The West Virginia native was about as solid and fundamentally sound as anyone who ever played the game. At 6’2”, Hal Greer was a machine that wouldn’t break down amongst giants. He attended Marshall University before getting drafted by the Syracuse Nationals with the sixth pick in the second round. The only other pick before Greer that can be recognized today is Elgin Baylor.
The concept of being traded to another team was foreign to Greer. He would play his entire 1,122 game, 15-year career with the Syracuse Nationals, including franchise relocation to Philadelphia in 1963. He was also the backbone to the 1967 NBA championship campaign.
In that campaign coached by Alex Hannum, Greer would average 22.1 points. With the help of Billy “The Kangaroo Kid” Cunningham, Wilt Chamberlain, and Chet Walker, Greer would lead the team past the eight-time consecutive NBA champion Boston Celtics in the eastern division finals. It should also be mentioned that until the 1971 Los Angeles Lakers went 69-13 and then the 1996 Chicago Bulls went 72-10, this Philadelphia team would hold the record for best regular season record at 68-13. All with Hal Greer at the point. In the playoffs he raised the scoring bar even higher to a team leading 27.7 points a game. Many NBA aficionados still believe that this was the best team ever assembled.
Hal Greer would end his fabulous career with many accolades. He would be named to the All-NBA second team from 1963 through 1969, was an All-Star ten years in a row from 1961 through 1970 and picking up game MVP in 1968, no one will ever wear number 15 in a Philadelphia jersey ever again, he was named one of the fifty greatest players ever, and was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981. His lifetime averages are impressive to say the least. Greer would average 19.2 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists over a 15 years span. He is also the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring at 21,586 points. Greer had an old workhorse mentality that is not often duplicated. I think that one quote sums it all up perfectly. Greer once said, “Each player should try to improve. Each game, each minute, each time on the floor, you should try to learn something different. That was the way I went about things." Hal Greer is often overlooked when the conversation of NBA greats takes place, but make no mistake, he is one of the greatest small guards to ever play the game.