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Mario Elie
Shooting guard/forward
Born November 26, 1963 (1963-11-26) (age 46)
New York City, New York
Nationality USA
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 225 lb (102 kg)
High school Power Memorial
College American International College
Draft 7th round, 160th overall, 1985
Milwaukee Bucks
Pro career 1990–2001
Former teams Philadelphia 76ers (1991)
Golden State Warriors (1991-1992)
Portland Trail Blazers (1993)
Houston Rockets (1994-1998)
San Antonio Spurs (1999-2000)
Phoenix Suns (2001)

Mario Antoine Elie (born November 26, 1963 in New York City, United States) is a former professional basketball player and coach. Currently, he works as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings.


Early life and career

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 (same high school as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), where he was a teammate of Chris Mullin. 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 League with the Ovarense Aerosoles, 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. Also, he played in the Argentine League, for Unión de Santa Fe. [1]

NBA career

Elie won NBA championships 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 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. [2]

Later career and retirement

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.[3] On June 22, 2009, Paul Westphal hired Elie as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings.[4]

Personal life

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.


  1. ^ Elie, nuevo asistente de San Antonio Spurs
  2. ^ Mario Elie Bio,, accessed June 11, 2008.
  3. ^ Mavericks name Elie assistant coach
  4. ^ Mario Elie among three new assistant coaches for Kings,, accessed November 14, 2009.

External links

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