Neha Patil (Editor)

1998–99 NBA season

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TV partner(s)

San Antonio Spurs

Start date
February 5, 1999

End date

Number of teams

Top draft pick
Michael Olowokandi

Number of games

Season MVP
Karl Malone (Utah Jazz)

1998–99 NBA season i2cdnturnercomnbanbahistoryseasonreviews19

National Basketball Association

February 5 – May 5, 1999 May 8 – June 11, 1999 (Playoffs) June 16 – 25, 1999 (Finals)

Top scorer
Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers)

1997–98 NBA season, 1996–97 NBA season, 2000–01 NBA season, 2002–03 NBA season, 2001–02 NBA season

The 1999 NBA season was the 53rd season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Due to a lockout, the season did not start until February 5, 1999, after a new six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. All 29 teams played a shortened 50-game regular season schedule- 61% of the regular 82 games- and the 16 teams who qualified for the playoffs played a full post-season schedule. That season's All-Star Game was also canceled. The season ended with the San Antonio Spurs winning the franchise's first NBA championship, beating the New York Knicks 4 games to 1 in the 1999 NBA Finals.



The second lockout in the history of the NBA lasted from July 1, 1998, to January 20, 1999. NBA owners were seeking changes to the league's salary cap system and a ceiling on individual player salaries. The National Basketball Players Association opposed the owners' plans and wanted raises for players who earned the league's minimum salary.

As the labor dispute continued into September, the preseason was shortened to just two games instead of the normal eight, and training camps were postponed indefinitely. By October, it became the first time in NBA history that games were canceled due to a labor dispute. Further games were canceled by November and December, including the All-Star Game, which had been scheduled to be played on February 14, 1999. The preseason was canceled as well.

An agreement between the owners and players was eventually reached on January 18, 1999. When play resumed, the regular season was shortened to 50 games per team, as opposed to the normal 82. As a result, some teams did not meet each other at all during the course of the shortened season. In addition, to preserve games between teams in the same conference, much of the time missed was made up for by skipping well over half of the games played between teams in the opposite conference.

Notable occurrences

  • Michael Jordan announced his retirement for the second time on January 13, 1999, while the lockout was still ongoing. He would later return to play two more seasons for the Washington Wizards from 2001–2003.
  • The New York Knicks became only the second #8 seed to advance in the playoffs by defeating a #1 seed. As of 2016, they remain the only #8 seed to have advanced to the NBA Finals.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers played their final season at the Great Western Forum. Because the Great Western Bank ceased to exist two seasons prior, the arena name was replaced by the team name on center court, in anticipation of the move to the Staples Center.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers played their final season at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
  • The Indiana Pacers played their final season at the Market Square Arena.
  • The Denver Nuggets played their final season at the McNichols Sports Arena.
  • The Miami Heat played their final full season at the Miami Arena, although they still played the first two months of the following season at this arena before moving to the American Airlines Arena in January 2000.
  • The Toronto Raptors played their first game in Air Canada Centre on February 21.
  • The San Antonio Spurs became the first former ABA team to win a championship. (As of June 2016, they are still the only ABA franchise with a title; the Nets and Pacers have not won a title, and the Nuggets have never played a NBA Finals game.)
  • The Atlanta Hawks played another season in the Georgia Dome while Philips Arena was constructed for the 1999–2000 season. This season would be the Hawks' last playoff appearance until the 2007–08 season.
  • The Clippers tied the 1988–89 Miami Heat for the longest losing streak to start the season (17) from February 5 until March 11 when they defeated the Sacramento Kings. In December 2009, this record was broken by the New Jersey Nets who lost the first eighteen games of the season.
  • Hall of Fame coach Red Holzman died on November 13, 1998, at age 78.
  • For the first time in 15 seasons, the Chicago Bulls missed the playoffs. They would also become the second defending champion in NBA history that failed to make the playoffs, joining the 1969–70 Boston Celtics.
  • Notes

  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
  • y – Clinched division title
  • x – Clinched playoff spot
  • Playoffs

    Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.

    NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Karl Malone, Utah Jazz
  • Rookie of the Year: Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat
  • Sixth Man of the Year: Darrell Armstrong, Orlando Magic
  • Most Improved Player: Darrell Armstrong, Orlando Magic
  • Coach of the Year: Mike Dunleavy, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Executive of the Year: Geoff Petrie, Sacramento Kings
  • Sportsmanship Award: Hersey Hawkins, Seattle SuperSonics
  • Players of the month

    The following players were named the Players of the Month.

    Rookies of the month

    The following players were named the Rookies of the Month.

    Coaches of the month

    The following coaches were named Coaches of the Month.


    1998–99 NBA season Wikipedia