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Bill Sharman, former Lakers coach, dies at 87

Bill Sharman, former Lakers coach, dies at 87

REDONDO BEACH (CNS) - Bill Sharman, who coached the Los Angeles Lakers to the team's first NBA title and later served as the team's general manager and president, died today in Redondo Beach.

His wife, Joyce, told the Los Angeles Times that the hall-of-fame player and coach died at his home at age 87. Sharman suffered a stroke last week.

The Texas native and USC graduate won four NBA championships while playing as a guard with the Boston Celtics, alongside famed playmaker Bob Cousy. He was an eight-time NBA all-star, and was named MVP of the All-Star Game in 1955.

He turned to coaching after his playing career ended, and led the Utah Stars to an ABA championship in 1971. That success caught the attention of Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke, who hired Sharman to coach the Lakers, who had yet to win a title despite multiple trips to the NBA Finals.

In his first season as Lakers coach, the team went 69-13 and won its first championship in 1972. Sharman was named the NBA Coach of the Year.

Sharman coached the team for a total of five seasons, then served as the team's general manager and president.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976, and as a coach in 2004, making him one of only three people to be enshrined in both categories. John Wooden and Lenny Wilkins are the others.

 

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