Bill Sharman
1926 - 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Sharman, the Hall of Famer who won NBA titles as a player for the Boston Celtics and a coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, has died. He was 87.

Sharman died Friday at his home in Redondo Beach, the Lakers announced.

Sharman's unique basketball career spanned both sides of the Celtics-Lakers rivalry over a half-century in the sport as a smooth shooting guard, a championship-winning coach and a successful executive.

"Bill Sharman was, without a doubt, one of the greatest human beings I have ever met, and one of my all-time favorite individuals, both as a competitor and as a friend," said Jerry West, who played for Sharman and worked alongside him in the Lakers' front office. "He was the epitome of class and dignity and, I can assure you, we find few men of his character in this world."

Sharman won four NBA titles during an 11-season career as a shooting guard in Boston, teaming with Bob Cousy in one of the most potent backcourts in league history. He was widely considered one of the greatest shooters of his era, and he's still ranked as one of the NBA's best free-throw shooters.

Sharman then spent the past four decades with Los Angeles as a coach and executive. In his first season in charge, he coached the 1971-72 Lakers to a championship with 69 victories — then an NBA record — and a 33-game winning streak, the longest in pro sports history.

"His knowledge and passion for the game were unsurpassed, and the Lakers and our fans were beneficiaries of that," Lakers President Jeanie Buss said. "Despite his greatness as a player, coach and executive, Bill was one of the sweetest, nicest and most humble people I've ever known. He was truly one of a kind."

Sharman was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976 and a coach in 2004, joining only John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens with that double distinction. In 1996, he was selected as one of the NBA's 50 best players of its first 50 years.

"Bill Sharman was a great man, and I loved him dearly," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "From the time I signed with the team as a free agent in 1981 when Bill was general manager, he's been a mentor, a work collaborator, and most importantly, a friend. He's meant a great deal to the success of the Lakers and to me personally, and he will be missed terribly."

William Walton Sharman was born May 25, 1926, in Abilene, Texas. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and in the San Joaquin Valley before becoming a star guard at Southern California, where his jersey is retired.

Sharman also excelled in baseball, getting drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950. A year later, the minor leaguer was called up to the Dodgers in time to be in the dugout at the Polo Grounds when the Giants' Bobby Thomson hit his famed "Shot Heard 'Round the World," the homer that beat Brooklyn for the 1951 NL pennant.

He played his first NBA season with the Washington Capitols in 1950-51, but Red Auerbach landed him for Boston after the Capitols folded. Sharman became an eight-time NBA All-Star with the Celtics, averaging 17.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in his 11-year career.

The outside shooting specialist excelled after the NBA introduced the shot clock in 1954, and the arrival of Bill Russell and Tom Heinsohn in 1956 propelled the Celtics to the franchise's first title — the first of four NBA crowns in the next five years for Sharman.

Sharman also played baseball during the NBA offseason for five straight years, but never made it as a major leaguer.

After Sharman retired from the Celtics in 1961, he briefly played and coached in the defunct American Basketball League. When he returned to coach the NBA's San Francisco Warriors in 1967, he pioneered the concept of the game-day shootaround, designed to warm up his players for the evening.

Sharman moved to the ABA in 1969, coaching the Stars franchise in Los Angeles and in Utah, where he won the 1971 ABA championship. Sharman then took over the Lakers, who had reached seven NBA finals without winning a title since moving from Minneapolis to the West Coast.

With Hall of Fame talents Wilt Chamberlain, West and Gail Goodrich in the lineup, the Lakers immediately clicked under Sharman. They went two months without losing a game during his debut season, setting a record with their 33-game winning streak before steamrolling through the playoffs to a championship.

Sharman was named the NBA's coach of the year in 1972. Although the Lakers kept contending for titles, the retirements of Chamberlain and West precipitated a rebuilding process in 1975 with the arrival of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Sharman retired from coaching in 1976 to become Los Angeles' general manager, presiding over owner Jerry Buss' front office as a GM and team president through the Showtime era. He had been a special consultant for the Lakers for the past 23 years.

He stayed active with the Lakers throughout his final years, regularly showing up at team functions to the delight of fans and friends. Sharman had a stroke about one week before his death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce; their daughters, Nancy and Janice; and sons Tom and Jerry from a previous marriage. Funeral arrangements are pending.

GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer




Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Published in The New Orleans Advocate on Oct. 25, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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43 entries
January 27, 2020
I love you grandpa
June 7, 2017
I worked with him when he was the golf pro at Unicorn country club in Stoneham, Mass., during the off season. A truly great gentleman and friend. I still have his old golf clubs that he gave me. And I think the knitted head covers that came from his mother. A truly great man.

Gardner Hussey
May 17, 2017
Bill was one of the kindest, most decent and down to Earth people I have ever had the fortune of getting to know. We need more people like Bill Sharman but unfortunately, they are few and far between. RIP Bill. You are very missed.
Grant Cramer
November 12, 2016
Valenda Newell
October 25, 2015
Fair winds and following seas sailor.

Thank you for your service to this nation.
Harry Simpson
February 18, 2014
Will miss you Bill. You were one of favorite customers and one who also became my friend. How could one not consider you a lifetime and beyond friend. Joyce, hope you are doing well. I will call soon.
< Mike Williams
Michael Williams
January 3, 2014
Bill was a great basketball player, a great coach and most of all, a great friend. I played for Bill at L.A. State and he was a great coach and always an inspiration since knowing him for 45 years.
Bob Thomas
November 9, 2013
My condolences to the Sharman family, may your fond memories of Mr.Sharman get you thru your grieving period, as well as the comfort found John 11:39-44
Leia
November 2, 2013
It is very hard to lose a dear one, may God be with you all as you grieve, Love to all
Carolyn Perdue
November 1, 2013
Dear sharman Family hello there my name is faithtobin and I heard hte news about bill sharman and my condolences's.luv,Faith
Faith Tobin
November 1, 2013
Love you Uncle Bill!The Lenes'
Lisa Lenes
November 1, 2013
We have now lost our Uncle Bill who is now resting with Daddy. We send our love and compassion to the entire family. To Uncle Bill: We loved you so. You were a big part of our family!Dad just loved it when you'd hang at the store with us and all the basketball talk,.You were one of compassion,kindness and always caring about us all, totally non assuming about your athletic talents. Just a man full of sweetness..Mom(and Dad there with you),Lisa and I love you forever,your family, Bea, Lisa, Flora Lenes
Beatrice Lenes
October 30, 2013
my sincere sympathy to the family, but what a joy it must have been to have bill in your lives. I was fortunate enough to sit with him at many games and talk about basketball, golf and life...what a gentleman.
paul whitehead
October 30, 2013
Deepest sympathy for your loss. The Bible gives us comfort at 1 Cor. 15:26. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
October 29, 2013
Dear Joyce, I wish you strength on your loss of Bill.
It meant so much to me to get to shake his hand and share the smiles. and warmth you both exuded.
Your friend, Richie McNamee
Richie McNamee
October 28, 2013
May Almighty God comfort you and your family....
October 28, 2013
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Eg
October 28, 2013
I'm so sorry to hear about your lost. May God comfort you all. 2 Cornthians 1:3,4
October 28, 2013
My family and I would like to express our condolences to the family and friends at this time, may you find peace and comfort in the days to come. Act 24:15
marjorie harris
October 28, 2013
Dear Sharman family, I played for Bill in San Francosco during some memorable days in my life. Bill not only was a wonderful leader of men as a coach, he was also a leader of men off the court! He was a great communicator with his players! I loved him a coach and man! Blessings to the family & may God give each of you great memories of Bill! ... Jim King
October 27, 2013
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Sherman many years ago when he started coming in to the restaurant that I managed. He was one of he kindest people I've ever met. I always looked forward to seeing him and talking to him. I didn't know who he was for the longest time, until I was told by my husband that he was a legend. My husband and kids had the pleasure of meeting him as well. My condolences to his lovely wife, who would sometimes accompany him to the restaurant. Mr.Sharman, you will be missed. I have thought about you so many times in the last year and missed seeing you at the restaurant. May you rest in peace. Thank you for touching my life with your kind heart. Love to your family.
Diane Pringle
October 27, 2013
Please accept our family's condolences on your deep loss. Although I never met Mr. Sharman, my father, Norman Likewise, was a team mate of his when they both played for the Porterville Reds. Every time Bill's name was mentioned in the ensuing years, he had nothing but kind and glowing words for the person that was Bill Sharman. Oh yes, Daddy knew he was a great sports athlete, but more than that what impressed my dad was that he was great and kind human being.

We lost my dad 12 years ago, but my mother, Nelda sends her sympathies as well.
Sandra Overholt
October 27, 2013
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.
Harry Simpson
October 27, 2013
I'm deeply sorry for your family's loss. Please find comfort in drawing close to God. May He supply with strength and endurance in these times of sorrow. Romans 15:5
October 26, 2013
Bill RI.P.
October 26, 2013
rip
michelle plakas-kaiser
October 26, 2013
in God's care rest in peace
Dwayne Bickham
October 26, 2013
So sorry. Basketball lost a great man. God Bless his family.
Leo Weisman
October 26, 2013
Bill Sharman was the Laker coach when I went to my first ever Laker game. The Laker family is going to miss him.
Stephen van Ingen
October 26, 2013
So sorry to hear about you loss may the God of all comfort give u peace 2 corth. 1:3,4
October 26, 2013
Sincere sympathy to Bill Sharman family. Ecc 9:5.
October 26, 2013
I wanted to express my condolences to the Sharman family. A few years back, I asked Mr. Sharman some questions that I had about Celtics during the 50s. He did more than just answer questions, he added kind messages thanking me for my interest. A true gentleman in every way. He had so many fans here in New England, and in particular here in Maine. May God comfort your family through your loss.

William Vigue
Palmyra, Maine
October 26, 2013
My condolences are with your dear family.May Bill fond memories stay close to your hearts.May Our God of comfort and peace be with your fond memories.Acts24:15.
Cynthia
October 26, 2013
To the family and friends,
May the warm expressions of family and friends be a source of comfort during this difficult time.
Cynthia
October 26, 2013
To the family of Bill Sherman, My deepest sympathy to you all. Along with his successful career in basketball, Psalms.90:10 shows how Bill lived a long life of special mightiness from God. Keep the memories of Bill close in your minds and hearts and cherish them. Also let the comfort of God be with you all in this time of grief because He is the God of all comfort and will always be there for you all.
Betty Fowler
October 26, 2013
To the entire family. I'm so sorry for your loss. May the God who gives peace be with you all in this time of sorrow. Rom 15:33.
G. Jones
October 26, 2013
I remember well from boyhood trips to the Garden---he was the Prince of the Set Shot...all action would cease for the slow-motion drift through the net. God be good to him and a comfort to his family.
Dana Clancy
October 26, 2013
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
October 26, 2013
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
October 26, 2013
niCE man
abhi sah
October 25, 2013
Dearest Joyce, I just heard about Bill and my heart is heavy. I'm honored to have met Bill at the Gala's. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. My God comfort you and your family always.
Melodie Kendig
October 25, 2013
May the God of all comfort be with you during this difficult time in your lives. We all yearn for better conditions. It's refreshing to know that God's word speaks of a time when all sorrows will be gone and that mankind will live in beautiful surroundings with nothing to fear.-Isaiah 65:17,21-24. Keep those wonderful memories close to your heart.
M. Harmon
October 25, 2013
So very sorry for your loss. Mr. Sharman was a great person he will be greatly missed. Please take comfort in knowing that he is in God's memory.
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