With the Basketball Hall of Fame happening today, we are going to pay tribute to another basketball pioneer that didn’t do much on the court but is credited for creating something we can’t imagine the sport without: the jump shot.
Kenny Sailors name probably wont ring any bells, but the 91 year old that was inducted into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last year is the subject of a new documentary film called “Kenny Sailors: Jump Shot.” The film introduces us to Sailors and how he came up with the shot.
“The only way I could make a basket was to jump and shoot it over his head. No one really knows who took the first jump shot. But I worked at developing the shot and made it the shot that players still use today. Nobody could block it,” he recalls with pride. And it almost always went in.”
Well it might have “almost always went in” when the 5’10” Sailors was taking jumpers (up to 36 inches off the ground) instead of 2 hand underhand shots against his 6’4″ brother in the backyard, and then in the NCAA where he was named College Basketball Player of the Year twice, but that wasn’t the case when he made it the pros.
A draft pick by the Chicago Stags in 1947, the rookie Sailors only shot 30% from the field (shockingly that was good enough for 9th in the league) and bounced around to 7 teams in just 5 years.
Source: Celtics Life
Bonus vids of other past Celtics that had a nice jumper.