Hal Greer Then and Now

By / July 9, 2024

Hal Greer Then

Hal Greer, born on June 26, 1936, in Huntington, West Virginia, emerged as a trailblazer in both collegiate and professional basketball during a pivotal era of racial integration.

Raised in Huntington and educated at Douglass Junior and Senior High School, an all-black institution, Greer honed his basketball skills early on as a standout guard for Douglass’ men’s team. 

His talent earned him a historic opportunity when he enrolled at Marshall University, becoming the first African American to play for a public college in West Virginia.

At Marshall, Greer’s arrival was met with curiosity and some apprehension, reflecting the racial dynamics of the time. 

Despite initial uncertainties, Greer quickly asserted himself as a transformative figure in Marshall’s basketball program. 

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Under the guidance of Coach Cam Henderson, Greer’s exceptional abilities on the court soon became evident. 

Known for his scoring prowess and impressive field goal percentage, Greer set records and garnered accolades throughout his college career.

During his tenure with the Marshall Thundering Herd, Greer accumulated numerous achievements, including scoring 1,377 points with a remarkable .545 field goal percentage. 

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His impact was instrumental in Marshall winning the Mid-American Conference championship in 1956 and making their inaugural NCAA men’s basketball tournament appearance.

Greer’s stellar performances earned him All-Mid-American Conference honors in 1957 and 1958, and he was recognized as an All-American in his final collegiate season.

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Beyond basketball, Greer showcased his versatility by also excelling on Marshall’s baseball team as a first baseman during his sophomore year. 

His collegiate achievements not only solidified his legacy within Marshall’s athletic history but also paved the way for future generations of African American athletes in West Virginia and beyond.

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Hal Greer Career History

Hal Greer’s illustrious career in basketball spanned from his college days at Marshall University to his impactful years in the NBA, where he left an indelible mark as a prolific scorer and a key contributor to championship success. 

Drafted by the Syracuse Nationals (later the Philadelphia 76ers) in 1958, Greer quickly established himself as a dynamic guard, steadily improving his scoring average and earning a spot on the NBA All-Star team by 1961.

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His career reached new heights when the Syracuse Nationals relocated to Philadelphia in 1963, where he teamed up with basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain. 

Together, they propelled the Philadelphia 76ers to their first NBA championship in 1967, with Greer averaging an impressive 27.7 points per game during the playoffs that season.

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Known for his unconventional but effective jump-shot free throw technique, Greer became renowned as one of the top guards of the 1960s, often ranked just behind basketball icons like Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. 

His prowess on the court earned him numerous accolades, including 10 NBA All-Star appearances and the MVP title of the 1968 All-Star Game, where he set a record by scoring 19 points in a single quarter on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting.

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Throughout his career, Greer was also a consistent presence on the All-NBA Second Team and amassed a total of 21,586 points, solidifying his place among the NBA’s top scorers.

After retiring from professional basketball in 1973, Greer continued to contribute to the sport as a coach, leading the Philadelphia Kings in the Continental Basketball League and coaching at Germantown Academy.

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His impact and legacy were commemorated by his hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, which honored him with “Hal Greer Day” and later renamed a major street as “Hal Greer Boulevard” in recognition of his achievements. 

His alma mater, Marshall University, also celebrated Greer’s legacy by retiring his jersey number and inducting him into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985.

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In 1982, Hal Greer received one of basketball’s highest honors when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside other legends of the game. 

His legacy continues to be revered, with further recognition in 1996 as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in history.

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The Philadelphia 76ers further immortalized Greer by retiring his jersey number, making him the franchise’s first player to receive this honor. 

In 2017, a statue in his likeness was unveiled at the 76ers’ training complex, underscoring his enduring impact on the team and the sport. 

Greer’s contributions were recently honored again in 2021 with the dedication of a bronze statue at Marshall University, celebrating his lasting legacy and his pivotal role in shaping basketball history.

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Hal Greer Height

Hal Greer, standing at 1.88 meters tall, was a dynamic guard whose stature belied his significant impact on the game of basketball, earning accolades such as NBA All-Star appearances and a championship with the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Hal Greer Retirement

Hal Greer’s career in the NBA was marked by exceptional talent and longevity. Named All-Conference in 1957 and 1958 during his collegiate years at Marshall University, Greer showcased his scoring prowess and versatility.

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One of his distinctive traits was his unconventional method of shooting free throws with a jump shot, a technique that underscored his innovative approach to the game. 

Throughout his NBA career, spanning from 1958 to 1973 with the Syracuse Nationals and later the Philadelphia 76ers, Greer played in a remarkable 1,122 games, setting a league record that reflected his durability and commitment to the sport. 

His legacy extends beyond statistics, encompassing leadership on the court and a lasting impact on basketball history.

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Hal Greer Wife

Hal Greer, alongside his wife Mayme, shared a close-knit family life with their son and two daughters. 

Following his illustrious basketball career, Greer passed away on April 14, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona, after a brief illness. 

His death was formally announced by the Philadelphia 76ers on April 16, prompting an outpouring of tributes from the basketball community.

The Sixers paid homage to Greer’s enduring legacy by honoring him before Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat.

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Throughout the remainder of the playoffs, the team wore a black armband adorned with a small patch featuring the number 15, Greer’s retired jersey number, as a poignant gesture of respect and remembrance. 

His impact on the game and his influence as a pioneer in basketball continues to be celebrated by fans and fellow athletes alike.

Hal Greer Now

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Hal Greer, who would have been 81 years old today, was an iconic figure in the history of American professional basketball. 

Born Harold Everett Greer, he played as a guard for the Syracuse Nationals and the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1958 through 1973. 

Over the course of his 15-year career, Greer established himself as one of the premier guards in the league, earning 10 NBA All-Star selections. 

His consistent performance and significant contributions to the game were further recognized with his inclusion in the All-NBA Second Team seven times.

Greer’s career is notable not only for his individual accolades but also for his role in the success of his teams. 

He was an essential member of the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers, a team that won the NBA Championship and is often cited as one of the greatest teams in NBA history. 

Known for his unique jump shot free throw technique, Greer logged an impressive 1,122 games by the time he retired, setting a league record at the time. 

His scoring ability, leadership, and competitive spirit left an indelible mark on the NBA and secured his legacy as one of the game’s greats.


Who is the NBA player Greer?

Hal Greer, whose full name is Harold Everett Greer, was an American professional basketball player known for his time with the Syracuse Nationals and Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.

Where did Hal Greer play college basketball?

Hal Greer played college basketball at Marshall University.

How good was Hal Greer?

Hal Greer was an exceptional player, earning 10 NBA All-Star selections and being named to the All-NBA Second Team seven times.

He was known for his scoring ability and unique jump shot free throw technique.

What year did Hal Greer retire?

Hal Greer retired from the NBA in 1973.

What is Hal Greer famous for?

Hal Greer is famous for his impressive NBA career, being a 10-time All-Star, and his contributions to the Philadelphia 76ers’ 1966-67 NBA Championship team.

He is also known for his distinctive jump shot and free throw.

Is Hal Greer in the Hall of Fame?

Yes, Hal Greer was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

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