Bill Melchionni

William P. Melchionni (born October 19, 1944) is an American former National Basketball Association and American Basketball Association player. A three time All-Star, Melchionni is one of only four players to win NBA and ABA championships.

Bill Melchionni
Personal information
Born (1944-10-19) October 19, 1944 (age 76)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight165 lb (75 kg)
Career information
High schoolBishop Eustace Prep
(Pennsauken Township, New Jersey)
CollegeVillanova (1963–1966)
NBA draft1966 / Round: 2 / Pick: 19th overall
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career1966–1976
PositionPoint guard
Number28, 3, 25
Career history
19661968Philadelphia 76ers
19681970Trenton Colonials
19691976New York Nets
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA and ABA statistics
Points6,870 (10.6 ppg)
Rebounds1,284 (2.0 rpg)
Assists3,247 (5.0 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at

Early lifeEdit

Melchionni was a guard from Bishop Eustace Prep (in his hometown of Pennsauken Township, New Jersey). His teams won two state championships.[1]

Melchionni was a collegiate star in the mid-1960s at Villanova University and was the Most Valuable Player in the 1966 NIT, as Villanova finished in third place in the tournament.[2]

Melchionni averaged 27.6 points as a senior at Villanova, as the team finished 18–11. As a junior, in 1964–1965, he averaged 19.4 points for the 23-5 Wildcats, who ended up #8 in the national rankings. In the 1966 season, the Wildcats won 9 of their last 10 games, finishing 3rd in the 1966 National Invitation Tournament, with Melchionni chosen as Tournament MVP. Melchionni scored 1,612 points during his career at Villanova.[3][4][5]

Melchionni graduated in 1966 from Villanova with a B.S. Degree in Economics.[6]

Professional careerEdit

Upon graduation from Villanova, Melchionni was a 2nd round (19th) overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1966 NBA Draft. Melchionni joined the Phillips 66ers AAU Elite team, before returning to his hometown to join the Philadelphia 76ers in 1966–1967.[7]

Immediately, Melchionni was a key reserve on what is, statistically speaking, the greatest 76ers team ever, the 1967 NBA champions led by Wilt Chamberlain, Luke Jackson, Hal Greer, Chet Walker, Billy Cunningham and fellow Villanova alum, Wali Jones. The team was coached by another AAU Elite alum, Alex Hannum. Melchionni played in 71 games, averaging 4.3 points and 1.3 assists for the championship 76ers.[8]

After another season in Philadelphia, Melchionni then played for the Trenton Colonials of the Eastern Professional Basketball League in 1968–1969.[1]

In 1969–1970, Melchionni found a home in the upstart ABA, joining the New York Nets. With the Nets he became a 3-time ABA All-Star, leading the league in assists multiple times and winning two more championships. In 1969–1970, he averaged 15.2 points and 5.7 assists; in 1970-1971: 17.6 points and 8.3 assists, (leading the ABA); in 1971-1972: 21.0 points and 8.4 assists, (leading the ABA) and in 1972-1973 12.3 points and 7.4 assists.[9]

In 1971–1972, Melchionni suffered a broken hand.[10]

In his Nets career, he played alongside Rick Barry and a young Julius Erving. After the Nets drafted future ABA All-Star Brian Taylor in 1972, Melchionni became key reserve player on the 1974 and 1976 ABA championship teams.[11][12] He averaged 12.4 points and 6.1 assists in seven seasons with the Nets. In his entire career, Melchionni averaged 10.6 points and 5.0 assists in 646 games.[9]

Of his career, Melchionni said, “With Julius, we won two ABA titles. To be able to say I played with and won championships with Wilt and Julius, arguably two of the top 10 players in basketball history, means something special to me.”[1]

Post-playing careerEdit

Melchionni became general manager of the Nets for two years after retiring as a player. Due to financial constraints on the Nets, he was forced to sell Erving to the 76ers to fund the Nets fee for joining the NBA in the ABA–NBA merger. He resigned from the Nets on March 15, 1979.[13][14] Melchionni worked at Salomon Brothers Investment Bank after leaving the Nets.

Awards and personalEdit

Melchionni played in three ABA All-Star Games, and was named to the All-ABA First Team in 1972. Melchionni led the ABA in assists per game in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

In 1995, Melchionni's number 25 jersey was retired by Villanova.[15]

The New Jersey Nets retired Melchionni's number 25. His is only one of six retired Nets jerseys, joining (#3) Dražen Petrović, (#5) Jason Kidd, (#23) John Williamson, (#32) Julius Erving and (#52) Buck Williams[16]

Melchionni was ranked #15 on a list of All-Time Nets players.[17]

Melchionni's brother Gary was a two-year captain for Duke and was an All-ACC performer. Gary's son and Bill's nephew, Lee Melchionni, played for Duke from 2002 to 2006.


  1. ^ a b c, Lou OrlandoFor. "Former Villanova star Billy Melchionni recalls his glory days". Main Line Media News.
  2. ^ Laible, Don (16 April 2016). "Wilt, Dr J, the ABA Melchionni Saw It All". Observer-Dispatch. Retrieved 25 August 2017. From starring as a guard at Bishop Eustace Prep in his hometown of Pennsauken, New Jersey, to becoming a collegiate star in the mid-1960s at Villanova, and ultimately being a member of three professional championship teams, Melchionni saw, first-hand, some of the game's all-time greats, up close and personal.
  3. ^ "1965-66 Villanova Wildcats Roster and Stats". College Basketball at
  4. ^ "1964-65 Villanova Wildcats Roster and Stats". College Basketball at
  5. ^ "NIT Most Valuable Player Winners". College Basketball at
  6. ^
  7. ^ Donohue, Ed (14 August 2010). "Reader Poll – Villanova's Greatest Point Guard". VU Hoops.
  8. ^ "1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers Roster and Stats".
  9. ^ a b "Bill Melchionni Stats".
  10. ^ Pluto, Terry (19 July 2011). Loose Balls. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439127520 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "1973-74 New York Nets Roster and Stats".
  12. ^ "1975-76 New York Nets Roster and Stats".
  13. ^ Donnellon, Sam (February 21, 1993). "Erving Set Standard for NBA". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "Melchionni Quits Nets; Theokas to Replace Him". The New York Times. 15 March 1978. p. B6. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  15. ^ Ewart, Brian (17 November 2009). "Being Retired". VU Hoops.
  16. ^ "New Jersey Nets Retired Jersey Numbers - RealGM".
  17. ^ "Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 15 Bill Melchionni". Brooklyn Nets.

External linksEdit