Friday, February 17, 2006

Historical Glimpses: Hal Greer

(FortCollins-CO) When you talk about iron men in the NBA a couple of famous names come to mind. Parish, Abdul-Jabbar, Malone, and Stockton, but not enough times does the name Hal Greer get mentioned. That is why the Doctor has chosen Hal Greer, one of the NBA’s greatest players of all time, for this installment of Historical Glimpses.

The West Virginia native was about as solid and fundamentally sound as anyone who ever played the game. At 6’2”, Hal Greer was a machine that wouldn’t break down amongst giants. He attended Marshall University before getting drafted by the Syracuse Nationals with the sixth pick in the second round. The only other pick before Greer that can be recognized today is Elgin Baylor.

The concept of being traded to another team was foreign to Greer. He would play his entire 1,122 game, 15-year career with the Syracuse Nationals, including franchise relocation to Philadelphia in 1963. He was also the backbone to the 1967 NBA championship campaign.

In that campaign coached by Alex Hannum, Greer would average 22.1 points. With the help of Billy “The Kangaroo Kid” Cunningham, Wilt Chamberlain, and Chet Walker, Greer would lead the team past the eight-time consecutive NBA champion Boston Celtics in the eastern division finals. It should also be mentioned that until the 1971 Los Angeles Lakers went 69-13 and then the 1996 Chicago Bulls went 72-10, this Philadelphia team would hold the record for best regular season record at 68-13. All with Hal Greer at the point. In the playoffs he raised the scoring bar even higher to a team leading 27.7 points a game. Many NBA aficionados still believe that this was the best team ever assembled.

Hal Greer would end his fabulous career with many accolades. He would be named to the All-NBA second team from 1963 through 1969, was an All-Star ten years in a row from 1961 through 1970 and picking up game MVP in 1968, no one will ever wear number 15 in a Philadelphia jersey ever again, he was named one of the fifty greatest players ever, and was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981. His lifetime averages are impressive to say the least. Greer would average 19.2 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists over a 15 years span. He is also the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring at 21,586 points. Greer had an old workhorse mentality that is not often duplicated. I think that one quote sums it all up perfectly. Greer once said, “Each player should try to improve. Each game, each minute, each time on the floor, you should try to learn something different. That was the way I went about things." Hal Greer is often overlooked when the conversation of NBA greats takes place, but make no mistake, he is one of the greatest small guards to ever play the game.


Anonymous said...

Greer was a pimp, but he didn't play for as long as Cousy. Are you going to write an article about him?

-Boston Fanatic

Nugg Doctor said...

In reply to anonymous:

Yes, I will get around to writing an article about Bob "The Houdini of the Hardwood" Cousy. I chose Greer today because of his often looked over status as one of the NBA's greats. Keep reading and it will eventually materialize.

PizzaDaHutt said...

Hey doctor, did you know that Hal Greer has a street named after him at Marshall? Kinda like Peyton Manning at Tennessee and his dad Archie Manning at Ole Miss has the speed limit on campus at 18 mph after his jersey #. Speaking of which check out this throwback jersey.

They should sell the throwback shorts with that don't you think?

Nugg Doctor said...

In reply to Pizzadahut:

I did not know that about Marshall University. Seems fitting though. I actually own a Mitchell and Ness Hal Greer Jersey that I refuse to wear because it is in deadstock!

I think that a lot of old NBA/ABA clothing should be sold at more affordable prices. Mitchell and Ness is the only place that I have found that sells quality nostalgia goods. My greer jersey, that still has the tags on it, retailed for $375! Rediculous!!!!