Bobby McDermott

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Bobby McDermott
Bobby McDermott.jpeg
Personal information
Born(1914-01-07)January 7, 1914
Queens, New York
DiedOctober 3, 1963(1963-10-03) (aged 49)
Yonkers, New York
Listed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
Playing career1934–1950
Career history
As player:
1934–1936Brooklyn Visitations
1939–1941Baltimore Clippers
1941–1946Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons
1946–1947Chicago American Gears
1947Sheboygan Red Skins
1947–1948Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1948–1949Hammond Calumet Buccaneers
1949–1950Wilkes-Barre Barons
1950Grand Rapids Hornets
As coach:
1943–1945Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons
1946–1947Chicago American Gears
1947Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (interim HC)
1947–1948Sheboygan Red Skins
1948–1949Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1950Grand Rapids Hornets
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As head coach:

Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Robert Frederick "Bobby" McDermott (January 7, 1914 – October 3, 1963) was an American professional basketball player in the 1930s and 1940s. He was known as an outstanding shooter and has been called "the greatest long-distance shooter in the history of the game" by contemporaries. His grandson is businessman Bill McDermott. McDermott was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Professional basketball career[edit]

McDermott dropped out of high school after just one year, and was picked up by the Brooklyn Visitations after making a name for himself on the playgrounds. He continued the trend in the American Basketball League. He led the league in scoring, and helped Brooklyn win the 1934-35 ABL championship against the dominant Philadelphia Sphas in their prime. He spent a year in the New York Professional League where he set a playoff record for most points with 32. He played with the recently reorganized Original Celtics for the next three years.

He went back to the ABL and was again the league's scoring leader, returned to the Celtics for another season, then settled down for a while with the Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons of the National Basketball League in 1941. From 1941-46 he was at his peak. He improved his shot and for the first time, his free throw percentage rose above 80%. He continued to get more accurate and dangerous while keeping his legendary range. The Pistons won over 80% of their games and made five consecutive NBL finals appearances. They won NBL titles in 1944 and 1945, as well as the World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago.

McDermott became a player-coach during 1946. He took up the same position when he moved to the Chicago Gears. On the Gears, he was teamed with the biggest inside threat in the league, George Mikan. They won the 1946-47 NBL championship together. Though he would continue to play professionally for several more years, McDermott's last year with the Gears was his final year of stardom on a winning team.

The American Gears joined the Professional Basketball League of America in 1947. But when that league folded in November 1947, after only three weeks of existence, the Gears players were distributed among NBL teams. McDermott landed with the Sheboygan Red Skins, with whom he was a player-coach for about a month. He scored 138 points in 16 games and coached the Red Skins to a 4-5 record. Doxie Moore regained the coaching reins after McDermott left to join the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, where he coached and played for the next season and a half, before being replaced as coach by Roger Potter.


McDermott was the World Professional Basketball Tournament MVP in 1944 and was named the NBL MVP in four consecutive seasons during the 1940s. In 1946 the NBL named McDermott the greatest player in league history. Collier's magazine chose him to an "All-World" team in 1950.

McDermott was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peterson, Robert W. (2002). "Seeds of the NBA". Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 124–141. ISBN 0-8032-8772-0.

External links[edit]