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NO. 6


Bobby McDermott was renown for his two-handed set shot


During the 1930s and 1940s, Bobby McDermott was the most dominating basketball player on the planet.

McDermott was voted the greatest basketball player of all time by coaches and managers in the National Basketball League in 1945. As the player-coach of the Fort Wayne Pistons, McDermott led the team to three straight National Basketball League championships in 1944-46.

McDermott's career ended in 1950, the year Collier's Magazine named him to the All-World team. He was killed in a Yonkers, N.Y., auto crash in 1963 at age 48, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Widely acknowledged as the greatest two-hand set shot artist, McDermott joined the New York Celtics right out of high school. He played in Fort Wayne against the Pistons in 1940 and attracted the attention of Pistons owner Fred Zollner, who brought McDermott to Fort Wayne the next season.

McDermott led the Pistons in scoring for five straight years before he was traded during the 1947-48 season to the Chicago Gears.

"We all respected Bobby," former New York Knicks coach Red Holzman said at McDermott's Hall of Fame induction. "He was a great player, great competitor, and probably the greatest two-handed shot (artist) the game has ever known."

During his playing days, McDermott was known for playing hard off the court and playing through injuries and illnesses on it.

In McDermott's obituary, former News-Sentinel Sports Editor Ben Tenny wrote, "McDermott certainly was one of Fort Wayne's all-time heroes. He lived life hard and had a lot of fun. But he was always ready for the tipoff of any game, routine or crucial. I doubt that he missed more than three or four games in the many seasons he was popping that long shot of his, giving his guard that fake, stepping back quickly and lofting those 30 to 40-footers that so often found the target at North Side Gym."

A 5-foot-11 guard, McDermott often scored more than 20 points a game in the era of slow-down basketball. During his 17-year career, he averaged about 13 points per game.

"Bobby was the best of his time," George Mikan said. "He had the best two-handed set shot around. A shot from 35 to 40 feet out often went in, and he could shoot it while moving in any direction. Even midcourt shots connected."


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