Hal Greer, an All-Star guard and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer for the Philadelphia 76ers, has died. The Sixers said Greer died Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Arizona following a brief illness. He was 81.
Greer was a big time player on the 1966-67 76ers team that won the NBA championship. He played with Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Billy Cunningham, Lucious “Luke” Jackson and Wali Jones on that fantastic team. That team had four Hall of Famers — Chamberlain, Greer, Walker and Cunningham, who was the sixth man. The head coach was Alex Hannum, who was a Hall of Famer. The other members include Matt Guokas, Bill Melchionni, Dave Gambee, Larry Costello and Bob Weiss. That season, the team posted a 68-13 record, winning 46 of their first 50 games. Greer was a big time player on that team.
Jones, a former Overbrook High and Villanova backcourt star, remembers Greer hitting the classic foul line jump shot during his career. He also remembered the impact Greer had on him as well as his career.
“He was a great player and a great man,” Jones said. “He taught me. He took me under his wings. I observed him. He made me a pro. He’s one of the [NBA’s] Top 50. He was automatic [from the foul line]. We’re going to miss the captain.”
Greer was a great mid-range shooter. He rarely missed from 15 feet. Greer led the team in scoring with an average of 28 points a game across 15 postseason contests. He scored 30-plus points in three of the Sixers’ six NBA Final games against the San Francisco Warriors, including a 38-point performance in Game 4. He was named second team All-NBA seven times in his career. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.
He ranks as one of the all-time greats in points (21,586), field goal attempts (18,811), field goals made (8,504) and minutes played (39,788). During his 15-year career, he averaged 19.2 points a game — with eight seasons of 20 points or more and handed out 4,540 career assists.
In 1996, Greer was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History by a blue ribbon panel. He was the first player to have his number retired by the 76ers organization when the team retired his No. 15 in 1976. In addition, Greer was the first player to be recognized with a sculpture on 76ers legends Walk at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex in 2017 in Camden, N.J.
Greer was an outstanding player at Marshall. In 1958, he was the 13th overall selection by the Syracuse Nationals in the NBA Draft.
Jones recalls how visible Greer and his teammates were in the community.
“We all played on different teams in the Baker League during the summer months,” Jones said. “Hal and Chet played on Kent Taverneers. I played for Jimmy Bates B Bar. We also did basketball clinics together with Atlantic Richfield. We went all over the city doing those clinics. Our team was very close.”
The Sixers said Greer was survived by his wife Mayme, a son and two daughters.
The Associated Press contributed to this story