Hall of Famer Bill Sharman died Friday, his wife told the Los Angeles Times. He was 87.
Joyce Sharman said her husband had a stroke last week and died at his home in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Sharman, who was part of three NBA titles as a player for the Boston Celtics, also coached the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA championship in 1972.
“This is a very sad day for me,” former Lakers great Jerry West said in a statement. “Bill Sharman was, without a doubt, one of the greatest human beings I have ever met and one of my all-time favorite individuals, both as a competitor and as a friend. He was the epitome of class and dignity and, I can assure you, we find few men of his character in this world. I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife, Joyce, and his children. We will miss him.”
West played for Sharman during the 1971-72 championship season. He is currently an executive with the Golden State Warriors.
“Today is a sad day for anyone who loves and cares about the Lakers,” team president Jeanie Buss said 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. (Jerry) 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. On behalf of our organization, the Buss family, and the entire Lakers family, I send my condolences, prayers and love to Joyce and the Sharman family.”
The eight-time All-Star averaged 17.8 points in 11 years in the NBA. He was a member of the 1958-59 Celtics that won the first of eight straight titles.
Sharman began coaching the Lakers in the 1971-72 season.
“Bill Sharman was a great man, and I loved him dearly,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “From the time I signed with the team as a free agent in 1981 when Bill was general manager, he’s been a mentor, a work collaborator, and most importantly, a friend. He’s meant a great deal to the success of the Lakers and to me personally, and he will be missed terribly. My love and sympathy go to Joyce and Bill’s family.”
Sharman was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976 and as a coach in 2004.