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Lucien James Longley (born 19 January 1969) is an Australian professional basketball coach and former player. He was the first Australian to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he played for four teams over 10 seasons. Longley most notably played for the Chicago Bulls, with whom he won three championships from 1996 to 1998. He represented Australia as a player at three Olympic Games in 1988, 1992 and 2000, and has worked as an assistant coach for the Australian national basketball team since 2013. Longley began his career in Australia with a brief stint playing for the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1986. He played collegiately for the New Mexico Lobos and was drafted 7th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1991 NBA draft. Longley played three middling seasons with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 1994. He became the Bulls' starting center during their historic 1995–96 season when they set the NBA record for most wins in a regular season with 72. Longley was an important component of the team's success and stayed in the Bulls' starting lineup during their championship three-peat. Following the demise of the Bulls after their 1998 championship win, he had brief stints with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks.

Early life & career

Longley was born 19 January 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria. At the age of 16 he was a member of the Australian Under-19 side and the following year, 1986, he joined the Perth Wildcats, with whom he played two games. Longley was recruited out of Scotch College in Perth by the University of New Mexico's basketball coach, Gary Colson, who went to Perth to recruit Longley's childhood friend Andrew Vlahov, who ended up attending Stanford University. Vlahov and Longley both played their junior basketball for the Perth Redbacks on the same team. Longley attended college at the University of New Mexico, from 1987 to 1991, where he averaged 19.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his senior year. He helped New Mexico reach the NCAA Tournament in 1991. At nineteen he was a member of the national team for the Seoul Olympics, where they finished fourth, the best result an Australian senior men's basketball team has achieved in Olympic competition. Longley also spent time at the Australian Institute of Sport in 1986 and 1987 (before heading to New Mexico) under the coaching of Australian Boomers head coach Adrian Hurley, attending the AIS with Vlahov and another emerging basketball player from Adelaide, Mark Bradtke. Throughout the 1990s, that trio would form the nucleus of the Australian Boomers front court with Longley at centre, 6'10" (208 cm) Bradtke at power forward, and 6'7" (201 cm) Vlahov at small forward. When Longley returned home to Perth during college breaks, he regularly suited up for the Perth Redbacks, helping the team to consecutive State Basketball League (SBL) championships in 1989 and 1990.

NBA career



Minnesota Timberwolves

Longley was drafted 7th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1991. After long contract negotiations that were still going on when the 1991–92 NBA season started and actually prevented him from playing for the first month, Longley made his NBA debut for the Timberwolves on 30 November 1991. In 1992, he again represented Australia at the Barcelona Olympics. After two-plus mediocre seasons with the struggling franchise, the center was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Stacey King late in the 1993–94 season.

Chicago Bulls

Longley went on to become the Bulls' starting center. He won three straight championships with the Bulls from 1996 to 1998, becoming the first Australian player to win an NBA title and the only player to have won three championships. After playing 55 games from the bench in 1994–95, Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson promoted Longley to be the Bulls' starting center in 1995–96. Unfortunately for Longley, post-season surgery to his left ankle and the subsequent recovery time saw him forced to miss playing for the Australian Boomers at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Longley was forced to miss almost two months of the 1996–97 season after dislocating his shoulder while body surfing at Hermosa Beach near the team's hotel after a game in Los Angeles. In a 2014 interview on Australian television, Longley joked that after a month he began receiving phone calls from Michael Jordan telling him to get back on court soon because he had no one to set screens for him.

Phoenix Suns

Following the breakup of the Bulls roster after the 1997–98 season, Chicago did a sign-and-trade deal with Longley, sending him to the Phoenix Suns for Mark Bryant, Martin Müürsepp, Bubba Wells, and a conditional first-round draft pick.

New York Knicks

Longley was traded to the New York Knicks prior to the 2000–01 NBA season in what was only the second four-team trade in NBA history. The Suns acquired Chris Dudley as part of the deal together with a first-round draft pick from New York and an undisclosed amount of cash, while New York received Longley, Glen Rice, Travis Knight, Vladimir Stepania, Lazaro Borrell, Vernon Maxwell, two first-round draft picks (from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Seattle SuperSonics) and two second-round draft picks from Seattle. Seattle received Patrick Ewing and the Lakers received Horace Grant, Greg Foster, Chuck Person and Emanual Davis. Longley spent one year with New York before retiring, due to a degenerative condition in his left ankle.

National team career

Luc Longley made his international debut for the Australia national basketball team in 1988 and would be, whenever possible, the preferred starting centre for the next 12 years. He appeared in three Summer Olympic Games (1988, 1992 and 2000) as well as at the 1990 FIBA World Championship. Unfortunately, injury prevented him from playing for Australia at the 1996 Olympic games as well as the 1994 and 1998 FIBA World Championships. During his international career, Longley played alongside some of the greats of Australian basketball including Andrew Gaze, Phil Smyth, Mark Bradtke, Andrew Vlahov, Ray Borner, Brett Maher and Larry Sengstock. Longley has made it known that although many focus on his three championships with the Chicago Bulls, he feels his time spent with the Australian Boomers is just as important. On the Aussie Hoopla podcast Longley discussed how important the Australian Boomers was to his growth as a player and noted this as the reason he wants to give back to the national program as an assistant coach

Awards

In 2001, he was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport 'Best of the Best'. Longley was part-owner of the Perth Wildcats basketball club in the Australian National Basketball League for several years and was the #1 ticket holder at the Fremantle Dockers in the Australian Football League between 2006 and 2007. In 2006 Longley was inducted into Basketball Australia's Hall of Fame in Melbourne. On 8 October 2009 Longley was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame at its 25th anniversary dinner in Melbourne, becoming only the fourth basketball player to be inducted along with Andrew Gaze, Michele Timms and Phil Smyth.

Coaching career

On 14 May 2013, Longley was named an assistant coach of the Australian men's national basketball team.

Personal life

Longley's father, Richard, an architect, represented Australia at international level in basketball, including being a member of two Olympic squads. His mother, Sue Hansen-Smith, is an equestrian who has been divorced from Richard since 1984 and resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. Longley has two brothers, Sam, a journalist and actor, and Griff, also a journalist and who also played briefly for the Perth Wildcats. Longley was married to an American, Kelly, whom he met in New Mexico while he was attending college and they had two daughters. He married Anna Gare, a former musician and current television presenter, in 2008. The Longley family are well known in the Fremantle area, to the extent a 25-year-old, then Chicago Bulls player, Longley was present at the Fremantle Football Club's unveiling and launch at the Fremantle Port. He cited Fremantle at the time as "one of the world's great spots". In 1996, Longley bought a house in Riverwoods, Illinois. On 6 April 2007, Longley's $2 million home in Fremantle, Western Australia, was destroyed by a fire. It was initially believed much of Longley's memorabilia from his basketball career was lost, although he later stated he only lost his 1996 team photo. He then bought a warehouse on a nearby street which Gare's father, an architect, converted into a house for their needs. In 2015, the couple moved to a property near the coastal Western Australian town of Denmark. In December 2009 Longley, who had previously participated in marine conservation efforts, named a newly discovered shrimp species ''Lebbeus clarehanna'' after his 15-year-old daughter.

References



External links


NBA.com player file
* https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/longllu01.html {{DEFAULTSORT:Longley, Luc Category:1969 births Category:Living people Category:Australian expatriate basketball people in the United States Category:Australian Institute of Sport basketball players Category:Basketball players at the 1988 Summer Olympics Category:Basketball players at the 1992 Summer Olympics Category:Basketball players at the 2000 Summer Olympics Category:Basketball players from Melbourne Category:Basketball players from Perth, Western Australia Category:Centers (basketball) Category:Chicago Bulls players Category:Members of the Order of Australia Category:Minnesota Timberwolves draft picks Category:Minnesota Timberwolves players Category:National Basketball Association players from Australia Category:New Mexico Lobos men's basketball players Category:New York Knicks players Category:Olympic basketball players of Australia Category:People educated at Scotch College, Perth Category:People from Riverwoods, Illinois Category:Perth Wildcats players Category:Phoenix Suns players Category:Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductees Category:Western Australian Institute of Sport alumni Category:Western Australian Sports Star of the Year winners