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2001–02 NBA season

2001–02 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Duration October 30, 2001 – April 17, 2002
April 20 – June 2, 2002 (Playoffs)
June 5 – 12, 2002 (Finals)
Number of teams 29
TV partner(s) NBC, TNT, NBA TV, TBS
Draft
Top draft pick Kwame Brown
Picked by Washington Wizards
Regular season
Top seed Sacramento Kings
Season MVP Tim Duncan (San Antonio)
Top scorer Allen Iverson (Philadelphia)
Playoffs
Eastern champions New Jersey Nets
  Eastern runners-up Boston Celtics
Western champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-up Sacramento Kings
Finals
Champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Runners-up New Jersey Nets
Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)

The 2001–02 NBA season was the 56th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their third straight championship, beating the New Jersey Nets 4–0 in the 2002 NBA Finals.

Notable occurrences

Coaching changes
Offseason
Team 2000-01 coach 2001-02 coach
Cleveland Cavaliers Randy Wittman John Lucas
Detroit Pistons George Irvine Rick Carlisle
Portland Trail Blazers Mike Dunleavy, Sr. Maurice Cheeks
Washington Wizards Leonard Hamilton Doug Collins
In-season
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Chicago Bulls Tim Floyd Bill Cartwright
Denver Nuggets Dan Issel Mike Evans
Golden State Warriors Dave Cowens Brian Winters
New York Knicks Jeff Van Gundy Don Chaney
Phoenix Suns Scott Skiles Frank Johnson
  • Kwame Brown became the first high school player drafted first overall when the Washington Wizards drafted him in the 2001 NBA Draft.
  • The Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver, British Columbia to Memphis, Tennessee. They played their first three seasons at The Pyramid in Memphis.
  • This was the final season for the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte, as they would relocate to New Orleans for the following season. However, the NBA added an expansion team to Charlotte in time for the 2004-05 NBA season. In 2013, the New Orleans Hornets announced they would relinquished their name and history to the new Charlotte team beginning in the 2014-15 season. Therefore, the official NBA record now states that the Charlotte NBA franchise suspended operations for two years at the conclusion of this season.
  • The San Antonio Spurs played their final home game at the Alamodome.
  • The 2002 NBA All-Star Game was held at First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers took MVP honors amidst boos from the Philadelphia fans following a 135-120 victory by the West. Philadelphia was originally slated to host the 1999 All-Star Game, but was awarded the 2002 game instead due to the 1998 lockout.
  • Prior to the start of the season, NBA and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, then part-owner of the Washington Wizards, announced his second comeback to the NBA, this time with the Wizards.
  • The Dallas Mavericks played their first game at the American Airlines Center, not to be confused with the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
  • This was the last season that both NBC and TBS televise NBA games.
  • NBA teams wore patches on their jerseys with the American flag and a red-white-and-blue ribbon, in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks. The Raptors wore the American and Canadian flags on theirs.
  • The only Canadian team left in the NBA the Toronto Raptors, after losing 17 of 18 to drop to 30-38, win 12 of their last 14 to finish at 42-40 and go to the NBA playoffs with the seventh seed in the East.
  • The New Jersey Nets, who had never won 50 games in a season and had only been to the second round of the playoffs once, won 52 games.
  • With the Nets appearing in the Finals, the Denver Nuggets remained as the only former ABA team not to have reached the NBA Finals.
  • This season is one of the most memorable in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks. The team got off to a division-leading 26-13 start, and were 10 games over .500 as late as March 6. However, the Bucks would proceed to lose 16 of their last 22 games and miss the playoffs, one of the biggest late-season collapses for a team that was contending for a division title in March.
  • Former All-Star Jayson Williams was charged with the murder of his limo driver on February 14. He was immediately fired from his spot on NBC's Verizon Wireless at the Half shortly after appearing on TV during the All-Star Game the previous week.
  • Marv Albert and Mike Fratello were involved in a limo crash prior to the start of the 2002 Playoffs and were unable to announce for NBC. Albert returned to announce the 2002 Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
  • The 2002 NBA Playoffs featured several controversial last-second shots. During Game 4 of the series between the Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic, Baron Davis hit a three-pointer at the buzzer that should have counted, but was waved off. Later, Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers was awarded a game-tying three-pointer from half-court against the New Jersey Nets that should not have counted, but was. In the Western Conference Finals between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers, Lakers forward Samaki Walker hit a three-pointer to end the half that should not have counted (the three points would later haunt the Kings as Robert
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