Gail Charles Goodrich Jr. (born April 23, 1943) is a retired American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is best known for scoring a then record 42 points in the 1965 NCAA championship game vs. Michigan, and his part in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 1971–72 season. During that season the team won a still-record 33 games consecutively, posted what was at the time the best regular season record in NBA history, and also won the franchise’s first NBA championship since relocating to Los Angeles. Goodrich was the leading scorer on that team. He is also acclaimed for leading UCLA to its first two National Championships under the legendary coach John Wooden, the first in 1963-64 being a perfect 30-0 season. In 1996, 17 years after his retirement from professional basketball, Goodrich was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In the 1965 NCAA championship game, he scored a record 42 points as UCLA beat favored Michigan. This record stood until 1973 when UCLA’s Bill Walton scored 44 in the finals vs. Memphis State, and through 2007 it is still the second-highest total by a player in the championship game. While at UCLA, Goodrich was also a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
As a rookie in 1965-66, he averaged about 15 minutes per game as a reserve guard behind starters Jerry West and former UCLA teammate Walt Hazzard (later known as Mahdi Abdul-Rahman). Goodrich posted averages of 7.8 points per game (ppg), 2.0 rebounds per game (rpg) and 1.6 assists per game (apg). On December 23, 1965, he scored a personal single-game best of 25 points against the San Francisco Warriors. The Lakers advanced to the NBA finals, where they lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics. In 1968, the Lakers lost Goodrich to the Phoenix Suns in the expansion draft. For the 1970-71 season, now as a Lakers starter alongside Jerry West, Goodrich averaged 17.5 ppg as the Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
The 1971-72 Lakers season was one that would go down in history, with Goodrich a major factor. Goodrich, playing all 82 games, averaged a career-high 25.9 ppg, including 28 games of 30 points or more, to go with 3.6 rpg and 4.5 apg. The Lakers posted an NBA-record 33 consecutive wins en route to an NBA-best 69-13 record led by Goodrich and fellow future Hall-of-Famers Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor (although Baylor was out most of the year due to injury). The Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals, where they dismantled the New York Knicks in five games to win the NBA championship as Goodrich averaged a series-leading 25.6 ppg. On August 6, 1976, Goodrich signed a three-year contract, reportedly worth $1.4 million, with the New Orleans Jazz, where he teamed in the backcourt with Pete Maravich. Early in the 1976-77 season, Goodrich sustained an Achilles heel injury that required surgery.
On November 20, 1996, the Lakers retired his #25 jersey. In 2003, Poly High held a ceremony to retire his #25. On December 18, 2004, UCLA retired his #25.
He was considered, along with Paul Silas and Bob Weiss, for the Los Angeles Clippers head coaching job in 1980.
Career highlights and awards
NBA champion (1972)
5× NBA All-Star (1969, 1972–1975)
All-NBA First Team (1974)
No. 25 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
2× NCAA champion (1964–1965)
Helms Foundation College Player of the Year (1965)
Consensus first-team All-American (1965)
2× First-team All-AAWU (1964–1965)
No. 25 retired by UCLA