Bill Sharman Bio: Personal Life, Career, Awards & FAQs

Regarded as the best shooter in his era, Bill Sharman spent more than two decades on the NBA field, both as a player and a coach. As a matter of fact, he is the foremost guard in the NBA to push field-goal percentage above .400 for one full season. 

Bill was best known for his tenure at the Boston Celtics among all the teams he played with. Well, he was a ten-time NBA Champion and a 12-time World Champion.

Last but not least, he was also the two-time inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

NBA player and a coach, Bill Sharman
NBA player and coach, Bill Sharman

Before we dive into his life and career journey, let’s get through a quick dose of his facts. 

Quick Facts

Full NameWilliam Walton Sharman (Nickname: Bill or Battling Bill)
Date of BirthMay 25, 1926
Birth PlaceAbilene, Texas
ReligionUnknown
NationalityAmerican 
EthnicityWhite
Zodiac Sign Gemini
Date of Death October 25, 2013 (aged 87)
Death PlaceRedondo Beach, California
Listed Height6 feet and 2 inches (1.88 meters)
Listed Weight175 lb (79 kg)
Father’s NameName Unknown 
Mother’s NameName Unknown
SiblingsAn older brother
EducationNarbonne High School
Porterville High School (Porterville, California)
University of Southern California (1946–1950)
Marital StatusMarried
Wife Joyce Sharman
KidsTwo sons, Jerry Sharman and Tom Sharman
Two daughters, Nancy Scott and Janice Hand
Profession Former basketball player and coach
AffiliationsAs a player; Washington Capitols, Boston Celtics
As a coach; Cleveland Pipers, San Francisco Warriors, Los Angeles / Utah Stars, Los Angeles Lakers
PositionShooting Guard
NBA Draft1950 / Round: 2 / Pick: 17th Overall
Playing Career1950–1961
Coaching Career1961–1976
Coaching Career RecordNBA & ABA: 466–353 (.569)
Net WorthAround $1.5 million
Social MediaNone
Last Update September, 2022

Back in the Days of Bill Sharman

Glancing at the early days of Bill Sharman, he was a sturdy man with toned physicality. Well, entering the NBA world, his listed height was 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters), while his listed weight was 175 lb (79 kg). 

Moreover, Bill Sharman was obsessed with diet and nutrition. Even back in his days, he made sure to follow his fitness regime, and as a coach, he provided his athletes with a full-fledged routine. 

Talking about the training format he created for his players, it initially starts with the general shooting to get the blood pumping.

Right after it, they continued with stretching that included jogging, hopping, sit-ups, hurdle exercise, side-straddle hops, and defensive sliding drills.

Sharman with the Celtics
Sharman with the Celtics

After running, the routine consisted of various iterations of the three-person weave. Often, it was followed by the practice of half-court drills, “21” shooting drills, and 5-on-5 full-court. 

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Bill Sharman | Early Life

Bill Sharman (fully named William Walton Sharman) was born on May 25, 1926, in Abilene, Texas, under the star sign of Gemini. Although not much is known about Bill’s background, Bill grew up alongside his elder brother.

According to the sources, Bill’s parents worked tirelessly to feed and clothe their two young children. During the early 1930s, their family moved from Texas to live in Porterville, California.

Following it, as Bill grew up in the Southern Plains, he grew his passion for sports while he excelled on the baseball diamond and the basketball court.

Education and Amateur Career

Well, Bill Sharman attended the Porterville High School located in the Central California city of Porterville, California. He played five different sports during his tenure there while he pursued his dual passion for baseball and basketball. 

After high school graduation, Bill filled up the gap between 1944 to 1946 by joining US Navy during World War II. He joined the University of Southern California on an athletic scholarship right after it. 

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During his four-year-long tenure with USC, Bill ended his collegiate years in grand. By 1950, Sharman had bagged the Most Valuable Player award and the Most Inspirational Player award. 

Likewise, he has had 1108 points in 81 games while making a 13.7 per-game average. 

Bill Sharman | Professional Career

Bill Sharman first commenced his journey on the NBA field through the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system. He was with the Dodgers since 1950; however, he was later ejected without ever appearing in a single game. 

That was when Bill’s role as a dual player ended, and he commenced his focus only on the basketball court. 

Bill Sharman is the second-round pick and 17th overall draft of the Washington Capitols in the 1950 NBA Draft. With the Capitols, Bill averaged a team-high 12.2 point-per-game. 

At first, Bill fell into the dispersal draft after the disbanding of the Capitols. 

The Fort Wayne Pistons selected Bill; however, they again traded him to the Boston Celtics for Chuck Share before the 1951–52 season. Altogether, Bill gained his foremost professional game with the Celtics. 

Bill scored 10.7 points per game for the initial season and shot .859 from the free-throw line. A season later, he depicted himself as a better version of the game while averaging 16.2 ppg. 

Bill’s average point of 19.9 ppg earned him his first All-NBA First Team during his journey. Later, he got his second consecutive All-NBA First Team with an average point of 21.1 ppg. 

Sharman with Boston Celtics
Sharman with Boston Celtics

Despite the few downs along his way, Bill Sharman ended his tenure alongside the Celtics with a Championship ring. Additionally, he starred in eight NBA All-Star games while scoring double figures in seven of them. 

As a fun fact, Bill Sharman’s NBA All-Star Game record for field goals attempted in a quarter with 12 is a standing record even today.

Altogether, he is the only man to win championships in three professional leagues: the American Basketball League in 1962, the American Basketball Association in 1971, and the NBA in 1972.

Post Retirement

As a Coach

In 1961, Bill Sharman retired from the basketball court after the devotion of eleven seasons in the NBA. After his retirement, Bill returned to California, where he stood as a player-coach of the Los Angeles Jets of the American Basketball League. 

Bill appeared in nineteen games as a player with the Jets. Following it, he accepted an offer to coach the Cleveland Pipers in 1962. Bill bagged the league’s Coach of the Year award with the Pipers. 

After that year, the ABL was folded; however, his passion for coaching stuck with him, and he later coached at the collegiate level at Cal State-Los Angeles. He spent two seasons on the team and led them to a 27-20 record.

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Then, he entered the field again as a broadcaster and served for the next two seasons. Again, Bill started in the NBA field as a coach of the San Francisco Warriors. Throughout his tenure at the Warriors, Bill flourished with his coaching style. 

As a matter of fact, he commenced the game-day “shootaround,” a light morning practice session. Furthermore, he also started a system of fines and bonuses for on-court behavior and performance. 

Within those two years of tenure at the Warriors, Bill compiled an 87-76 record before moving to become head coach of the Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball Association.

All in all, the team posted a 43-41 record and won the 1971 ABA Championship. Moving on, Bill starred as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers while KC Jones worked as his assistant coach. 

With Bill, the Lakers bloomed in their games as he guided the players. Back then, Los Angeles had the then-record of 69–13 win-loss mark and 33 winning game streak. Altogether, Bill Sharman resigned from his coaching position in the 1975-76 regular season.

As a General Manager

Not long after, he joined the Lakers through the post of general manager. After a few years, Bill then moved to the role of the club’s president. However, in the 1988 season, he also left the management but stayed as a special consultant to the team.

In the end, Bill retired from the front office in 1991 at the age of 65. 

Bill Sharman | Awards and Recognition

As a fun fact, Bill Sharman is one of the only four athletes who are enshrined as a player and a coach in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Recognized as one of the greatest in the court, Bill Sharman is also the author of two books.

Well, he wrote the books alongside the help of John Wooden and Bob Selzer. They are titled ‘Sharman on Basketball Shooting‘ and ‘The Wooden-Sharman Method: A Guide to Winning Basketball.’

Bill Sharman's Championship in an auction
Bill Sharman’s Championship in an auction

In the meantime, Bill Sharman also has a gymnasium at Porterville High School under his name. Below are the lists of a few of the achievements he gained over time as a player and as a coach. 

Career Highlights as a Player

  • 4× NBA Champion (1957, 1959–1961)
  • 8× NBA All-Star (1953–1960)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1955)
  • 4× All-NBA First Team (1956–1959)
  • 3× All-NBA Second Team (1953, 1955, & 1960)
  • No. 21 was retired by Boston Celtics
  • Consensus first-team All-American (1950)
  • 2× First-team All-PCC (1949 & 1950)
  • No. 11 retired by USC Trojans

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Career Highlights as a Coach

  • NBA Champion (1972)
  • ABA Champion (1971)
  • ABL Champion (1962)
  • NBA Coach of the Year (1972)
  • ABA Coach of the Year (1970)
  • 3× NBA All-Star Game head coach (1968, 1972, & 1973)

Bill Sharman | Net Worth 

As a matter of fact, their net worth and the salary earned by Bill Sharman are unknown. However, some sources claim him to have had a net worth of around $1.5 million. 

Back in 2013, Bill Sharman sold his 2010 NBA Championship ring that he had received from the Lakers. Later, he donated the amount to charity. 

“I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with numerous nonprofits, especially the Toberman Neighborhood Center. I wanted to do something to give back and support the important and life-changing work that each of these organizations is doing for our community.”
-Bill Sharman  

Bill Sharman | Personal Life

Sharman’s first wife left the mortal world back in 1975. Following it, he met Joyce McLay, who, as they started talking later, got married in November 1981. 

As a fun fact, the duo would always renew their vows on an ocean cruise trip. Together, they had two sons named Jerry Sharman and Tom Sharman. Likewise, they also had two daughters named Nancy Scott and Janice Hand

Later in their lives, they had six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Altogether, they resided in Redondo Beach, California. 

On October 25, 2013, Bill Sharman took his last breath at the age of 87. Prior to a week before his death, he had also struggled with a stroke. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which jersey number did Bill Sharman use to wear?

Bill Sharman used to wear jersey number 21 for the Boston Celtics. 

What is Bill Sharman’s career statistic like?

Throughout his career days, Bill Sharman maintained his statistic of 12,665 points (17.8 ppg), 2,779 rebounds (3.9 RPG), and 2,101 assists (3.0 APG) as a player. 

During his days as an executive, Bill Sharman’s team bagged NBA Championship five times in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.

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