Former Cat earns big bucks, but seeks title

2011-07-29T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T13:48:23Z Former Cat earns big bucks, but seeks title Arizona Daily Star
July 29, 2011 12:00 am

In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams.

Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. In August, Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.

Mike Bibby

Achievement

In his 1996-97 Arizona media guide bio, Mike Bibby listed this under Career Goal After College: "Make a lot of money."

Bibby did, more than $100 million in fact. But, during his 13-year NBA career, Bibby has also made moves indicating it hasn't been all about the money.

For Bibby, it's also about winning and having fun. A three-time Arizona Player of the Year at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, Bibby led his high school to the state title in 1996 while averaging 34.3 points and 8.0 assists per game.

A year later, he was the cool-handed starting point guard for the NCAA champion Arizona Wildcats, earning national Freshman of the Year honors.

Bibby and the Wildcats didn't defend their title in 1998, though Bibby became a first-team All-American and ended his two-year Wildcat career on a strong note, recording the most steals in a single season (87) that year while also posting the school's seventh-best single-season assist total (199).

After the 1997-98 season, Bibby was drafted No. 2 overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies, where he became an All-Rookie pick. He was traded in 2001 to the Sacramento Kings and led the Kings to the Western Conference Finals in 2001-02, afterward signing an $80 million, seven-year contract.

His agent had originally sought a deal worth $100 million, but Bibby accepted less in part so he could remain with Sacramento.

"This was the best situation for me," Bibby said upon signing the deal. "I've never been on a team that played like this before. We have so much fun. I don't play the game just for the money."

Bibby had several more strong seasons with the Kings before he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 2008, and he signed a three-year deal in 2009 worth about $18 million. But after he was traded to Washington in February, Bibby stunned the NBA world by opting out of his remaining $6.2 million deal for next season - in order to become a free agent and eventually sign with the Miami Heat, for a chance to win an NBA title.

"He sacrificed some money in order to win a championship," said David Falk, Bibby's agent. "Once you're past 10, 11 years in the league, you want to be in a situation where you can win,"

With Bibby struggling in the finals, however, the Heat lost to Dallas. Bibby says he has no plans to retire but will likely earn far less next season than the $6.2 million he would have before leaving the Wizards.

Hometown; current age

Phoenix; 33

He said it

"I'm not good at these kind of things, but I thank you for the support." - Bibby, at his UA jersey retirement ceremony in 2004

Bruce Pascoe

On StarNet: See the archive of Sports Centennial articles at: azstarnet.com/ sportscentennial

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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