Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Pat Riley grieve over Bill Sharman’s passing

With those close to him grieving over the passing today of former Lakers coach and two-time Hall of Famer Bill Sharman, it’s clear he touched many along the way.

Sharman coached the Lakers’ 1971-72 NBA championship team that included Jerry West, a current member on the Golden State Warriors executive board.

“This is a very sad day for me. 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,” West said in a statement. “He was the epitome of class and dignity and, I can assure you, we find few men of his character in this world. I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife, Joyce, and his children. We will miss him.”

Miami Heat president Pat Riley also played as a reserve under Sharman’ on the Lakers’ 1971-72 team that compiled a league-record 33-game winning streak.

“This is a sad, sad day for me personally in hearing of Coach Sharman’s passing,” Riley said in a statement. “Chris and I loved Bill and Joyce. “Our hearts are filled with emotions of sympathy for Joyce and the family. We send along our Lord’s prayers to help them through this difficult time. Bill was the best Coach I have ever had, and I will miss him greatly.”

Meanwhile, Lakers legend Magic Johnson took to Twitter in detailing Sharman’s impact with the Lakers, which included serving stints as a head coach (1971-76), general manager (1976-82), president (1982-88) and consultant (1988-2013). In 1979, Sharman also called tails on a coin flip that ultimately landed the Lakers the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick, which was used to select Johnson.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at

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