 season as well as the 1991–92 season.[12] Elie spent the 1992–93 season with the Portland Trail Blazers before being traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the 1993–94 season.[12]

Elie won two NBA championships with the Rockets, one in 1994 and one in 1995.[9] During this period, Elie was dubbed the "Junkyard Dog" by his teammates.[1] 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.[13] 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.[citation needed]

Elie played for the Rockets through the 1997–98 season and then signed with the San Antonio Spurs, where he played for two seasons.[14] The Spurs reportedly signed Elie in an effort to add "nastiness" to their team. Elie started for the Spurs for much of the season.[15] With Elie, the Spurs won their first-ever NBA championship in 1999.[16]

After playing the 2000–01 season for the Phoenix Suns,[12] Elie retired.[17] He finished his career with 6,265 points in 732 NBA games.[3]

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.[citation needed]

During his playing career, Elie was a role player[18] with a reputation as a tough defender and fierce competitor,[9] in addition to an accurate outside shot,[19] who performed well in key situations.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

On September 28, 2007, Elie was hired by the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach.[20] He served with the Mavericks for one season. On June 22, 2009, Paul Westphal hired Elie as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings.[21] On December 8, 2011, Elie was added to former teammate Avery Johnson's coaching staff with the New Jersey Nets.[22] On June 26, 2015, he was hired by the Orlando Magic as an assistant coach.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Elie married Gina Gaston, a journalist and anchorwoman for Houston's KTRK-TV, while he was playing for the Phoenix Suns. He and his wife have triplets: Glenn, Gaston, and Lauren.[citation needed]

NBA career statisticsEdit

Legend
  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

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1990–91 Philadelphia 3 0 6.7 .286 .500 .500 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 2.0
1990–91 Golden State 30 0 20.8 .507 .375 .500 3.6 1.5 0.6 0.3 7.7
1991–92 Golden State 79 32 21.2 .521 .329 .852 2.9 2.2 0.9 0.2 7.8
1992–93 Portland 82 7 21.4 .458 .349 .855 2.6 2.2 0.9 0.2 8.6
1993–94 Houston 67 8 24.0 .446 .355 .860 2.7 3.1 0.7 0.1 9.3
1994–95 Houston 81 13 23.4 .499 .398 .842 2.4 2.3 0.8 0.1 8.8
1995–96 Houston 45 16 30.8 .504 .323 .852 3.4 3.1 1.0 0.2 11.1
1996–97 Houston 78 77 34.4 .497 .420 .896 3.0 4.0 1.2 0.2 11.7
1997–98 Houston 73 59 27.2 .452 .291 .833 2.1 3.0 1.1 0.1 8.4
1998–99 San Antonio 47 37 27.5 .471 .374 .866 2.9 1.9 1.0 0.3 9.7
1999–00 San Antonio 79 79 28.1 .427 .398 .846 3.2 2.4 0.9 0.1 7.5
2000–01 Phoenix 68 67 22.1 .423 .360 .797 2.3 1.9 0.9 0.2 4.4
Career 732 395 25.5 .473 .365 .854 2.8 2.6 0.9 0.2 8.6

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1991 Golden State 9 7 21.9 .500 1.000 .844 3.6 1.4 0.6 0.1 9.3
1992 Golden State 4 2 20.0 .639 1.000 .667 5.5 2.5 1.3 0.0 12.5
1993 Portland 4 0 13.0 .500 1.000 .889 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.3 5.0
1994 Houston 23 0 16.6 .396 .313 .851 1.7 1.7 0.3 0.1 5.8
1995 Houston 22 6 28.9 .504 .431 .795 2.8 2.5 1.0 0.0 9.1
1996 Houston 8 0 29.1 .439 .375 .917 2.8 1.8 0.9 0.4 9.8
1997 Houston 16 16 37.4 .466 .400 .839 3.5 3.8 0.9 0.3 11.5
1998 Houston 5 1 26.6 .444 .333 .667 2.6 1.2 0.4 0.0 6.6
1999 San Antonio 17 17 30.9 .384 .267 .837 3.5 2.9 1.3 0.1 7.9
2000 San Antonio 4 4 28.8 .273 .143 .944 4.3 1.8 1.3 0.0 7.5
2001 Phoenix 4 4 25.8 .452 .154 .750 3.3 1.8 0.8 0.3 9.0
Career 116 57 26.3 .452 .367 .836 2.9 2.3 0.8 0.1 8.5

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kurkjian, Tim. "GAINING A FOOTHOLD HARDWORKING MARIO ELIE HAS BECOME THE ROCKETS' UNSUNG HERO--AND ACE SHOE SALESMAN". Vault.
  2. ^ "The History of the Northeast-10 Conference". Northeast-10 Conference. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b "1985 NBA Draft". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. ^ https://vimeo.com/62940106 We Got Game…The Golden Age of Irish Basketball
  5. ^ a b https://www.kauffmansports.com/mario-elie-news/2017/7/21/elie-back-where-he-belongs Elie back where he belongs
  6. ^ https://www.lanacion.com.ar/135532-la-particular-historia-del-tirador-mario-elie La particular historia del tirador Mario Elie (in Spanish)
  7. ^ "La Capital ::: on line". archivo.lacapital.com.ar.
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ a b c "Mario Elie signs with Suns". UPI.
  10. ^ a b https://basketball.realgm.com/player/Mario-Elie/Summary/1182 Mario Elie Player Profile
  11. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/e/eliema01/gamelog/1991/ Mario Elie 1990-91 Game Log
  12. ^ a b c "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).”
  13. ^ "Two decades later, Mario Elie's 'Kiss' still resonates for Rockets fans - Houston Chronicle".
  14. ^ https://bleacherreport.com/articles/603968-manu-ginobili-and-the-10-greatest-guards-in-san-antonio-spurs-history
  15. ^ Broussard, Chris (June 14, 1999). "N.B.A. FINALS; Elie Gives the Spurs Their Edge" – via NYTimes.com.
  16. ^ McDonald, Jeff (June 20, 2019). "The Spirit of '99: An oral history of the Spurs' first NBA championship". San Antonio Express-News.
  17. ^ "Off-topic conversation: Mario Elie - ExpressNews.com".
  18. ^ "Mario Elie and P.J. Tucker: Role models and role players". April 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Schultz, Dan. "Manu Ginobili and the 10 Greatest Guards in San Antonio Spurs History". Bleacher Report.
  20. ^ Mavericks name Elie assistant coach
  21. ^ Mario Elie among three new assistant coaches for Kings Archived 2009-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, NBA.com, accessed November 14, 2009.
  22. ^ Nets add Carlesimo, Elie to Avery Johnson's coaching staff Archived 2015-10-14 at the Wayback Machine, NBA.com, accessed December 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Magic Name Griffin, Mathis, Elie and Henry Assistant Coaches". NBA.com. June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.

External linksEdit