April 22, 1949 in Silver City, Mississippi
Pershing High School (Detroit, Michigan)
Trinidad State JC (1967-1968), University of Detroit (1968-1969)
Buffalo Braves, 2nd round, 13th pick, 1971 NBA Draft
6-8 ; Weight
- ABA (1969-1970), NBA (1971-1983)
G - 844
FG% - .469
3PFG% - .125
FT% - .776
Points - 17,111
PPG - 20.3
Rebounds - 8,675
RPG - 10.3
Assists - 1,541
APG - 1.8
Blocks - 629
BPG - 1.1
Steals - 355
SPG - 0.6
1 x ABA Allstar, 4 x NBA Allstar, 1 x ABA Allstar Game MVP, ABA Rookie of the Year, 1 x ABA MVP, ABA All Rookie First Team, 1 x ABA All First Team, 2 x All NBA First Team, 2 x All NBA Second Team, 1980 NBA Champion.
High School and College
In 1964, Haywood moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he attended Pershing High School. In 1967, Haywood led the school to the state championship. Haywood attended Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado during the 1967-68 college season, where he averaged 28.2 points and 22.1 rebounds per game. Due to his exceptional performance and talent, Haywood made the USA Olympic Basketball team in 1968. Haywood was the leading scorer on the USA's gold medal winning basketball team during the 1968 Olympics at 16.1 points per game, and he set a USA field goal percentage record of .719.
Haywood transferred to the University of Detroit later that year, and led the NCAA in rebounding with a 21.5 average per game while scoring 32.1 points per game during the 1968-69 season. He decided to turn pro after his sophomore year, but National Basketball Association (NBA) rules, which then required a player to wait until his class graduated, prohibited him from entering the league. As a result, he joined the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association (ABA).
In his rookie season, Haywood led the ABA in scoring at 30.0 points per game and rebounding at 19.5 rebounds per game. He was named both the ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA MVP during the 1969-70 season, and became the youngest ever recipient of the MVP at the age of 21. His 986 field goals made, 1,637 rebounds, and 19.5 rebound per game average are the all-time ABA records for a season. Haywood also won the ABA's 1970 All-Star Game MVP that year with a strong 23 point, 19 rebound, and 7 blocked shot performance for the West team.
In 1970, despite the NBA's eligibility rules, Haywood joined the Seattle SuperSonics, and with SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman launched an anti-trust suit against the league (Haywood v. National Basketball Association). The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before the NBA agreed to a settlement. During his first season with Seattle, Haywood was booed at several NBA arenas. At one arena, the public-address announcer even went so far as to announce "Ladies and gentlemen, we have an illegal player on the court (referring to Haywood)," during pre-game introductions.
Haywood was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1972 and 1973 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1974 and 1975. Haywood's 29.2 points per game in the 1972-73 season and 13.4 rebounds per game in 1973-74 are still the single-season record averages for the SuperSonics for these categories. Haywood played in four NBA All-Star Games while with Seattle, including a strong 23 point 11 rebound performance in 1974. In the 1974-75 season, he helped lead the SuperSonics to their first playoff berth. Overall, during his five seasons with Seattle, Haywood averaged 24.9 points per game and 12.1 rebounds per game.
In 1975, the SuperSonics traded him to the New York Knicks where he later teamed with Bob McAdoo. Haywood later played for the New Orleans Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and Washington Bullets. He earned a championship ring with the Lakers in the 1979–80 season.
During the finals, Haywood was suspended by coach Paul Westhead. Haywood was so furious, he says he "left the Forum and drove off in my Rolls that night thinking one thought — that Westhead must die." Haywood hired a Detroit mobster to kill Westhead, but later reconsidered.
Haywood's #24 jersey
was retired by the SuperSonics during a halftime ceremony on February 26, 2007.