Dave DeBusschere

Dave DeBusschere
No. 22
Power forward
Personal information
Date of birth October 16, 1940(1940-10-16)
Place of birth Detroit, Michigan
Nationality American
Date of death May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
Place of death New York City, New York
High school Austin Catholic (Detroit)
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College Detroit (1959–1962)
NBA Draft 1962 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Pro career 1962–1974
Career history
As player:
19621968 Detroit Pistons
1968–1974 New York Knicks
As coach:
19641967 Detroit Pistons
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 14,053 (16.1 ppg)
Rebounds 9,618 (11.0 rpg)
Assists 2,497 (2.9 apg)
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

David Albert DeBusschere (October 16, 1940 – May 14, 2003) was an American NBA and major league baseball player and coach in the NBA. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

DeBusschere was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Austin Catholic Preparatory School, where he founded the "white shirted league" -- the tradition of wearing white shirts to the school's games, so as to make fans more visible. He was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after a twelve-year career (1962–1974), in which he averaged 16.1 points and eleven rebounds while being named to eight NBA All-Star teams; he was renowned for his physical style of play and tenacious defense, as he was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team six times.


NBA career

DeBusschere was drafted by the Detroit Pistons out of the University of Detroit in 1962, a territorial draft selection which was common at the time. During his rookie season he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and was later named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. However, DeBusschere was injured during his second season and only played in 15 games, resulting in the Pistons finishing with a disappointing record of 23-59.

In the 1964-1965 season, at the age of 24, he was given the position of player-coach for the Pistons, and thus became the youngest-ever coach in league history. However, this stint as coach was not successful and he became a full-time player. During the 1968-1969 season, DeBusschere was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives.

DeBusschere spent his best years in New York. He became one of the most talented and feared players in the league and one of the greatest power forwards the NBA had ever seen. He played a physical game on both ends of the floor, often ending the season as one of the league's best rebounders. DeBusschere, along with future HOFers Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier became NBA champion when the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Finals. With Earl Monroe in the backcourt, they became champions again in 1973, beating the Lakers 4-1 in the finals.

Life after basketball

DeBusschere retired in 1974. His #22 jersey was retired by the Knicks, though not until many years after his retirement; it is thought the delay was due to DeBusschere's taking a front-office job with the rival New York Nets (now New Jersey Nets) of the then-American Basketball Association upon his retirement. He later became ABA's commissioner, as well as the assistant coach and director of basketball operation of the Knicks during the 1980s. During this time DeBusschere drafted fellow Knicks legend Patrick Ewing.

DeBusschere was later the author of a book entitled The Open Man, which was a chronicle of the New York Knicks' 1969-1970 championship season.


DeBusschere became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983. An eight-time NBA All Star, he became a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.


Dave DeBusschere
Born: October 16, 1940(1940-10-16)
Died: May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 22, 1962 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 2, 1963 for the Chicago White Sox
Career statistics
Win-loss record     3–4
Earned run average     2.90
Complete games     1

In 1962 DeBusschere was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent. He was pitcher for the Chicago White Sox from 1962-63. He pitched a shutout on August 13, 1963, against the Cleveland Indians, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out three. In 22 career at bats, he had only one hit, a single off Bennie Daniels on July 17, 1963. He pitched in the White Sox' minor league system for two more seasons before giving up pitching to focus on both playing and coaching basketball.[1]

He is one of only 12 athletes to have played in both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, or its predecessor the Basketball Association of America, the others being: Mark Hendrickson, Danny Ainge, Gene Conley, Ron Reed, Dick Groat, Steve Hamilton, Cotton Nash, Frank Baumholtz, Dick Ricketts, Howie Schultz and Chuck Connors.[2][3][4]


In May 2003, Dave DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 62 years of age. DeBusschere is interred at Saint Joseph's Church Cemetery in Garden City, Nassau County, New York.

See also


External links

Preceded by
Charles Wolf
Detroit Pistons head coach
Succeeded by
Donnie Butcher

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