Baller of the Day: Bill Sharman

» November 14, 2008 6:15 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Bill Sharman

Career Statistics

17.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 43 FG%, 88 FT%

Arguably the greatest shooter of his era, Bill Sharman was one of the first NBA guards to push his field-goal percentage above .400 for a season (.436 in 1952-53). He still ranks among the top free-throw shooters of all time with a spectacular .883 lifetime percentage, and he led the league in free-throw shooting for a record seven seasons.

In an 11-year NBA career played mostly with the Boston Celtics, Sharman was voted to the All-NBA First or Second Team seven times, and he played in eight NBA All-Star Games. He teamed with Bob Cousy to form one of the most formidable backcourts in league history, helping the Celtics to four championships during his tenure.

After retiring as a player in 1961 Sharman distinguished himself as an inspiring and innovative coach, the only one to win championships in three professional leagues-the American Basketball League in 1962, the American Basketball Association in 1971 and the NBA in 1972. He guided the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers to the best regular-season record (69-13) in NBA history until the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls finished 72-10.

In the late 1940s Sharman was a standout athlete in baseball and basketball at the University of Southern California. He was a basketball All-American and the Pacific Coast Conference Most Valuable Player in both 1949 and 1950, his junior and senior seasons.

Unsure of which sport to pursue, Sharman signed a minor league baseball contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950. Later that year the Washington Capitols drafted him in the second round of the NBA Draft, and for the next five years he played both sports. Unable to break into the majors, he abandoned his baseball career in 1955. [Read]

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