Mario Elie

Mario Elie

Elie in 2008
Personal information
Born (1963-11-26) November 26, 1963
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school Power Memorial Academy
(New York City, New York)
College American International (1981–1985)
NBA draft 1985 / Round: 7 / Pick: 160th overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career 1986–2001
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Number 8, 20, 17
Coaching career 2003–present
Career history
As player:
1986–1987 Killester (Ireland)
1987 Miami Tropics (USBL)
1987 Unión de Santa Fe (Argentina)
1987–1989 Ovarense (Portugal)
1989–1991 Albany Patroons (CBA)
1990 Philadelphia 76ers
1991–1992 Golden State Warriors
1992–1993 Portland Trail Blazers
19931998 Houston Rockets
19982000 San Antonio Spurs
2000–2001 Phoenix Suns
As coach:
2003–2004 San Antonio Spurs (assistant)
20042006 Golden State Warriors (assistant)
20072009 Dallas Mavericks (assistant)
20092011 Sacramento Kings (assistant)
20112013 New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets (assistant)
2015–2016 Orlando Magic (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 6,265 (8.6 ppg)
Rebounds 2,017 (2.8 rpg)
Assists 1,875 (2.6 apg)
Stats at

Mario Antoine Elie (born November 26, 1963) is an American former basketball player and current assistant coach for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Elie grew up in New York City and played college basketball at American International College. In the 1985 NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks drafted Elie in the seventh round as the 160th overall pick.

Elie began his career in 1986 playing in the Irish Superleague and later elsewhere overseas and in U.S. minor leagues USBL and CBA. He first played in the NBA in 1990 for the Philadelphia 76ers and later played for the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns before retiring from the sport in 2001. Elie won three NBA titles: two in 1994 and 1995 with the Rockets and the 1999 title with the Spurs.

Elie began his coaching career in 2003 as an assistant with the Spurs and later held similar positions with the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings before joining the New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets in 2011. After leaving the Nets in 2013, Elie became an assistant coach role at the Orlando Magic in 2015.

Early life and career

Elie, who is 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 had a brother named Clark, an amateur basketball player who died in a car accident in October 2009. He also has a sister named Nancy.

Elie attended Power Memorial Academy (same high school as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and teammate of Chris Mullin), under coach Steve Donohue. 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".

He played college basketball at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Though Elie led AIC to their conference's first NCAA Division II Tournament Quarter-Final, he was at first overlooked by NBA teams.[1] Elie was selected with the 160th pick (out of 162 total) in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.[2] However, he was waived by the Bucks less than two months later.[3] He was also on the pre-season roster for the 1990–91 Los Angeles Lakers, but was waived before the season started.[3]

In 1986, he started his professional career at Killester in Ireland, where he won Player of the Year honors.[4] He later played in the Portuguese League with the Ovarense Aerosoles, then in the World Basketball League, and also spent two years in the Continental Basketball Association with the Albany Patroons. He also played briefly in the Argentine League, for Unión de Santa Fe.[5]

NBA career

Later in the 1990–91 season, Elie finally broke into the NBA, playing three games for the Philadelphia 76ers, while on a 10-day contract.[3] He then spent the rest of the season with the Golden State Warriors, and also remained a Warrior in 1991–92. Elie spent the 1992–93 season with the Portland Trail Blazers, before being traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the 1993–94 season.

Elie won two NBA championships with the Rockets, first in 1994 and again in 1995, making some incredible clutch three-point field goals and getting the nicknames Super Mario and Junkyard Dog.

The highlight of Elie's career came when he hit a clutch three-pointer in Game 7 of the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns to put the Rockets up 113–110 with 7.1 seconds left. The shot is called the Kiss of Death by Rockets 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 64% from the field. He was also 8 for 14 (.571) from the three-point line, hitting 7 of 10 three-pointers in Games 3 and 4.[6]

Elie played for the Rockets through the 1997–98 season, 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.

After playing two seasons for San Antonio and playing the 2000–01 season for the Phoenix Suns, Elie retired. Elie finished with 6,265 points in 732 career NBA games.[2]

In 2007, Elie was inducted into the New York Basketball Hall of Fame and named one of the top-ten players in Houston Rockets history.

Coaching career

On September 28, 2007, Elie was hired by the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach.[7] He served with the Mavericks for one season.

On June 22, 2009, Paul Westphal hired Elie as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings.[8]

On December 8, 2011, Elie was added to former teammate Avery Johnson's coaching staff with the New Jersey Nets.[9]

On June 26, 2015, he was hired by the Orlando Magic as a new assistant coach.[10]

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.


  1. "The History of the Northeast-10 Conference". Northeast-10 Conference. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  2. 1 2 "1985 NBA Draft". Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 "Mario Elie NBA & ABA Statistics". Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. We Got Game…The Golden Age of Irish Basketball
  5. Elie, nuevo asistente de San Antonio Spurs
  6. Mario Elie Bio,, accessed June 11, 2008.
  7. Mavericks name Elie assistant coach
  8. Mario Elie among three new assistant coaches for Kings,, accessed November 14, 2009.
  9. Nets add Carlesimo, Elie to Avery Johnson's coaching staff,, accessed December 8, 2011.
  10. "Magic Name Griffin, Mathis, Elie and Henry Assistant Coaches". June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
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