Former Lakers coach and longtime consultant Bill Sharman died Friday morning at his Redondo Beach residence after suffering a stroke last week, his wife, Joyce Sharman told this newspaper.
Bill Sharman, 87, had served many roles with the Lakers , including stints as a head coach, in the front office and as a consultant. He guided the Lakers to their first NBA championship in Los Angeles during his first year as head coach during the 1971-72, overseeing a roster that featured Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich compile an NBA record 33-game winning streak. During that year, Sharman became the first head coach to introduce the morning shootaround, which has since become a league custom.
Sharman would stay on as the Lakers’ head coach until 1976 before becoming the team’s general manager. In 1979, Sharman called tails on a coin flip that ultimately landed the Lakers the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick, which was used to select Magic Johnson. He then became the Lakers’ president in 1982 before officially retiring six years later because of voice problems he attributed to damaged vocal cords. He still remained with the Lakers as a consultant until his passing. His role as a consultant entailed attending all games and drafting monthly reports filled with his advice and critiques on the Lakers’ play.
His 11-year NBA basketball career, which also entailed a 10-year stint with the Boston Celtics also includes four NBA titles, seven All-NBA selections, eight All-Star game appearances, one regular-season MVP and becoming arguably of the greatest shooters of his era. Sharman became the only person in professional basketball history to win championships in three professional leagues, including the ABL, ABA and NBA. For his contributions, Sharman was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976 and as a coach in 2004. He became just the third person along with John Wooden and Lenny Wilkins to have Hall of Fame honors both as a player and a coach. Sharman also became a two-time All-American at USC in the late 1940’s.
Last year, Sharmana began holding a raffle on his website to sell his 2010 NBA championship ring to benefit eight different charities, including Toberman Neighborhood Center, Lakers Youth Foundation, Public Counsel, Angel’s Nest, James Worthy Foundation, Providence TrinityCare Hospice, West Coast Sports, Medicine Foundation and Xcel University, Inc.
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