Kansas Men’s Basketball Great Bill Bridges Dies

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas men’s basketball standout Bill Bridges, 76, passed away on Sept. 25 in Santa Monica, California, after a prolonged battle with cancer.

A 6-foot-6 power forward from Hobbs, New Mexico, Bridges earned All-American honors in 1961, when he averaged 16.1 points and 14.1 rebounds per game.  That single-season rebound average still ranks third in the KU record book.

Bridges earned a berth on the All-Big Eight Conference team after each of his three seasons at Kansas (1959-61).

Bridges grabbed 1,000 rebounds in 78 games, averaging an amazing 13.9 rebounds per game, second all-time at KU behind only Wilt Chamberlain’s career average of 18.3.

Following KU, Bridges was taken in the third round (32nd overall selection) of the NBA Draft by the Chicago Packers, which is currently the Washington Wizards organization. He played one season with the Kansas City Steers, then had a stellar 12-year NBA career (1963-75), playing for the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. Bridges was a three-time NBA All-Star (1967, 1968 and 1970). He won an NBA title with Golden State in 1975, and his 11.9 NBA career rebounding average ranks 27th all-time in NBA history.

Bridges’ KU jersey, No. 32, was retired on Dec. 9, 2004.

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