Legendary basketball player, coach Bill Sharman dies at 87

Bill Sharman draws coverage from St. Louis Hawks' Cliff Hagan during a March 30, 1958 game in Boston.

Story highlights

  • James Worthy, Magic Johnson and others remember Sharman
  • Sharman played 10 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning 4 titles
  • He was later a coaching and front office stalwart for the L.A. Lakers
  • He's one of just 3 inducted into the Hall of Fame as both coaches, players
Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Sharman -- who won four NBA titles as a player, one as a head coach and five in his club's front office -- died Friday in southern California, his former teams said.
He was 87.
Sharman first gained recognition as a celebrated athlete at Porterville High School, located in a central California town of that name some 50 miles north of Bakersfield. His next stop was the University of South California, earning All-America honors for his play on the court in both 1949 and 1950 -- and leading the school's athletic department to label Sharman "perhaps the greatest all-time" player in Trojan history.
But it was in his 10 NBA seasons, all with the Boston Celtics, that Sharman truly emerged as a national star. Teaming in the backcourt with the legendary Bob Cousy, he earned All-Star nods each season from 1953 through 1960. Beyond that, he was a first-team All-NBA selection in 1956 through 1959.
His most important honors, though, were the NBA championships he earned in 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1961 alongside the likes of Cousy, Bill Russell and Tom Heinsohn. According to NBA.com, Sharman finished his playing career with 2,779 rebounds, 2,101 assists and 12,665 points, or 17.8 points per game.
The Celtics' current team president, Danny Ainge -- who himself later starred as a Boston guard -- expressed sadness upon hearing of Sharman's death.