Sharman's impact still felt on game today

Sharman's impact still felt on game today
October 25, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Bill Sharman, who passed away on Friday, won NBA titles as a player for the Boston Celtics and a coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON — Former Boston Celtic Bill Sharman, elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a guard and later as a coach, died on Friday.

He was 87.

The 6-foot-1 guard spent a decade (1951-1961) with the Celtics, winning four NBA titles (1957, in addition to playing with fellow Hall of Famer Bob Cousy to form one of the NBA's all-time great backcourt tandems.

Sharman, an eight-time All-star and member of the NBA's 25th and 50th Anniversary teams, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976.

He would later coach at both the college and pro levels which included coaching the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA title which included an league-record 33 straight wins.

Sharman's coaching success led to another Hall of Fame induction in 2004 when he joined John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as the only individuals selected to the Hall of Fame as both a player and later as a coach.

But his most lasting contribution to the game was the introduction of the morning shoot-around, a staple that can now be found at both the college and pro levels.

When Sharman played for the Celtics, he would go to a nearby gym to take a few shots which seemed to help him relax prior to a game.

As a coach in the American Basketball League and American Basketball Assocation, Sharman would put his players through shoot-arounds.

Despite having success in both pro leagues, it was far from a given that it would translate to the NBA.

His skeptics were soon silenced when the Lakers won 33 in a row in 1972. After that season, every team in the league included shoot-arounds as part of their game-day preparation.

Sharman is survived by his wife Joyce, along with two sons, Jerry and Tom; two daughters, Nancy Scott and Janice Hand; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.