Mario Antoine Elie (born November 26 1963 in New York, United States) is a former professional Basketball player and coach. Currently, he works as an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks.
Early life and careerEdit
Elie, an American of Haitian heritage, grew up in New York City. He was named "Mario" for opera singer Mario Lanza. His father died after Elie graduated from college. He has a brother named Clark, who is an amateur basketball player, and a sister named Nancy. Elie attended Power Memorial Academy, where he was a teammate of Chris Mullin (basketball). Elie played street ball in Central Park and other locations in New York City during the 1980s, trying and failing several times to get into the NBA. His nickname on the New York playgrounds was "The Jedi". Eventually he played in Europe, most notably in the Portuguese Basketball League (LCB) with the Ovarense (basketball), and later in the World Basketball League, and he spent two years in the Continental Basketball Association with the Albany Patroons. In 1991, Elie played his first NBA games, first for the Golden State Warriors and then briefly for the Portland Trail Blazers, before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 1993.
Elie won NBA with the Rockets first in 1993-1994 and again in 1994-1995, making some incredible Three-point field goals and getting the nickname Super Mario and "Junkyard Dog."
Perhaps the highlight of Elie's career came when he hit a clutch three-pointer in game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns to put the Rockets up by 3 with 7.1 seconds to play, sending Houston to the Western Conference (NBA) Finals. The shot is called the 'kiss of death' by Rocket fans, as Elie made a taunting kissing gesture towards the Suns' bench shortly after the shot was made.
While Elie was a key role player for the Rockets off the bench throughout the regular season and the playoffs, he became a starter in the 1995 NBA Finals. This paid off for the Rockets, as he averaged 16.3 points per game, almost double his regular season average, while shooting a stellar 24 for 37 from the field (.649). He was also 8 for 14 (.571) from the three-point line, hitting 7 of 10 three-pointers in Games 3 and 4.
Later career and retirementEdit
Elie played for the Rockets until 1997-98, when he was signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs. He won a third NBA championship when he was part of the Spurs' championship team in 1999. Finally, after playing one season for the Phoenix Suns, he retired. On September 28, 2007, Elie was hired by the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant Coach (sport).
Personal life Edit
Elie married Gina Gaston, a journalist and anchorwoman for Houston's KTRK-TV, while playing for the Suns. He and his wife have triplets; two boys and one girl.
In 2007 Mario was inducted into the New York basketball hall of fame.