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Encyclopedia > Phi Slama Jama

Phi Slama Jama was the nickname of the University of Houston Cougars men's basketball teams from 1982 to 1984. Coined by former Houston Post sportswriter Thomas Bonk in a January 3,1983 article, the nickname was quickly adopted by the players and even appeared on team warmup suits by the middle of the 1982-83 season. Phi Slama Jama was coached by the legendary Guy V. Lewis and featured future Hall of Fame and NBA Top 50 players Akeem Abdul Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. "Texas' Tallest Fraternity" was especially known for its slam dunking and explosive, fast-breaking style of play. // A nickname is a short, clever, cute, derogatory, or otherwise substitute name for a person or things real name (for example, Bob, Rob, Robby, Robbie, Robi, Robin, Bobby, Rab, Rabbie, Bert, Bertie, Butch, Bobbers, Bobert, Beto, Bobadito, and Robban (in Sweden), are all nicknames for Robert). ... The University of Houston, formerly University of Houston–University Park, is a comprehensive doctoral degree-granting university[1] located in Houston, Texas. ... This article applies only to University of Houston mens basketball The Houston Cougars Basketball team is the basketball team that represent the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, USA. The schools team currently competes in Conference USA. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Mens... Sara Giauro shoots a three-point shot, FIBA Europe Cup for Women Finals 2005. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Houston Post was a newspaper in Houston, Texas established on February 19, 1880, by Gail Borden Johnson. ... Guy V. Lewis (born in Arp, Texas, March 19, 1922) was a highly succesful NCAA basketball coach for 30 years at the University of Houston. ... The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honors players who have shown exceptional skill at basketball, all-time great coaches and referees, and other major contributors to the game. ... The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History (commonly referred to as the NBAs 50th Anniversary All-Time Team) were chosen in 1996 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to comprise the fifty best and most influential players... Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (born Akeem Abdul Olajuwon on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria) is a former professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. ... Clyde Austin Drexler (born June 22, 1962 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American former National Basketball Association shooting guard. ... Main article: Basketball moves This article is about the term, slam dunk. For the manga series, see Slam Dunk (manga). ...



Phi Slama Jama played a frenetic, playground-influenced style of basketball that was in near diametric opposition to the fundamentally polished and methodical style espoused by basketball traditionalists like John Wooden. Wooden maligned dunking as flamboyant and unsportsmanlike and even forbade his players from performing the shot for several years. Guy Lewis not only condoned his players dunking, he “insisted on it,” dunks being what he called "high-percentage shots." The young players who made up Phi Slama Jama had been influenced by the freewheeling style of play pioneered during the 1970s by the defunct ABA and its most famous player, Julius Erving. In this paradigm, athleticism took precedence over fundamental skills, fast breaks were preferred to set plays, and dunking trumped the jump shot. In an interview with Thomas Bonk, Clyde Drexler espoused the Phi Slama Jama philosophy, saying, “Sure, 15-footers are fine, but I like to dunk." The Phi Slama Jama teams were notably poor at free throw shooting, with some critics attributing their 1983 NCAA Final loss to this deficiency. John Robert Wooden, born October 14, 1910, in Hall, Indiana, is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (Class of 1961) and a coach (Class of 1973). ... For information about the ABA that began in 2000 see American Basketball Association (21st century). ... Julius Winfield Erving II (born February 22, 1950 in Roosevelt, New York), commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is a former American basketball player who helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim. ...

On the court

The Phi Slama Jama Cougars advanced to the NCAA Final Four each year from 1982 to 1984. As underclassmen in 1981-82, a young Cougar team lost to the eventual champion North Carolina Tarheels in the national semifinals. The 1982-83 season marked the high point of Phi Slama Jama. The Cougars posted an Associated Press #1 ranking, a 31-2 record and a 26 game winning streak before losing in the NCAA Final. Considered one of the most unlikely upsets in NCAA tournament history, Phi Slama Jama lost a closely-contested championship game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack by a score of 54-52. The final margin was decided on a last second dunk by Wolfpack forward Lorenzo Charles. The playoff term Final Four was originally popularized to refer to the final four teams in the NCAA Basketball Tournament; these are the champions of the tournaments four regional brackets, and the only teams remaining on the tournaments final weekend. ... This refers to the athletic teams for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The name Tar Heel is also often used to refer to individuals from the state of North Carolina, the Tar Heel State. ... The Associated Press, or AP, is an American news agency, the worlds largest such organization. ... North Carolina State University is a public, coeducational, extensive research university located in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. ... Power forward is a position in the sport of basketball. ... Lorenzo Emile Charles, nicknamed Zo (born November 25, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York), is an American former college and professional basketball player. ...

Despite the early departure of star forward Clyde Drexler after the 82-83 season, Phi Slama Jama continued their success in 1984. Akeem Olajuwon became the focal point of the team and was selected as a consensus first team All-American. Guard Michael Young was also selected to the All-America team and led the Cougars in scoring for the second consecutive year. The Cougars returned to the Final Four once more, this time losing to the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas in the final. Akeem Olajuwon, with one year of eligibility remaining, declared for the NBA draft shortly after the loss in the title game. He was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets in a draft class that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. Michael Young was also selected in the first round, chosen 24th by the Boston Celtics. The departures of Olajuwon, Young, and Benny Anders after the 1984 NCAA Final—in addition to the loss of Drexler and Micheaux the previous year—brought the Phi Slama Jama era at UH to a close. Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (born Akeem Abdul Olajuwon on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria) is a former professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. ... All-American, a Broadway musical with book by Mel Brooks, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Lee Adams, opened in New York on March 19, 1962, and played 80 performances. ... Shooting guard (SG), also known as “two guard” or “off guard”,[1] is one of five traditional positions on a basketball team. ... Michael Wayne Young (born January 2, 1961 in Houston, Texas) is an American former National Basketball Association player. ... Patrick Aloysius Ewing (born August 5, 1962) is a Jamaican-born American former NBA player. ... The Georgetown Hoyas are the athletics teams that officially represent Georgetown University in college sports. ... The NBA Draft is an annual North American event in which the National Basketball Associations (NBA) thirty teams (29 in the United States and one in Canada) can select young players who wish to join the league. ... The Houston Rockets are a professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. ...

Fraternity brothers

The team members during the Phi Slama Jama era are listed below, along with a few nicknames for which they came to be known. Many of these nicknames were penned by then public address announcer and UH graduate Jim Nantz, who was a member of the Cougar golf team and roommate of Fred Couples. Jim Nantz (born May 17, 1959 in Charlotte, North Carolina) is an American sportscaster. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

The team included:

Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (born Akeem Abdul Olajuwon on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria) is a former professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. ... Benny Anders was a high-flying, instant offense machine during his days as a member of Phi Slamma Jamma, the basketball powerhouse at the University of Houston. ... Clyde Austin Drexler (born June 22, 1962 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American former National Basketball Association shooting guard. ... Larry Wayne Micheaux (March 24, 1960 – ) is a former pro basketball player. ... Michael Wayne Young (born January 2, 1961 in Houston, Texas) is an American former National Basketball Association player. ... Alvin Franklin was the successor to Rob Williams as the starting point guard for Phi Slamma Jamma, the nickname of the basketball powerhouse at the University of Houston during the early to mid 1980s. ... Rob Williams (born May 5, 1961 in Houston, Texas), is an American former professional basketball player who was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the 1st round (19th overall) of the 1982 NBA Draft. ... A set up man in large part, Reid Gettys played a pivotal role in the success of the powerhouse Phi Slamma Jamma basketball teams at the University of Houston during the early-to-mid 1980s. ... Following a storied career and Texas state championship at Houstons Jack Yates High School, Ricky Winslow stayed home to attend the University of Houston and become one of the final members of the schools famed Phi Slamma Jamma teams. ... Gregory Wayne Cadillac Anderson (born June 22, 1964 in Houston, Texas) is an American former professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. ...

Impact on the game

Though it was pioneered largely in the ABA, Phi Slama Jama is widely credited with popularizing the frenetic, “above the rim” style of play that pervades college basketball to the present day. Additionally, Olajuwon’s international origin foreshadowed the worldwide explosion in the popularity of basketball in the 1980s and ‘90s. In light of his unprecedented success, college basketball recruiters fanned out across the globe in search of the next undiscovered superstar, bringing back dozens of players from around the world. The long and distinguished professional careers of Drexler and Olajuwon helped the legacy of Phi Slama Jama to resonate into the 21st Century.

Having already helped to popularize college basketball with "The Game of the Century" in 1968, the Cougars' captivating 1983 postseason run again helped college basketball in its drive to join the first rank of major sports. The #1 vs. #2 clash of titans between Phi Slama Jama and Louisville's "Doctors of Dunk" in the Final Four served as an enthralling preamble to the dramatic title game. Ironically, Phi Slama Jama's title game loss to North Carolina State is widely considered their most immediate contribution towards putting NCAA basketball on a par with college football in terms of television viewership and revenue. The Cougars' last-second loss in the final was an iconic moment in the history of “March Madness” that helped to establish the NCAA Basketball Tournament as a major television event. The CBS broadcast of the 1983 Final between Houston and NC State drew 18.6 million households and the Houston-Louisville national semifinal attracted 14.8 million, both records at the time for national final and semifinal games. The Game of the Century in college basketball was an NCAA historical game between the University of Houston Cougars and the UCLA Bruins played on January 20, 1968 at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. ... Disambiguation: March Madness comes from the phrase Mad as a March Hare. In England, the phrase March Madness may refer to wasteful spending at the end of a budget year. ...


  • Akeem Olajuwon was named the Southwest Conference Player of the Decade for the 1980s.
  • Clyde Drexler was named the Southwest Conference Player of the Year in 1983 and first-team All-American.
  • Michael Young led both the 1982-83 and 1983-84 teams in scoring, with 17.3 and 19.8 points per game, respectively.
  • Upon retiring from professional basketball, Clyde Drexler returned to UH as head coach of the men's basketball team in 1998. He resigned after two years on the job, posting a 19-39 record.
  • In 1995, Olajuwon & Drexler reunited as teammates on the NBA Houston Rockets when Drexler was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets went on to win the second of their back-to-back NBA championships.
  • Michael Young was inducted into the French Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 for his role in leading the Limoges Club to the 1992 European Club Championship. It was the first time a French athletic club won a European title in any sport.
  • Michael Young and Ricky Winslow both attended historic Jack Yates High School less than a mile from the University of Houston campus.
  • Both Akeem Olajuwon and Larry Micheaux have daughters who are currently scholarship basketball players for Big 12 Conference universities: Abi Olajuwon plays for Oklahoma, and La Toya Micheaux for Texas A&M. Both are 6'3" centers.
  • David Rose is now head coach of Brigham Young University.



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