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Billy C. Bridges

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April 4, 1939 - September 25, 2015 On September 25th, Bill Bridges died peacefully at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His life was an interesting and�complex journey, framed by a storied career in basketball, and informed by a curious imaginative mind. Bill was an outstanding high school�athlete who had the good fortune of playing for the Hobbs Eagles under coach Ralph Tasker. This was one of�the first integrated high school teams�in New Mexico, and Bill's entire life was influenced by the success and camaraderie he enjoyed on this team. From Hobbs, Bill went to the University of Kansas, where he had the�unparalleled experience of being a Jayhawk playing alongside,among�others, his good friend and mentor Wilt Chamberlain. In a time challenged by segregation and deep racial division, the athletes of this era were�instrumental in bridging some of these�divides. They integrated teams, lunch counters, television screens; and in so doing helped to change the consciousness of the American public. After graduating from K.U. Bill was drafted into the�short-lived ABA. He then moved on to a thirteen year career in the NBA�where he was a St. Louis Hawk, an Atlanta Hawk, briefly a Philadelphia�76er, and three years a Los Angeles Laker. He closed out his career with�the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team. Bill's athletic career was well documented, but it should also be noted that he was a�highly creative individual who reinvented himself after basketball. In the 1980s, he worked for the Tom Bradley administration, and later developed a successful consulting business. He was a connoisseur of music, a gourmet cook, an accomplished�painter and a passionate gardener. Along the way he mentored numerous�youngsters, and was quietly, randomly�generous with many people. He will be�remembered as a complicated man, always a bit larger than life who died the way he lived: on his own terms, stoically, heroically;�a warrior to the end. He was s a quiet, private man, and at his request there will be no services.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Oct. 20 to Oct. 21, 2015
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