Former NBA star, UCLA icon Naulls dies at 84

Sports

Former NBA All-Star and UCLA All-American Willie Naulls died at his home in Laguna Niguel, Calif. He was 84.

Naulls died of respiratory failure. His death was caused by his battle with Churg-Strauss syndrome, a disorder where blood vessels become inflamed, his wife Anne told the New York Times.

UCLA said Naulls died Thursday.

Naulls, a forward, averaged 15.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in 716 NBA games over 10 seasons from 1956-66. He was a four-time All-Star during parts of seven seasons for the New York Knicks and was the first black player to be named team captain of a professional sports team.

Naulls averaged over 20 points per game three times and averaged more than 10 rebounds on five occasions.

He also was part of three NBA championship teams with the Boston Celtics (1964-66).

Naulls played three seasons at UCLA under legendary coach John Wooden. He stood out as a senior when he averaged 23.6 points and 14.6 rebounds and earned All-American honors.

Naulls collected 28 rebounds in a game against Arizona State on Jan. 28, 1956, a school record that still stands.

—Field Level Media

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