PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Paul Arizin, an early pioneer of the jump shot who led the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1956 NBA championship and was chosen one of the 50 greatest NBA players, died Tuesday. He was 78.
A Hall of Famer who was cut from his high school team, Arizin died in his sleep, according to a statement from Villanova University, where Arizin had an outstanding college career.
Despite losing two years in his prime to the Korean War, "Pitchin' Paul" forged a sensational pro career on the strength of his jump shot, a recent evolution of the game. Arizin perfected the style playing on slippery gym floors and averaged 22.8 points in his 10-year career. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1950, he led the league in scoring in his second season before serving two years in Korea with the Marines. He returned to lead the Warriors to the NBA championship in 1956, scoring almost 29 points per game in the playoffs.
By his second season in the NBA, Arizin captured the scoring title by averaging 25.4 points. He also averaged 11.3 rebounds while leading the Warriors to the playoffs.
At 34, Arizin retired in 1962 when the Warriors moved to San Francisco. He played three seasons with the Camden Bullets of the Eastern Basketball League.
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