Had the Miami Heat won their first title of the LeBron James era in 2011, it could have been a storybook ending. Not for James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, who were just beginning their journey together as a super team — but for Mike Bibby, who joined the Heat that spring, hoping to finally add an elusive NBA championship to his impressive pro career. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Heat, however, in the mil Finals, and Bibby— who has not played an NBA game since2012 — may have to retire without a ring.

Bibby’s story, though, does not leave much else to be desired. The former University of Arizona star point guard was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the second overall pick in 1998, setting up high expectations for the then-twenty-year-old. He played well from the outset of his career, making the All-Rookie team in his first season, though the Grizzlies struggled to be competitive during his time in Vancouver. It was with his second team, the Sacramento Kings, that his leadership ultimately flourished most and where he played the longest stint of his career.

Bibby was born in Cherry Hill, NewJersey in 1978. He is one of five children; Bibby has two brothers and two sisters. His mother, Virginia, is from Trinidad and Tobago, and his father, Henry, was a former professional basketball player and both a college and professional coach. Bibby’s father was not present in his life for much of his youth, and the two were not on speaking terms for several years. However, Bibby and his mother were very close, and her strength and care for him clearly made a strong impact on his character. He gives her all the credit for raising him as a child, remaining a rock in his life as she and his father endured a painful divorce.

Bibby joined a strong core in Sacramento in mot and the team, led by Bibby and Chris Webber, had the NBA’s best record in their first season together. Bibby brought leadership and tenacityto the Kings, qualities which that team previously lacked. Sacramento faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals in one of the most memorable, dramatic playoff series in NBA history, and fell four games to three. Sacramento led the series, three games to two, after Bibby hit a dramatic game-winning shot in Game 5. The series would become marred by questions about the officiating, with both the small-market upstart Kings and the perennial powerhouse Lakers complaining about unfairness throughout the series— particularly in the last two games, which Los Angel es won. Though the Kings continued their winning ways throughout Bibby’s time there through 2008, they would never get as close to the NBA Finals again.

Bibby went on to play three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, continuing to score with ease and displaying his command as a floor general, followed by a brief stint with the Washington Wizards, before joining the Heat. He then played one season with the NewYork Knicks in 2011-12, and has not played in the league since.

Though he has not officially retired, Bibby seems to have found a new outlet for his passion and basketball knowledge. He is helping to coach his son’s high school basketball team at Shadow Mountain High in Phoenix, Arizona, where Bibby himself played. Though Bibby’s former coach, Jerry Conner, remains the head coach of the team, Bibby is primarily the one running the show. The players respond to his quiet confidence and strong leadership—and it doesn’t hurt that he has fourteen years of NBA experience under his belt, either. The way Bibby coaches reflects his style as a player, which was recognizable from the start of his career at Shadow Mountain and present throughout his years in the NBA. He is calm under pressure and quiet, while at the same time focused and confident with a flair for dramatic, clutch moments. Though the teens he is coaching were just a fewyears old when he hit his clutch game-winner in Game 5 of the zooz series with the Lakers to give the Kings the series lead, they have most certainly seen the tape, and they respect him tremendously as a player, coach, and person.

Bibby and his father have now reconciled, and though their relationship continues to heal, it has come a long way. In addition to Shadow Mountain’s Michael Bibby Jr., Bibby and hiswife, Darcy, have three other children: Janae, Mia and Nylah.

Whether or not Mike Bibby plays again in the NBA or finally wins a title, he leaves his mark on the league as a dynamic player with tremendous leadership ability who played on some of the most exciting teams of the last decade and a half. He is known throughout the league for being mature, pleasant, and coachable yet all the while maintaining a fierce competitive fire. His leadership qualities reverberated throughout the league during histime as a player, and it seems all but certain he will reappear at some point as a coach. Basketball is clearly a Bibby family business, and there is no doubt that he will be staying in it for a long time.

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