Hal Greer, a Hall of Fame guard whose one-hand jump shot and fast-break ability helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a National Basketball Association championship in 1967, died April 14 in Phoenix. He was 81.
The team announced the death but did not give a cause.
Drafted by the Syracuse Nationals in 1958, Mr. Greer spent 15 seasons with the franchise, which relocated to Philadelphia and became the 76ers in 1963. Playing alongside Wilt Chamberlain, he became the team’s career scoring leader with 21,586 points — a record that still stands — and was the first player to have his jersey number (15) retired by the 76ers, in 1976.
He was “the greatest middle-distance jump shooter of all time, and that includes Michael Jordan,” Mr. Greer’s Hall of Fame teammate Dolph Schayes told the New York Daily News in 1998. “From 15 to 18 feet, he was money in the bank.”
Nicknamed “the Bulldog” by teammates for his game-face scowl, Mr. Greer played in 1,122 games before retiring in 1973, setting an NBA record for longevity that has since been surpassed by Robert Parish and 57 others. He made 10 straight All-Star games (including in 1968, when he was named the game’s most valuable player), and in 1996 was named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players.
Mr. Greer was the second-leading scorer during the 76ers’ legendary 1966-1967 season, considered one of the greatest in NBA history. Alongside three future Hall of Famers — Chet Walker, Billy Cunningham and the high-scoring Chamberlain — he helped propel the squad to a 68-13 finish in the regular season, a record at the time.
The 76ers went on to dethrone their nemesis the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, amid shouts of “Boston is dead!” from a crowd of 13,007 Philadelphia fans who witnessed a 140-116 victory in the series-clinching game.
The Celtics had established a dynasty under Coach Red Auerbach and center Bill Russell, reeling off eight straight championships before Mr. Greer and the 76ers defeated them in five games. (The Celtics would go on to win two more titles in 1968 and 1969, dispatching the 76ers on their way to both championships.)
Facing the San Francisco Warriors, a team that had relocated from Philadelphia five years earlier, in the 1967 NBA Finals, the 76ers won in six games.
Harold Everett Greer was born in Huntington, W.Va., on June 26, 1936. He played basketball at Marshall University, where he was credited as the first African American to play for a major college team in West Virginia.
According to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which inducted Mr. Greer in 1982, he was the only player to jump shoot his free throws.
Survivors include his wife, Mayme; and three children.