Date of Birth:22 April 1949
Born At:Silver City, Mississippi USA
NBA Experience : 13 seasons
Spencer Haywood biography
Despite a productive NBA and ABA career, Spencer Haywood will always be remembered as the man who opened the door for underclassmen college basketball players to leave college early to play in the pros, thereby creating the “Spencer Haywood rule.” Haywood attended the University of Detroit on a basketball scholarship and helped the United States Olympic team to a gold medal at the 1968 Summer Games. In 1968, after two seasons in college, Haywood decided to try to enter the NBA draft, citing family financial hardship. The NBA, however, at the time prohibited players from entering the draft until four years after their high school graduation. Haywood then was signed by the maverick ABA’s Denver Rockets, where he played for one season, leading the ABA in scoring as a rookie. Since he now had a professional season under his belt, Haywood decided to challenge the NBA rule once again and signed with the Seattle Supersonics in 1969. Commissioner Walter Kennedy, however, prohibited Haywood from playing any games with the Sonics. Haywood and his agent took the NBA and Kennedy to court and won a decisive, but bittersweet, victory, as Haywood was roundly booed throughout NBA arenas in his first years with the Sonics. One PA announcer went so far as to say, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an illegal player on the court,” prior to one of his games. Try as he may, Haywood could never shake the controversy of those early years. After several seasons with the Sonics and New York Knicks, Haywood signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1981. Haywood seemed to be thriving as a veteran role player during the Lakers championship run until it was discovered he was a drug addict. Lakers’ coach Pat Riley suspended Haywood from the postseason and he was cut by the Lakers after their championship. Haywood retired in 1983 after finishing his career with the Washington Bullets.