Making the Hall of Fame is a prestigious award. It means that you were one of the best to play the game of basketball. Since the National Basketball Association began 75 years ago, there have been many players, coaches, and officials that have been enshrined. While many players have been inducted for their play in the early leagues before the NBA, we are going to strictly look at the players that played exclusively in the NBA at some point in their career.
Several players have passed away, dating back to over 50 years ago when it comes to the players that have been inducted. It was as recently as last week that the world lost one of the most excellent rebounders. While losing Bill Russell was tough, he joins a long list of players that have gone to the other side. We take a look at the complete list now.
These are the NBA Hall of Famers that have passed away.
Maurice Stokes (1933-1970)
Career Stats: 16.4 PPG, 17.3 RPG, 5.3 APG
Awards And Achievement: 3x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Second Team, Rookie of the Year, 1x Rebounding Champion
Stokes played three seasons in the NBA and was an All-Star each season. He had more rebounds than any other player during that period, including more than the great Bob Pettit. He once recorded four consecutive triple-doubles. His career was cut short due to an injury on the last game of the 1957-58 season, which resulted in paralysis. Twelve years after his injury, he died at the age of 36 from a heart attack.
Joe Fulks (1921-1976)
Career Stats: 16.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x BAA Champion, 2x NBA All-Star, 3x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 1x BAA Scoring Champion
As part of the first NBA championship team, Fulks spent his entire career with the Philadelphia Warriors. He was one of the best players in the league between 1947 to 1951, which included leading the league in scoring during his rookie season. During the early stages, Fulks set a single-game scoring record four times. After his career, he became a prison recreation director. His life was cut short after being shot and killed by his girlfriend’s son during an argument over a handgun.
Neil Johnston (1929-1978)
Career Stats: 19.4 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 2.5 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 6x All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 3x Scoring Champion, 1x Rebounding Champion
One of the most dominant scorers of the 50s was Neil Johnston, who led the league in scoring three consecutive times. During the 1954-55 season, he led the league in scoring and in rebounding. He also led the league in field-goal percentage in 1953, 1956, and 1957. During the 1955-56 season, he helped the Warriors win an NBA championship. Johnston died at the young age of 49 after a sudden heart attack while playing basketball with his son in Bedford, Texas.
Charles “Chuck” Cooper (1926-1984)
Career Stats: 6.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.8 APG
Awards And Achievement: None
Coming out of the small school of Duquesne, he was a Consensus Second-Team All-American and had his No. 15 retired by the Dukes. After that, Cooper played in the league with the Celtics, Hawks, and Pistons. Cooper was a pioneer in the league. When the Celtics thought about drafting him, officials said they should not because he was black. However, owner Walter Brown made comments about how he didn’t care about his skin color. Cooper would eventually enjoy a six-year career in the league. He died at the age of 57 of liver cancer.
Gus Johnson (1938-1987)
Career Stats: 17.1 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 2.7 APG
Awards And Achievement: 5x All-Star, 4x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-Defensive First Team
Johnson was a later bloomer, as he didn’t start his career until he was 25 years old. With the Baltimore Bullets, he played alongside Walt Bellamy, Terry Dischinger, Rod Thorn, and Kevin Loughery. He quickly became one of the best all-around players in the late 60s. He would eventually win a championship, but as a part of the Pacers in the ABA League. Johnson was later diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, and his jersey was retired on his 48th birthday. He died four months after his diagnosis.
Pete Maravich (1947-1988)
Career Stats: 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 5x All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, All-Rookie First Team, 1x Scoring Champion
Maravich was one of the youngest players to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Injuries forced him to retire after a 10-year run in the league. During that time, he was a five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection. His number was retired by the Hawks, Jazz, and Pelicans. Known for his offensive skills, he led the league in scoring in 1977. Maravich died at the age of 40 after he collapsed and died to heart failure while playing a pickup basketball game. It was later revealed that he had been born with a missing left coronary artery, while his right coronary was enlarged and had been compensating for the birth defect.
Bob Davies (1920-1990)
Career Stats: 14.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.9 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 4x All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 1x Assists Leader
Davies is considered one of the founders of the behind-the-back dribble. His professional career included playing with the Rochester Royals. He led the league in assists in 1948-49. That included making the All-NBA First Team for four consecutive years. The only championships in Sacramento Kings' history saw Davis play a major role where he scored 15.2 points and 4.6 assists. After basketball, Davies enjoyed his time as a salesman for the Converse Shoe Company and lived a long life where he died at the age of 70 years old.
Drazen Petrovic (1964-1993)
Career Stats: 15.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 1x All-NBA Third Team
An international star in Europe, Petrovic came to the USA in 1989 and played for the Portland Trail Blazers and then the New Jersey Nets. He came to the NBA after being a two-time EuroLeague champion, league scoring champion, and a FIBA European Selection. When he joined the league, he became a star by becoming one of the best shooting guards in the league. However, his life was cut short when he died at 28 years old after a car accident.
Buddy Jeannette (1917-1998)
Career Stats: 7.2 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 2.1 APG
Awards And Achievement: BAA Champion, All-BAA Second Team
One of the first to ever do it, Jeannette played three seasons in the league. He led the league in field-goal percentage during the 1947-48 season. He played all three seasons with the Baltimore Bullets. Despite the short career length, Jeannette was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. He later died at the age of 80.
Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999)
Career Stats: 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 APG
Awards And Achievement: 2x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, 4x MVP Award, 13x All-Star, 1x All-Star Game MVP, 7x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-Defensive First Team, 7x Scoring Champion, 11x Rebounding Champion, 1x Assists Leader, Most Points In One Game Record (100), Most Rebounds In One Game Record (55)
One of the icons of the sport, Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a game, while in another he pulled down 55 rebounds. Chamberlain was the greatest rebounder of his time. Perhaps he is the best rebounder ever. He holds numerous records for scoring, rebounding, and overall longevity. On top of that, he was a four-time MVP and won two championships. Chamberlain died at 63 years old due to a long history of cardiovascular disease. His overall death was related to congestive heart failure.
Jim Pollard (1922-1993)
Career Stats: 13.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 5x NBA Champion, 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team
A staple forward of the 50s, Pollard was praised for his leaping abilities. He was nicknamed “The Kangaroo Kid.” Many claimed that he could dunk from the free throw line. Pollard played his entire career for the Minneapolis Lakers, where he won five championships. After basketball, Pollard pursued a long career in coaching from 1955 to 1972. He would later die at the age of 70 years old.
Andy Phillip (1922-2001)
Career Stats: 9.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.4 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 5x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 2x Assists Leader
Phillip was the first player to record 500 assists in a season. He would later lead the league in assists in 1950-51 and 1951-52. Phillip was able to win one championship despite his final four seasons seeing him play in the NBA Finals. Phillip was one of the first players to ever be drafted and would eventually join the league after being selected No. 2 overall. Phillip passed away in 2001 at 79 years old in his home in California.
Guy Rodgers (1935-2001)
Career Stats: 11.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.8 APG
Awards And Achievement: 4x All-Star, 2x Assists Leader
After being selected as a territorial pick, Rodgers played alongside Wilt Chamberlain with the Warriors from 1959 to 1964. One of those years, he led the league in assists, which featured tying Bob Cousy’s record of 28 assists in a single game. His career featured four trips to the All-Star Game as well. Rodgers died at the age of 65 after a heart attack.
Dave DeBusschere (1940-2003)
Career Stats: 16.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 2x NBA Champion, 8x All-Star, 6x All-Defensive First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, All-Rookie First Team
Selected as a territorial pick by the Pistons, he eventually became a player-coach in 1964-65. He was the youngest coach in league history at 24 years old. However, the stint was not successful, and he became a full-time player. He was eventually traded to the Knicks for Walt Bellamy. With the Knicks, he helped the team win two championships and eventually enjoyed a successful career as an All-Defensive caliber player. In May 2003, DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street from a heart attack.
George Yardley - (1928-2004)
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.7 APG
Awards And Achievement: 6x All-Star, 1x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 1x Scoring Champion
One of the most offensive-minded players in the 1950s, Yardley had a stellar seven-year career in the league. That featured six All-Star appearances in seven seasons. The first year in Detroit was the 1957-58 season and Yardley averaged 27.8 points to help the transition go smoothly. He was the first player to score over 2,000 points in a season and he set an NBA record for most free throws attempted and free throws made. Yardley died of Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 75.
George Mikan (1924-2005)
Career Stats: 23.1 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 2.8 APG
Awards And Achievement: 5x NBA Champion, 4x All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, 6x All-NBA First Team, 3x Scoring Champion, NBA Rebounding Leader
Mikan is considered one of the toughest players of his era. His career was cut short due to injuries that he often played through. He defied the odds to help the Lakers win five championships. He would also win the scoring championships. Because he was so dominant, it led to many NBA rule changes. Mikan died at 80 years old after complications from diabetes and other ailments.
Paul Arizin (1928-2006)
Career Stats: 22.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 10x All-Star, 1x All-Star Game MVP, 3x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 2x Scoring Champion
When Arizin retired, he had the third-highest points total in NBA history. He is regarded as one of the best players of the 50s. He led the league in scoring in 1952 and 1957. He also led the league in field goal percentage in 1952 as well. He was a 10-time All-Star and would have had more had he not sat out the 1952-53 and 1953-54 seasons to serve in the Marines during the Korean War. Arizin died at 78 years old in December 2006 while sleeping.
Dennis Johnson (1954-2007)
Career Stats: 14.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 3x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 6x All-Defensive First Team, 3x All-Defensive Second Team
Johnson had a successful career for someone drafted with the 29th pick of the draft. He helped the Seattle SuperSonics win the NBA championship in 1979 and won the Finals MVP Award. He would win two more championships as a member of the Celtics as the team’s starting point guard. Johnson was a nine-time All-Defensive selection as well. To many, he was a truly underrated player during his career. Johnson died at 52 years old after suffering a heart attack.
Al Cervi (1917-2009)
Career Stats: 7.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x All-NBA Second Team
One of the true old-school players, Cervi played in the NBL with the Buffalo Bisons, Rochester Royals, and Trenton Tigers between 1938 to 1947. After 1947, he played with the Royals for one more season and then played with the Syracuse Nationals for five years. He made one All-NBA appearance, but his prime years were used in the NBL. Despite that, he received some NBA recognition for his talent. Cervi lived a long life and died at 92 years old.
Carl Braun (1927-2010)
Career Stats: 13.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.7 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 5x All-Star, 1x All-BAA Second Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team
Braun played for the Knicks between 1947 to 1961. During that time, he was a five-time All-Star where he was one of the premier guards in the league. Braun led the Knicks in scoring during his first seven seasons. He took one season off for military service and returned in 1952. He would eventually join the Celtics for the 1961-62 season and win his lone championship. Braun died at 82 years old after a long life, which featured 58 years of marriage to his wife.
Dick McGuire (1926-2010)
Career Stats: 8.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.7 APG
Awards And Achievement: 7x All-Star, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 1x Assists Leader
In the 50s, McGuire was one of the best guards, spending 11 seasons in the NBA. He led the league in assists his rookie year. His playmaking led to him being selected for seven All-Star appearances. In his last season with the Pistons, he was a player-coach. He then coached the team for three more seasons and then returned to the Knicks as a coach as well. McGuire died of natural causes at the age of 84.
Ed Macauley (1928-2011)
Career Stats: 17.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: NBA Champion, 7x All-star, All-Star Game MVP, 3x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team
Macauley has the right to say that he was the first-ever All-Star Game MVP. After starting with the St. Louis Bombers, Macauley enjoyed a successful stint with the Celtics, where he was a three-time First Team All-NBA selection. He rejoined the St. Louis Hawks where he helped the team win the NBA championship in 1958. Macauley died at 83 years old in his home in St. Louis, Missouri, where it all began.
Slater Martin (1925-2012)
Career Stats: 9.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 5x NBA Champion, 7x All-Star, 5x All-NBA Second Team
While his offensive stats are not sexy, Martin is regarded as one of the best defensive players in the 1950s. Playing alongside George Mikan, the Lakers won four championships with Martin on the team. Martin would win another title with the Hawks in 1958. Had All-Defensive Teams been around back then, he would have been a frequent name. At 86 years old, Martin passed away after a battle with a brief illness.
Arnie Risen 1924-2012)
Career Stats: 12.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.7 APG
Awards And Achievement: 2x NBA Champion, 4x All-Star, 1x All-BAA Second Team
In 10 seasons, Risen was a four-time All-Star and won two championships with the Rochester Royals and Boston Celtics. He scored a total of 7,633 points for his career. Before playing in the NBA, he played professionally with the Indianapolis Kautsky's. During the 1951 championship run with the Royals, he scored a career-high 19.5 points per game for the playoffs. Risen died at 87 years old in Beachwood, Ohio.
Jack Twyman (1934-2012)
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.3 APG
Awards And Achievement: 6x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Second Team
Twyman spent 11 seasons becoming a face of the Rochester Royals and Cincinnati Royals. During the 1959-60 season, Twyman and Wilt Chamberlain averaged more than 30.0 points per game to become the first pair of players to do that in a single season. Twyman scored a career-high 59 points that season. When he retired from the league, he was 20th in all-time points. Twyman died from complications of blood cancer and passed away at 78 years old.
Zelmo Beaty (1939-2013)
Career Stats: 16.0 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 2x All-Star, All-Rookie First Team
Beaty began his NBA career with the St. Louis Hawks and was a main contributor to the team. That featured two appearances in the All-Star Game. After the 1968-69 season, he joined the Utah Jazz and played for four seasons. That included winning the ABA championship in 1971. He would return for one season in the NBA during the 1974-75 years with the Lakers. Beaty died at 73 years old in his home after losing a battle with cancer.
Walt Bellamy (1939-2013)
Career Stats: 20.1 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 4x All-Star, Rookie of the Year
The No. 1 overall pick in 1961, Bellamy had one of the greatest rookie seasons we have ever seen. His 31.6 points per game are second all-time among rookie scoring averages, only trailing the 37.6 points per game by Wilt Chamberlain. Bellamy enjoyed four All-Star appearances while playing for the Bullets franchise. Bellamy died at 74 years old.
Vern Mikkelsen (1928-2013)
Career Stats: 14.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 4x NBA Champion, 6x All-Star, 4x All-NBA Second Team
Playing 699 out of 704 possible games, Mikkelsen was considered an “iron man” by the end of his playing career. With the Lakers, he helped the team win four championships, where he was regarded as one of the league’s first power forwards. Known for his defense, he played alongside George Mikan and Slater Martin to help the Lakers become one of the first dynasties ever. In 2013, he died peacefully surrounded by his family at 85 years old.
Bill Sharman (1926-2013)
Career Stats: 17.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG
Awards And Achievement: 4x NBA Champion, 8x All-Star, 1x All-Star Game MVP, 4x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team
Sharman’s time was primarily with the Celtics during the 50s alongside Bob Cousy. The backcourt duo of Cousy and Sharman was considered one of the best back then. That is why the two won four championships together, while Sharman made eight All-Star appearances and seven All-NBA selections. Sharman enjoyed a successful basketball career that also included one title as a coach and five titles as an executive. Sharman eventually died at 87 years old due to a stroke.
Tom Gola (1933-2014)
Career Stats: 11.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA Second Team
Teaming up with Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston, the trio led the Warriors to an NBA championship in 1956. He was known for his defense, passing, and rebounding during the team’s title run. Individually, Gola was a five-time All-Star that saw his career cut short in 1959 due to a knee injury. He is best known for recording three straight games with a triple-double in 1959-60. Thirteen days before his 81st birthday, Gola passed away peacefully.
Bob Houbregs (1932-2014)
Career Stats: 9.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 APG
Awards And Achievement: None
Houbregs was the No. 2 overall pick in 1953. He played in the NBA for five seasons with the Hawks, Bullets, Celtics, and Pistons. Despite never making an All-Star appearance, he was later inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player. At 82 years old, he passed away in 2014.
Mel Daniels (1944-2015)
Career Stats: 3.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Awards And Achievement: None
Daniels’ career NBA stats are not a true reflection of him. He played just one season in the NBA, in 1976-77, which was his final season in the league. Before that, he was one of the most top-notch rebounders in the ABA. That included once averaging 18.0 rebounds when the Pacers won an ABA championship in 1971. Altogether, Daniels won three titles with the Pacers in the ABA. Daniels died at the age of 71 from complications after heart surgery.
Harry Gallatin (1927-2015)
Career Stats: 13.0 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 1.8 APG
Awards And Achievement: 7x All-Star, 1x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 1x Rebounding Champion
Gallatin led the league in rebounding in 1954. The following year, he made the All-NBA Second Team. His playing career featured time with the Knicks and Pistons. He made seven straight All-Star appearances between 1951 to 1957. Gallatin still holds the record with the Knicks for consecutive games played with 610. Gallatin died following surgery in 2015.
Dolph Schayes (1928-2015)
Career Stats: 18.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.1 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 12x All-Star, 6x All-NBA First Team, 6x All-NBA Second Team, 1x Rebounding Leader
One of the best scorers of his generation, Shayes would finish his career as the all-time leading scorer for the 76ers franchise. He played his entire career for the Syracuse Nationals and their successor, the Philadelphia 76ers. There, he led the team to a championship in 1955 and made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances. Schayes died of cancer at 87 years old.
Moses Malone (1955-2015)
Career Stats: 20.6 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.3 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, 3x MVP Award, 12x All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team, 4x All-NBA Second Team, 1x All-Defensive First Team, 1x All-Defensive Second Team, 6x Rebounding Champion
As a center, Malone won the MVP Award three times while playing for the Houston Rockets. It didn’t matter where he went; he was one of the best in the league. That included stints with the Utah Stars, Spirits of St. Louis, Buffalo Braves, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, and San Antonio Spurs. With 12 All-Star appearances and eight All-NBA selections, he was an easy choice for the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Malone died at the early age of 60 years old in his sleep from heart disease.
Clyde Lovellette (1929-2016)
Career Stats: 17.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.6 APG
Awards And Achievement: 3x NBA Champion, 4x All-Star, 1x All-NBA Second Team
Lovellette became one of the first big men to use the one-handed set shot. This allowed him to play three different positions in the league. With Lovellette, the Lakers won a title in 1954. He also won two more titles as a member of the Celtics in the 60s. In 704 games, he scored over 11,000 points for his career. Lovellette died at the age of 86 years old after losing a battle with cancer.
Nate Thurmond (1941-2016)
Career Stats: 15.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.1 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 7x All-Star, 2x All-Defensive First Team, 3x All-Defensive Second Team, All-Rookie First Team
From 1963 to 1974, Thurmond was an exceptional player for the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors during the late 60s and early 70s. That included growing into one of the best power forward/center defensive players. Thurmond once set a regular season record for rebounds in a quarter with 18 and once averaged 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds in 1967 and 1968, respectively. After retirement, Thurmond returned to the Bay area and opened a restaurant. He eventually passed away after a short battle with leukemia.
Bobby Wanzer (1921-2016)
Career Stats: 12.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.2 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Second Team
After being drafted by the Rochester Royals in 1948, Wanzer played his entire career for the team up to 1957. Wanzer teamed up with Bob Davies to form a compatible backcourt duo that helped the team win a championship in 1951. Wanzer made five All-Star appearances and was the first player to ever shoot over 90% from the free-throw line. Wanzer lived a long life and died at 94 years old in his home in New York.
Connie Hawkins (1942-2017)
Career Stats: 16.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 4x All-Star, 1x All-NBA First Team
After a point-shaving scandal hampered his reputation, Hawkins had to fight his way back to gain the trust of the NBA. That included playing in the ABL, Harlem Globetrotters, and the ABA from 1961 to 1969. After becoming the top player in the ABA, which included winning the MVP Award and the championship in 1968, he was given a shot in the NBA, where he recorded four All-Star appearances with the Suns and Lakers. Hawkins died at 75 years old in Phoenix, Arizona.
Hal Greer (1936-2018)
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 10x All-Star, 1x All-Star Game, 7x All-NBA Second Team
The Syracuse Nationals found themselves a gem in 1958. After five seasons of scoring excellence, he helped with the transition to Philadelphia, where he helped the 76ers win a championship in 1967. Greer averaged 27.7 points per game in 15 playoff games during that championship run. He is considered one of the best players of the 60s. Greer passed away after a brief illness in 2018 at the age of 81.
Frank Ramsey (1931-2018)
Career Stats: 13.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 APG
Awards And Achievement: 7x NBA Champion
After playing his rookie season, Ramsey joined the military where he served for one year. He rejoined the Boston Celtics and was a major factor in helping the team win seven titles during his playing career. He played as a backup guard to Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman. In 623 games, Ramsey produced a solid career average and is credited as one of the first true sixth men. Ramsey died of natural causes in 2018 at the age of 86.
Jo Jo White (1946-2018)
Career Stats: 17.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 2x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, 7x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Second Team, All-Rookie First Team
White was drafted with the No. 9 overall pick in 1969 by the Celtics, who had just won their 11th title in 13 seasons. General Manager Red Auerbach was able to shorten his military service time to participate in his rookie season. White endured a rebuilding season after Bill Russell and Sam Jones left the team, but he eventually grew into a foundational piece of the team. That included seven All-Star appearances and winning two titles. White passed away in 2018 after complications with dementia, specifically pneumonia at 71 years old.
John Havlicek (1940-2019)
Career Stats: 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 8x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, 13 All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team, 7x All-NBA Second Team, 5x All-Defensive First Team, 3x All-Defensive Second Team, All-Rookie First Team
Known for his stamina, Havlicek was known for playing many minutes and was a two-way sensation. Havlicek finished his career as the all-time leader in points scorer for the Boston Celtics. On top of that, he was an eight-time All-Defensive Team selection. He was a part of the legendary 60s Celtics team, but then he led the Celtics to two championships in the 70s on his own, including winning Finals MVP in 1974. Havlicek died about two weeks after his 79th birthday after battling Parkinson’s Disease.
Kobe Bryant (1978-2020)
Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 1x MVP Award, 18x All-Star, 4x All-Star Game MVP, 11x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 3x All-Defensive Second Team, 2x Scoring Champion, 1x Slam Dunk Contest Champion, All-Rookie Second Team
Potentially the best player we saw in the modern era since Michael Jordan, Bryant was as close to that prestige during the 2000s as anyone. He teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to lead the Lakers to a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. He then won back-to-back titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, where he was Finals MVP. Bryant was a lethal scorer that spent his entire career with the Lakers. He ultimately became the all-time scorer in a career that spanned from 1996 to 2016. Bryant died too young, at 41 years old, after a tragic helicopter crash killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends, and the pilot.
Tom Heinsohn (1934-2020)
Career Stats: 18.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.0 APG
Awards And Achievement: 8x NBA Champion, 6x All-Star, 4x All-NBA Second Team, Rookie of the Year
For six decades, Heinsohn was associated with the Celtics as a player, coach, and broadcaster. As a player from 1956 to 1965, Heinsohn won eight championships, including seven straight from 1959 to 1965. He was an All-Star during those years and made the NBA Finals nine times. He was forced to retire early after nine seasons due to a foot injury. He then enjoyed a successful career as a coach for the Celtics, winning titles in 1974 and 1976. At 86 years old, he passed away in his home due to kidney failure.
K.C. Jones (1932-2020)
Career Stats: 7.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
Awards And Achievement: 8x NBA Champion
From 1957 to 1967, Jones was the team’s top defender, while also serving point guard duties. Jones helped the Celtics win eight straight championships between 1959 to 1966. Jones is one of the few players to ever win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal. Jones then won two more titles as an assistant coach in the league and two titles with the Celtics as the head coach. Jones passed away at 88 after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease at an assisted living center.
Wes Unseld (1946-2020)
Career Stats: 10.8 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, 1x MVP Award, 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA First Team, Rookie of the Year, 1x Rebounding Champion
Unseld can go toe to toe with Elvin Hayes as the greatest player in Washington Wizards history. Unseld played for the Washington Bullets and remains the franchise’s only Finals MVP. Unseld won a regular season MVP in 1969, where he was known for his strong rebounding and tenacious defense. Unseld was considered one of the league’s best 50 players before 2000. Unseld passed away in 2020 after suffering numerous health ailments at 74 years old.
Elgin Baylor (1934-2021)
Career Stats: 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
Awards And Achievement: 11x All-Star, 1x All-Star Game MVP, 10x All-NBA First Team, Rookie of the Year
Baylor is perhaps the greatest player to never win an MVP Award or an NBA championship. His entire career spanned with the Lakers, playing in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Out of 11 All-Star appearances, 10 of those seasons saw him make the All-NBA First Team. Baylor fell victim to the Celtics numerous times, but when he left the Lakers, he was the team’s all-time leading scorer. Baylor passed away at 86 years old due to natural causes.
Sam Jones (1933-2021)
Career Stats: 17.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.5 APG
Awards And Achievement: 10x NBA Champion, 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Second Team
Jones was originally drafted by the Lakers but opted to return to college. When he returned to the draft, he became the No. 6 pick by the Celtics in 1957. Jones became a long-time running mate with Bill Russell, where he won 10 championships. Jones had one of his best showings in Game 6 of the the 1966 Finals, where he recorded 22 points as the Celtics clinched their eighth straight title. When Jones retired, he was originally the all-time leading scorer for the franchise. Jones passed away at 88 years old in his home in Florida.
Paul Westphal (1950-2021)
Career Stats: 15.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Awards And Achievement: 1x NBA Champion, 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, Comeback Player of the Year
As a member of the 1974 Celtics, he won his lone championship. It wasn’t until he joined the Suns that Westphal became a standout individual player. He made the All-NBA First Team with the Suns, as well as one All-NBA Second Team appearance. For his career, Westphal scored over 12,000 points and added nearly 3,600 assists. Westphal died at 70 years old, about one year later after he was diagnosed with brain cancer.