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Travis Best
Position Point Guard
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
League Italian League
Team Air Avellino
Born July 12, 1972 (1972-07-12) (age 37)
Springfield, Massachusetts
Nationality American
High school Springfield Central
College Georgia Tech
Draft 23rd overall, 1995
Indiana Pacers
Pro career 1995present
Former teams Indiana Pacers (1995–2002)
Chicago Bulls (2002)
Miami Heat (2002–2003)
Dallas Mavericks (2003–2004)
New Jersey Nets (2004–2005)
UNICS Kazan (2005–2006)
Virtus Bologna (2006–2007)
Prokom Trefl Sopot (2007)
Virtus Bologna (2007–2008)
Air Avellino (2008–2009)

Travis Eric Best (born July 12, 1972 in Springfield, Massachusetts) is an American professional basketball player, formerly in the NBA and currently playing for Air Avellino in Europe.


High school career

Affectionately nicknamed "The Springfield Rifle" for his deadly marksmanship and scoring ability, Best was a high school phenom and prolific scorer while playing for Springfield Central High School in Springfield. His senior season saw him score 81 points in a single game, a state record. He then followed up that performance the next game by scoring "only" 50. With then-sophomore teammate Edgar Padilla, a future UMass standout, Best led his team to the state championship. After considering both UConn and The University of Virginia as places to play his college ball, Best chose Georgia Tech,[1] in part spurred by the fact that the point guard position would be his to helm as a freshman, as star pointman Kenny Anderson was heading for the NBA after just two seasons. Before heading south to play for the Yellow Jackets, however, Best's next stop was in his hometown of Springfield to participate in the 1991 McDonald's All-American Game, played at the Basketball Hall of Fame, and featuring future college and NBA players Glen Robinson, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Alan Henderson, Cherokee Parks and Donyell Marshall. He was also named a Parade All-American and participated in that year's McDonald's Capital Classic as a member of the "U.S. All-Stars", alongside Webber and Parks.

Collegiate career

At Georgia Tech, Best teamed with fellow McDonald's All-American James Forrest for four years, to become one half of a potent inside-outside combo in the always-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), and helped to lead the Yellow Jackets to the 1993 ACC Tournament Championship, its first since 1990. He would go on to excel as one of the league's premier players and was named to the ACC's Third Team as a sophomore, earning Second Team honors as both a junior and senior. He also led the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio and free throw percentage as a senior, while capturing ACC Player of the Week honors a league-record five times. Over a stretch of 10 games in 1995, during which Forrest was inactive due to an ankle injury, Best picked up the slack, averaging over 25 points per game. Upon graduation, Best ranked in the top six in Tech history in points, assists, minutes, 3-point field goals made and steals, finishing as one of only two ACC players to score over 2,000 points and tally over 600 assists (UNC's Phil Ford is the other) in a career. He also earned honorable mention All-American honors from The Associated Press while also receiving a nomination for the Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the best player in the nation under 6 feet (1.8 m).

Professional career

Best was drafted 23rd overall in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers.[1] He has played for the Pacers, the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks and the New Jersey Nets, averaging 7.6 points and 3.5 assists per game.

After taking several years to adjust to the nightly competition of the NBA, Best found his niche and became a vital back-up at the point guard position on the 1999-2000 Indiana Pacers team that went to the 2000 NBA Finals. Best hit the game winning 3-pointer in the decisive fifth game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. During Best's last half season with the Pacers he was unhappy that he was passed over as starting point guard (Jamaal Tinsley got the spot). During that season he requested a trade and was granted a trade to the Chicago Bulls. In the trade the Bulls sent Ron Artest, Brad Miller, Ron Mercer and Kevin Ollie to the Pacers for Best, Jalen Rose and Norman Richardson, as well as a future second-round pick.

Best had a small role in the 1998 Spike Lee film He Got Game, which also featured NBA players Ray Allen, Walter McCarty, John Wallace, and Rick Fox.


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