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Dave DeBusschere

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Title: Dave DeBusschere  
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Subject: New York Knicks, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, NBA All-Defensive Team, Isiah Thomas
Collection: 1940 Births, 2003 Deaths, American Basketball Association Executives, American People of Belgian Descent, Baseball Players from Michigan, Basketball Players from Michigan, Chicago White Sox Players, Deaths from Myocardial Infarction, Detroit Pistons Draft Picks, Detroit Pistons Head Coaches, Detroit Pistons Players, Detroit Titans Baseball Players, Detroit Titans Men's Basketball Players, Indianapolis Indians Players, Major League Baseball Pitchers, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees, National Basketball Association All-Stars, National Basketball Association Players with Retired Numbers, New York Knicks Players, Parade High School All-Americans (Boys' Basketball), Sportspeople from Detroit, Michigan
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Dave DeBusschere

Dave DeBusschere
circa 1974
Personal information
Born (1940-10-16)October 16, 1940
Detroit, Michigan
Died May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school Austin Catholic Preparatory School
(Detroit, Michigan)
College Detroit (1959–1962)
NBA draft 1962 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Pro career 1962–1974
Position Forward
Number 22
Career history
As player:
19621968 Detroit Pistons
19691974 New York Knicks
As coach:
19641967 Detroit Pistons
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 14,053 (16.1 ppg)
Rebounds 9,618 (11.0 rpg)
Assists 2,497 (2.9 apg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

David Albert DeBusschere (October 16, 1940 – May 14, 2003) was an American professional National Basketball Association player and coach and Major League baseball player. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.


  • Early life 1
  • College career 2
  • NBA career 3
    • Detroit Pistons 3.1
    • New York Knicks 3.2
  • Life after basketball 4
  • Baseball 5
  • Death 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Born in Benton Harbor High School and Debusschere's future NBA rival forward Chet Walker.[2]

College career

DeBusschere starred in both basketball and baseball at the University of Detroit. He averaged 24 points a game in basketball, helping Detroit reach the National Invitation Tournament twice and the NCAA basketball tournament once. He also pitched the Titans to three NCAA baseball tournament berths.[3]

NBA career

Detroit Pistons

DeBusschere was selected by the Detroit Pistons in 1962 NBA Draft as a territorial draft selection. During his rookie season, he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and was later named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. However, DeBusschere was injured during his second season and only played in 15 games, resulting in the Pistons finishing with a disappointing record of 23-59.

In the 1964-1965 season, at the age of 24, he was given the position of player-coach for the Pistons, and thus became the youngest-ever coach in league history. However, this stint as coach was not successful and he became a full-time player. During the 1968-1969 season, DeBusschere was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives.

New York Knicks

DeBusschere, along with future Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier, became an NBA champion when the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Finals. With Earl Monroe in the backcourt, they became champions again in 1973, beating the Lakers 4-1 in the finals.

DeBusschere was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983 after a 12-year career (1962–1974) in which he averaged 16.1 points and 11 rebounds while being named to eight NBA All-Star teams. He became a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996. He was renowned for his physical style of play and tenacious defense, and he was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team six times.[4]

Life after basketball

DeBusschere retired as a player in 1974, and his #22 jersey was retired by the Knicks, though not until many years later; it is thought the delay was due to his taking a front-office job with the rival New York Nets of the American Basketball Association (now Brooklyn Nets) upon his retirement. The next year DeBusschere became the ABA's commissioner for the 1975–76 season, its last. He was later the assistant coach and director of basketball operation of the Knicks during the 1980s, when he drafted fellow Knicks legend Patrick Ewing, the first overall selection in 1985.

DeBusschere authored a book entitled The Open Man, a chronicle of the New York Knicks' 1969–1970 championship season.


Dave DeBusschere
Born: (1940-10-16)October 16, 1940
Died: May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 22, 1962, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 2, 1963, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 3–4
Earned run average 2.90
Complete games 1

In 1962 DeBusschere was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent. He was a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox from 1962-63. He pitched a shutout on August 13, 1963, against the Cleveland Indians, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out three. In 22 career at bats, he had only one hit, a single off Bennie Daniels on July 17, 1963. He pitched in the White Sox minor league system for two more seasons before giving up pitching to focus on both playing and coaching basketball.[5]

He is one of only 12 athletes to have played in both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, or its predecessor the Basketball Association of America. The others are Mark Hendrickson, Danny Ainge, Gene Conley, Ron Reed, Dick Groat, Steve Hamilton, Cotton Nash, Frank Baumholtz, Dick Ricketts, Howie Schultz, and Chuck Connors.[6][7][8]


In May 2003, Dave DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street from a heart attack and was pronounced dead at New York University Hospital. He was 62 years of age. DeBusschere is interred at Saint Joseph's Church Cemetery in Garden City, Nassau County, New York. DeBusschere, who lived in Garden City, was survived by his wife, Gerri (who died of cancer in 2009),[9] sons Peter and Dennis and daughter Michelle.[10]

In honor of Dave Debusschere, in 2003 the University of Detroit Mercy inaugurated the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship. It provides support to two student-athletes that must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills.[11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Howstuffworks: Dave DeBusschere
  6. ^ "Sports Hot Line". Beaver Country Times. November 1, 1981. Retrieved April 16, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Hendrickson Becomes Latest to Play In Both NBA and Major League Baseball". WSU Cougars. CBS Interactive. August 9, 2002. Retrieved April 16, 2010. 
  8. ^ Crowe, Jerry (August 13, 2002). "The Inside Track; Morning Briefing; New Coach Pulls the Strings in Washington". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 16, 2010. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • career summary
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
  • Dave DeBusschere at Find a Grave
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