Luc Longley was born 19 January 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria. At age sixteen Luc 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, Perth by the University of New Mexico's basketball coach, Gary Colson, who went to Perth to recruit Andrew Vlahov, who attended Stanford University. Vlahov and Longley both played their junior basketball for the Belmont Redbacks District Basketball Club 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. At nineteen he was a member of the national team for the Seoul Olympics, where they came fourth, the best result an Australian senior men's basketball team has achieved in Olympic competition.

When Longley returned home to Perth during college breaks, he regularly suited up for the Belmont Redbacks, helping the team to consecutive State Basketball League (SBL) championships in 1989 and 1990.

Longley was drafted 7th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1991. He made his NBA debut on 30 November 1991. In 1992 he again represented Australia at the Barcelona Olympics. After two plus mediocre seasons with the struggling franchise, the 7'2" (218 cm) center was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Stacey King late in the 1993–94 season. He went on to become the team's starting center. He won three straight championships with the Bulls from 1996 to 1998, becoming not only the first Australian player to play in the NBA, but also the first Australian to win a league championship.

Following the breakup of the team 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. Longley spent two lackluster seasons with Phoenix, where he gained less attention for his play than for being stung twice by a scorpion while sitting on the floor of his home sorting through his CD collection.1 (Longley also had difficulties with bodysurfing; he managed to separate his shoulder and miss 18 games in 1997.) He 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. Longley averaged 7.20 points and 4.90 rebounds per game in his 567 regular season game NBA career. Longley played more NBA games than any other Australian.

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.

In 2013, Longley was named an assistant coach of the Australian Boomers.

 

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

August 28, 2014 by Renee White

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