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NBA 75 Series: #68 Hal Greer

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

Ranked #68 in my 75 Greatest NBA Players of All Time is the Philadelphia Sixers all-time leading scorer Hal Greer. Harold Everett Greer was born on June 26, 1936, in Huntington, Virginia, and passed away on April 14, 2018 due to illness. Greer attended Douglass high school, which was an all-black school and became the first African-American to play for a public college in West Virginia, which he did by becoming the first African-American to receive a scholarship at Marshall University.

With the Thundering Herd, he would score 1,377 career points while shooting a remarkably efficient 54.5% from the field, setting a Marshall record. He was named Mid-American in 1957 and 1958 while also leading them to the Mid-American Conference championship in 1956. He was named an All-American in 1958 and finished his three varsity years at Marshall with career averages of 19.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game despite being an undersized shooting guard at 6-foot-3!

Greer would go on to be selected by the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers) in the second round of the 1958 NBA Draft. At his first training camp Greer came in as this wiry, skinny kid who seemed to lack confidence in his abilities. He even stated, “I didn’t think I had a chance at all [to make the NBA], in fact, when I first got there I didn’t even unpack my bag.”

However, Greer would dispel all those notions of him questioning himself by averaging 11.1 ppg in 1958-59, shooting .454 from the field and .778 from the line coming off the bench. He flashed his deadly jumper, quick penetrations to the basket, which would eventually make him the franchise’s all-time leading scorer (21,586 points) over guys such as Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, and Wilt Chamberlain, while also being an unshakeable defender.

In his next two seasons, his role would continue to increase, eventually becoming the Robin to Dolph Schayes batman by raising his production to 19.6 ppg in his third season and making his All-Star debut in 1961.

“Consistency,” Hal Greer once told the Philadelphia Daily News. “For me, that was the thing…I would like to be remembered as a great, consistent player.” And that Greer sure was, scoring 21,586 career points in 1,122 career games, averaging 19.2 points per game for his career over 15 NBA seasons. He stayed with one franchise his whole career.

Playing alongside fellow Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Billy Cunningham, Greer helped play a major role in the 76ers remarkable 45-4 start and the NBA title in 1967 in what is considered one of the best teams of all-time. He averaged 22.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game that season, along with helping the 76ers’ finish with a 67-15 regular-season mark, which was an NBA record at the time.

Greer was a tremendous jump shooter and scorer who also was reliable at the foul line, finishing his career shooting 80% from the line. He averaged 20 or more points per game in eight seasons throughout his career, with his career-high being 24.1 in 1967-68. Along with being a champion, Greer is a 10-time All-Star, All-Star MVP (1968), seven-time All-NBA team selection, with all being second team, has his No.15 retired by the Sixers, and is a member of the 50th and 75th anniversary teams. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1982.

He is the most underappreciated great guard in league history and should get a mention among the great shooting guards who’ve played the game.


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