Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Hall of Fame player and coach Bill Sharman died Friday. He was 87 years old.
Sharman impacted both of the NBA's signature franchises, as a player with the Boston Celtics and as a coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Los Angeles Times said Sharman died at his home in Redondo Beach. He had suffered a stroke last week.
Sharman starred as a player with the Celtics from 1951-61. He was an eight- time All-Star and won four NBA titles with Celtics after playing his first season in 1950-51 with Washington.
Elected to the Hall of Fame as a player in 1976, Sharman was also inducted as a coach in 2004. John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens are the only others to be honored in both categories.
Sharman began his coaching career with San Francisco in 1966 and spent two seasons with the Warriors before moving to the ABA in 1968. He guided Utah to a championship in 1971, then returned to the NBA with the Lakers for their historic 1971-72 season.
The Lakers won a professional sports record 33 straight games during Sharman's first season and finished with a record of 69-13, then won the NBA title for the first time in Los Angeles.
"Today is a sad day for anyone who loves and cares about the Lakers," said president Jeanie Buss in a statement. "As our head coach, Bill led us to our first championship in Los Angeles, and he was an important contributor to the 10 championship teams that followed. For the last 34 years, his importance to Dr. Buss and our family, and for the last 42 years to the Lakers organization, cannot be measured in words. His knowledge and passion for the game were unsurpassed, and the Lakers and our fans were beneficiaries of that. Despite his greatness as a player, coach and executive, Bill was one of the sweetest, nicest and most humble people I've ever known. He was truly one of a kind."
Sharman coached the Lakers for another four seasons, then moved into the front office as general manager. He had an overall coaching mark of 333-240 in seven NBA seasons and 133-113 during his three-year stint in the ABA.