World B. Free
Free in 2015
December 9, 1953 |
|Listed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school||Canarsie (Brooklyn, New York)|
|NBA draft||1975 / Round: 2 / Pick: 23rd overall|
|Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers|
|Number||21, 24, 12|
|1978–1980||San Diego Clippers|
|1980–1982||Golden State Warriors|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||17,955 (20.3 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,430 (2.7 rpg)|
|Assists||3,319 (3.7 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
World B. Free (born Lloyd Bernard Free on December 9, 1953) is an American former professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1975–1988. Free was known as the "Prince of Midair" as well as "All-World".
Born in Atlanta, Free attended Canarsie High School in Brooklyn, New York before attending Guilford College in North Carolina. As a freshman he led Guilford's basketball team and helped the team win the NAIA National Championship and was named MVP of the NAIA Tournament.
Free played for the San Diego Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association. He got his name from his days in Brooklyn, where a friend nicknamed him "World" because of his 44-inch vertical leap and 360 degree dunks. He was known for taking high risk shots and playing flamboyantly.
For both the 1978–79 and 1979–80 campaigns, George Gervin and Free were number 1 and 2 in the league in scoring. Free averaged 20.3 points per game over 13 seasons in the NBA. His best season was 1979–80 with the Clippers, averaging 30.2 points per game, as well as 4.2 assists per game and 3.5 rebounds per game in 68 games. He was an All-Star that season as well, although the Clippers failed to make the playoffs.
Free also played in the United States Basketball League (USBL) for the Miami Tropics after being waived by the Philadelphia 76ers in March 1987. He was USBL Man of The Year in 1987 and the Miami Tropics won the championship. His USBL stint took place the summer before Free went to the Houston Rockets for the 1987–88 season, which was his last NBA season. For Free, the highlight of that season was November 12, 1987, when he scored 38 points against the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena and brought the Rockets back to win the game.
Free loved to go one-on-one against a defender and either whirl around him or take a jump shot. His shot was possibly his greatest strength: a soft, high-arcing lob that stayed in the air longer than the average jump shot and was very straight when he was "on" that it barely jostled the net. When he was younger, on the playgrounds of New York City, his jump shot was a flat line drive, but he was tired of having the ball blocked, so he developed a new style of shooting. Free admired Muhammad Ali.
On December 8, 1981, a day before his 28th birthday, he legally changed his first name to World. According to Free, "the fellas back in Brownsville gave me the nickname "World" when I was in junior high... they just started calling me 'all-world', because all-city and all-county and things like that weren't good enough. Finally they just started calling me World... I'm still the same guy I was when I was Lloyd, though. I'll say what I'm going to do, and then I'll go out and do it."
Currently, Free is director of player development and a community ambassador for the Philadelphia 76ers. Among other things, he greets fans at 76ers home games in his flamboyant/colorful wardrobe. Free has also led the Sixers' "Summer Hoops Tour". On November 30, 2005, Free was honored as a Cleveland Cavaliers Legend at halftime of the Cavaliers game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Dick Vitale often uses his name in college basketball season previews to give the award for best name.
- "World B. Free". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- DuPree, David (April 18, 1985). "World B. Free: Like Ali, Cavaliers' guard has no use for small talk". USA Today. p. 7C.
- SI Vault Retrieved on July 22, 2010.
- Sixers Front Office. nba.com. Retrieved on December 20, 2009. Reconfirmed on June 24, 2011.