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Bill Sharman

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The 6' 2 Sharman was a California native and star who also later became a famous NBA coach. After a stellar college career, he played pro ball in California. He later was tabbed by a young Red Auerbach to join the Washington Capitols. A rarely-talented shooter, Sharman had little time there, however. Auerbach was fired by owner Mike Uline. The Caps soon swooned and folded. Sharman returned to California. Auerbach obtained his rights as head of the Boston Celtics, and paired him with passer Bob Cousy to form a legendary backcourt. Cousy came to take on point-guard responsibilities, while Sharman took on what was arguably the first shooting guard spot. The Celtics became the NBA's first 100-point team behind the duo. Sharman impressed many with his remarkable physical fitness, stretching when few in the league did. He ran every morning, even under the NBA's then-tough scheduling. He was a rabid defender, a smart team player, and had the league's best shot, from 20 feet or more or from the foul line. Red Auerbach bullied many Celtic players with his loud personality. But not Sharman, who he dealt with carefully. Sharman was an integral part of the first five Boston Celtic title teams. He was one of the NBA's leading scorers for the team. In 1962, he took higher pay to join the ABL Los Angeles Jets. When the team folded in mid-season, he took over the Cleveland Pipers for owner George Steinbrenner, who had canned John McLendon. The Pipers won the 1961-62 ABL title. In the mid-1960s, he took over the San Francisco Warriors and led that team to contention. He introduced the team to the pre-game shootaround, his invention. Every team in the NBA has now used this for decades. Money bought him away to the ABA Los Angeles Stars, hurting Warriors chances. The Red Auerbach student later came back to the NBA to lead the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, which some basketball experts rate the greatest team of all-time. The team won 33 NBA games in a row, went 69-13 and won the NBA title. Sharman was an easy choice for the Hall Of Fame and was also named one of The NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996.



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Bill Sharman

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