Bill Bridges (basketball)

William C. (Bill) Bridges (April 4, 1939 – September 25, 2015) was an American basketball player who earned an NBA championship and multiple NBA All-Star honors.

Bill Bridges
BillBridges.jpg
Bill Bridges at the University of Kansas
Personal information
Born(1939-04-04)April 4, 1939
Hobbs, New Mexico
DiedSeptember 25, 2015(2015-09-25) (aged 76)
Santa Monica, California
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight228 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High schoolHobbs (Hobbs, New Mexico)
CollegeKansas (1958–1961)
NBA draft1961 / Round: 3 / Pick: 32nd overall
Selected by the Chicago Packers
Playing career1961–1975
PositionPower forward / Center
Number10, 32, 23, 35
Career history
1961–1963Kansas City Steers
19631971St. Louis / Atlanta Hawks
19711972Philadelphia 76ers
19721974Los Angeles Lakers
1975Golden State Warriors
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points11,012 (11.9 ppg)
Rebounds11,054 (11.9 rpg)
Assists2,553 (2.8 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Early yearsEdit

Born on April 4, 1939, Bridges grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. He attended Hobbs High School and played for the Hobbs Eagles and legendary high school basketball coach Ralph Tasker. Bridges led Hobbs High School to New Mexico state high school basketball championships in 1956 and 1957. [1]

College careerEdit

Bridges enrolled at the University of Kansas for the 1957-1958 school year as a non-scholarship “walk-on".[2] With freshmen ineligible for varsity competition until 1972,[3] Bridges competed effectively in practice sessions during his ‘redshirt’ season against fellow Jayhawk Wilt Chamberlain who was playing his second and final season at Kansas. Bridges' performance in practices in the 1957-1958 season earned him a scholarship for his remaining three years.[4]

During his subsequent three seasons of competition 1958-1959, 1959-1960, and 1960-1961 for the Kansas Jayhawks, Bridges averaged 13.2 points and 13.9 rebounds per game.

Bridges was chosen All-Big Eight all three seasons, and was an honorable mention All-American in 1961.[5]

Professional playing careerEdit

After graduation from Kansas in 1961, Bridges was drafted by the Chicago Packers (currently Washington Wizards) with the 32nd pick in the 3rd round of the 1961 NBA Draft.

Instead of signing with the Packers, Bridges played for the Kansas City Steers of the American Basketball League prior to entering the NBA. Bridges led the ABL in rebounding during both seasons he played for the Steers and led the league in scoring during his second season. He set the ABL single-game scoring record with 55 points on December 9, 1962.[6] The league folded at the end of 1962, and the Steers were declared ABL champions.

Bridges then entered the National Basketball Association and spent 13 seasons (1962–1975) as a member of the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors.

Bridges won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors in 1975 and was elected to three NBA All-Star teams in 1967, 1968, and 1970.

Though undersized at 6’6” for his position as a power forward, Bridges was an elite rebounder and averaged a double-double (11.9 points, 11.9 rebounds) over the course of his NBA career.

Bridges’ 11,054 career rebounds is ranked 30th in the history of the NBA.[7]

Bridges is one of four players (Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Willis Reed were the others) to record more than 35 rebounds in an NBA playoff game. Bridges, then playing for the Atlanta Hawks, tallied 36 rebounds in Game 2 of the 1971 Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the New York Knicks.

Bridges' league-leading 366 personal fouls during the 1967–68 season was, at the time, an NBA record.[8]

Post-playing careerEdit

After retirement from the NBA in 1975, Bridges became an environmental consultant based in Santa Monica, California.[9]

Bridges died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 76 following a battle with cancer.[10]

NBA career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 †  Won an NBA championship

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1962–63 St. Louis 27 13.9 .413 .627 5.3 0.9 6.1
1963–64 St. Louis 80 24.4 .397 .652 8.5 2.3 8.5
1964–65 St. Louis 79 29.9 .386 .676 10.8 2.4 11.5
1965–66 St. Louis 78 34.3 .407 .706 12.2 2.7 13.0
1966–67 St. Louis 79 39.6 .455 .702 15.1 2.8 17.4
1967–68 St. Louis 82 39.0 .462 .717 13.4 3.1 15.6
1968–69 Atlanta 80 36.6 .453 .677 14.2 3.7 11.8
1969–70 Atlanta 82 39.9 .475 .734 14.4 4.2 14.8
1970–71 Atlanta 82 38.3 .458 .639 15.0 2.9 11.9
1971–72 Atlanta 14 39.0 .381 .705 13.6 2.9 9.5
1971–72 Philadelphia 64 34.5 .509 .702 13.5 2.5 13.2
1972–73 Philadelphia 10 37.6 .376 .708 12.2 2.3 14.0
1972–73 L.A. Lakers 72 34.6 .479 .700 10.9 2.7 9.8
1973–74 L.A. Lakers 65 27.9 .421 .707 7.7 3.9 0.9 0.5 8.4
1974–75 L.A. Lakers 17 18.1 .351 .533 5.5 1.0 0.4 0.2 3.3
1974–75  Golden State 15 7.2 .417 .250 2.7 0.3 0.3 0.0 2.1
Career 926 33.3 .442 .693 11.9 2.8 0.7 0.4 11.9
All-Star 3 0 17.7 .813 .182 7.4 2.0 9.3

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1963 St. Louis 11 18.5 .427 .741 7.8 0.8 9.3
1964 St. Louis 12 20.0 .313 .632 7.0 2.0 5.3
1965 St. Louis 4 36.3 .356 .667 16.8 2.3 13.0
1966 St. Louis 10 42.1 .506 .721 14.9 2.8 20.3
1967 St. Louis 9 41.0 .375 .672 18.8 2.4 15.7
1968 St. Louis 6 36.0 .507 .720 12.8 2.3 15.7
1969 Atlanta 11 40.2 .442 .708 16.4 3.4 15.6
1970 Atlanta 9 42.3 .400 .593 17.1 3.2 11.6
1971 Atlanta 5 45.8 .397 .333 20.8 1.0 9.8
1973 L.A. Lakers 17 34.2 .419 .776 9.3 1.7 8.9
1974 L.A. Lakers 5 28.8 .293 .492 6.0 1.2 1.4 0.0 6.0
1975  Golden State 14 10.6 .435 .286 3.5 0.5 0.6 0.3 1.6
Career 113 31.2 .419 .673 11.5 1.9 0.8 0.2 10.5

AwardsEdit

Starting in 1962, in what Bridges called his greatest honor, the University of Kansas basketball program named its yearly post-season individual rebounding award the “Bill Bridges Rebounding Award".[11]

In 2002, at a ceremony during a game at Allen Field House, Bridges was honored as the first Jayhawk to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.[12]

In 2004, the University of Kansas retired Bridges' jersey at a ceremony in Allen Field House.[13]

In 2014, Bridges was inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame.[14]

In 2016, Bridges was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hobbs High School Basketball 1950-19830". archive.org. February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Bedore, Gary (December 9, 2004). "Jayhawks to hang Bridges' jersey". Lawrence Journal World.
  3. ^ White, Gordon A. (January 9, 1972). "Freshmen Given Varsity Status in Surprise Move". The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  4. ^ Bedore, Gary (December 9, 2004). "Jayhawks to hang Bridges' jersey". Lawrence Journal World.
  5. ^ Kerkhoff, Blair (October 8, 2015), "Former KU basketball great Bill Bridges dies", The Kansas City Star
  6. ^ NBA Register: 1986–87 Edition. The Sporting News Publishing Company. 1986. p. 295. ISBN 9780892042272.
  7. ^ N/A, N/A (February 23, 2022). "NBA Advanced Stats – All Time Leaders". No. nba.com. NBA. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  8. ^ The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia. Villard Books. 1994. p. 379. ISBN 0-679-43293-0.
  9. ^ Bedore, Gary (December 10, 2004). "Bridges reconnects with KU". Lawrence Journal World.
  10. ^ Bedore, Gary (October 8, 2015). "Former KU basketball great Bill Bridges dies at age of 76". Lawrence Journal World.
  11. ^ Bedore, Gary (December 9, 2004). "Jayhawks to hang Bridges' jersey". Lawrence Journal World.
  12. ^ N/A, N/A (January 20, 2002). "Kansas Notebook – Boschee knows threes". Kansas City Star. p. 34.
  13. ^ Bedore, Gary (December 10, 2004). "Bridges reconnects with KU". Lawrence Journal World.
  14. ^ "Bill Bridges". nmshof.org. January 26, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  15. ^ "Bill Bridges". kshof.org. January 26, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2022.

External linksEdit