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YouTube Gold: Hal Greer

Hal Greer is kind of forgotten today but he was a superb and ferocious NBA guard.

Hal Greer portrait
 PHILADELPHIA - 1960: Harold E. (Hal) Greer #15 of the Philadelphia Warriors poses for a portrait at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by NBA PHOTOS/ NBAE/ Getty Images

The evolution of the NBA has at times been convoluted. Guys come in today and sign massive contracts. Even the shoe deals are far bigger than contracts that guys like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell played for.

TV coverage now is in another galaxy with even high school players getting plenty of camera time.

So some of the earlier stars, who lacked the (over) exposure of today’s game naturally, if unfairly, get overlooked. A lot of people would never guess that the first non-white player in the NBA was actually Japanese - Wat Misaka in 1947.

People even forget about guys like Hal Greer.

A native of Huntington, West Virginia, Greer opted to play for his hometown team, Marshall. He was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals in 1958, taken in the second round.

He was great right away, winning Rookie of the Year, and went on to a Hall of Fame career. And when Syracuse moved to Philadelphia in 1963, he soon was teamed with Chamberlain, who had moved west when the Warriors left Philly for San Francisco, and in 1966-67, the Sixers were the only team that disrupted Boston’s incredible championship run (not counting the St. Louis Hawks in 1958, when Bill Russell was injured).

Often, when you see older video, you can’t imagine some of those guys playing today. And you see things that Greer could never get away with today, starting with ballhandling that is antiquated by today’s standards.

Still, he was clearly no plumber or fireman and there’s no missing his ferocity, his athleticism or his feel for the game. Greer was brilliant.