Henry Bibby recalls his playing days, compares Bill Walton to Marc Gasol


henry-bibby-2Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach and former NBA player Henry Bibby recently spoke about his NBA career, NewsOk reported.

Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Henry Bibby grew up in Franklinton, N.C., then went to UCLA, where he started on three NCAA title teams as John Wooden’s point guard.

The first two of those titles were won in the seasons between legendary players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.

Bibby spent nine years in the NBA, appearing in 675 NBA games, averaging 8.6 ppg, 3.3 apg and 2.3 rpg. He averaged career high 12.2 ppg for Philadelphia during the 1978-79 season.

He started on the 76ers’ 1976-77 team, which lost to Portland in the 1977 NBA Finals and opposing point guard Lionel Hollins, who now is Memphis’ head coach.

Bibby’s coaching odyssey includes stints in the WNBA, the USBL and the Continental Basketball Association, including three years each in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Bibby recalled the late 70’s, in particular the 1977 NBA finals, which had Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference playing against the Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage.

“In the 1977 Finals, I remember we had ’em beat. We were up 2-0. Going out to Portland to play. We just had to win one game out there and we knew we had it. Of the three games, we didn’t win any,” Bibby recalled.

“I remember that probably more so than anything. Had the big fight in Philadelphia, and it carried over to make them more aggressive and it pulled them together more as a team than it did us,” he added. “The fight kind of pulled us apart as a team and brought those guys together.”

Comparing one of the most dominant centers of his era, Bill Walton to one of the players that he’s currently coaching, Marc Gasol, Bibby said that they had a lot in common.

“Bill Walton and Marc Gasol, the two are both great passers. Two very, very good offensive players. Bill was probably more of a low post player than Marc is. He was a better shot blocker than Marc,” Bibby said.

“But Marc and Bill are very similar from the standpoint of wanting to get their teammates involved, not concerned about their success, but again, concerned about the success of the team. So he fits right in to what we’re looking and what I see as a winner. Being part of a winning team. He’s made us so good from that standpoint.”

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