World B. Free is not a name a lot of people today would necessarily know, but he was a key part of some great Philadelphia 76ers teams between 1975 and 1978.
Born in Brownsville, New York as Lloyd B. Free, Free went to Guilford College where he helped win the NAIA national championship.
As a rookie, Free, who was spectacularly talented, joined Julius Erving, George McGinnis, Doug Collins, Billy Cunningham, Darryl Dawkins, Steve Mix, Joe Bryant, who would later become famous as Kobe’s father and Harvey Catchings, whose grandson Kale is on Duke’s team this year.
As a rookie, Free offered to drive Erving from New York, where he had been living prior to being traded to Philly, to practice.
This story is about one of those rides from New York to Philly, with a stop in Brownsville to let his friends see Erving sleep, basically (he was snoozing in the car), and a pretty funny encounter with a cop.
That team was largely broken up soon after. McGinnis was traded to Indiana, Free was sent to San Diego (the prior home of the Clippers), and Philly brought in Bobby Jones and Moses Malone in trades. They also added Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney and that, along with Erving and Collins, was the core of the great Philly teams of the early 1980’s.