Kerr receives 2009 Hall of Fame Bunn Award

SPRINGFIELD, MA, (February 10, 2009) - Johnny “Red” Kerr has been selected to receive the 2009 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted by the Board of Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and is the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of Enshrinement. Named in honor of Hall of Famer John W. Bunn (Class of 1964), the first chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Committee who served from 1949-1964, this award honors coaches, players and contributors whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional or international game.

“Mr. Kerr’s career contributions are the epitome of what the John W. Bunn Award Lifetime Achievement Award is meant to recognize. There are few people who have committed their lifetime to the game of basketball as Johnny “Red” Kerr has done. He has touched every facet of basketball and has done so with an unmatched passion, dedication, professionalism, and respect for the game he loves,” stated John L. Doleva, Hall of Fame President & CEO.

Kerr’s outstanding career started at Chicago’s Tilden Technical High School and he went on to play at the University of Illinois (Champaign), leading it to the 1952 Final Four. In 1954, he was the sixth overall draft pick in the NBA and played 12 seasons for the Syracuse National’s, the Philadelphia 76’ers, and the Baltimore Bullets. In 1955, he led the Syracuse Nationals to an NBA Championship, and during his career was a three-time NBA All-Star. Known as a prolific scorer, rebounder, and playmaker on the court, he once played in 844 consecutive NBA games.

In 1966-67, he became the first head coach of the expansion Chicago Bulls and remains the only coach in NBA history to take an expansion team to the playoffs in its inaugural season earning him “NBA Coach of the Year” honors. After two seasons with the Bulls, he moved on to coach the Phoenix Suns in 1969-70. After two seasons with the ABA’s Virginia Squires front office, he returned to the Bulls in business management and in 1975 took over as the Bulls beloved color commentator, a position he still holds today.

“This award for exceptional accomplishment surrounding the game of basketball is going to a most exceptional person in Johnny Kerr,” said Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “He has spent a lifetime being an ambassador to both the Bulls organization as well as the game of basketball. I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this prestigious award.”

Mr. Kerr will be presented the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award at a halftime ceremony during the Bulls-Pistons game in Chicago Tuesday evening, February 10, 2009. Presenting the Bunn Award on behalf of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be fellow Chicago native and longtime friend of Mr. Kerr, Jerry Colangelo. Mr. Colangelo was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004 and now serves as the Hall’s Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “It is only fitting that the Hall of Fame recognizes Johnny Kerr as an individual who has given so much to this game. His legacy will be part of the Hall’s history forever,” stated Mr. Colangelo.

Previous Award Recipients:

1973 John Bunn
1974 John Wooden
1975 J. Walter Kennedy
1976 Henry P. Iba
1977 Clifford B. Fagan
1978 Curt Gowdy
1979 Eddie Gottlieb
1980 Arnold "Red" Auerbach
1981 Ray Meyer
1982 Daniel Biasone
1983 Robert J. Cousy
1984 Lawrence F. O'Brien
1985 Lee Williams
1986 Grady W. Lewis
1987 David R. Gavitt
1988 Haskell Hillyard
1989 George E. Killian
1990 Pat Head Summitt
1991 Morgan B. Wootten
1992 Will Robinson
1993 Joe Vancisin
1994 William Wall
1995 Peter Carlesimo
1996 Vic Bubas
1997 C.M. Newton
1998 Tex Winter
1999 The Harlem Globetrotters
2000 Meadowlark Lemon
2001 Tom Jernstedt
2002 Harvey Pollack
2003 Joe O'Brien
2004 Zelda Spoelstra
2005 Marty Blake
2006 Betty Jaynes
2007 Thomas "Satch" Sanders
2008 Val Ackerman

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate, men and women. For more information on these and other upcoming events, please visit their website at or call 1.877.4.HOOPLA.