The NBA recently released its Top 75 players of all-time list, featuring some of the most well-known and respected names in the sport’s history along with a host of relatively unknown players from bygone eras.
Bringing up the rear on ESPN’s list is former Boston Celtics and Washington Capitols guard Bill Sharman, Bob Cousy’s former backcourt mate.
Sharman averaged 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game over his 11-year NBA career, and he’s also known for hitting a legendary shot that would make even the great Stephen Curry blush.
The shot happened over the course of the 1957 NBA All-Star Game, during which Sharman took the ball along the far baseline and dribbled toward the sideline with mere seconds left on the clock.
Sharman is shown in the video below lining up for the heave, baseball-style, from an impossibly long distance.
According to the YouTube channel Wilt Chamberlain Archive, which posted the video and has over 67,000 subscribers, the shot from Sharman stands as the longest in NBA All-Star Game history.
A Wikipedia entry cited from Basketball-Reference.com and The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia said that Sharman’s famous shot occurred at the end of the first half with the West leading 43-39 at the time.
Sharman had reportedly been in the process of attempting to pass the ball to Cousy when he was forced to let the shot fly, to the delight of Eastern Conference and Celtics fans watching at the time.
Other famous players in the game including Paul Arizin of the Philadelphia Warriors, future Celtics announcer Tom Heinsohn of the Boston Celtics, and forward/center Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks.
While Sharman has caught a lot of flack on social media in recent weeks from social media users who never saw him play (and have had him randomly added to their fictional Instagram teams by a random team generation app), his highlights showcasing a crafty shooting guard capable of making big plays.
Through it all, Sharman has remained a pioneer of the game and one of its most memorable figures among dedicated basketball fans.
He won titles in the ABL, ABA and NBA while introducing the now-standard shootaround for the first time as a coach.
Sharman passed away at age 87 in 2013, but left behind a legacy that has been immortalized as a two-time Hall-of-Fame inductee and, most recently, an NBA All-Time Team honoree.
Congrats on the honor, Bill, and thanks for your contributions to the game.