World B. Free
|Born||December 9, 1953|
|Listed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 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|
|Playing career||1975–1988, 1991|
|Position||Shooting guard / Point guard|
|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 NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
World B. Free (born Lloyd Bernard Free; December 9, 1953) is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1975 to 1988. Free was known as the "Prince of Mid-Air", "Brownsville Bomber", and most often as "All-World".
Born in Atlanta, Free grew up in Brownsville, New York and 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. Free was known for his "rainbow" jump shots, referring to the extreme arch of the ball during the shot. He was also known for taking high risk shots and playing flamboyantly. During Free's time playing for the San Diego Clippers, fans would shout "shoot, shoot, shoot" whenever Free took possession of the ball. Free averaged 20.3 points per game over 13 seasons in the NBA.
For both the 1978–79 and 1979–80 campaigns, George Gervin and Free were number 1 and 2 in the league in scoring. In 1979, Free led the Clippers to an improved 43-39 record, but they narrowly missed the playoffs. His best statistical 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 again.
On on August 28, 1980, San Diego traded Free to Golden State for Phil Smith and a first-round pick. During the 1981-82 NBA season, Free would help the Warriors to a 45-37 record, leading the team in assists per game at 5.4 while also scoring 22.9 points per game (second on the team only to Bernard King’s 23.2 per game average). However, despite their above .500 record, they would miss the postseason.
During the 1984–85 season, Free became the 39th player in league history to surpass 15,000 career points. During that year, now on the Cavaliers, Free made the playoffs for the first time since he was on the 76ers, and averaged career-playoff-highs of 26.3 points and 7.8 assists per game, during a 3-1 first round loss to the Celtics. In that series, Free led the Cavaliers to a 105-98 Game 3 win with a postseason-career-high 32 points.
Free later played in the United States Basketball League (USBL) for the Miami Tropics after being waived by the Philadelphia 76ers in March 1987. He was named the USBL Playoffs MVP after leading the Tropics to the title after scoring 30 points in the championship winning game against the Rhode Island Gulls. Following the USBL season, he joined 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.
In 1991, Free had a comeback with Atlanta Eagles of the USBL, before retiring permanently.
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.
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. On March 26, 2022, Free was honored with a spot on the Cavaliers Wall of Honor along with former players Lenny Wilkens and Campy Russell and former owner Gordon Gund. Dick Vitale often uses his name in college basketball season previews to give the award for best name.
NBA career statistics
|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|
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- Metta World Peace
- Basketball portal
- "World B. Free". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
- World B. Free, Clippers’ last All-Star starter, has fond memories
- 1981-82 Golden State Warriors Roster amd Stats
- DuPree, David (April 18, 1985). "World B. Free: Like Ali, Cavaliers' guard has no use for small talk". USA Today. p. 7C.
- World B. Free Per Game Playoffs
- World B. Free Postseason Career High 32 Points
- Armando Salguero (July 27, 1987). "On top of the World". The Miami News. p. B1. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
- Jere Longman (July 7, 1991). "World B. Free is back in the orbit of pro basketball". The Akron Beacon Journal. p. E11. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
- SI Vault Retrieved on July 22, 2010.
- Sixers Front Office. nba.com. Retrieved on December 20, 2009. Reconfirmed on June 24, 2011.
- Withers, Tom. "LaVine's 25 lead Bulls to 98-94 win over young Cavaliers". NBA.com. Retrieved March 27, 2022.