Kenny Sailors was a basketball star, and the inventor of the jump shot. He attended the University of Wyoming and was MVP in 1943 in college AA basketball. After WWII, he spent five years as an early player in the new NBA. As a youngster, Kenny was five‑foot‑seven but his older brother was six‑foot‑two so when playing basketball, Kenny had to jump up over his brother to get off a shot. That is how the jump shot was born, and Kenny used it in college and professional basketball....
Kenny Sailors was a basketball star, and the inventor of the jump shot. He attended the University of Wyoming and was MVP in 1943 in college AA basketball. After WWII, he spent five years as an early player in the new NBA. As a youngster, Kenny was five‑foot‑seven but his older brother was six‑foot‑two so when playing basketball, Kenny had to jump up over his brother to get off a shot. That is how the jump shot was born, and
Kenny used it in college and professional basketball. He played in Denver and several other cities whose team names have now changed, but he also played for the Boston Celtics with Bob Cousy. After he left the NBA, he moved to Alaska and in 1965 settled in the Glennallen area, where he was a fishing and hunting guide in the Wrangle Mountains for thirty‑five years. He now lives in Idaho, and his son lives and flies aircraft from Antioch, California.
Coauthor Lew Freedman is the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News and the author of over twenty books focused on Alaska, including My Season on the Kenai and Lowell Thomas Jr, Flight to Adventure.
Kenny Sailors is a remarkable man. He is a one-time college basketball star at the University of Wyoming where he introduced the use of the jump shot as a potent weapon to the sport, and when the NCAA basketball tournament celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2013 Sailors was the oldest living most outstanding player.
At the time Sailors was ninety-two years old and could look back on a life well lived, a life of grand achievement, and a life of contentment. In 1943, when the Wyoming Cowboys won their only NCAA title, Sailors, a five-foot, eleven-inch guard was selected as the outstanding player of the tournament. After that he played during the first five years of the NBA’s existence, a role that had him shifting from team to team during the unstable years of the fledgling league.
Always an outdoorsman, and really a cowboy at heart (not only a representative of a school that had that nickname applied to its sports teams), Sailors and his wife, Marilynne, known as Bokie, operated dude ranches, camps for boys, and hunting camps in Wyoming. Then, in 1965, they left behind their childhood homes and set out for Alaska.
For the next thirty-five years Sailors worked as both a hunting guide and as a high school basketball coach in remote Alaska communities. In 2000, Sailors returned to his native Wyoming and he presently resides in Laramie, just a short distance from the site of his collegiate athletic triumphs.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: The Jump Shot’s Beginnings
Chapter 2: Becoming a Player
Chapter 3: Wyoming Hoops
Chapter 4: A Special Someone and a Special Season
Chapter 5: Conference Champs and NCAA Bound
Chapter 6: National Champs
Chapter 7: The Jump Shot’s Evolution
Chapter 8: Back in Wyoming
Chapter 9: Going Pro
Chapter 10: Steamrolled Out of Providence
Chapter 11: Retirement
Chapter 12: Hunting Wyoming’s Wild Country
Chapter 13: Cowboying Up and on to Alaska
Chapter 14: Alaska Life
Chapter 15: Alaska Adventures
Chapter 16: Back to Basketball in Alaska
Chapter 17: Return to Wyoming
Chapter 18: A Hall of Famer
Kenny Sailors Basketball Awards and Statistics
About the Author