Luc Longley

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Luc Longley
Personal information
Born (1969-01-19) 19 January 1969 (age 55)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Listed height7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)[1]
Listed weight265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High schoolScotch College
(Perth, Western Australia)
CollegeNew Mexico (1987–1991)
NBA draft1991: 1st round, 7th overall pick
Selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves
Playing career1986–2001
Coaching career2013–present
Career history
1986Perth Wildcats
19911994Minnesota Timberwolves
19941998Chicago Bulls
19992000Phoenix Suns
2000–2001New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points4,090 (7.2 ppg)
Rebounds2,794 (4.9 rpg)
Blocks549 (1.0 bpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

Lucien James Longley AM (born 19 January 1969) is an Australian professional basketball coach and former player. He was the first Australian to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he played for four teams over 10 seasons.[1] Longley most notably played for the Chicago Bulls, with whom he won three championships from 1996 to 1998. He represented Australia as a player at three Olympic Games in 1988, 1992 and 2000, and has worked as an assistant coach for the Australian national basketball team.

Longley began his career in Australia with a brief stint playing for the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1986. He played collegiately for the New Mexico Lobos and was drafted 7th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1991 NBA draft. Longley played three middling seasons with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 1994. He became the Bulls' starting centre during their historic 1995–96 season when they set the NBA record for most wins in a regular season with 72. Longley was an important component of the team's success and stayed in the Bulls' starting lineup during their championship three-peat. Following the demise of the Bulls after their 1998 championship win, he had brief stints with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks.

Early life and career[edit]

Longley was born 19 January 1969[2] in Melbourne, Victoria, to Sue (née Hansen) and Richard Longley. Longley's father is an architect who stood 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall and represented Australia at international level in basketball,[3] including being a member of two Olympic squads.[4] His mother, who is 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall, is an equestrian who has been divorced from Richard since 1984 and resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States.[5] Longley has two brothers, Sam, a journalist and actor, and Griffin, also a journalist and who also played briefly for the Perth Wildcats.

Longley grew up in Fremantle, Western Australia. At the age of 16 he 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.[6]

Longley was recruited out of Scotch College in Perth by the University of New Mexico's basketball coach, Gary Colson, who went to Perth to recruit Longley's childhood friend Andrew Vlahov, who ended up attending Stanford University.[5] Vlahov and Longley both played their junior basketball for the Perth Redbacks 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. He helped New Mexico reach the NCAA Tournament in 1991.[7] At nineteen he was a member of the national team for the Seoul Olympics, where they finished fourth, at the time the best result an Australian senior men's basketball team had achieved in Olympic competition.

Longley also spent time at the Australian Institute of Sport in 1986 and 1987 (before heading to New Mexico) under the coaching of Australian Boomers head coach Adrian Hurley, attending the AIS with Vlahov and another emerging basketball player from Adelaide, Mark Bradtke. Throughout the 1990s, that trio would form the nucleus of the Australian Boomers front court with Longley at centre, 6'10" (208 cm) Bradtke at power forward, and 6'7" (201 cm) Vlahov at small forward.

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

NBA career[edit]

Minnesota Timberwolves[edit]

Longley was drafted 7th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1991. After long contract negotiations that were still going on when the 1991–92 NBA season started and actually prevented him from playing for the first month, Longley made his NBA debut for the Timberwolves on 30 November 1991.[8] In 1992, he again represented Australia at the Barcelona Olympics. After two-plus mediocre seasons with the struggling franchise, the 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)[1] center was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Stacey King late in the 1993–94 season.

Chicago Bulls[edit]

Longley became the Bulls' starting center. He won three straight championships with the Bulls from 1996 to 1998, becoming the first Australian player to win an NBA title and the only to have won three championships.

After Longley played 55 games from the bench in 1994–95, Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson made him the starting centre in 1995–96. Post-season surgery to his left ankle and the recovery time forced him to miss playing for the Australian Boomers at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Longley missed almost two months of the 1996–97 season after dislocating his shoulder while body surfing at Hermosa Beach near the team's hotel after a game in Los Angeles.[9] In a 2014 interview on Australian television, Longley joked that after a month he began receiving phone calls from Michael Jordan telling him to get back on court soon because he had no one to set screens for him.[10]

Phoenix Suns[edit]

Following the breakup of the Bulls roster after the 1997–98 season, Chicago did a sign-and-trade deal with Longley, sending him to the Phoenix Suns[11] for Mark Bryant, Martin Müürsepp, Bubba Wells, and a conditional first-round draft pick.[12]

New York Knicks[edit]

Longley 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.[13] Longley spent one year with New York before retiring, due to a degenerative condition in his left ankle.[14][15]

National team career[edit]

Luc Longley made his international debut for the Australia national basketball team in 1988 and would be, whenever possible, the preferred starting centre for the next 12 years. He appeared in three Summer Olympic Games (1988, 1992 and 2000) as well as at the 1990 FIBA World Championship. Unfortunately, injury prevented him from playing for Australia at the 1996 Olympic games as well as the 1994 and 1998 FIBA World Championships.

During his international career, Longley played alongside some of the greats of Australian basketball including Andrew Gaze, Phil Smyth, Mark Bradtke, Andrew Vlahov, Ray Borner, Brett Maher and Larry Sengstock.


In 2001, he was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport 'Best of the Best'.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18][19]

Coaching career[edit]

Longley has spoken of the importance of the Australian Boomers to his growth as a player, citing it as the reason he wanted to return to the national program as an assistant coach; he would later become the assistant coach of the Australian men's national basketball team from 2013 to 2019.[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

Longley was married to an American, Kelly Yates,[22] whom he met in New Mexico while he was attending college and they had two daughters.[23] He married an Australian, Anna Gare, a former musician and current television presenter, in 2008.[24]

The Longley family are well known in the Fremantle area, to the extent a 25-year-old, then Chicago Bulls player, Longley was present at the Fremantle Football Club's unveiling and launch at the Fremantle Port. He cited Fremantle at the time as "one of the world's great spots".[citation needed]

In 1996, Longley bought a house in Riverwoods, Illinois.[25]

Also in 1996, Longley wrote a book, Running with the Bulls, about the 1995-96 season; Bulls coach Phil Jackson wrote the foreword.[26]

On 6 April 2007, Longley's $2 million home in Fremantle,[27] Western Australia, was destroyed by a fire.[28][29] It was initially believed much of Longley's memorabilia from his basketball career was lost, although he later stated he only lost his 1996 team photo.[30] He then bought a warehouse on a nearby street which Gare's father, an architect, converted into a house for their needs. In 2015, the couple moved to a property near the coastal Western Australian town of Denmark.[31]

In December 2009 Longley, who had previously participated in marine conservation efforts, named a newly discovered shrimp species Lebbeus clarehanna after his 15-year-old daughter.[32]

His wife's sister Sophie is married to British comedian Ben Elton.


  1. ^ a b c Arsenis, Damian. "Australian basketball's forgotten NBA pioneer". The Pick and Roll. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  2. ^ "2007/2008 WAIS Yearbook and Annual Report" (PDF). Hall of Champions. Western Australian Institute of Sport. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  3. ^ Shank, Ray (19 December 1967). "Loyla Cagers face Australians tonight". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  4. ^ "The Stadium & the City - Volume 1" (PDF). Major Stadia Taskforce. May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  5. ^ a b Kirkpatrick, Curry (24 December 1990). "Cool Hand Luc". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Wildcats Honour Roll". Perth Wildcats. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Ex-Lobo Luc Longley Returns To His College Roots". Official Athletics site of The University of New Mexico. University of New Mexico. 7 January 2010. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Luc Longley Stats".
  9. ^ Surf Wipes Out Longley 8 Weeks
  10. ^ The Thursday Night Sport Show - Luc Longley interview
  11. ^ Smith, Sam (9 February 1999). "Longley's Exit Takes Him to a New Place with the Suns". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Phoenix". The New York Times. 24 January 1999. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  13. ^ Broussard, Chris (21 September 2000). "Knicks Send Ewing to Sonics As 4-Team Deal Ends an Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  14. ^ Broussard, Chris (13 July 2001). "Longley has not made it official, but it looks like the end of the line". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  15. ^ "Knicks cut Longley and pick up Burrell". The New York Times. 26 September 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  16. ^ Australian Institute of Sport 'Best of the Best' Archived 17 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Ramsay a Legend, Timms inducted to Hall of Fame". 21 July 2006. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  18. ^ "Longley into Sport Australia Hall of fame". Basketball Australia. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  19. ^ "Five ex-AIS athletes honoured in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame". Australian Institute of Sport. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010. [dead link]
  20. ^ Nagy, Boti (14 May 2013). "Australian basketball legend Luc Longley joins Boomers coaching staff as assistant to Andrej Lemanis". Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  21. ^ G, Ayush (29 May 2020). "How Luc Longley proved himself on the Chicago Bulls despite Michael Jordan's trash talking". Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  22. ^ "Luc Longley Inspirational 2001" (50). Scoop Magazine. Summer 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2010. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ Armour, Terry (14 February 1996). "Longley may be out until Sunday". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  24. ^ Szabo, Sarah (Autumn 2010). "Recipe for Happiness" (51). Scoop Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 November 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2010. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  25. ^ Home Courts - tribunedigital-chicagotribune Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Explosion woke basketball player". Australian Associated Press. 7 April 2007. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  28. ^ "Ex-Bulls center, family safe following Friday night's fire". ESPN Sports. 7 April 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  29. ^ Quartermaine, Brad (6 April 2007). "Longley gutted over lost home". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  30. ^ "Luc Longley - from running with the Chicago Bulls to falling in love with basketball again". 13 March 2015.
  31. ^ Fleming, Katherine (14 March 2015). "Home scores on many levels". The West Australian. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  32. ^ Madrigal, Alexis (4 December 2009). "7-Foot NBA Center Wins eBay Auction to Name Shrimp Species". Wired.

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