Bill Sharman, the former Lakers coach who led the team to its first championship in Los Angeles, died Friday at his home in Redondo Beach. Sharman suffered a stroke last week.
The Lakers hired Sharman in 1971 and with an all-star team including Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, the Lakers won 33 consecutive games, a U.S. professional sports record, during the 1971-72 season.
The Lakers topped it off with the best record in NBA history. That record held for more than twenty years until Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls bested it in 1996.
Sharman worked with the Lakers for more than three decades — as coach, general manager, team president and special consultant.
Sharman is one of only three people elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame twice, as both player and a coach. John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens are the other two.
Before becoming a coach, Sharman was an eight-time all star with the Boston Celtics, helping the team win four championships. In 1996 he was named one of the top 50 players in NBA history.
Bill Dwyre, sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times