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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
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Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

UWyo Magazine

May 2016 | Vol. 17, No. 3

Kenny Sailors

Photo by Andrew Carpenaen


Basketball Legend Kenny Sailors, 1921-2016


The inventor of the modern jump shot, Kenny Sailors attended the University of Wyoming, leading the 1943 basketball team to the NCAA title at the old Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, where the Cowboys defeated Georgetown 46-34. The team then defeated St. John’s, the National Invitation Tournament champions, for an overall national title.

In 2005, Sailors told UWyo Magazine how he first came up with his signature jump shot, which at the time was revolutionary to the game. It all started as he played against his taller, older brother at their home in Hillsdale, Wyo.: “Bud would slam the ball down my throat. Then I had an idea. I thought, ‘If I could jump high enough, I could get the shot past the big bum.’ ”

 

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Sailors perfected his 36-inch vertical one-handed jump shot, which helped him become a 1942, 1943 and 1946 All-American. Legendary DePaul University coach Ray Meyer said, “Sailors was the pioneer. … He shot the first true modern-day jumper. He got off the floor.”

In between his final two All-American seasons—where he was twice named College Basketball Player of the Year—Sailors served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. He went on to play five seasons of professional basketball before becoming a guide and outfitter in Wyoming and Alaska while coaching high school basketball and raising his children with his wife, Marilynne.

Sailors retired in Laramie after Marilynne’s passing in 2002. He was inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993 and the NCAA Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. Sailors passed away on Jan. 30, 2016, at the age of 95—but his legacy lives on.

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Tribute to Kenny Sailors

Tribute to Kenny Sailors

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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming


About UWyo

Advertise

Subscribe

UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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