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Hall of Fame Celtics player, Lakers coach Bill Sharman dies at age 87

Oct 25, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT

bill-sharman Getty Images

Bill Sharman’s introduction of the morning shootaround revolutionized basketball. After the Lakers on (1972) every team in the league followed suit. The result was come game time players were sharper and teams were better prepared. Bill brought a new sense of discipline and organization to the NBA that significantly upgraded the quality of play.
Phil Jackson talking about Bill Sharman, via Laker Glory.

Bill Sharman is in the basketball Hall of Fame because of a legendary playing career with the Celtic where he won four titles and was seven-time All NBA; but also a coaching career that revolutionized the game.

Sharman has passed away at the age of 87, something first reported by the Los Angeles Times and since confirmed by PBT. He had suffered a stroke last year and died at his home in Redondo Beach, his wife told the paper.

He was born in Abilene, Texas but spent his formative years in the Los Angeles area, where he eventually went to college at USC (after a couple of years in the Navy). After college he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers and played five years of professional baseball (almost all of it in the minors) but he excelled at basketball. (He played both for a few seasons.)

As one of the Celtics on their legendary 1950s teams, he was an eight-time All-Star who was known as one of the best shooters of his era and a feisty player. He averaged more than 21 points a game his final five seasons with the Celtics.

As a coach he lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to their first ever title in 1972, getting a team with Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain over the hump. He was revolutionary as a coach, inventing both the morning shootaround and breaking down games on film (only football coaches did that at the time). He also pushed players on conditioning and diet unlike others in that era.

Our thoughts go out to his wife and family.

  1. dohoangquan35 - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    respect to the Shooter right here. The kids today need to at least read his shooting book for once.

  2. wtfruthinkn - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Everyone overlooks that Bill Sharman was the Lakers GM after his coaching days and brokered deals for Magic and Worthy for practically nothing. He also brought in Bob McAdoo & Jammal Wilkes and drafted Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon & Kurt Rambis.

  3. skids003 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I had forgotten about him as a two sport professional. Good man. May he rest in peace, class act.

  4. shs92 - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    One great person and athlete . California Jr. Men’s tennis champ too as well as baseball and basketball.

  5. antistratfordian - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    It took a Celtic to come to Los Angeles to turn the Lakers into winners.

    • Anoesis - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      You mean the guy who grew up in L.A. and then came home? That guy? If you’re going to be any good at trolling you need to up your game. A lot.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 26, 2013 at 3:34 AM

        Sharman was born in Texas in 1926 and moved to Porterville in the 1930s. P’ville is 3 hours north of L.A. He was in Porterville until he graduated from high school. So I’d say he grew up there. But that really isn’t important.

        What is indisputable is that he got his championship education from Red Auerbach in Boston and that he (and another Celtic legend, K.C. Jones) brought the Celtics philosophy to the Lakers to finally turn them into winners.

  6. ambitoos - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    RIP Bill. I saw every game that you coached and loved them all. Say Hi to Jerry for me, I’ll be joining you soon.

  7. macka4 - Oct 26, 2013 at 4:49 AM

    Wilt respected him tremendously, called him one of the best coaches. West too. Says a lot about him.

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