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Danny Ainge

From Academic Kids

Daniel Ray Ainge (born March 17, 1959 in Eugene, Oregon) is a former professional basketball and baseball player who starred in the NBA for the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers and Phoenix Suns, and also played Major League Baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Talented in multiple sports, Ainge starred in high school on a football team that also included another future NBA star, Joe Dumars, and led North Eugene High School to back-to-back state basketball championships in 1976-77, earning all-state honors both years. He also was named to the 1977 Parade magazine High School All-America team.

Ainge played basketball at Brigham Young University, after which he was selected in baseball's 1977 amateur draft by Toronto. He made it to the majors with the Blue Jays in 1979, but was able to amass only modest numbers for that team. In 1981, after receiving the John R. Wooden Award as college basketball player of the year, Ainge was chosen in the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, who had to buy out his contract from the Blue Jays after enduring a legal battle over the rights to Ainge's contract. Not everything went right for Ainge in basketball at first; according to Larry Bird in his autobiography Drive, Celtics players used to make fun of Ainge's initial shooting percentage, some suggesting that his batting average of .220 was better than his shooting percentage on the basketball courts. But Ainge became one of the important pieces of the team that won the NBA title in 1984 and 1986, and a major helper of the middle to late 1980s Celtics teams.

In 1989, Ainge was traded to the Sacramento Kings for young center Joe Kleine, whom the Celtics saw as a possible substitute to the aging Robert Parish. Despite Ainge's leadership, the Kings could not make it to the playoffs. In 1990, Ainge was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, whom he helped reach the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Chicago Bulls in six games. He tied a record in this series: On June 5, he scored nine points in overtime to tie the NBA playoffs' all-time record for most points in an overtime during a playoff game. The Phoenix Suns, a team that had been looking for a new identity, were inaugurating a new home (America West Arena), a new coach (Paul Westphal) a new uniform and a new superstar (Charles Barkley) when they signed free agent Ainge before the 1992-1993 NBA season, figuring that his playoff experience would help the team during the playoffs. Ainge responded by scoring 11.8 points per game as the Suns went 62-20 that year, only to lose to the Bulls, also in six games.

Ainge retired after the 1994-1995 season. While a player of the Suns, he opened a national chain of hat stores, The Hat Club, over which he still presides. He has worked at a number of charity organizations, and he has held a number of jobs since retiring, including head coach of the Suns, broadcaster for TNT, and, from 2003 on, executive director of basketball operations for the Celtics.

Ainge has been controversial in his role as a Celtics executive, trading popular players such as Antoine Walker and having personality conflicts with Coach Jim O'Brien that led to the departure of O'Brien to Philadelphia. Walker has since returned to the team. Through it all, the Celtics have not noticeably improved, despite Ainge's stated desire to return the team to championship contention. However, Ainge has kept the support of former head coach Red Auerbach, still employed by the team as a "senior assistant", and the current ownership group.

Also, in an early 1990s episode of Married... with Children, light mockery was made at Ainge's expense: At an all-star basketball game attended by the Bundy family, the public announcer said Welcome to the game of the NBA stars and Danny Ainge!

Ainge, a second baseman with the Blue Jays, hit .220 in his baseball career, with 2 home runs. As a basketball player, he became the second man ever to hit 900 or more three-point shots in the NBA (he made 1,002 three point shots), and he scored 11,964 points for an average of 11.5 points per game, 2,768 rebounds for an average of 2.7, and 4,199 assists, for a total of 4.0 per game.

Ainge currently makes Gilbert, Arizona his off-season home, and he lives with his wife Michelle. He has six children. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.Ainge's nephew, Erik Ainge, is a rising athletic star as well. The younger Ainge is expected to start at quarterback on the football team at the University of Tennessee as a sophomore.

YEAR TEAM        AGE    G    AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR    HR%  RBI   BB   SO   SB  CS   AVG   SLG   OBA   OPS
1979 BlueJays     20   87   308   26   73   7   1   2   0.65   19   12   58    1   0  .237  .286  .269  .554 
1980 BlueJays     21   38   111   11   27   6   1   0   0.00    4    2   29    3   0  .243  .315  .263  .578 
1981 BlueJays     22   86   246   20   46   6   2   0   0.00   14   23   41    8   5  .187  .228  .258  .486 
     TOTALS           211   665   57  146  19   4   2   0.30   37   37  128   12   5  .220  .269  .264  .533 
     LG AVERAGE             700   91  185  31   5  17   2.37   86   66   94   13   8  .264  .393  .329  .722 
     POS AVERAGE            698   92  184  29   6  13   1.80   77   65   86   19   9  .264  .377  .327  .704 
YEAR TEAM           RC RCAA RCAP   OWP   RC/G   TB  EBH   ISO   SEC   BPA IBB HBP SAC  SF GIDP OUTS   PA  POS
1979 BlueJays       23  -23  -20  .214   2.46   88   10  .049  .091  .293   1   2   7   2   8   252   331  2B
1980 BlueJays        9   -6   -6  .280   2.76   35    7  .072  .117  .333   0   1   1   0   3    88   115  CF
1981 BlueJays       15  -21  -22  .162   1.88   56    8  .041  .146  .288   1   1   4   1   5   215   275  3B
     TOTALS         47  -50  -48  .204   2.29  179   25  .050  .116  .298   2   4  12   3  16   555   721 
     LG AVERAGE     91    0    0  .500   4.42  275   52  .129  .232  .430   5   4   8   7  17   555   786 
     POS AVERAGE    88   -3    0  .480   4.30  263   48  .113  .221  .423   5   3  11   7  14   555   784 

DANNY AINGE LEAGUE LEADERSHIP RANKINGS

1979 AL WORST RCAA 10TH -23; WORST RCAP T10TH -20

1981 AL WORST RCAA 2ND -21; WORST RCAP T1ST -22de:Danny Ainge

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