Wyoming Basketball Legend Kenny Sailors is Dead
A Wyoming farmboy who changed the game of basketball, has died.
According to reports, Kenny Sailors passed away Friday night at an assisted living facility in Laramie.
He was 95.
Sailors was born in Bushnell, Nebraska in 1921, but grew up on a farm near Hillsdale, Wyoming. Legend has it that the 5 foot 10 inch Sailors developed what was the first modern jump shot as a teenager playing against his taller brother.
Until that time, the standard shooting posture was to stand flat-footed and throw with both hands. Sailors is credited as the first to jump in the air, and at the top of the jump, shoot one-handed.
He brought that shot to the University of Wyoming, and led them to the NCAA Championship in 1943. He was the only UW player to be named All American three times, in 1942, 1943 and 1946.
His professional career lasted from 1946 to 1951, and he played for the Cleveland Rebels, Chicago Stags, Philadelphia Warriors, Providence Steamrollers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, and Baltimore Bullets.
A sculpture of Kenny Sailors is being prepared and will stand outside the UW Basketball Arena.