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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Bill Sharman, the former Lakers coach who lead the team to its first title in Los Angeles, died Friday. He was 87.
Sharman, a former All-Star guard who played for the Boston Celtics, helped push a Lakers team that included future Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West to an NBA record 33-game win streak in 1972.
Sharman suffered a stroke last week and died at his Redondo Beach home, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Pat Riley and Del Harris are the only two other coaches to have ever won the NBA Coach of the Year award with the Lakers.
Sharman coached the team for a total of five seasons – including a then-record 69-13 season during the team’s 1972 championship run – before serving as the team’s general manager and president.
“Sharman was a great man, and I loved him dearly,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak 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.”
Reaction poured in from around the sports world, including the Dodgers organization, who posted a photo on Twitter of Sharman during his career as an outfielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league team.
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 along with John Wooden and Lenny Wilkins to be enshrined in both categories.
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