The NBA, the Lakers and, yes, even the Boston Celtics, lost a legend on Friday as Hall of Famer Bill Sharman died after suffering a stroke earlier in the week.
Sharman, who was 87, was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame both as a player and a coach. He played with the Celtics but as a head coach led the 1971-72 Lakers to their first title in Los Angeles.
"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. 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."
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak also shared his thoughts.
"Bill Sharman was a great man, and I loved him dearly," he said. "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."
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