Born: May 13, 1978
Town: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Michael Bibby was born May 13, 1978 in Cherry Hill. Mike’s father, Henry, was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers at the time. A three-time NCAA champion with UCLA, Henry was also a member of the Knicks NBA championship club in 1972–73. Mike’s mother, Virginia, raised Mike and his three siblings by herself much of the time, as Henry retired from the NBA and started his coaching career. This took him all over North America, and he was away for long stretches of time. The couple separated in 1985, after Henry resigned as an assistant at Arizona State, and later divorced.
Mike attended Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix and was the team’s starting point guard all four years. As a senior, he scored 1,132 points in 29 games and led the to the state championship. He finished his prep career with 3,002 points. Mike accepted a scholarship to Arizona, despite the fact his dad had been named head coach at USC. Henry had drifted away by then. In fact, he had missed all but one or two of Mike’s high school games.
Mike’s freshman year, 1996–97, saw the Wildcats go 25–9 and finish fifth in the PAC-10. Mike was one of three exceptional backcourt players on Lute Olsen’s varsity, playing alongside Miles Simon and Jason Terry. Forward Michael Dickerson was one of the top players in the country, too. Arizona received a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and upset top-ranked Kansas in the third round. The Wildcats beat UNC in the national semifinal and shocked Kentucky 84–79 to win the national championship. Mike’s clutch shooting and cool performance at the free throw line were crucial to his team’s victory.
Mike played one more year for Arizona—garnering All-America recognition—before entering the 1998 NBA Draft. He was selected with the second overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies. Mike played three years for Vancouver, earning First-Team All-Rookie honors in 1999. and ranking among the league leaders in assists in his final two seasons.
Mike joined the Sacramento Kings in 2001–02 after a trade and had a magnificent year. With his slick passing and clutch shooting, he led the Kings to 61 victories and a first-place finish in the Pacific Division. There were few big-man little-man combo better than Mike and Chris Webber. Thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper by Mike in Game 5, the Kings were one win away from making it to the NBA Finals—however the Lakers beat them in a rough and controversial Western Conference Final.
The Kings never came close to the finals again and they traded Mike—who was now one of the NBA’s highest-paid playmakers—to the Atlanta Hawks. In his first year in Atlanta he nearly led the team to a playoff upset against the eventual-champion Boston Celtics. Age and injuries finally caught up with Mike after a dozen pro campaigns. He became a productive bench player for the Washington Wizards, Miami Heat and New York Knicks.
Mike and his father are not the only world-class athletes in the family. His uncle Jim was a star pitcher in the 1970s and early 1980s, his brother in law is basketball star Eddie House, his cousin Shaun McDonald was a star receiver for Arizona State, and another cousin, Robbie Findley, was a member of the US World Cup soccer team in 2010.