Birth Date: May 25, 1931 / Age: 85
Birth Place: Niagara Falls, New York, USA
Biography: John Gabriel is an executive in the National Basketball Association. Currently serving as a scout/administrator for a Western Conference team, he is best known for his stint as general manager with the Orlando Magic. During that time (1999 — 2003), he won the NBA's Executive of the Year award, only to be dismissed in the beginning of the 2003 season.
Gabriel won the 1999 Executive of the Year award after dismantling the previous year's team and trading players for future draft picks. With Darrell Armstrong leading the team, the Magic compiled a respectable 41-41 record and made the playoffs. Gabriel won the award because the team was comprised of virtually non-notable players, and most experts had predicted the team to falter. In addition, Gabriel also hired Doc Rivers as head coach of the Magic at the beginning of that season. Seen as a risky move by most experts, Rivers guided the team well and won Coach of the Year honors.
The following season, with millions in salary cap space, the Magic, led by Gabriel, pursued free agents Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, and Tracy McGrady. Ultimately, Hill and McGrady came to Orlando while Duncan decided to stay with the San Antonio Spurs. In addition, Gabriel is also known for drafting Mike Miller, who would later become Rookie of the Year.
In the 2003-2004 season, however, Gabriel was fired by the Magic in the middle of a franchise record 19-game losing streak. Gabriel returned to basketball in the NBA as an executive and scout.
In 2005 Gabriel, who is allergic to bee stings, suffered a near death experience after being stung by a flock of bees outside his Orlando, Florida home. Gabriel, though, eventually fully recovered.