Paul Joseph Arizin (April 9, 1928 – December 12, 2006), nicknamed "Pitchin' Paul," was an American basketball player who spent his entire National Basketball Association (NBA) career with the Philadelphia Warriors from 1950 to 1962. He retired with the third highest career point total (16,266) in NBA history, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History upon its 50th anniversary in 1996. He was a high-scoring forward at Villanova University before being drafted by the Warriors of the fledgling NBA.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Arizin did not play basketball at La Salle College High School, failing to make the team in his only tryout as a senior. Arizin graduated just a year before another Basketball Hall of Famer, Tom Gola, entered La Salle College High School as a freshman.
During his freshman year at Villanova, Arizin played CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) basketball in Philadelphia. Late in that season, Al Severance, then the Villanova varsity basketball coach, attended one of Arizin's CYO games. Afterwards, Severance approached Arizin and asked him if he would like to go to Villanova, to which Arizin answered: "I already go to Villanova."
Arizin then made the team in 1947, his sophomore year, and played on the team for three years. In 1950 he was named the collegiate basketball player of the year after leading the nation with 25.3 points per game. During a game on February 12, 1949, Arizin scored 85 points against the Naval Air Materials Center roster. Arizin also scored at least one hundred points in a game while playing for Villanova, but the game is not recognized by the NCAA because the opponent was a junior college.
After being selected by the Warriors with their first pick in the 1950 NBA draft, Arizin averaged 17.2 points per game in his rookie season and was named NBA Rookie of the Year — a designation not currently sanctioned by the NBA for the 1950-51 season. He became one of the greatest NBA players of the 1950s, leading the NBA in scoring during the 1951–52 and 1956–57 seasons and leading the league in field goal percentage in 1951-52. Arizin sat out the 1952–53 and 1953–54 NBA seasons due to military service in the Marines during the Korean War.
Arizin became famous for his line-drive jump shots, and teamed with center Neil Johnston to form the best offensive one-two punch in the NBA at the time, leading the Warriors to the 1956 NBA title. He also played with scoring star Joe Fulks early in his career, and with Philadelphia legends Tom Gola and Wilt Chamberlain toward the end of his career in the early 1960s. Arizin chose to retire from the NBA rather than move with the Warriors to San Francisco. At the time of his retirement, no player had retired from the game with a higher scoring average (21.9 points per game) in his final season. This record would stand until Bob Pettit's retirement in 1965 following a season in which he averaged 22.5 PPG.
After retiring from the NBA, Arizin played for three seasons with the Camden Bullets of the Eastern Professional Basketball League, who won the 1964 title. Averaging over 20 points per game each season, Arizin was named the EBL MVP in 1963, was named to the EBL All-Star First Team in 1963 and 1964, and was named to the EBL All-Star Second Team in 1965.
Arizin was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, and was selected to the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He died in his sleep at age 78 on December 12, 2006, in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
- List of individual National Basketball Association scoring leaders by season
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- List of basketball players who have scored 100 points in a single game
- List of NCAA Division I men's basketball players with 60 or more points in a game
- List of NCAA Division I men's basketball season scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association season minutes leaders
- Cut from H.S. team, Arizin rose in NBA - NBA - ESPN
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- NBA Hall of Famer Arizin dies at 78
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- Basketball Hall of Fame profile
- Extensive audio interview on the late Paul Arizin with his son Michael; from 6:50 mark