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Kevin McHale (1957)

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  Summary  

Kevin Edward McHale is a retired American professional basketball player and current head coach of the Houston Rockets. After his playing career, he worked for the Minnesota Timberwolves as the team's general manager and later its coach. He was fired as coach in June 2009. McHale then worked as an analyst for NBA TV and Turner Sports.

  Biography  

 early life
Kevin McHale was born to Paul Austin McHale and Josephine Patricia Starcevich in Hibbing, Minnesota. In his senior season at Hibbing High School, he was named Minnesota's Mr. Basketball of 1976 and led his squad to a runner-up finish in the AA Minnesota State Championship game.

In 1992, McHale was elected to the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame.

 personal life
On June 30, 1982, he married his wife Lynn. They have five children.

In 1990 and again in 1991, he appeared as himself in two episodes of Cheers, a television situation comedy set in Boston.

later career
Injuries limited Larry Bird to just six games in 1988–89 and the Celtics slipped to 42–40. New head coach Jimmy Rodgers coaxed the team into the playoffs as the Eastern Conference's eighth and final seed behind the play of McHale and Parish and second-year guard Reggie Lewis.

The Celtics faced the Pistons in the playoffs for the third straight year. Detroit bottled up McHale this time around, holding him to 19 points per game and less than 50 percent shooting from the field. The Pistons easily swept the Celtics en route to their first NBA Championship.

The 1989–90 season marked the last time McHale was healthy enough to play in all 82 regular season games for the Celtics, but the season was one of discontent for Boston. Second-year point guard Brian Shaw left the team to play in Europe after a salary dispute, and Larry Bird—back from his injuries—was criticized by teammates, including McHale, for taking too many shots and trying to dominate games on his own.

Rodgers moved McHale back into his old "sixth man" role for the majority of the regular season; McHale's scoring dipped into the teens coming off the bench. With 23 games to play and Boston just nine games above .500, Rodgers decided to put McHale back into the starting lineup. McHale averaged 24.2 points and 9 rebounds down the stretch as the Celtics went 18–5 and finished just a game behind Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.

McHale became the first player in twenty years to finish in the NBA's top ten in field goal percentage and free throw percentage in the same season.

Boston took the first two games of its first-round playoff series with the Knicks, including a record-setting 157–128 blowout in Game 2. In a shocking reversal the Knicks fought back and won the last three games of the series, bouncing the stunned Celtics from the playoffs. Head coach Jimmy Rodgers was fired following the playoff disappointment.

McHale contemplated retirement in the off-season after having another surgery performed on his balky right ankle, but he came back for the 1990–91 season. Boston paired young backcourt players Lewis, Dee Brown, Kevin Gamble and Brian Shaw—back from his year in Europe—with Bird, McHale and Parish and hired Chris Ford, a longtime assistant coach and member of the Celtics' 1981 championship team, to be its head coach.

The season got off to a promising start as Boston sprinted to a 29–5 record, but the Celtics were soon slowed by injuries to McHale and Bird . McHale missed 14 regular season games and Bird 22, as the Celtics limped to a 27–21 record over the last three months of the season. Boston defeated the Indiana Pacers in five games in a hotly-contested first round playoff matchup, but for the third time in four years the Celtics were eliminated by Detroit, this time in a six-game semi-final series.

McHale played in a career-low 56 games and Bird played in just 45, as each suffered through an injury-plagued 1991–92 season. Boston struggled for most of the regular season but got hot as the playoffs approached, winning 15 of its last 16 games and finishing with 51 wins, the third-most in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics swept the Pacers in the first round, but were defeated in seven games in the conference semi-finals by the younger, quicker Cleveland Cavaliers. Bird retired from the NBA three months later.

The 1992–93 season was McHale's last in the NBA. McHale played in 71 games, but he was severely hampered by leg and back injuries. He averaged just 10.7 points per game and shot less than 50 percent from the floor (45.9%) for the only time in his career.

In the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Charlotte Hornets the Celtics were stunned by the loss of Lewis, their leading scorer. He collapsed on the court during Game 1 and was diagnosed with what eventually proved to be a fatal heart condition. McHale performed brilliantly in the series. He averaged 19.6 points per game and shot 58 percent from the field—including 30 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2—but Boston fell to the Hornets in four games.

McHale announced his retirement while talking with reporters at the scorer's table after the Game 4 loss in Charlotte.

legacy
McHale was a part of what some consider the league's best-ever frontline with small forward Larry Bird and center Robert Parish. The trio of Hall of Famers became known as the "Big Three" and led the Celtics to five NBA Finals appearances and three NBA Championships, in 1981, 1984 and 1986. For the first five years of his career McHale primarily came off the bench for the Celtics, winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1984 and 1985.

Possessing a wide variety of offensive moves close to the basket the agile, long-armed McHale played in seven National Basketball Association All-Star Games between 1984 and 1991. McHale's finest season came in 1986–87 when he was named to the All-NBA First Team as a forward. He led the NBA in field goal percentage in 1987 and 1988, shooting 60.4 percent each season. Also a standout defensive player, McHale was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First or Second Team six times. He twice blocked nine shots in a game, the most ever by a Boston Celtics' player .

In 971 regular season games McHale averaged 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds and in 169 post-season games averaged 18.8 points and 7.4 rebounds.

At the end of the 2007–2008 season McHale ranked tenth in NBA history in career field goal percentage (55.4%), and he is among the Celtics' career leaders in several categories, including games played, points scored and rebounding.

McHale's number 32 jersey was retired by the Celtics on January 30, 1994, during a halftime ceremony at the Boston Garden .

He was chosen one of the NBA's fifty greatest players and was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.

McHale was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Kevin McHale", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.