Luc Longley

Basketball | Inducted: 2007

Born Melbourne, Victoria
19 January 1969

Luc Longley created history by becoming the first Australian to play in the America NBA and subsequently the first to also win an NBA Championship.

Born into a Basketball family, his father having been a founding member of the Perth Wildcats, Longley was introduced to the sport at a young age. After attending Scotch College, he received a basketball scholarship to the University of New Mexico. By the time of the 1991 NBA draft, the 218cm (7'2") Longley had attracted plenty of attention from the NBA Scouts. He was chosen at number seven in the draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After two years with the struggling franchise, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. It was a move that would cement his place in the sport. He played the last 27 games of the 1993-94 season with the Bulls, who were eliminated in the second round of the play-offs by the New York Knicks. Midway through the following season, the Club welcomed back Michael Jordan, who had retired from the sport after guiding the Club to a hat-trick of Championships just 18 months earlier.

The following season, the Bulls again won the Championship. As the starting centre , Longley's passing ability blended perfectly with the likes of Jordan, Scott Pippen and Dennis Rodman. The team's 72-10 win-loss record during the 1995-96 regular season remains an NBA record. The team wasn't as dominant in the next two seasons but the result was the same, with the Bulls claiming another two Championships to complete another hat-trick of titles.

The following year, the team was dramatically dismantled, with the decision to rebuild what was a successful, but aging team. Longley was traded to the Phoenix Suns, before linking up with the Knicks in 2000-01. A degenerative ankle injury kept him to just 25 games that season, before he retired on medical grounds. After a decade in the NBA, he played 567 games, 87 of them in play-offs. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Longley also represented Australia at three Olympic Games - Seoul, Barcelona and Sydney. He was forced to withdraw from the Atlanta Olympic team due to injury. Following his retirement from the NBA, he returned to Perth, where for a time he was part-owner of the Perth Wildcats.