Timeline of NBA in 2000s as league celebrates 75th season

March 22, 2022 GMT

Timeline of the National Basketball Association from its founding as the Basketball Association of America through the 2000s. The timeline includes milestone moments in the league’s history as the NBA celebrates its 75th season:

Feb. 12, 2000: Vince Carter’s legendary Slam Dunk Contest performance brings the event back with a vengeance after it was replaced in 1998 and there was no All-Star Weekend in 1999. His first dunk is a reverse 360-degree windmill. On another, he hangs on the rim with his elbow. On another, he catches the ball off a bounce from Tracy McGrady, puts it between his legs and throws it down with authority.

June 4, 2000: The Los Angeles Lakers rally to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers overcome a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter, punctuated by an alley-oop pass from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O’Neal

June 18, 2000: The Los Angeles Lakers beat Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of the Finals to win the series 4-2. It’s the first of three straight titles under former Bulls coach Phil Jackson.

Sept. 25, 2000: Vince Carter leaps over France’s 7-foot-2 center, Frederic Weis, for a dunk in Team USA’s 106-94 win in the preliminary round. The Americans eventually win gold for the third straight time.

Jan. 20, 2001: George W. Bush is inaugurated as President of the United States. He beats Al Gore, despite not winning the popular vote. The U.S. Supreme Court halted a recount in Florida, then justices voted 5-4 to overturn the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling ordering the recount. That Dec. 12 decision effectively handed the presidency to Bush.


June 6, 2001: Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson scores 48 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, famously stepping over a fallen Tyronn Lue during overtime in a 107-101 victory. The Lakers won the next four games to win their second straight title with Shaquille O’Neal winning his second straight Finals MVP award.

June 27, 2001 — The Washington Wizards make Kwame Brown the first No. 1 overall pick to come straight out of high school.

Sept. 11, 2001: Hijacked airplanes fly through both World Trade Center towers and destroy them, killing nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest act of terrorism on United States soil. The Pentagon is hit by another hijacked plane. A fourth crashes in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers and crew fight to regain control of a plane believed to have been targeted at the U.S. Capitol or the White House. Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group Al-Qaida, claims responsibility.

Sept. 25, 2001: Michael Jordan comes out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards.

Feb. 3, 2002: Tom Brady wins his first Super Bowl, rallying the New England Patriots to a 20-17 win over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams.

June 12, 2002: The Los Angeles Lakers complete a sweep of the New Jersey Nets to win their third straight title. Shaquille O’Neal is Finals MVP for the third straight time.

June 26, 2002: The Houston Rockets select Chinese center Yao Ming with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He is the first foreign-born player who didn’t go to a U.S. college to be drafted No. 1 overall.


Feb. 1, 2003: Space shuttle Columbia explodes over Texas upon re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts are killed.

Feb. 9, 2003: Yao Ming starts the All-Star Game as a rookie, the first of his eight All-Star starts.

April 16, 2003: Michael Jordan retires for the third and final time.

June 26, 2003: A star-studded draft takes place with LeBron James picked No. 1. Carmelo Anthony is picked No. 3 followed by Chris Bosh at No. 4 and Dwyane Wade at No. 5. The Detroit Pistons infamously made Darko Milicic the No. 2 overall pick.

April 20, 2004: The league announces LeBron James as rookie of the year. Carmelo Anthony is second and Dwyane Wade third.

August 27, 2004: The United States loses to Argentina in the Olympic semifinals, falling short of gold for the first time since 1988. San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili shreds the Americans for 29 points. The U.S. beats Lithuania in the third-place game to claim bronze.

Nov. 19, 2004: The “Malice at the Palace” starts as a disagreement between Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest and Detroit Pistons power forward Ben Wallace and becomes one of the worst incidents in sports history. After laying on the scorers table to de-escalate things, Artest is hit with a beer. He goes into the crowd and attacks a fan, things quickly escalate, and players and fans fight in a harrowing scene. Artest is suspended for 73 games and the playoffs. Wallace and Pacers players Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal and Anthony Johnson all get significant suspensions. The Pacers — a perennial Eastern Conference contender team that appeared ready to make a title run — are decimated and eventually rebuild.

May 8, 2005: Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash is named league MVP. He wins again in 2006.

August 2005: Hurricane Katrina batters the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people and causing millions of dollars worth of damage. The New Orleans Hornets are displaced after damage to their arena and wind up playing most of their home games in Oklahoma City that season.

Oct. 25, 2005: NBA commissioner David Stern announces the implementation of a dress code. Players are required to wear business-casual attire when involved in team or league business. They can’t wear visible chains, pendants or medallions over their clothes. Players such as Allen Iverson and Stephen Jackson say it is racist and targets Black culture.


Jan. 22, 2006: Kobe Bryant scores 81 points against the Toronto Raptors — second-most in an NBA game. He makes 28 of 46 field goals and 18 of 20 free throws. He wins the scoring title that season, averaging 35.4 points.

June 20, 2006: Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal lead the Miami Heat past the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 to clinch the franchise’s first NBA title. Wade scores 36 points.

May 15, 2007: Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki accepts the league MVP award, becoming the first European-born player to win.

May 31, 2007: LeBron James scores 29 of Cleveland’s last 30 points, including the game-winning layup in overtime in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. He finishes with 48 points in the 109-107 victory. The Cavaliers eventually win the series and reach the Finals for the first time.

March 17, 2008: The Houston Rockets’ 22-game win streak ends.

July 29, 2008: Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy is sentenced to 15 months in prison for wire fraud and transmitting betting information after taking thousands of dollars from a gambler for inside tips on games, including games he worked. He had resigned in on July 9, 2007 and pleaded guilty to the charges on August 15, 2007.

August 24, 2008: The United States’ “Redeem Team” beats Spain 118-107 in the Olympic gold medal basketball game.

Oct. 29, 2008: The Oklahoma City Thunder play their first regular-season home game after relocating from Seattle.

Jan. 20, 2009: Barack Obama is inaugurated as the first Black President of the United States.

June 14, 2009: Phil Jackson passes Red Auerbach for the most NBA titles with 10. Jackson’s Lakers defeat the Orlando Magic in five games, giving him four titles with the Lakers after winning six with the Chicago Bulls.

June 25, 2009: Legendary pop singer Michael Jackson dies.

June 25, 2009: Blake Griffin is the No. 1 pick in the draft. James Harden goes No. 3, Stephen Curry No. 7 and DeMar DeRozan No. 9.


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