Former Lakers Head Coach, General Manager, & President
Selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the league’s 50th anniversary season (1996-97), Bill Sharman spent 23 years as a Special Consultant with the Lakers. Providing the front office with a tremendous amount of basketball experience and a history of unparalleled success, Sharman began his basketball career in 1950 and has been an integral member of 17 different championship teams as either a player, coach or executive. His 17 titles, including 15 in the NBA, have been captured with four different teams, in three respective leagues and in four different capacities.
Sharman began his championship odyssey with the Boston Celtics, winning the first of four NBA titles as an active player in 1957. During his 10-year stint with the Celtics, Boston won four NBA Championships (1957, 1959, 1960 and 1961), finished in first place in the Eastern Conference five times and never suffered through a losing season. He earned All-NBA honors on seven occasions and participated in eight NBA All-Star Games, earning the Most Valuable Player award in the 1955 contest. Arguably the greatest shooter of his era and one of the most deadly free throw shooters in the history of the game, Sharman was the first NBA guard to post a field goal percentage above .400 for a season (.436, 1952-53) while his career free throw percentage (.883) still ranks 12th among the NBA’s alltime leaders (minimum 1200 FT made). He led the NBA in free throw percentage seven times, including a league-record five consecutive seasons from 1952-53 through 1956-57. In 711 career games, Sharman averaged 17.8 points and 3.0 assists.
As a coach, Sharman is the only person in professional basketball history to win championships in three professional leagues (ABL, ABA and NBA). In his first season with the Lakers, Sharman led the club to their first NBA championship in Los Angeles, a then-NBA record and current franchise record 69 wins and compiled the longest winning streak in the history of professional sports (33 consecutive victories). It was during this legendary 1971-72 campaign that Sharman introduced the morning shootaround to the NBA, now routine for NBA teams on the day of games. Originally inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976 as a player, in April 2004 Sharman became just the third individual (John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens) to be named to the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.