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Jump Shot uncovers the inspiring true story of Kenny Sailors, the proclaimed developer of the modern day jump shot in basketball. He defined the game, but only now is he ready to share his thoughts on why the game never defined him; Director=Jacob Hamilton; country=USA; creator=Jacob Hamilton;
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Rating: 3. 5/4 Have you ever watched Semi-Pro? The moment when Jackie Moon does the first dunk? The players stand and look agape, the referee fumbles his whistle, and when his feet land back onto the Earth, hes changed the game. Now, Semi-Pro is an irreverent and silly film, but I tend to think thats what happened when Kenny Sailors — basketball legend and inventor of the jumpshot — first fired off his elegantly formed shot. Kenny Sailors wasnt a braggart. Far from it. Hed rather talk about his marriage to the love of his life Marilyn, or his time in the Marines during World War II, or the womens high school basketball team who he coached to several state championships than talk about himself or that “silly” shot. Director Jacob Hamilton ‘s Jumpshot: The Kenny Sailors Story uncovers two facts thats long been apparent: Kenny Sailors invented the modern jumpshot and he was a singular and amazing man. Hamiltons documentary opens in 2011 in an empty gym. Theres an establishing shot of a basketball sitting idly on the floor. In walks an old man. He picks up the basketball, dribbles it off the floor, then bounces it off the floor for a basket. Thats Kenny Sailors, still gleefully outplaying people my age. Sailors, for the most part, is long forgotten. When Bobby Knight, Jerry Krause, Steph Curry, Dirk Nowitzski, Nancy Lieberman, Tim Legler, etc. are asked who invented the jumpshot, their faces squirm with the same puzzlement Sailors former opponents must have had 80 years ago. What follows is a journey from Laramie, Wyoming to Alaska to the annals of basketball lore. Hamilton, in his research for the film, uncovers some truly amazing archival footage — not just of basketball, but of Sailors life too. We see old photographs of Sailors, footage of his wife as a drum majorette, Laramie, Wyoming, his high school, and his games. And his games are incredible, especially his two David vs. Goliath moments: First, when his Wyoming team won the NCAA tournament, then when he beat back East Coast bias to defeat the NIT champions Saint Johns. Incredibly, Sailors played a different brand of basketball than anyone who had come before him. His brand began with the jumpshot, which he fashioned because he couldnt beat his taller brother Bud in one-on-ones. So like many other great discoveries and achievements, the jumpshot was born from sibling rivalry. But Sailors was more than his shot. He was an adept ball handler, possessed stop-on-a-dime speed and quickness, and was an adroit defender. When Hamilton uses footage from Sailors games, especially from the NCAA tournament, or the famous photo from Life Magazine of Sailors rising over his flat-footed foes, we get a sense of just how far ahead he was of everyone else. Seeing him play is like watching the guy who presented sliced bread for the first time, he just cuts so smooth. And when current and former NBA and WNBA players see a picture of Sailors jumpshot, its like theyve seen Santa Claus and the Eastern Bunny watching Jordan playing the Knicks at MSG. Theyre just in awe. But the most marvelous component of Hamiltons documentary is Kenny Sailors. Your documentary is only as good as your subject, and Hamilton has an incredible subject. Sailors is humble, aware, and just a hoot. His lust for life and energy rivals those half his age, and his sense of humor is as fluid as his playing. At one point, he jokes about suing the NBA for 5, 000 for the use of his jumshot. Much like Sailors must have been a player from a different era to his contemporaries, he feels like a man from a different time to us. Sailors isnt in the Hall of Fame. Hes not in the Naismith Hall of Fame because he went to Alaska for three and a half decades, because his wife had asthma and that was the best place for her. Hes not in because he spent his life coaching womens high school basketball rather than appearing on CBS as a commentator. Hes not in because he rarely brags about himself. But by not being in — as much as that will confound your brain — in some measure he proves how much more there is to life than accolades. Sailors should be in the Hall of Fame, but if you leave Hamiltons touching documentary with only that in mind then youve missed the point. And much like the players he whizzed past in his youth, youve also missed Kenny Sailors. An official selection of SXSW 2019.
Ken Sailors Sailors in 1948 Personal information Born January 14, 1921 Bushnell, Nebraska Died January 30, 2016 (aged 95) Laramie, Wyoming Nationality American Listed height 5 ft 10 in (1. 78 m) Listed weight 175 lb (79 kg) Career information High school Laramie (Laramie, Wyoming) College Wyoming (1940–1943, 1945–1946) Playing career 1946–1951 Position Point guard Number 4, 5, 27, 13 Career history 1946–1947 Cleveland Rebels 1947 Chicago Stags 1947 Philadelphia Warriors 1947 – 1949 Providence Steamrollers 1949–1950 Denver Nuggets 1950 Boston Celtics 1950–1951 Baltimore Bullets Career highlights and awards All-BAA Second Team ( 1949) 2× AAU All-American (1943, 1946) NCAA champion ( 1943) NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player ( 1943) Consensus first-team All-American ( 1943) Consensus second-team All-American ( 1946) No. 4 retired by Wyoming Cowboys College Basketball Hall of Fame Inducted in 2012 Kenneth Lloyd Sailors (January 14, 1921 – January 30, 2016) was an American professional basketball player active in the 1940s and early 1950s.  A 5-foot-10-inch (1. 78 m) guard, he is notable for popularizing the jump shot as an alternative to the two-handed, flat-footed set shot.  Sailors was born Jan. 14, 1921, in Bushnell, Nebraska  and grew up on a farm south of Hillsdale, Wyoming, where he developed his effective jump shot while playing against his 6-foot-4-inch (1. 93 m) older brother Barton (known as Bud. 4] He eventually brought his skills to the University of Wyoming, and in 1943 he led the Cowboys to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Sailors was named the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player for his efforts.  He was the unanimous selection as College Basketball Player of the Year in 1943.  He would earn the honor again in 1946. Sailors was the only player in the history of Wyoming Cowboys basketball to be selected as an All-American three times, in 1942, 1943, and 1946.  From 1946 to 1951, Sailors played professionally in the BAA and NBA as a member of the Cleveland Rebels, Chicago Stags, Philadelphia Warriors, Providence Steamrollers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, and Baltimore Bullets. He was second in the BAA in total assists in 1946–47, was named to the All-BAA 2nd team in 1948–49, and averaged a career high 17. 3 points per game in the 1949–50 season.  He scored 3, 480 points in his professional career.  Sailors was inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame on October 29, 1993.  In 2012, he was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.  John Christgau, author of the book The Origins of the Jump Shot, said that Sailors jump shot technique was the one that modern fans would recognize as the "jump shot. I would say that squared up toward the basket, body hanging straight, the cocked arm, the ball over the head, the knuckles at the hairline — that's today's classic jump shot. 4] In 2014, the University of Wyoming announced its plans to erect a specially-commissioned sculpture of Sailors outside of the University's basketball stadium, the Arena-Auditorium.  Sailors died on January 30, 2016, sixteen days after his 95th birthday, of complications from a heart attack he had in December 2015.  BAA/NBA career statistics [ edit] Legend GP Games played FG% Field-goal percentage FT% Free-throw percentage RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high Regular season [ edit] Year Team 1946–47 Cleveland 58. 309. 595 – 2. 3 9. 9 1947–48 Chicago 1. 000. 000 –. 0. 0 Philadelphia 2. 667. 0 2. 0 Providence 41. 300. 692 1. 4 12. 7 1948–49 57. 341. 766 3. 7 15. 8 1949–50 Denver 57. 349. 721 4. 0 17. 3 1950–51 Boston 10. 160. 625. 3. 8 1. 8 Baltimore 50. 348. 738 2. 8 9. 5 Career 276. 329. 712 12. 6 Playoffs [ edit] 1947 2. 375. 750 7. 5 See also [ edit] John Miller Cooper References [ edit] "Sailors still big shot in Wyoming history. The Denver Post. 1921-01-14. Retrieved 2016-01-31... Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2009. ^ Schudel, Matt (2016-01-30. Kenny Sailors, forgotten star credited with inventing basketball's jump shot. The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-02-02. ^ a b McDonald, William (January 30, 2016. Kenny Sailors, a Pioneer of the Jump Shot, Dies at 95" The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 10, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007. ^ a b c "University of Wyoming Official Athletic Site – Traditions. 1993-10-29. Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2015-12-17. ^ Sachare, Alex (1994. The Official NBA basketball encyclopedia (1994 ed. Villard Books. pp. 40, 372, 737. ^ Kenny Sailors NBA Stats. Retrieved 2016-01-31. ^ The New York Times. College Basketball. B14. March 7, 2012. ^ Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium Renovation Project Launches Today, With Recognition of Both Private Donors and the Support Provided by the Wyoming State Legislature – University of Wyoming Official Athletic Site. 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2015-12-17. ^ University of Wyoming legend Kenny Sailors dies at 95, Men's Basketball. Retrieved 2016-01-31. Further reading [ edit] Christgau, John (1999. Kenny and Bud. Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 187–214. ISBN 0-8032-6394-5. External links [ edit] Career statistics and player information from Official website for Kenny Sailors "Birth of the Jump Shot. "Kenny Sailors, forgotten star credited with inventing basketballs jump shot. by Matt Schudel, Washington Post, January 30, 2016 Jump shot.
FEATURING: STEPH CURRY, KEVIN DURANT, DIRK NOWITZKI, BOB KNIGHT, NANCY LIEBERMAN, KIKI VANDEWEGHE, CLARK KELLOGG, TIM LEGLER, DAVID GOLDBERG, FENNIS DEMBO, LOU CARNESECA, MARK PRICE, CHIP ENGELLAND AND MANY MORE. From Executive Producer Stephen Curry, the award-winning film JUMP SHOT celebrates the true story of Kenny Sailors, the forgotten basketball legend who introduced the jump shot, became a 2-time collegiate All American and NBA pioneer, revolutionized the sport for women, served as a US Marine in WWII, and then quietly faded into history.
Watch Stream Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors story 2. YouTube. Watch Stream Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors story 3. Community See All 893 people like this 903 people follow this About See All Contact Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story on Messenger Movie Page Transparency See More Facebook is showing information to help you better understand the purpose of a Page. See actions taken by the people who manage and post content. Page created - March 2, 2013 People 893 likes Related Pages Wyoming Cowboy Basketball School Sports Team DEALT Movie Movie Cowboy Joe Club Interest LORD MONTAGU Movie Morgana Shaw Artist University of Wyoming Men's Rugby School Sports Team Daniel Sun Event Videographer Lone Star Film Festival Festival TOWER - Documentary Movie Ralph Smyth Public Figure ICING - Cake Tribute Musician/Band Haymaker Players Theatrical Productions More Than A Word Documentary Movie HUMORdy Comedian Hand Drawn Records Record Label Wyoming Cowboy Club Baseball School Sports Team Chapter Films Local Business Claire Zinnecker Interior Design Studio University of Wyoming Golf School Sports Team This World Won't Break Movie See More triangle-down Pages Media TV & Movies Movie Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story English (US) Español Português (Brasil) Français (France) Deutsch Privacy Terms Advertising Ad Choices Cookies More Facebook 2020 Photos See All Videos For those that could not attend Kenny's memorial today, here is a short video from the start of the beautiful and powerful ceremony. We will upload an album of photos sometime this evening or tomorrow morning as well. 75 2 See All See More.
Watch Stream Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors story. Behind the shot you know is the American story you'll never forget. Experience the inspiring all-American true story of Kenny Sailors, the developer of the modern-day jump shot in the global sport of basketball. From collegiate all American and NCAA national champion, to pro basketball star, Kenny faded into the Alaska wilderness to be forgotten by the sport he helped pioneer. Sixty-years later, he emerges through his most passionate supporters - Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Clark Kellogg, Bob Knight, Lou Carnesecca, Kiki Vandeweghe, Nancy Lieberman, Chip Engelland, Tim Legler, Fennis Dembo, David Goldberg and a host of other basketball and sport legends -in an effort to recognize Kenny in the Naismith Hall of Fame and tell the story of his impact on basketball, his country, and the people who knew him best. Now Playing Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story is not showing in any theaters in the area.
Kenny Sailors, his jump shot, and the Wyoming Cowboys proved they could beat anybody, anytime, anywhere in 1943. The story of the Pokes' inspiring run to the NCAA basketball championship at Madison Square Garden in the Big Apple actually begins in little Hillsdale, Wyo., during the Great Depression. When young Kenny and his older brother, Bud, weren't working on the family farm, they could be found shooting baskets with a leather ball at a rusted iron rim on a dirt court, usually through the teeth of a gusting wind. One spring afternoon in 1934, Kenny grew tired of Bud, who had sprouted to 6 feet 5 inches tall, swatting traditional set shots back in his face. So, the 13-year-old with springs for legs made a move that would revolutionize basketball. "The one thing I could do was jump. I could broad jump and high jump when I was just a punk kid. I had legs on me and I could get up. I won state here in Laramie with a broad jump of 22 feet as a senior. Sailors said, seven and a half decades later. "I thought, ‘that guy is big, and I'm not very big. But I can jump. “So I decided to run right at Bud and jump straight up. I leaped as high as I could and shot the ball over him. I don't remember if it was one-handed or two-handed, but I made one. And so the jump shot was invented—or at the very least perfected—by Sailors, literally on Wyoming soil. Hank Luisetti, an All-American at Stanford in the 1930s, garnered national attention with a unique one-handed shot, but he didn't leave the floor with both feet. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame suggests that Glenn Roberts may have been the first to shoot a jumper. Roberts, a Virginian, used a two-handed jump shot in the early- and mid-1930s while in high school and at Emory & Henry College. Joe Faulks is also considered to be one of the "fathers" of this shot, honing his skills with it as a kid in Kentucky before attending Murray State and then playing from 1946-1962 with the NBAs Philadelphia Warriors. But many credible basketball historians and legendary coaches from the era consider Sailors to be the first pure jump shooter. "I heard of Kenny Sailors. said Jim Brandenburg, Wyoming head coach from 1979-87, who was a schoolboy in San Antonio when the Cowboys were making national headlines in 1943. "Most of the high school coaches in Texas were still teaching the underhanded free throw or the two-handed push shot. We were just starting to develop the one-handed set shot, more the one-handed step shot and the step-back one-hander. ” "We knew about the jump shot, ” Brandenburg said, “but we didn't have any coaches that could really teach us step by step, so we could really get into it. We knew that Kenny was one of the guys credited for starting the jump shot. Coach Ev Shelton embraced Sailors' flashy game from the moment the talented 5-foot-10-inch freshman stepped on campus in Laramie. Shelton, a Naismith Hall of Fame head coach, and Sailors, a three-time All-American (1942, 1943, 1946) guard, guided Wyoming to a 31-2 record during the 1942-1943 season. That season for the Cowboys included NCAA tournament wins over Oklahoma (53-50) Texas (58-54) and finally, Georgetown (46-34) in the title game. Wyoming then played National Invitation Tournament champion St. John's at Madison Square Garden to prove once and for all who the best team in the country was. Wyoming prevailed 52-47 in overtime. Sailors still remembers the feeling of taking the floor in the "World's Most Famous Arena" as if those glory days happened last week. "Here I am, just a kid off the farm down there in Hillsdale, never been out of the state before, and only 19 years old. Sailors said of his first game at Madison Square Garden. "You can imagine the first time when I went in there. They announce your name when you go on the court, Kenny Sailors from Wyoming. “And the crowd, they're going nuts. I've never seen anything like it in my life. That's more people than I ever saw in a building in my life. Never even come close to it probably. After the NCAA Championship] we got back to the Laramie train station and the whole town was there, which was only about 8, 000 people. Sailors recalled. "We'd seen twice that at Madison Square Garden. Boy oh boy, it was kind of embarrassing because we couldn't go anywhere around Laramie. I went to go buy a necktie, and they gave it to me. I went to buy a meal and couldn't pay for it. When the cheering was over, Sailors and six of his teammates went off to fight in World War II. College basketball's 19-year-old national player of the year was already commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines and was sent to the South Pacific not long after the team returned from New York City to Laramie. After two years of service, Sailors returned to the University of Wyoming, which due to the war had suspended the basketball program for the 1943-1944 season, to finish his collegiate career in 1945-1946. He played in the NBA, including a stint with the Denver Nuggets, before leaving basketball for an outdoor life with his beloved wife Marilynne. The Sailors owned the Heart Six Dude ranch in Jackson, Wyo., and then moved to Alaska where they worked as hunting guides for 33 years. When Marilynne passed away in 2002, Kenny moved back to Laramie. Well into his 90s, Sailors lived in an apartment just steps away from the University of Wyomings War Memorial Stadium and regularly attended Cowboys (and Cowgirls) basketball games, where he was treated like a rock star by the Arena-Auditorium fans. He suffered a heart attack in December 2015 and died Jan. 30, 2016. He was survived by his son, Dan, daughter-in-law, Jean, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. He was 95. Resources Primary Sources Brandenburg, Jim. Interview, March 9, 2011. Sailors, Kenny. Interviews, July 23, 2009, and Dec. 15, 2010. Secondary Sources Christgau, John. The Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. pp. numbers Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Glenn Roberts and the Genesis of the Jump Shot, accessed May 18, 2011 at For further reading and research Nolan, Jack and Ryan Holmgren. "University of Wyoming legend Kenny Sailors dies at 95. Casper Star-Tribune, Jan. 31, 2016. Accessed Feb. 1, m 2016 at. Illustrations The photos of Kenny Sailors and of the 1943 UW mens basketball team are courtesy of the UW Photo Service.
Credit. Eric Schaal/Life Magazine, via University of Wyoming There was just one witness to the moment Kenny Sailors helped revolutionize the game of basketball — his brother, Bud — but by all accounts, no one has ever doubted their story. The moment came on a hot May day in 1934. The two were battling, one on one, under an iron rim nailed to the side of the familys windmill, a wood-shingled, big-bladed landmark that their neighbors on the Wyoming high plains recognized for miles around, the way sailors of the usual kind know a lighthouse from miles out at sea. Kenny, a 13-year-old spring-legged featherweight, was dribbling this way and that on the hardpan, trying to drive to the basket, when Bud began taunting him, as older brothers will. “Lets see if you can get a shot up over me, ” Bud said. A high school basketball standout, he had five years on his brother and, at the time, almost a foot in height. Kenny took the challenge, doing what people at a disadvantage often do: He improvised. He squared up, planted his feet and leapt. “I had to think of something, ” he said in an interview a lifetime later. What he thought of was the jump shot, a basketball innovation that would one day be seen as comparable to the forward pass in football. Sailors, who died at 95 on Saturday in Laramie, Wyo., would never say flat out that he had invented the shot on that day or any other. No one can say for sure who did. The early 20th century produced enough far-flung claimants to that distinction to fill out a starting five and warm a decent-size bench — players like Glenn Roberts, Bud Palmer, Mouse Gonzalez, Jumpin Joe Fulks, Hank Luisetti and Belus Van Smawley. But people of reliable authority have said that if they had to pick the one whose prototypical jump shot was the purest, whose mechanics set in motion a scoring technique that thrilled fans and helped transform a two-handed, flat-footed, essentially earthbound affair into the vertical game it is today — giving rise, quite literally, to marksmen like Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Rick Barry, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant — it would be Sailors. Overcoming Skepticism Sailors developed the shot in high school, perfected it in college as a three-time all-American and was one of the few players of his era to make a living off it in the professional ranks. He did so in the face of skeptics. The game back then was all about quick passing to find the open man and shooting from the chest, with two hands, feet on the floor. Watching Sailors play, a coach told him, “Youve got to get yourself a good two-hand set shot, ” and benched him. But Sailors, ever the freewheeler — one day he would guide hunters into the Alaskan wilderness — ignored the advice, to the delight of fans in Laramie, where, as the point guard, he led the University of Wyoming Cowboys on an improbable ride to their only N. C. A. championship, in 1943. Their run made the college powerhouses of the East and the big-city reporters who covered them sit up and take notice of Western basketball. If anyone can be said to have immortalized Sailors, it is the Life magazine photographer Eric Schaal. He was courtside at Madison Square Garden in January 1946 when, in a game between Wyoming and Long Island University, his camera caught Sailors airborne. In the picture, Sailors, in black high-tops, is suspended a full yard above the hardwood and at least that much over the outstretched hand of his hapless defender. The ball is cradled above his head, his elbow at 90 degrees, his right hand poised to fling the shot with a snap of the wrist that would have the ball spinning along a high arc toward the rim. The photograph, appearing in one of Americas most widely circulating magazines, made an impact from coast to coast. “A shot whose origins could be traced to isolated pockets across the country — from the North Woods to the Ozarks, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Pacific — was suddenly by virtue of one picture as widespread as the game itself, ” John Christgau wrote in his book “The Origins of the Jump Shot. ” “Everywhere, young players on basketball courts began jumping to shoot. ” As the books subtitle — “Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball” — acknowledges, the jump shot had many fathers, all within a few years of one another, suggesting that in the long evolution of the game, the shots time had ineluctably come. Each inventor had his own variation. Van Smawley, with his back to the basket, would corkscrew around to face the hoop before releasing the ball; Luisettis was a running one-hander. But Christgau picked Sailorss technique as the one modern fans would recognize. “I would say that squared up toward the basket, body hanging straight, the cocked arm, the ball over the head, the knuckles at the hairline — thats todays classic jump shot, ” Christgau said in an interview. “It was unblockable. ” That view was echoed by Jerry Krause, the research chairman of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. His own study, he told last year, led him to conclude that Sailors was the first player to develop and use the shot consistently. Basketball eminences have also given Sailors their vote. Joe Lapchick, a former pro basketball star and coach, wrote in 1965, “Sailors started the one-handed jumper, which is probably the shot of the present and the future. ” And Ray Meyer, the venerated former coach of DePaul University, assured Sailors in a handwritten letter, “You were the first I saw with the true jump shot as we know it today. ” A Humble Start Kenneth Lloyd Sailors was born on Jan. 14, 1921, in Bushnell, Neb. — population 124 — to Edward Sailors and the former Cora Belle Houtz. His mother had gone west in a covered wagon and grown up in a sod house. She gave birth to Kenny by herself. The boys parents divorced when they were young, and Kenny and Bud — Barton on his birth certificate — were reared by their mother on a 320-acre farm outside Hillsdale, a stockyard town in southeastern Wyoming. An older sister, Gladys, had married and left home. The boys helped keep the farm going through the Depression, driving to Cheyenne, the state capital, to sell potatoes, bantam sweet corn and chickens. One year they raised hogs, butchered them and sold the meat door to door from a trailer hitched to an old Chevrolet. As they headed for school in the morning, the boys would see their mother out in the fields, and when they came home in the afternoon, they would see her there still. The brothers historic game of one-on-one remained vivid in Kenny Sailorss memory. “The good Lord must have put in my mind that if Im going to get up over this big bum so I can shoot, Im going to have to jump, ” he said in an interview on NPR in 2008. “It probably wasnt pretty, but I got the shot off, and it went in. And boy, Bud says: ‘Youd better develop that. Thats going to be a good shot. So I started working on it. ” Bud was an all-stater, and when he received a basketball scholarship from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, his mother sold the farm, pulled Kenny out of high school and moved there, too, opening a boardinghouse. Kenny became a champion miler and long jumper and a basketball star at Laramie High School, building leg power that would eventually give him, by his measure, a 36-inch vertical lift — an invaluable asset for a 5-foot-10 point guard. The jump shot puzzled the Laramie coach, Floyd Foreman. “Whered you get that queer shot? ” Sailors recalled him asking. Sailors led the Laramie Plainsmen to a state championship and followed his brother to the University of Wyoming, also on a scholarship. (Early on he was a teammate of the future sports broadcaster Curt Gowdy. He soon had sportswriters groping to describe his jump shot. “A shot-put throw, ” one wrote. Chester Nelson, a sportswriter for The Rocky Mountain News in Colorado known as Red, wrote of Sailors in 1943: “His dribble is a sight to behold. He can leap with a mighty spring and get off that dazzling one-handed shot. Master Kenneth Sailors is one of the handiest hardwood artists ever to trod the boards. ” In the 1942-43 season, under Coach Everett Shelton, Sailors led the team to a 31-2 record and a championship, with a 46-34 victory over Georgetown at Madison Square Garden. He was chosen the N. tournaments most outstanding player. “His ability to dribble through and around any type of defense was uncanny, just as was his electrifying one-handed shot, ” The New York Times wrote. Wyoming was anointed the nations best college team after it defeated St. Johns University, the National Invitation Tournament champion, by 52-47 in overtime in a Red Cross fund-raising exhibition at the Garden on April 1, 1943. “The dynamic Ken Sailors, ” as The Times put it, led the way again. That year he married Marilynne Corbin, a cheerleader nicknamed Bokie, and then enlisted in the Marines and served in the South Pacific, where Bud was flying B-25 bombers. Discharged in 1945 with captains bars, Sailors, with a year of eligibility left, rejoined the Wyoming team midseason and led it to a 22-4 record, earning his third all-American honor and a contract with the Cleveland Rebels of the Basketball Association of America. Image Credit. University of Wyoming Belated Praise The jump shot was still alien to the pros, and the Rebels coach, Dutch Dehnert, was skeptical. “Youll never go in this league with that shot, ” he told Sailors before benching him. But Dehnert was soon gone in a coaching change, and Sailors, with his jump shot, returned to the lineup. Professional stardom eluded him, though. In three seasons in the B. and two in its successor, the National Basketball Association, Sailors played mostly on losing teams, like the Providence Steamrollers in Rhode Island (where he signed an endorsement deal with Bennetts Prune Juice, receiving all-you-can-drink cases of it as a bonus. He led the first incarnation of the Denver Nuggets in scoring one year and exploded for 37 points in a game with the Baltimore Bullets. He retired from professional basketball at 30. Sailors later bought a dude ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo. A Republican, he served a term in the Wyoming Legislature and lost bids for the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. With their children grown, Sailors and his wife sold the ranch to his brother in 1965, packed up and drove to Alaska, living at first in an Airstream trailer. They stayed for more than 30 years, moving to a log cabin overlooking the Copper River and then to a Tlingit village on Admiralty Island. Sailors led hunting and fishing expeditions, coached youth basketball and taught high school history. After Marilynne Sailors developed Alzheimers disease, the couple moved to Idaho, following their daughter Linda, who had married. Sailorss wife died in 2002 after 59 years of marriage, and Linda Sailors Money died in 2012. Another daughter, Carie, died when she was 5. Sailorss death, in an assisted living center, was announced by the University of Wyoming. He is survived by a son, Dan, as well as eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. After his wifes death, Sailors moved back to Laramie and settled near the university as a living campus legend. Plans were afoot to erect a statue of him at the basketball arenas entrance. To the disappointment of his fans, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., never inducted him. But the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame did, in 2012, in a class that also included Patrick Ewing. Sailors joined Shelton, his coach at Wyoming, among the enshrined. Days afterward, Wyoming honored Sailors with a halftime ceremony during a game against Colorado. Overhead was a Gulliver-size Cowboys jersey hanging from the roof, its downy white trimmed in brown and gold and bearing Sailorss name and number, 4. It remains the only jersey suspended there, high above the court.
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This story originally aired on Feb. 20, 2016. This week it appears again as a part of our Origins Show. Sure, the slam dunk is flashy — but three-pointers win games. And to sink a three-pointer, you have to know how to jump. No one knows who first came up with the idea of jumping in the air and shooting a basketball. But the modern jump shot, the one that's still used today — the one we teach to kids — does have an inventor. And that man is not in the basketball hall of fame. At least not yet. Why? To answer that question, we have to turn back the clock 84 years. Two Brothers On A Farm The year is 1932. The location: a family farm outside Hillsdale, Wyoming. The star of our story is Kenny Sailors. Hes 12. And he idolizes his older brother, Bud, the way 12-year-olds often do. And so when Bud starts playing basketball, Kenny wants to play, too. "And, of course, we didn't have any place to play except he'd put a hoop up. A rim and no net on it, and he fixed a backboard, and we fastened it to the old wooden windmill that we had. Bud and I'd go out there and play around. And I never could get a shot off, and he really enjoyed that because he was 6-foot-5, and I was just about, I don't know, 5-foot-7 probably. He'd laugh and he'd say, Kenny, this isn't the game for you. It's for big men. Tall men. It was out there on that packed ground and that old windmill that I figured out a way to get a shot off over that brother of mine. Dribble up to him. He couldn't stop my dribble, and I'd dribble up to him and then jump. Boy that spooked him. He said, That's a good shot, Kenny. You have to get better at that. Kenny Sailors did get better at it. He got good enough to play for the University of Wyoming and good enough to take that team to the 1943 NCAA finals at Madison Square Garden. "People out East, had heard stories about this team from the West, and their superstar who played this kind of crazy game. says Shawn Fury, author of " Rise and Fire. a book about the many men who've contributed to the jump shot. "They ended up winning the NCAA championship. And then a few days later, they played the winner of the NIT tournament, and they won that as well, so they were kinda the kings of college basketball. Theres an old highlight reel of that game on YouTube. Thing is, even though Kenny was named the College Basketball Player of the Year, he doesnt get a shout out on the highlight reel. A clean view of his jump shot doesnt even make the cut. Fury explains. "Forever in basketball history, both feet were always on the ground when they took a shot. They'd have the ball with two hands and at their chest and they'd shove it forward, kind of like shoving a boat off into the lake or something. So it makes sense that a sports announcer who has watched hundreds of games but just seen set shots had never seen anyone like Kenny. So he probably didn't have the words to describe it, so he's just going to kind of gloss it over. Jump For Don't Announcers weren't the only ones confused by Sailors' shot. Defenders didn't know what to do either. "They would raise a hand to try to block the shot, but a lot of times they wouldn't jump. Fury says. "You know, that's hilarious. I say. "It seems so logical. He jumps, you jump. Yeah, to us, it sounds so simplistic and it sounds like something that James Naismith himself should've known in 1891. Fury says with a laugh. "But it just wasn't, because the game for 50, 60 years had been played one way. Kenny Sailors' first pro coach didn't want him to use the jump shot. (AP) So lets talk about how basketball was played back in 1943. Kenny Sailors is not the only one on that old, grainy highlights film who jumps. Players on both sides jump for rebounds, they jump for layups. On another highlight reel you can even watch a guy dribble down the court, jump in the air and fling the ball at the basket. It goes in. So what made Kenny Sailors jump shot different? It looked different. says Jud Heathcote. "No one would shoot in somebody's face, as we call it, and he did. Heathcote would later go on to coach Magic Johnson and Michigan State to the NCAA championship. He says it's a crime that Sailors isn't in the Hall of Fame. But back in the 1940s, Heathcote was a college basketball player himself, and he saw Sailors and his jump shot at a tournament in Denver. "He would get right close, jump over them and release the ball. Heathcote recalls. "And so this was spectacular in terms of my observation. This is what Heathcote saw. Sailors would stop. (This is important because otherwise hed plow into the defender — that's a foul. So hed stop squared up to the basket, jump, and at the top of his jump hed release the ball with one hand — using the other hand just as a guide. If youre having trouble picturing it, think the Warriors' Stephen Curry. Its pretty much the shot thats made him — by some measures — the most dominant player in the NBA today. Got it? Now picture it in the 1940s. "So when I saw this little guy dribble right up into big guys, just jump and shoot right over them. Heathcote says, I was mesmerized with the jump shot. The jump shot took Kenny Sailors to the league that would become the NBA. But when he got there, he found out that not everyone was mesmerized. "This first coach I had from — Dutch Dehnert was his name. He had that New York brogue, you know. That — nice old guy, but he just wasn't a coach. He said to me, Sailors, where'd youse — 'youse' — where'd youse get that leapin' one-hander. That's what they called it. Leapin' one-hander. 'Oh. I said, I don't know, Dutch. I said, I've had that quite a while. I said, That's what keeps me in the game. He says, You just never make it in this league with that kind of a shot. He says, I'll show you how to shoot a good two-handed set shot. And he says, That dribble. He says, We don't dribble in this league. He said, We pass the ball up the court. Luckily, for both Kenny Sailors and the future success of the NBA, that coach was fired and replaced with a guy who put the ball in Sailors' hands and let him do what he wanted with it. And that worked out pretty well for Sailors and for the NBA. "I think it grew the popularity to a degree that it never would have otherwise. Fury says. "Increased scoring a lot, in college basketball especially. You know, you used to have games in the 40s or the 50s. Now you had games in the 80s and 90s. And fans just enjoyed that more. But what about Kenny Sailors? Kenny's story really has been a forgotten story. says filmmaker Jacob Hamilton. "He disappeared for nearly 50 years after he retired from the game of basketball. Hamilton is directing a documentary about Kenny Sailors' life, and he provided all of the interviews with Sailors that we're using for this story. But before he started working on his film, he had the same reaction to the story as I did. Wait, this guy invented the jump shot? How is that possible. And, The jump shot didn't always exist. The Jump Shot's Legacy A few years ago, Hamilton invited Sailors out for breakfast — Sailors ate ham and eggs — and they talked about the movie they wanted to make. Sailors mentioned his time in the Marines, his 15 years as a dude rancher in Jackson Hole, his 35 years in Alaska coaching high school girls basketball and his lifetime as a devout Christian. He seemed more interested in talking about those things than he was in talking about the jump shot. Cause he is very humble, he is very modest and he doesn't like to take credit for it. Hamilton says. "You just look at his life and like, Man, that's the way to do it. He didn't waste one second of his life. Kenny Sailors died on Jan. 30, 2016 — just two weeks after his 95th birthday. "You know, the thing that we feared most was that he would pass away and no one would know and he'd be forgotten, like he was before. Hamilton says. But Sailors hasn't been forgotten. Since his death in late January, the call to include him in the Naismith Hall of Fame has only gotten louder. It was always something that seemed to matter to Sailors' friends more than it mattered to him. He'd like to say that as a lifelong Christian, he didnt spend a lot of time worrying about such things. "You know, these halls of fame that you can get into down here that men select you to get into, they're nice up to a point. I know I belong to the greatest hall of fame that any man or woman can ever belong to. And when you belong to that and you know you belong to it, you don't worry about these halls of fame that men create down here. Don't mean that much to you. The Naismith Hall of Fame announced its 2016 class at the NCAA Final Four in April. Sailors was not among the honorees. The veteran's committee will continue to consider his case. And should his name eventually be called, Jacob Hamilton says he knows that his friend will be smiling down on the announcement.
Watch Stream Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors story 8. Watch Stream Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors story 4. Critics Consensus No consensus yet. 100% TOMATOMETER Total Count: 6 Coming soon Release date: Audience Score Ratings: Not yet available Jump Shot Ratings & Reviews Explanation Movie Info "Jumpshot" uncovers the inspiring true story of Kenny Sailors, the proclaimed developer of the modern day jump shot in basketball, and how the zenith of our lives doesn't end in our athletic prime. Introducing this never before seen "leaping one-hander" to the masses on a national level Kenny quickly grew to be a fan favorite while leading his Wyoming Cowboys to the Collegiate National Championship in Madison Square Garden in the 1943. But after playing on several losing teams in an unstable, emerging league now known as the NBA, Kenny disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness only to be forgotten by the sport he helped pioneer. Now, nearly sixty years later, the multitude of people he has touched along the way have forced Kenny's humble reemergence. This film will follow Kenny's supporters' ongoing efforts to not only get him in recognized in the Naismith Hall of Fame, but also, to uncover the man behind the shot and why the sport he helped define never defined him. Featuring Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Jay Bilas, Clark Kellogg, Bob Knight, Lou Carneseca, Kiki Vandeweghe, Nancy Lieberman, Chip Engelland, Tim Legler, Fennis Dembo, David Goldberg and a host of other basketball and sport legends! Rating: NR Genre: Directed By: Written By: Runtime: 80 minutes Studio: Ralph Smyth Entertainment Cast Critic Reviews for Jump Shot Audience Reviews for Jump Shot Jump Shot Quotes Movie & TV guides.