In 1972, Bill Sharman coached the Lakers to their first championship in Los Angeles after a then-record 69-win season in which L.A. ran off a standing-record 33 straight victories.
The year before, Sharman had coached the Utah Stars to the American Basketball Association Championship, but never received his ring for that title.
A founder of the ABA named Dennis Murphy learned of the oversight in recent days and took it upon himself to create a championship ring for Sharman that will be presented at center court of L.A.’s Round 2 opener against the Dallas Mavericks.
Sharman, a Hall of Famer as a player and a coach, spent five years as coach of the Lakers, went 246-164, also winning 60 games in the 1972-73.
In his 11-year playing career mostly with the Boston Celtics, Sharman teamed with Bob Cousy in the backcourt to help the Celtics to four championships. Sharman made the All-NBA First or Second Team seven times, and played in eight NBA All-Star Games.
Perhaps the greatest shooter of his era, Sharman was one of the first NBA guards to finish a season with a field goal percentage over .400 (.436 in 1952-53) and still ranks among the top foul shooters of all time with a .883 career percentage as he led the league in free-throw shooting for a record seven seasons.
Coming off an extended session with the media on Saturday, Phil Jackson kept his comments pretty brief after Sunday’s session at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.
Among his comments: the practice session was more crisp and focused than Saturday’s, which pleased Jackson.
A concern he brought up is the three days between games, which is good for health/rest purposes, but affects how sharp his Lakers may be.
“A lot of it has to do with being just game ready,” he explained. “If we feel like we’re still in that mode and have that sense of urgency I think it really brings a lot more to the game for us. We know how important Game 1′s are in a series, they really set the tone.”
A question was asked about Kobe Bryant’s ankle/foot, and Jackson said Bryant did go through some training, but not anything on the court. He also shared his opinion that Bryant would ultimately be OK.
“He’ll be all right,” said the coach. “I don’t know how sharp he can be if he has that many days off and hasn’t played, (but) he’ll find a way.”