||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
San Francisco, California
|Listed height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|High school||Archbishop Riordan
(San Francisco, California)
|NBA draft||1979 / Round: 10 / Pick: 186th overall|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Pro playing career||1979–1989?|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joseph Alton Byrd (born 1950s) is an American basketball player who also holds British citizenship. He grew up in the San Francisco area, where he was a high school basketball star. He continued to be a basketball star at Columbia University, where he was one of the best point guards in the country in spite of his small stature. His height was usually officially listed as 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m).
He holds the school records for career assists (526) and assists in a single season (210).
After receiving his bachelor's degree from Columbia College in 1979, he attended the Boston Celtics rookie camp, along with a similarly named fellow draftee, Larry Bird. Larry Bird made the team. Alton Byrd, suffering with a foot injury, did not, so he accepted a job offer in London, England. It seemed that his basketball career was over.
Professional basketball was still in its infancy in Britain when he began playing ball with Crystal Palace of the British league just for the exercise and the fun of it. However, he soon blossomed into a major star: thanks to his exciting style of play and his compelling personality, he became the most famous basketball player in Britain. During his rookie season, he led Palace to a 50–5 record. He later started for teams in Glasgow, Manchester, Guildford and Kingston. In 1984 he became a British citizen and made his debut for England.
Off the court, he pursued a variety of broadcasting and business ventures, including a weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live dedicated to American sports. From 1997 to 1998, he was the general manager of the London Monarchs of NFL Europe. In 1999, he returned to the United States to be a Vice President of the Sacramento Kings. He then founded a management consulting company, Clear Focus Communications.
- "From Columbia to Britain's "Mr Basketball" to the NBA". February 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
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