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Lou Hudson

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Lou Hudson
Personal information
Born(1944-07-11)July 11, 1944
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedApril 11, 2014(2014-04-11) (aged 69)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolJames B. Dudley
(Greensboro, North Carolina)
CollegeMinnesota (1963–1966)
NBA draft1966: 1st round, 4th overall pick
Selected by the St. Louis Hawks
Playing career1966–1979
PositionShooting guard / small forward
Career history
19661977St. Louis / Atlanta Hawks
19771979Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points17,940 (20.2 ppg)
Rebounds3,926 (4.4 rpg)
Assists2,432 (2.7 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Louis Clyde Hudson ("Sweet Lou") (July 11, 1944 – April 11, 2014) was an American National Basketball Association (NBA) player, who was an All-American at the University of Minnesota and a six-time NBA All-Star, scoring 17,940 total points in 13 NBA seasons.

Early life[edit]

"Sweet" Lou Hudson graduated in 1962 from James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was a four-sport athlete. Hudson was a quarterback, a first baseman and a sprinter, besides playing basketball.[1]

"Lou epitomized athleticism," said Dudley teammate Charlie Sanders, who went on to a Hall of Fame National Football League career. "Football. Basketball. Baseball. Track. He could do everything, and he could do everything well. He was the one guy who was instrumental in my pursuing athletics. When I saw Lou Hudson play, that's when I made my mind up that I wanted to be like him." Sanders later followed Hudson to the University of Minnesota.[1][2]

College career[edit]

Hudson became part of the first black recruiting class at Minnesota, as he, Archie Clark and Don Yates enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 1964. He had also been recruited by North Carolina and Coach Dean Smith.[3][4] Hudson had planned to play in college for North Carolina A&T, a historically black college. The University of Minnesota then offered Hudson a scholarship, and the North Carolina A&T coach "told me I should take this opportunity to play in the big time, that I was good enough for that," Hudson told The Charlotte Observer in 2009. "And he was right."[5]

In 1963–1964, Hudson made his varsity debut at Minnesota, making an immediate impact, averaging 18.1 points to lead the team and 8.0 rebounds, playing alongside teammate Archie Clark. Minnesota finished 17–7 under Hall of Fame Coach John Kundla.[6]

As a junior at the University of Minnesota, in 1964–1965, Hudson averaged 24.8 points and 10.7 rebounds. He was named an All-American and First Team All-Big Ten.[7][8] Minnesota finished 19–5 and were 2nd in the Big Ten Conference behind Michigan.[9]

Hudson, who shot right handed, broke his right hand as a senior in 1965–1966 and missed seven games. He played in 17 games with the injury and led the Golden Gophers to a 14–10 record, averaging 19.8 points and 8.1 rebounds. He did this while shooting left-handed with his right hand in a cast.[10][11][8]

Hudson averaged 20.4 points and 8.9 rebounds, shooting 47% in 65 career games at Minnesota, totaling 1329 points and 576 rebounds.[12]

NBA career[edit]

St Louis / Atlanta Hawks (1966–1977)[edit]

After starring at the University of Minnesota, Hudson was selected by the St. Louis Hawks with the 4th pick of the 1966 NBA draft, behind Cazzie Russell, New York Knicks, Dave Bing, Detroit Pistons and Clyde Lee, San Francisco Warriors. In a nod to his athleticism, Hudson was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a wide receiver with their final pick in the 1966 NFL draft.[13]

At 6'5", Hudson could play as either a guard or a forward, and he had a long and successful NBA career. Hudson was named to the 1967 NBA All-Rookie Team after averaging a team leading 18.4 points, along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his first season with the St. Louis Hawks. He played alongside Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame teammates Lenny Wilkens, Zelmo Beaty, Richie Guerin and Rod Thorn, as well as Bill Bridges, Joe Caldwell and Paul Silas, as the Hawks advanced to the Western Division Finals, where they lost 4–2 to the San Francisco Warriors, despite Hudson averaging 20.7 points in the series. Hudson had earlier averaged 26.3 points in the 3 game playoff series sweep of the Chicago Bulls.[14][15][16]

In 1967–1968, Hudson played in only 46 games, due to military duty, averaging 12.5 points.[17][18]

Hudson returned to form in 1968–1969, averaging 21.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Hawks, in their first season after moving from St. Louis to Atlanta. Hudson has the distinction of scoring the first-ever basket for the Atlanta Hawks, playing at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta.[18] Hudson made his first NBA All-Star Team in 1969. The Hawks finished 48–34 and defeated the San Diego Rockets 4–2 in the playoffs, before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 in the Western Division Finals.[19] Hudson averaged 22.8 points in the Rockets series and 21.0 points 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the Lakers series.[20][21]

Hudson went on to average at least 24 points per game for five consecutive seasons beginning in 1969–70.

In 1969–1970, Hudson averaged 25.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists with 53% shooting, making his second NBA All-Star Team. The Hawks finished 48–34, winning the Western Division. The Hawks defeated the Chicago Bulls 4–1 in the Western Division playoffs, before losing 4–0 to the Lakers in the Western Division Finals.[22] Hudson averaged 26.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in the Bulls series win. Against the Lakers, with Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor, Hudson averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists.[23][24] Hudson scored a career high (and franchise record) 57 points against the Chicago Bulls on November 10, 1969, in a 133–132 Hawks victory.[25]

Hudson was an All-Star, averaging 26.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Hawks in 1970–1971, while playing in the back court with newly drafted Pete Maravich (23.2 ppg) and alongside Walt Bellamy. The Hawks were defeated by the New York Knicks 4–1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs, despite Hudson averaging 25.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the series.[26][27]

For the Atlanta Hawks in 1971–1972, Hudson continued his All-Star level play, averaging 24.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 points with 50% shooting, making his fourth consecutive All-Star team. The Hawks were defeated by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern conference playoffs 4–2, as Hudson averaged 25.0 pints 5.5 assists and 3.5 assists in the series.[28][29]

In 1972–1973 Cotton Fitzsimmons replaced longtime Hawks coach Richie Guerin, who had moved up to General Manager. Hudson averaged a career high 27.1 points, along with 6.2 rebounds and 3,2 assists, playing alongside Maravich in the back-court with his averages of 26.1 points 4.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists. Finishing 46–36, Atlanta was again defeated by Boston in the Eastern Conference playoffs 4–2. Hudson was outstanding in the series, averaging 29.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists.[30][31] With Maravich scoring 2,063 points, he combined with Hudson's 2,029 points, to become only the second set of teammates in NBA history to each score over 2,000 points in a single season. Elgin Baylor and Jerry West first accomplished the feat for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964–65.[32]

Hudson averaged 25.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals in 1973–1974, as the Hawks faltered to 37–47 and missed the playoffs. Hudson missed 17 games due to injury and made his sixth consecutive All-Star Team.[33]

In 1974–1975, injuries limited Hudson to 11 games, in which he averaged 22.0 4.3 and 3.6 assists at age 30. Atlanta had traded Maravich and finished 31–51.[34]

In his final two seasons in Atlanta, Hudson averaged 17.0 and 16.7 points, playing a few less minutes per game. Atlanta missed the playoffs both seasons.[35][36]

Los Angeles Lakers (1977–1979)[edit]

On September 30, 1977, Hudson was traded by the Atlanta Hawks to the Los Angeles Lakers for Ollie Johnson.[37]

Over his final two seasons, with the Lakers, Hudson averaged 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, playing under Coach Jerry West and alongside Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adrian Dantley and Jamaal Wilkes, as well as Norm Nixon, Ron Boone and a young Michael Cooper. Hudson averaged 13.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 1977–1978, as the Lakers finished 45–37 and lost to Seattle 2–1 in the Western Conference playoffs. In his final season, 1978–1979, Hudson averaged 9.8 points and the Lakers lost to eventual 1979 NBA Champion Seattle 4–1 in the Western Conference Semis, after defeating the Denver Nuggets 2–1 in the previous series.[37]

Career achievements[edit]

Hudson was a six time All-Star, all with the Hawks (who moved to Atlanta in 1968), and he earned the nickname "Sweet Lou" for his smooth and effective jump shot.

Hudson's jersey number has been retired by both the Atlanta Hawks and the University of Minnesota.[7]

Retiring after the 1978–1979 season, Hudson scored 17,940 total points in 13 seasons (1966–1979). He averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 890 games. He shot .489 from the field and .797 from the free throw line. He was the 12th all-time leading scorer in NBA History at the time of his retirement.[7][37]

Hudson was an even better performer in the NBA playoffs. Hudson averaged 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 61 career playoff games.[37]

Personal life[edit]

After his NBA career ended in 1979, Hudson sold restaurant equipment in Atlanta and briefly worked as a radio announcer for the Atlanta Hawks.[38]

Hudson appeared in the basketball movie The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh in 1979.[39]

In 1984, Hudson relocated to Park City, Utah, where he became a real estate investor and served on the Park City city council in the early 1990s. Hudson is believed to have been the first African-American elected official in Utah, where his campaign signs had the slogan "Sweet Lou for You."[38][5]

Hudson created a recreation basketball league where he served as coach for 20 years, before suffering a major stroke on a Park City ski slope in February 2005.[40]

Hudson made public appearances as an "ambassador" for the "Power to End Stroke" organization.[41]

"I enjoyed playing the game," Hudson told The New York Times in 2004. "I was a loyal team person. I went out every night and played to the best of my ability because I enjoyed basketball. The chips fell where they fell, and I don't have a problem with where they fell. Guys that won championships, I tell them, 'You won a championship, but you still weren't as good as I was.' "[5]

Said Dominique Wilkins, who Hudson mentored early in Wilkins' career: "He should be a Hall of Famer, and it's amazing to me he's not. He was one of the best (shooting) guards, and that's a fact. You go back and look at his career and look at the numbers and see what he did and you understand."[1]

Hudson's son, Lou, Jr. died suddenly in 1996 at age 18 from a blood clot in his lung after first complaining of soreness in his rib area after a high school basketball game.[42]

In 2014, Hudson died after a stroke, at age 69.[43]


  • Hudson was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.[44]
  • In 1991, Hudson was inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame at the University of Minnesota.[8]
  • Hudson's #14 jersey was retired by the University of Minnesota in 1994.[40]
  • Hudson's #23 is retired by the Atlanta Hawks.[45]
  • In 2002, Hudson was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
  • In 2003, Hudson was named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the XNBA, the retired NBA player's association.[46]
  • Hudson was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.[44]
  • Hudson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022.[47]

NBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

1966–67 St. Louis 80 30.6 .467 .706 5.4 1.2 18.4
1967–68 St. Louis 46 21.0 .454 .732 4.2 1.4 12.5
1968–69 Atlanta 81 35.4 .492 .777 6.6 2.7 21.9
1969–70 Atlanta 80 38.6 .531 .824 4.7 3.5 25.4
1970–71 Atlanta 76 41.0 .484 .759 5.1 3.4 26.8
1971–72 Atlanta 77 39.5 .503 .812 5.0 4.0 24.7
1972–73 Atlanta 75 40.4 .477 .825 6.2 3.4 27.1
1973–74 Atlanta 65 39.8 .500 .836 5.4 3.3 2.5 0.4 25.4
1974–75 Atlanta 11 34.5 .431 .842 4.3 3.6 1.2 0.2 22.0
1975–76 Atlanta 81 31.6 .472 .814 3.7 2.6 1.5 0.2 17.0
1976–77 Atlanta 58 30.1 .456 .840 2.2 2.7 1.2 0.3 16.7
1977–78 L.A. Lakers 82 27.8 .497 .774 2.3 2.4 1.1 0.2 13.7
1978–79 L.A. Lakers 78 21.6 .517 .887 1.8 1.8 0.7 0.2 9.8
Career 890 33.5 .489 .797 4.4 2.7 1.4 0.3 20.2
All-Star 6 3 16.5 .426 .933 2.2 1.0 0.0 0.2 11.0


1967 St. Louis 9 35.2 .430 .721 5.3 1.7 22.6
1968 St. Louis 6 30.2 .444 .894 7.2 2.3 21.7
1969 Atlanta 11 38.5 .468 .769 5.4 2.9 22.0
1970 Atlanta 9 40.0 .417 .820 4.4 3.7 21.9
1971 Atlanta 5 42.6 .454 .744 7.0 3.0 25.4
1972 Atlanta 6 44.3 .453 .828 5.5 3.5 25.0
1973 Atlanta 6 42.5 .458 .897 7.8 2.8 29.7
1978 L.A. Lakers 3 31.0 .368 .875 3.0 3.0 1.7 0.0 11.7
1979 L.A. Lakers 6 15.0 .531 1.000 0.7 0.2 0.2 0.0 6.3
Career 61 36.0 .446 .804 5.2 2.7 0.7 0.0 21.3


  1. ^ a b c reports, Staff and wire (April 11, 2014). "Greensboro native and NBA great Lou Hudson dies at 69". Greensboro News and Record.
  2. ^ "Sanders one of the elite tight ends". NFL.com.
  3. ^ Perlstein, Steve (1995). Gopher Glory: 100 Years of University of Minnesota Basketball. Layers Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 0-9646918-9-2.
  4. ^ 100 Things North Carolina Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. Chansky, Art (2015) p. 62. ISBN 1600789846
  5. ^ a b c Yardley, William (April 12, 2014). "'Sweet' Lou Hudson, Jump Shot Master With the Hawks, Dies at 69". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  6. ^ "1963–64 Minnesota Golden Gophers Roster and Stats". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.
  7. ^ a b c Yardley, William (April 12, 2014), "'Sweet' Lou Hudson, 69, a Master of the Jump Shot, Dies", The New York Times
  8. ^ a b c "Lou Hudson". University of Minnesota Athletics.
  9. ^ "1964–65 Big Ten Conference Season Summary". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.
  10. ^ jeff.mills@news-record.com, Jeff Mills (March 28, 2014). "Greensboro basketball legend Lou Hudson on life support". Greensboro News and Record.
  11. ^ "1965–66 Minnesota Golden Gophers Schedule and Results". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.
  12. ^ "Lou Hudson College Stats". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.
  13. ^ "ATLANTA HAWKS MOURN PASSING OF LOU HUDSON". nba.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  14. ^ "1966–67 St. Louis Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  15. ^ "1967 NBA Western Division Finals – St. Louis Hawks vs. San Francisco Warriors". Basketball-Reference.com.
  16. ^ "1967 NBA Western Division Semifinals – Chicago Bulls vs. St. Louis Hawks". Basketball-Reference.com.
  17. ^ "1967–68 St. Louis Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  18. ^ a b "Lou Hudson Bio". Atlanta Hawks.
  19. ^ "1968–69 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  20. ^ "1969 NBA Western Division Semifinals – San Diego Rockets vs. Atlanta Hawks". Basketball-Reference.com.
  21. ^ "1969 NBA Western Division Finals – Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers". Basketball-Reference.com.
  22. ^ "1969–70 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  23. ^ "1970 NBA Western Division Semifinals – Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks". Basketball-Reference.com.
  24. ^ "1970 NBA Western Division Finals – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks". Basketball-Reference.com.
  25. ^ "Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks Box Score, November 10, 1969". Basketball-Reference.com.
  26. ^ "1971 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals – Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks". Basketball-Reference.com.
  27. ^ "1970–71 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  28. ^ "1971–72 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  29. ^ "1972 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals – Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics". Basketball-Reference.com.
  30. ^ "1972–73 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  31. ^ "1973 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals – Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics". Basketball-Reference.com.
  32. ^ Elgin Baylor and Jerry West were the first to accomplish this feat in the Los Angeles Lakers' 1964–65 season. It has since accomplished only three times: back-to-back by Kiki Vandeweghe and Alex English of the 1982–1984 Denver Nuggets, and by Larry Bird and Kevin McHale of the 1986–87 Boston Celtics.
  33. ^ "1973–74 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  34. ^ "1974–75 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  35. ^ "1976–77 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  36. ^ "1975–76 Atlanta Hawks Roster and Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  37. ^ a b c d "Lou Hudson Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  38. ^ a b Broussard, Chris (April 4, 2004). "PRO BASKETBALL; Hudson Never Won Ring, But Doesn't Feel Hollow". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  39. ^ "Lou Hudson". IMDb.
  40. ^ a b "GopherIllustrated.com – Lou Hudson comes back to the U". Minnesota.rivals.com. October 22, 2006. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  41. ^ "www.heart.org". Americanheart.org. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  42. ^ ""Senseless Family Tries to Come to Grips with Hudson Jr.'s Death" by Dan Barreiro Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune – St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 11, 1996". Archived from the original on February 18, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  43. ^ https://sports.yahoo.com/news/former-hawks-star-lou-hudson-160516426--nba.html Yahoo! Sports former Hawks Star Hudson"
  44. ^ a b "Gopher Great Lou Hudson Passes Away". University of Minnesota Athletics.
  45. ^ "NBA.com: Team-by-team retired jersey numbers". NBA.com.
  46. ^ Chris Broussard (April 4, 2004). "PRO BASKETBALL; Hudson Never Won Ring, But Doesn't Feel Hollow". New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  47. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame". Retrieved September 10, 2022.

External links[edit]