The 6'1 185-pound Goodrich might be the most unlikely basketball star of all time. As a California high schooler, Goodrich never made his high school team, instead playing on B and C intramural squads at his school. Not extended a scholarship from anyone, he enrolled at UCLA as a student and fought his way onto Coach John Wooden's squad with incredible determination. Wooden later said he never saw a more inspiring player at UCLA. The key to Goodrich's game was his jump shot, which he honed religiously thru countless hours of practice. To consider Goodrich's pure-game work ethic, a modern model might be Steve Nash. Desire and effort never wavered for either. Goodrich rose to All-American for Wooden's first UCLA national champions, a remarkable success story. But now he had to impress the NBA. Drafted by the local Lakers, Goodrich was cut. He was a 6' 1 shooting guard on a team loaded with shooters. Picked up by the expansion Phoenix Suns, Goodrich rose to All-Star status, passing the ball to Connie Hawkins. Soon, the Lakers wanted him back. He teammed with legendary Jerry West on the 69-13 Lakers team and led the team at 25 points per game. The Lakers won the 1972 title. Goodrich later impressed to be named First-team All-NBA at 27 points per game. No player likely ever got more out of his ability than Goodrich.



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Gail Goodrich

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