Ex-Utah Stars coach Bill Sharman dies at 87
Anaheim, Calif. •Â Bill Sharman won just about everywhere he went.
As a player in Boston, Sharman was part of four Celtics championships. In Los Angeles, he coached the Lakers to a 33-game winning streak and the team's first NBA title in California.
Sharman helped bring a title to Salt Lake City, too, leading the Utah Stars to victory in the 1971 ABA finals.
So Sharman's death Friday at age 87 was felt from coast to coast.
"That run we had was something special," said Jazz radio analyst Ron Boone, who arrived in Utah in 1970, for Sharman's one and only season as the Stars' coach. "Every player wants to win a championship Â ABA, NBA, high school, whatever. We were able to get it done."
Boone remembered Sharman as a subtly demanding coach. He rarely yelled and, in fact, often asked his players for thoughts on strategy. But the coach and former All-Star drilled his players relentlessly on fundamentals. He was the first coach to institute a pre-game shootaround, something every team in the NBA now does.
"I was very impressed with the way he got the job done," Boone said.
The next year, Sharman became the Lakers' coach, leading the team to its first championship in Los Angeles. Sharman went on to become the Lakers' general manager.
"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 elected to the basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976 and as a coach in 2004.
The Jazz have played three games in the last four nights, but coach Tyrone Corbin laughed when asked if he planned to rest any players Friday night.
"Can't afford to give nights off where we are," he said. "We need every piece that we have right now."
All accounted for
The Jazz still have 19 players on their roster, as the preseason comes to a close.
Utah started with 20, and so far only forward Dwayne Jones II has been waived. There will be some goodbyes said soon, though. The Jazz have until the end of the month to trim that number down to 15 or fewer.