On December 12, 1891, 13 rules of a new game were posted in a YMCA gym in Springfield, Massachusetts. At each end of the floor, Dr. James A. Naismith, who had invented the game, had peach baskets nailed below a walkway that happened to be 10-feet high. Within a few days, one of Naismith's students would christen the new game "Basket Ball." Over a century ago, no one could possibly have envisioned the extraordinary changes that were going to transform Dr. Naismith's game. Who could have imagined a 6-10 George Mikan swatting shots away from the basket? Julius Erving in flight, soaring in from the free throw line for a heart-stopping stuff? Or Bob Cousy throwing a mind-boggling no-look, behind-the-back pass; Jerry West hitting a 60-foot shot with no time left in a crucial playoff game; Larry Bird's three-point prowess and Michael Jordan rising to heights - literally and figuratively - never before seen by any athlete? Who could have foreseen more than 62,000 fans crowded into the Georgia Dome to see a game between the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks? Or the titanic battles between Wilt and Russell? Or the Dream Team? The longevity of Stockton and Malone? Red Auerbach's victory cigars? Phil Jackson's Zen coaching? Or Shaquille O'Neal's powerful dunks? Who could have ever predicted talent like Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Walt Frazier, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant? With an Introduction by NBA Commissioner David J. Stern and a Foreword by Michael Jordan, this third edition ofThe Official NBA Encyclopediacaptures it all: The past and the present. The complete stats and the complex personalities. Dynasties, rivalries, coaches, referees, all the pre-NBA leagues, vignettes and features by the top basketball writers in the world. Every NBA season is reviewed and individual statistics are provided for every player who has ever played in the league. An extraordinary 32-page color photo essay that captures the spirit of the game since Naismith conceived it opens this encyclopedia in an unprecedented and spectacular manner. From the peach basket to the slam dunk championship - it's all here inThe Official NBA Encyclopedia, a book that's almost as exciting as a triple overtime seventh game of the NBA Finals.