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1979–80 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
TV partner/s CBS, USA
Regular season
Season MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (L.A. Lakers)
Top scorer George Gervin (San Antonio)
Playoffs
Eastern champions Philadelphia 76ers
Eastern runners-up Boston Celtics
Western champions Los Angeles Lakers
Western runners-up Seattle SuperSonics
Finals
Finals champions Los Angeles Lakers
Runners-up Philadelphia 76ers
Finals MVP Magic Johnson (L.A. Lakers)

The 1979–80 NBA season was the 34th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.


Notable occurrences

  • The NBA officially adopts the three-point field goal. Boston Celtics guard Chris Ford made the first three-pointer on October 12, 1979.
  • The Jazz relocate from New Orleans, Louisiana to Salt Lake City, Utah and move from the Central Division to the Midwest Division (with the Indiana Pacers replacing them).
  • The 1980 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, with the East defeating the West 144–136 in overtime. George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs wins the game's MVP award.
  • This was the first season the NBA had a cable television partner. The USA Network signed a 3 year, 1.5 million dollar deal.
  • Magic Johnson and Larry Bird's rookie season, the 1979–80 NBA season is considered, by many, to be the birth of the modern game.[ Playing an up tempo style, the NBA appealed to a wider audience.
  • Darryl Dawkins broke two backboards: one at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium on November 13, 1979, and a second backboard 23 days later at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Because his dunks resulted in delays while teams went to find another backboard, the NBA eventually modified their basketball rims to make them collapsible.
  • Former NBA official and CBS analyst Mendy Rudolph passed away on July 4, 1979. All NBA referee shirts sport the No. 5 patch in his honor, and was retired permanently.

Final standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Boston Celtics 61 21 .744 -
Philadelphia 76ers 59 23 .720 2
Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 22
New York Knicks 39 43 .476 22
New Jersey Nets 34 48 .415 27
Central Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Atlanta Hawks 50 32 .610 -
Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 9
San Antonio Spurs 41 41 .500 9
Cleveland Cavaliers 37 45 .451 13
Indiana Pacers 37 45 .451 13
Detroit Pistons 16 66 .195 34

Western Conference

Midwest Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Milwaukee Bucks 49 33 .598 -
Kansas City Kings 47 35 .573 2
Chicago Bulls 30 52 .366 19
Denver Nuggets 30 52 .366 19
Utah Jazz 24 58 .293 25
Pacific Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Los Angeles Lakers C 60 22 .732 -
Seattle SuperSonics 56 26 .683 4
Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 5
Portland Trail Blazers 38 44 .463 22
San Diego Clippers 35 47 .427 25
Golden State Warriors 24 58 .293 36

C - NBA Champions

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game George Gervin San Antonio Spurs 33.1
Rebounds per game Swen Nater San Diego Clippers 15.0
Assists per game Micheal Ray Richardson New York Knicks 10.1
Steals per game Micheal Ray Richardson New York Knicks 3.2
Blocks per game Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Los Angeles Lakers 3.4
FG% Cedric Maxwell Boston Celtics 60.9
FT% Rick Barry Houston Rockets 93.5
3FG% Fred Brown Seattle SuperSonics 44.3

NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Rookie of the Year: Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
  • Coach of the Year: Bill Fitch, Boston Celtics
  • All-NBA First Team:
    • Paul Westphal, Phoenix Suns
    • George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs
    • Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers
    • Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
    • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers
  • All-NBA Rookie Team:
    • Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
    • Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
    • Bill Cartwright, New York Knicks
    • David Greenwood, Chicago Bulls
    • Calvin Natt, Portland Trail Blazers
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team:
    • Bobby Jones, Philadelphia 76ers
    • Dan Roundfield, Atlanta Hawks
    • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers
    • Dennis Johnson, Seattle SuperSonics
    • Don Buse, Phoenix Suns (tie)
    • Micheal Ray Richardson, New York Knicks (tie)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team:
    • Scott Wedman, Kansas City Kings
    • Kermit Washington, Portland Trail Blazers
    • Dave Cowens, Boston Celtics
    • Quinn Buckner, Milwaukee Bucks
    • Eddie Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

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