William Walton “Bill” Sharman (May 25, 1926 – October 25, 2013) was an American professional basketball player and coach. He is mostly known for his time with the Boston Celtics in the 1950s, partnering with Bob Cousy in what some consider the greatest backcourt duo of all time. As a coach, Sharman won titles in the ABL, ABA, and NBA, and is credited with introducing the morning shootaround.
He was a 10-time NBA Champion (having won four titles as a player with the Celtics, one as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, and five as a Lakers executive), and a 12-time World Champion in basketball overall counting his ABL and ABA titles. Sharman is also a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been being inducted in 1976 as a player, and in 2004 as a coach. Only John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and Tommy Heinsohn share this double honor.
Sharman was drafted by the Washington Capitols in the 2nd round of the 1950 NBA draft. Following the disbanding of the Capitols, he was selected by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the dispersal draft and was subsequently traded to the Boston Celtics (with Bob Brannum) for Chuck Share prior to the 1951-52 season. Sharman played a total of ten seasons for the Celtics, leading the team in scoring between the 1955-56 and 1958-59 seasons and averaging over 20 points per game during three of them.
Sharman played in eight NBA All-Star games, scoring in double figures in seven of them. He was named the 1955 NBA All-Star Game MVP after scoring ten of his fifteen points in the fourth quarter. Sharman still holds the NBA All-Star Game record for field goals attempted in a quarter with 12.
Sharman ended his NBA playing career after 11 seasons in 1961.
Sharman coached the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League to the league championship in 1962. He next went on to coach Los Angeles State (now California State, Los Angeles) for two seasons.
In 1970–71 he coached the Utah Stars to an ABA title and was a co-recipient of the ABA Coach of the Year honors. After resigning as coach for the Utah Stars, Sharman signed a contract to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Controversy later ensued when the owner of the Utah Stars brought suit against Sharman for breach of contract stemming from his resignation, and a tort case against the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers for inducing such breach of contract. Sharman was originally ordered to pay $250,000 in damages, but later appealed the trial court decision and reversed the judgement.
The following season he guided the Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West-led Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA record 33 game win streak, a then-record 69-13 win-loss mark, the first Lakers championship in Los Angeles and the first for the team in more than a decade. That season, Sharman was named NBA Coach of the Year. He is one of two men to win NBA and ABA championships as a coach; coincidentally, the other, Alex Hannum, also coached a Chamberlain-led team (the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers) to an NBA championship.
Sharman was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976 as a player and again in 2004 as a coach. He is one of only four people to be enshrined in both categories, the others being John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and his former teammate Tom Heinsohn.
In 1971, Sharman was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team. On October 29, 1996, Sharman was named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players.
As Lakers General Manager, Sharman built the 1980 and 1982 NBA Championship teams, and as Lakers President he oversaw the 1985, 1987 and 1988 NBA Championship teams. Sharman retired from the Lakers front office in 1991 at age 65
Career highlights and awards
4× NBA Champion (1957, 1959-1961)
8× NBA All-Star (1953–1960)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (1955)
4× All-NBA First Team (1956–1959)
3× All-NBA Second team (1953, 1955, 1960)
NBA 25th Anniversary Team
NBA 50th Anniversary Team
Consensus first-team All-American (1950)
2× First-team All-PCC (1949–1950)
No. 11 retired by USC
NBA Champion (1972)
ABA Champion (1971)
ABL Champion (1962)
NBA Coach of the Year (1972)
ABA Coach of the Year (1970)
5× NBA Champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)