Darrall Imhoff (Darrall Imhoff)
Darrall Imhoff was the most highly publicized draft pick of the NBA that same year. The New York Knicks, picking third overall, made him their first pick, a move which generated much excitement for the team. The Knicks had two all-stars already, Richie Guerin and Willie Naulls, and looked for Imhoff to complete a potential contender in the league’s largest city. Imhoff unfortunately, was not up to the pressure and had a season which fell well below hopes. Disappointed, he was the backup center by season’s end. He played more his second year and was traded to the Detroit Pistons in 1962 for their All-Star guard Gene Shue. Darrall Imhoff’s lack of shooting skills at the NBA level had been exposed, but he never quit working to improve. He began to see more minutes with the Pistons until he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964. On a star-studded team that included Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and others, Imhoff was now a respected reserve. He contributed solidly to a team that won the NBA West and made it to the NBA Finals in 1965. The Lakers were encouraged enough to start Imhoff the next season, again winning their division, but were Finals runner-up again. Finally, in the 1966–67 season, Imhoff hit some of his potential, averaging 12 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per game as a Laker starter. He made the 1967 NBA All-Star team as a reserve. But he was still outplayed by Boston’s Bill Russell in the NBA Finals, a fact which repeated itself in 1968. This fact spurred the Lakers to sign Wilt Chamberlain that year, and Imhoff was traded to Philadelphia where he was again a solid backup center and starter in the 1969–70 season.
The 76ers were second in the East, but were knocked out by Boston and Russell again in the playoffs. Darrall Imhoff was a starter again for the 1969–70 campaign and Philadelphia made it to the playoffs before losing to Milwaukee and Lew Alcindor. He was traded to Cincinnati at the start of the 1970–71 season for 2 players and second round draft choice and became the starting center until he tore a cartilage and ACL and had surgery. He re-injured the knee again at the start of the next season and was put on waivers.Portland signed him to a new contract for the remainder of the 1971–72 season and finished his career at the end of Portland’s bench in 1972. Imhoff retired with a bad knee and had surgery in January, 1973 to repair his ACL. After retiring he lived in Hillsboro, Oregon, and then Eugene. He was the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at the United States Basketball Academy (USBA), a prestigious, internationally recognized basketball camp located in Oregon’s McKenzie River Valley, about 45 miles east of Eugene prior to his retirement. Darrall Imhoff died on June 30, 2017 in central Oregon in the city of Bend of a heart attack.
- October, 11, 1938
- San Gabriel, California
- June, 30, 2017
- Bend, Oregon
Cause of Death
- heart attack