Lou Hudson

Last updated

Lou Hudson
Personal information
Born(1944-07-11)July 11, 1944
Greensboro, North Carolina
DiedApril 11, 2014(2014-04-11) (aged 69)
Atlanta, Georgia
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school James B. Dudley
(Greensboro, North Carolina)
College Minnesota (1963–1966)
NBA draft 1966 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall
Selected by the St. Louis Hawks
Playing career1966–1979
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Number18, 23
Career history
19661977 St. Louis / Atlanta Hawks
19771979 Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 17,940 (20.2 ppg)
Rebounds 3,926 (4.4 rpg)
Assists 2,432 (2.7 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

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 (1966–1979).

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams. It is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.

Contents

Early life

"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]

James B. Dudley High School

James Benson Dudley High School is located in the southeastern quadrant of Guilford County in the city of Greensboro, North Carolina. Dudley High School was founded in 1929 as the first black high school in Guilford County, in a school system segregated by law. The school was named for James Benson Dudley.

Greensboro, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

Greensboro is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the 3rd-most populous city in North Carolina, the 68th-most populous city in the United States, and the county seat and largest city in Guilford County and the surrounding Piedmont Triad metropolitan region. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 269,666, and in 2015 the estimated population was 285,342. Three major interstate highways in the Piedmont region of central North Carolina were built to intersect at this city.

“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]

Charlie Sanders American football player

Charles Alvin Sanders was an American football player who played tight end for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League from 1968 to 1977. Sanders was chosen for the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team and voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

University of Minnesota public research university in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses are approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) apart, and the St. Paul campus is actually in neighboring Falcon Heights. It is the oldest and largest campus within the University of Minnesota system and has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 50,943 students in 2018-19. The university is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota system, and is organized into 19 colleges and schools, with sister campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester.

College career

Hudson became part of the first black recruiting class at Minnesota, as he, Archie Clark and John 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]

Minnesota Golden Gophers mens basketball NCAA Division 1 Mens Basketball Program

Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball team represents the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The Golden Gophers have played in the Big Ten since the conference began sponsoring basketball in 1905 and play their home games in Williams Arena.

Archie L. Clark is a retired American professional basketball player. At 6'2", he played guard for five National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.

North Carolina Tar Heels mens basketball

The North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball program is the intercollegiate men's basketball team of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have won seven NCAA men's college national championships. North Carolina's six NCAA Tournament Championships are third-most all-time, behind University of California, Los Angeles(11) and University of Kentucky(8). They have also won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles, 32 Atlantic Coast Conference regular season titles, and an Atlantic Coast Conference record 20 outright Regular Season Championships. The program has produced many notable players who went on to play in the NBA, including three of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History: Billy Cunningham, Michael Jordan and James Worthy. Many Tar Heel assistant coaches have gone on to become head coaches elsewhere.

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]

John Kundla American basketball player and coach

John Albert Kundla was an American college and professional basketball coach. He was the first head coach for the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and its predecessors, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL), serving 12 seasons, from 1947 to 1959. His teams won six league championships, one in the NBL, one in the BAA, and four in the NBA. Kundla was the head basketball coach at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul for one season in 1946–47, and at the University of Minnesota for ten seasons, from 1959 to 1968. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

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]

Big Ten Conference American collegiate athletics conference

The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States, based in suburban Chicago, Illinois. Despite its name, the conference consists of 14 members. They compete in the NCAA Division I; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, the highest level of NCAA competition in that sport. The conference includes the flagship public university in each of 11 states stretching from New Jersey to Nebraska, as well as two additional public land grant schools and a private university.

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

St Louis Hawks (1966-1968)

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 No. One 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 Wilkins, 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]

Atlanta Hawks (1968-1977)

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)

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 Finals, after defeating the Denver Nuggets 2-1 in the previous series. [37]

Career achievements

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

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. Lou Jr, died 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. He was survived by his wife, Mardi, and daughter, Adrienne, from a previous marriage. [43]

Honors

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GPGames 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

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
1966–67 St. Louis 8030.6.467.7065.41.218.4
1967–68 St. Louis 4621.0.454.7324.21.412.5
1968–69 Atlanta 8135.4.492.7776.62.721.9
1969–70 Atlanta 8038.6.531.8244.73.525.4
1970–71 Atlanta 7641.0.484.7595.13.426.8
1971–72 Atlanta 7739.5.503.8125.04.024.7
1972–73 Atlanta 7540.4.477.8256.23.427.1
1973–74 Atlanta 6539.8.500.8365.43.32.50.425.4
1974–75 Atlanta 1134.5.431.8424.33.61.20.222.0
1975–76 Atlanta 8131.6.472.8143.72.61.50.217.0
1976–77 Atlanta 5830.1.456.8402.22.71.20.316.7
1977–78 L.A. Lakers 8227.8.497.7742.32.41.10.213.7
1978–79 L.A. Lakers 7821.6.517.8871.81.80.70.29.8
Career89033.5.489.7974.42.71.40.320.2
All-Star6316.5.426.9332.21.00.00.211.0

Playoffs

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
1967 St. Louis 935.2.430.7215.31.722.6
1968 St. Louis 630.2.444.8947.22.321.7
1969 Atlanta 1138.5.468.7695.42.922.0
1970 Atlanta 940.0.417.8204.43.721.9
1971 Atlanta 542.6.454.7447.03.025.4
1972 Atlanta 644.3.453.8285.53.525.0
1973 Atlanta 642.5.458.8977.82.829.7
1978 L.A. Lakers 331.0.368.8753.03.01.70.011.7
1979 L.A. Lakers 615.0.5311.0000.70.20.20.06.3
Career6136.0.446.8045.22.70.70.021.3

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