We have a winner for the NBA Trivia Challenge
First of all, thanks to everyone who played the Challenge – either here in the threads or by email.
I had hoped that the questions asked would be hard enough that no one would be able to answer them all, but might lend themselves to making educated guesses. Judging from the submissions, this seems to be the case. Everyone that took a shot did pretty well*, and even the incorrect guesses were – in my mind – pretty good guesses.
The winner was MO, who got 17 out of 30 points – or 18 out of thirty, if I count his Bonus Answer to question 1 (“All played for the Lakers”), which wasn’t the answer I was looking for but was still an acceptable answer for belly-to-the bar sports trivia.
Anytime between now and the end of November, MO can name an NBA team of his choice and I will change my gravatar to that team’s logo through the first of December.
Here are the answers, for those who are interested:
1. Who are the only three NBA players to win back-to-back championships with two different teams? (Scoring: One point for each correct guess, minus one point for each incorrect guess. Note: negative points only go against scoring for this question.)
Answer: Dennis Rodman (Pistons & Bulls), Robert Horry (Rockets & Lakers), and Ron Harper (Bulls & Lakers)
Bonus Question: What other notable fact do they have in common?
Answer: Each won at least one of their back-to-backs being coached by Phil Jackson
2. What trivial fact binds Gilbert Arenas, Manu Ginobili and Carlos Boozer?
Answer: Each of these multi-year All-Stars was a late second round draft pick
3. Aside from being All-Stars, what unusual qualifier do the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, the Celtic’s Rajon Rondo and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant share with Celtic great Bill Russell?
Answer: None of these stars played a single game for the teams that drafted them. Love was drafted by Memphis, Rondo by Phoenix, Kobe by Charlotte (Hornets), and Russell by St. Louis (Hawks)
4. Since 1980, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks have each done something just once; no other NBA team can make this claim. What is it?
Answer: Each won one and only one NBA championship
5. In the history of the NBA, what is the only college to have more than two first overall draft picks?
Answer: Duke. The players were Art Heymen (’63), Elton Brand (’99) and Kyrie Irving (’11)
6. Michael Jordon, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton are all currently tied for an NBA record. What record would that be?
Answer: Fist Team All-NBA Defensive Team selections
7. In the entire history of the NBA, what were both Michael Jordon and Allen Iverson – and only Michael Jordon and Allen Iverson –able to do in a single season?
Answer: Each has led the league in both scoring and steals in the same season
8. What dubious honor went to current NBA players Dwight Howard, Rajon Ronda and Blake Griffin last year?
Answer: Each NBA All Star languished in the cellar for free throw percentage, each with a sub-60% mark
9. Which NBA franchise has the highest winning percentage of Game Sevens in the playoffs? Bonus Question: Which team has played in the most Game Sevens without winning a single one?
Answer: The highest percentage of game 7 victories goes is held by Minnesota, who won the only game 7 the franchise has ever played; Memphis has played three without winning any
10. What is the only NBA Franchise that has never been to the playoffs while playing in the city they currently represent?
Answer: The Brooklyn Nets
11. Which NBA team currently holds the streak for most years without making the playoffs?
Answer: The Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Name the only four NBA teams that do not have a costumed mascot. (Scoring: One point for each correct guess, minus one point for each incorrect guess. Note: negative points only go against scoring for this question.)
Answer: Lakes, Clippers, Knicks and Celtics
13. Of the players that rank in the top three in terms Number of All Star appearances, how many played at one time or another for the Los Angeles Lakers? (Scoring: One point for the correct answer, plus one bonus point for each that you can name – assuming the answer is not “Zero.”)
Answer: Five. Kareem Abdul-Jabar is first, Shaquille O’Neal is second, and 3 one-time Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, and Karl Malone) are all tied for third, along with Kevin Garnett and Michael Jordan.
14. It’s common knowledge that Kobe is chasing MJ’s six rings. However, in order to actually claim the title of Most Championships in the Past 40 Years he would need to beat another NBA great. Which player would that be?
Answer: “Big Shot” Robert Horry, who won two with the Rockets, two with the Spurs and three with the Lakers for a total of seven – but who will always be remembered by me for these seven seconds:
15. Only one NBA team has had a six game losing streak during the regular season but still gone on to win the championship that same year. Which team was it?
Answer: The ’05 Detroit Pistons
16. What do the 3-Point Line, the Slam Dunk Contest, and Dr. J all have in common?
Answer: All came to the NBA when its absorbed its rival league, the ABA
17. Aside for the fact that they are foreign-born players, what do Australian native Andrew Bogut, Italian native Andrea Bargnani and Nigerian native Michael Olowokandi all have in common?
Answer: All were, surprisingly in retrospect, first overall draft picks
18. Which NBA team has produced the most NBA Slam Dunk Champions?
Answer: The Atlanta Hawks, with Dominique Wilkins (twice), Spud Webb, and Josh Smith
19. Who is the only white NBA Slam Dunk Champion?
Answer: Brent Barry, son of underhand free throw shooting Rick Barry
20. Name the only NBA color commentator to ever say in a major motion picture, “Feel these nipples!”
Answer: Bob Costas, in BASEketball
* Well, almost everyone. The guy who emailed me his answers along with the statement that I was a p**sy for making the questions too easy did not get a single answer correct.