Yardley was, at least for a stretch, the biggest NBA star of the 1950s, based on his high-leaping scoring game. The 6' 5 Californian had been a college star in his home state, and he turned pro with the Oakland Bittners club there as well. Fred Zollner's Fort Wayne ( Detroit ) Pistons lured him to the team in the mid-1950s. Yardley matched George Mikan to drew the largest salary in the NBA. Zollner made former ref Charlie Eckman coach in 1954 for the first 24-Second Clock NBA season. Seeking some athleticism on the court, Eckman promoted Yardley. By the late 1950s, Yardley flirted with 30-points per game in leading the NBA in scoring. The Pistons later traded Yardley to Syracuse because one of Zollner's several girlfriends stated she felt the balding star was too unappealing to lead the Pistons. Detroit declined for years and Syracuse contended as a result, with Yardley teammed with Dolph Schayes at forward for a time. Yardley was tabbed to become player/coach of the Los Angeles Jets of the ABL, the target franchise for Abe Saperstein's two-year pro league. Yardley was an early Basketball Hall Of Fame selection.



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George Yardley

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