The 1997 NBA All-Star Game was the 47th edition of the All-Star Game and commemorated the 50th anniversary of NBA. The game was played on February 9, 1997, at Gund Arena (now known as Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse) in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The winner of the MVP award was Glen Rice of the Charlotte Hornets who played 25 minutes and scored 26 points while breaking two records in the process, 20 points in the third quarter and 24 points in the second half. Rice's 20 points in the period broke Hal Greer's record (19), set in 1968. Rice's 24 points in a half surpassed the previous mark of 23, owned by Wilt Chamberlain and Tom Chambers. Michael Jordan's 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists were the first and, until the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, the only triple-double in NBA All-Star Game history (LeBron James (2011), Dwyane Wade (2012), and Kevin Durant (2017) have also achieved this). Five players (Charles Barkley, Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Shaquille O'Neal) who were voted or selected for the team opted out due to injury, opening the doors for the annually neglected and the new stars—Joe Dumars, Detlef Schrempf, Chris Webber, Chris Gatling and 20-year-old second-year man Kevin Garnett took their spots.
For this NBA All-Star Game, and the next four games that were played (1998, 2000–02), no special uniforms were issued, and the players simply wore the uniforms from their respective teams, an approach that is used by Major League Baseball for its All-Star Game.
The halftime show featured a ceremony honoring the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Of the 50 players named, three were not present: Pete Maravich (who died in 1988), Shaquille O'Neal (who was recovering from a knee injury), and Jerry West (who was having surgery for an ear infection).
|1997 NBA All-Star Game|
|Date||February 9, 1997|
|National anthem||Amanda Marshall (CAN)|
Brian McKnight and David Sanborn (USA)
|Referees||Hugh Evans, Bill Oakes, Ron Garretson|
|Halftime show||Presentation of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players|
|NBA All-Star Game|
^INJ Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O'Neal were unable to participate due to injury. Dikembe Mutombo replaced Ewing in the East starting lineup, and Karl Malone replaced Barkley in the West starting lineup. Barkley, Drexler, and Ewing were present, however, for the halftime ceremony.
^REP Detlef Schrempf, Chris Gatling, Chris Webber, Joe Dumars, and Kevin Garnett were chosen to replace Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O'Neal, respectively.
|Score by Periods:||1||2||3||4||Final|
4th NBA Rookie Challenge Game. Date: February 8, 1997, at Gund Arena in Cleveland; Coaches: Eastern Conference: Red Auerbach; Western Conference: Red Holzman; MVP: Allen Iverson, Philadelphia (26 minutes, 19 points).
|Shareef Abdur-Rahim, VAN||24||8–13||1–2||0–0||0||4||4||1||1||1||2||1||17|
|Kobe Bryant, LAL||26||8–17||2–5||13–16||3||5||8||3||3||2||7||1||31|
|Travis Knight, LAL||20||3–5||0–0||3–4||2||2||4||1||4||1||2||1||9|
|Derek Fisher, LAL||15||5–9||1–2||5–5||0||0||0||6||4||0||0||0||15|
|Matt Maloney, HOU||24||2–10||1–4||0–0||1||3||4||4||0||3||3||0||5|
|Roy Rogers, VAN||23||1–3||0–0||0–0||1||1||2||0||1||1||0||2||2|
|Lorenzen Wright, LAC||11||3–6||0–0||1–2||2||2||4||0||2||0||1||1||7|
|Steve Nash, PHO||7||2–5||0–3||0–0||0||2||2||1||2||0||0||0||4|
|Antoine Walker, BOS||23||9–15||0–1||2–4||8||1||9||1||3||2||4||0||20|
|Marcus Camby, TOR||21||8–13||1–2||1–2||2||10||12||4||1||1||0||1||18|
|Erick Dampier, IND||15||5–6||0–0||1–2||2||5||7||1||2||1||2||1||11|
|Kerry Kittles, NJN||24||4–9||1–2||0–2||1||1||2||4||1||1||2||2||9|
|Allen Iverson, PHI||26||7–11||0–0||5–8||1||3||4||9||2||3||4||3||19|
|Vitaly Potapenko, CLE||12||3–4||0–0||0–0||0||0||0||0||3||1||0||0||6|
|John Wallace, NYK||15||2–7||0–2||1–3||2||1||3||0||1||0||1||0||5|
|Ray Allen, MIL||14||1–6||0–2||6–7||0||2||2||2||3||1||0||0||8|
|Score by Periods:||1st||2nd||Final|
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Hawks' 48th season in the National Basketball Association, and 29th season in Atlanta. In an effort to improve their team, the Hawks strengthened their defense by picking up free agent All-Star center Dikembe Mutombo, while re-signing Tyrone Corbin during the offseason. Other free agents included Eldridge Recasner, former Georgia Tech guard Jon Barry and Henry James, who was signed by the team in December. The Hawks struggled with a 5–6 start to the season, but later on posted a 14–2 record in January including a ten-game winning streak. The team also won 20 consecutive home games from November 12 to February 12. The Hawks finished second in the Central Division with a 56–26 record, while posting the third best home record in the league at 36–5. Mutombo and Christian Laettner were both selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.
Mutombo would also capture the Defensive Player of the Year honors, as he finished second in the NBA in rebounding and blocked shots. He was not the only member of the club to excel on defense as guard Mookie Blaylock led the NBA in steals, while finishing second in the league with 221 three-point field goals. Meanwhile, Steve Smith continued to lead the Hawks in scoring with 20.1 points per game.
In the playoffs, the Hawks would be put to the test as they needed five games to get past the Detroit Pistons after trailing 2–1 in the first round. However, the Hawks would provide little challenge to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals as they fell in five games to the eventual NBA champions, despite winning Game 2 at the United Center 103–95. It was also their final season playing at The Omni, which hosted its final game in a Game 4 loss to the Bulls, 89–80 on May 11, 1997. Following the season, Barry signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, James re-signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Ken Norman retired.1996–97 Charlotte Hornets season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the 9th season for the Charlotte Hornets in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Hornets acquired Anthony Mason from the New York Knicks, and Vlade Divac from the Los Angeles Lakers. Under new head coach Dave Cowens, the new-look Hornets played better than expected: Divac and Matt Geiger provided the best center combo in the league, Mason averaged a double-double and earned All-NBA Third Team honors, and Glen Rice had the finest season of his career, finishing third in the league in scoring with a career high of 26.8 points per game, and earning All-NBA Second Team honors. Rice also set several scoring records in the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, and was selected the game's MVP. At midseason, the Hornets traded Scott Burrell to the Golden State Warriors while acquiring Ricky Pierce from the Denver Nuggets. The Hornets went on a nine-game winning streak in April, and finished fourth in the Central Division with a franchise best record at 54–28, making it back to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
In the first round of the playoffs, they were swept by the New York Knicks in three straight games. The Hornets led the NBA in attendance for the eighth and final time during their history in Charlotte. They also had the best three-point percentage in NBA history shooting 42.8% from beyond the arch. Following the season, Pierce re-signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Bucks.1996–97 Dallas Mavericks season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Mavericks' 17th season in the National Basketball Association. In the offseason, the Mavericks signed free agent Chris Gatling and acquired Eric Montross from the Boston Celtics. With new head coach Jim Cleamons and re-signing former Mavs guard Derek Harper, the Mavericks struggles continued with a 4–10 start in November. With the team not showing any improvement, they traded All-Star guard Jason Kidd to the Phoenix Suns for second-year star Michael Finley, Sam Cassell and A.C. Green in late December. Gatling led the Mavericks with 19.1 points per game off the bench, and was selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. At midseason, he was traded along with Cassell, Montross, Jim Jackson and George McCloud to the New Jersey Nets for Shawn Bradley, Robert Pack and Khalid Reeves. Meanwhile, Jamal Mashburn was dealt to the Miami Heat for Sasha Danilovic.
The Mavericks suffered an 11-game losing streak between March and April, which included an 87–80 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on April 6, where the Mavs scored just two points in the third quarter. It was the fewest points scored in a quarter of a game in NBA history. The Mavericks finished fourth in the Midwest Division with a 24–58 record. Following the season, Harper was traded to the Orlando Magic and Danilovic was released.1996–97 Detroit Pistons season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Pistons' 49th season in the National Basketball Association, and 40th season in the city of Detroit. During the offseason, the Pistons re-signed free agent Rick Mahorn, who was a member of the championship team in the 1989 NBA Finals. The team also acquired Stacey Augmon and Grant Long from the Atlanta Hawks, but later on sent Augmon to the Portland Trail Blazers for Aaron McKie at midseason. The Pistons got off to a fast start winning ten of their first eleven games on their way to a 20–4 start. However, they went 34–24 for the remainder of the season finishing third in the Central Division with a 54–28 record. Grant Hill averaged 21.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game, while finishing third in MVP voting behind Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. Hill along with Joe Dumars, and head coach Doug Collins represented the Eastern Conference during the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Pistons would lose in five games to the Atlanta Hawks after taking a 2–1 series lead. Following the season, Otis Thorpe was traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies, Terry Mills signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat, and Michael Curry signed with the Milwaukee Bucks.
For the season, the Pistons changed their logo and uniforms, adding teal to their color scheme. Their logo and uniforms both lasted until 2001.1996–97 Golden State Warriors season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Warriors' 51st season in the National Basketball Association, and 35th in the San Francisco Bay Area. Due to extensive renovations at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the Warriors played their home games at the San Jose Arena. In the offseason, the team signed free agent All-Star guard Mark Price, then traded Rony Seikaly to the Orlando Magic for Felton Spencer early into the season. At midseason, the team acquired Scott Burrell from the Charlotte Hornets. The Warriors struggled for the entire season and finished last place in the Pacific Division with a 30–52 record. Latrell Sprewell averaged 24.2 points per game and was selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. Second-year star Joe Smith continued to improve averaging 18.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
This season also marked an end of an era as Chris Mullin was traded to the Indiana Pacers the following season. Also following the season, Price was dealt to the Orlando Magic, Burrell was sent to the Chicago Bulls, and head coach Rick Adelman was fired.1996–97 Houston Rockets season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Rockets' 30th season in the National Basketball Association, and 26th season in Houston. During the offseason, the Rockets acquired All-Star forward Charles Barkley from the Phoenix Suns, and signed free agents Kevin Willis and Brent Price. The Rockets blasted off to a 21–2 start, but later on struggled posting a six-game losing streak between January and February. Barkley averaged 19.2 points per game, but appeared in just 53 games due to ankle and hip injuries. At midseason, the Rockets signed free agents Eddie Johnson and Sedale Threatt as they finished second in the Midwest Division with a 57–25 record. Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and head coach Rudy Tomjanovich represented the Western Conference during the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. However, Barkley and Drexler did not play due to injuries.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Rockets swept the Minnesota Timberwolves in three straight games. In the semifinals, they jumped out to a 3–1 series lead over the Seattle SuperSonics. However, the Sonics would win the next two games to even the series at three games a piece. The Rockets would win Game 7 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, only to lose in six games to the Utah Jazz. Following the season, Threatt retired and Sam Mack was traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies.
After the departures of Barkley, Olajuwon and Drexler, the Rockets did not reach the Conference Finals again until 2015, where they were defeated by the Golden State Warriors in five games.1996–97 Los Angeles Lakers season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Los Angeles Lakers' 49th season in the National Basketball Association, and 37th in the city of Los Angeles. During the offseason, the Lakers signed free agent All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal to a seven-year, $120 million deal, and acquired high school star Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets, who selected him with the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft. Other offseason acquisitions included signing former Lakers guard Byron Scott, and free agents Jerome Kersey and Sean Rooks. In January, they traded Cedric Ceballos back to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry, who won two championships with the Houston Rockets. O'Neal finished fourth in the league in scoring averaging 26.2 points per game, but only played just 51 games due to a knee injury.
During the final month of the season in a game against the Dallas Mavericks on April 6, the Lakers held the Mavs to just two points in the third quarter in an 87–80 win. It was the fewest points in a quarter of a game in NBA history. The Lakers finished second in the Pacific Division with a 56–26 record. O'Neal and Eddie Jones were both selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. However, O'Neal did not play due to injury. Bryant was selected to the All-Rookie Second Team. He also won the Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star Weekend in Cleveland.
In the first round of the postseason, the Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in four games. However, in the semifinals, they lost in five games to the Utah Jazz. Following the season, Scott retired and Kersey signed as a free agent with the Seattle SuperSonics.1996–97 Miami Heat season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the ninth season for the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Heat signed free agents Dan Majerle and P.J. Brown. The team also signed All-Star forward Juwan Howard to a 7-year $100 million contract, but was voided by the league claiming that Miami exceeded their salary cap. Howard then quickly re-signed with the Washington Bullets.Tim Hardaway had a career season with the Heat as he led the team in scoring with 20.3 points per game, and was selected along with Alonzo Mourning for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, although Mourning did not play due to a heel injury. Hardaway finished fourth in MVP voting behind Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Grant Hill. On the defensive side, Mourning and Brown provided leadership, while on the offensive side Jamal Mashburn, who was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks at midseason gave the team a spark. The club also had a group of role players led by newly acquired free agent Isaac Austin, who was honored with the NBA Most Improved Player Award. The Heat won their first Division title with a record of 61 wins and 21 losses, which stood as the franchise mark until the 2012–13 season. Head coach Pat Riley was named Coach of The Year for the third time.In the first round of the playoffs, the Heat won their first ever playoff series by defeating their in-state rivals, the Orlando Magic in five games. In the semifinals, they defeated the New York Knicks in a full seven game series after trailing 3–1. However, they would lose in five games to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The team's season roster is featured in NBA 2K18.1996–97 Milwaukee Bucks season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Bucks' 29th season in the National Basketball Association. In the 1996 NBA draft, the Bucks selected Georgia Tech point guard Stephon Marbury with the fourth pick, but soon traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for rookie shooting guard Ray Allen out of Connecticut. The team also signed free agents Armen Gilliam and Andrew Lang, while acquiring Elliot Perry from the Phoenix Suns. Under new head coach Chris Ford, the Bucks appeared to be on their way breaking out of the gate with a 15–11 start. However, they couldn't maintain that momentum and missed the playoffs again by finishing seventh in the Central Division with a 33–49 record. Vin Baker made his third straight All-Star appearance in the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, and Allen was selected to the All-Rookie Second Team averaging 13.4 points per game.
Following the season, Baker was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in an offseason three-team trade, Johnny Newman was dealt to the Denver Nuggets, and Sherman Douglas, who was involved in a trade with Cleveland signed as a free agent with the New Jersey Nets.1996–97 Minnesota Timberwolves season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Timberwolves' 8th season in the National Basketball Association. In the 1996 NBA draft, the Timberwolves selected Connecticut shooting guard Ray Allen with the fifth pick, but soon traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks for rookie point guard Stephon Marbury out of Georgia Tech. Offseason acquisitions included acquiring James Robinson from the Portland Trail Blazers, and Cherokee Parks from the Dallas Mavericks, while signing free agents Dean Garrett and Chris Carr. The addition of Marbury made a positive effect on the entire team, as second-year star Kevin Garnett and Tom Gugliotta became the first Wolves to be selected to the All-Star team, both being selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.
The Timberwolves went on to make their first ever playoff appearance, finishing third in the Midwest Division with a 40–42 record. Marbury was selected to the All-Rookie First Team. In the first round of the playoffs, they were swept by the Houston Rockets in three straight games. Following the season, Robinson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, and Garrett signed with the Denver Nuggets.
For the season, the Timberwolves changed their logo and uniforms adding dark blue and black to their color scheme. Their logo and uniforms would both last until 2008.1996–97 NBA season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the 51st season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The league used this season to mark its 50th anniversary, which included the unveiling of the league's list of its 50 greatest players. This particular season featured what has since been acknowledged as one of the most talented rookie-classes, featuring the debuts of Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal, Ben Wallace and Stephon Marbury. The season ended with the Chicago Bulls defeating the Utah Jazz 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals to win the franchise's 5th championship.1996–97 New York Knicks season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the 51st season for the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association. In the regular season, the Knicks finished in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 57–25 record, and made the NBA Playoffs for the 10th consecutive year.During the offseason, the Knicks acquired All-Star forward Larry Johnson from the Charlotte Hornets, while signing free agents Allan Houston, Chris Childs and Buck Williams. The Knicks enjoyed a successful season, with their 57 wins tied for the third-most in franchise history; they finished second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. John Starks was named the Sixth Man of the Year, and Patrick Ewing was selected to the 1997 NBA All-Star Game (he did not play due to a groin injury), earned All-NBA Second Team honors, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. In the last game of the season, at the United Center, the Knicks defeated the then-69–12 Chicago Bulls, preventing them from posting two consecutive 70-win seasons in a row, and tying the best home record (40–1 set by the 1985–86 Boston Celtics).In the playoffs, New York defeated the Charlotte Hornets in a three-game sweep in the first round and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they faced the Miami Heat in what would eventually become the first chapter of one of the fiercest NBA rivalries of the period. After jumping to a 3–1 lead in the series, the Knicks were eliminated by the Heat in seven games, after a brawl erupted at the end of Game 5 that led to the suspensions of five key Knicks players: Ewing, Houston, Johnson, Starks and Charlie Ward. Following the season, John Wallace was traded to the Toronto Raptors, and Walter McCarty was dealt to the Boston Celtics.1996–97 Orlando Magic season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Magic's eighth season in the National Basketball Association. After losing Shaquille O'Neal via free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason, the Magic acquired Rony Seikaly from the Golden State Warriors, and signed free agents Gerald Wilkins and Derek Strong. Early into the season, the Magic played two games against the New Jersey Nets in Tokyo, Japan. Head coach Brian Hill was fired 49 games into the season after a 24–25 start, and Anfernee Hardaway was generally blamed for leading a player revolt that resulted in his dismissal. Hill was replaced with Richie Adubato for the remainder of the season as the Magic finished third in the Atlantic Division with a 45–37 record. Hardaway was selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, despite playing just 59 games due to a knee injury.
The Magic entered the playoffs without Horace Grant, who was out with a wrist injury. In the first round, the Magic lost in five games to their in-state rivals, the Miami Heat. As of 2018, this was the only playoff meeting between both teams from Florida. Following the season, three-point specialist Dennis Scott was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after a meltdown at a basketball camp during the summer, and Brian Shaw was dealt to the Golden State Warriors.1996–97 Sacramento Kings season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Kings' 48th season in the National Basketball Association, and 12th season in Sacramento. During the offseason, the Kings acquired Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf from the Denver Nuggets. Coming off their first playoff appearance in ten years, expectations in Sacramento were high. However, the Kings struggled with an 8–17 start as Brian Grant played just 24 games due to a shoulder injury. The Kings would rebound to get back into playoff connection with a 28–32 record. However, they went on a 7-game losing streak in March as head coach Garry St. Jean was fired, and replaced with assistant Eddie Jordan. The Kings finished sixth in the Pacific Division with a 34–48 record, missing the playoffs by just two games. Mitch Richmond finished fifth in the league in scoring averaging 25.9 points per game, while being selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.
Following the season, Grant signed as a free agent with the Portland Trail Blazers, second-year guard Tyus Edney signed with the Boston Celtics, Duane Causwell was traded to the Miami Heat, and Lionel Simmons and Kevin Gamble both retired.1996–97 Seattle SuperSonics season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the 29th season for the Seattle SuperSonics in the National Basketball Association. The SuperSonics entered the season as runner-ups in the 1996 NBA Finals, having lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. During the offseason, the Sonics signed free agents Jim McIlvaine and Craig Ehlo, and later on signed Terry Cummings in January. Coming off their trip to the NBA Finals, the Sonics remained as one of the elite teams in the Western Conference posting an 11-game winning streak after losing two of their first three games. The team won their third Division title in four years with a 57–25 record, and entered the playoffs as the #2 seed in the Western Conference. Three members of the team, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf were all selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.
In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the 7th-seeded Phoenix Suns after trailing 2–1. In the semifinals, they faced the Houston Rockets, who had home court advantage in the series and defeated the Sonics in seven games. This season was Kemp's final season with the SuperSonics, as he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade the following year. Also following the season, Cummings signed with the Philadelphia 76ers and Ehlo retired.1996–97 Utah Jazz season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Jazz's 23rd season in the National Basketball Association, and 18th season in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the season, the Jazz changed their logo that more closely reflects the state of Utah featuring purple mountains, and sky blue in the script. The new colors seemed to agree with the Jazz as they went on a 15-game winning streak after a 2–2 start to the season. The Jazz then posted a 31–4 record after the All-Star break, and finished first place in the Western Conference with a franchise best record of 64–18. Karl Malone averaged 27.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game as he took home MVP honors. He was also selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game along with John Stockton.
In the playoffs, the Jazz got off to a flying start in the first round sweeping the Los Angeles Clippers in three straight games. In the semifinals, they continued to roll easily knocking the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one. In the Western Conference Finals, they took a 2–0 series lead over the Houston Rockets. However, the Rockets would even the series at two games a piece as Eddie Johnson hit a dramatic buzzer beater to win Game 4. After the Jazz took Game 5 at home, Game 6 would be another battle and appeared to be heading for overtime, until Stockton nailed a three-point buzzer beater that launched the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. In their first trip to the finals, the Jazz lost in six games to the Chicago Bulls.
The Jazz's new logo and uniforms would both last until 2004.1996–97 Washington Bullets season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Bullets' 36th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bullets acquired Rod Strickland from the Portland Trail Blazers, and signed free agent Tracy Murray. Despite a stellar season last year, Juwan Howard signed a 7-year $100 million contract with the Miami Heat. However, the deal was voided claiming that Miami exceeded their salary cap. The Bullets quickly re-signed Howard, but would lose their first round draft pick next year.With a record of 22–24 at midseason, the Bullets fired head coach Jim Lynam, then after playing one game under assistant Bob Staak, they hired Bernie Bickerstaff as their new coach. Under Bickerstaff, the Bullets finished the season winning 16 of their final 21 games. On the final day of the regular season, the Bullets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 85–81 at the Gund Arena to capture the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They finished fourth in the Atlantic Division with a 44–38 record, ending an eight-year playoff drought. Chris Webber led the team in scoring, rebounding and block shots. He was also selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Bullets were swept by the defending champion Chicago Bulls in three straight games. This would be their final playoff appearance until 2005. Game 3 of that series at US Airways Arena was officially their final game as the "Bullets". Following the season, the team changed its name to the "Wizards".Jeff Shreve
Jeff Shreve is an American public address announcer for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, University of Akron football and men's basketball, the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League and the former public address announcer of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association.
Shreve began duties as full-time public address announcer at the beginning of the second season of existence of Gund Arena in the 1995-96 NBA season. He was the voice of the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, as well as the "NBA at 50" halftime ceremony honoring the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He was replaced by Ronnie Duncan after the 2004-05 NBA season as part of the team overhaul by new owner Dan Gilbert.
During a memorable game in 2003, Shreve told the arena crowd in Cleveland to stay calm after Ron Artest (then of the Indiana Pacers) made obscene gestures to the audience. When Shreve advised the crowd not to throw anything onto the court, Artest, who was sitting on the scorers table, patted Shreve on the back. 
In 1999, Shreve was hired as the Internal Public Address Announcer for the Cleveland Browns, and replaced Jim Mueller as the full-time stadium announcer in 2000.
Shreve served as the Public Address announcer for the Cleveland Rockers of the WNBA for all of their seven seasons (1997-2003). He has also been the announcer for the Mid-American Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments since 2000, and the Mid-American Conference Football Championship game since 2012.
1996–97 NBA season by team