Bill Sharman (born May 25, 1926 in Abilene, Texas) is a former professional basketball player and coach. Sharman served during World War II from 1944 to 1946 in the US Navy He is mostly known for his time with the Boston Celtics in the 1950s, partnering Bob Cousy in what some consider the greatest backcourt duo of all time. While Cousy was primarily the playmaker, Sharman was the shooter.
From 1950 to 1955 Sharman played professional baseball in the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system.
Sharman was one of the first guards to shoot better than .400 from the field. He led the NBA in free throw percentage seven times, and his mark of 93.2n the 1958-59 season remained the NBA record until Ernie DiGregorio topped it in 1976-77. Sharman still holds the record for consecutive free throws in the playoffs with 56. Sharman was named to the All-NBA First Team from 1956 through 1959, and was an All-NBA Second Team member in 1953, 1955, and 1960. Sharman played in eight NBA All-Star games, and was named the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1955. Sharman ended his career after 11 seasons in 1961.
In 1970-71 he coached the Utah Stars to an ABA title. The following season he guided the Wilt Chamberlain-led Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA record 33 game win streak, a then-record 69-13 win-loss mark, their first championship in more than a decade, and was named NBA Coach of the Year. He is one of two men to win NBA and ABA championships as a coach; coincidentally, the other, Alex Hannum, also coached a Chamberlain-led team (the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers) to an NBA championship.
Sharman was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976 as a player. In 2004, he was also enshrined as a coach. He is one of only three people to be enshrined in both categories, after John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens. On October 29, 1996, Sharman was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.
His family includes: Sons Jerry Sharman and Tom Sharman; daughters Nancy and Janice. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California.