“I am honored to be part of the first class of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. This is truly an honor and I sincerely appreciate the recognition by all the great Sacramento sports fans. I'm especially proud to be part of this group of tremendous athletes. This means a great deal to me and my family. We are all very excited and honored. Thank you to all the great fans of Sacramento."
High School: Elk Grove
College: University of San Francisco
* NBA Playing Career: 16 Years (New York, Chicago, Seattle)
* 3 Time NBA Champion (1991, 1992, 1993)
* NBA All-Star (1980)
* 12, 713 Career Points
* 6, 106 Career Rebounds
* 3 Time WCC Player of the Year (1977, 1978, 1979)
* 2 Time Consensus NCAA All American (1977, 1979)
Bill Cartwright started his athletic endeavors not playing basketball, but baseball. It wasn’t until junior high that someone realized basketball might be a better fit for a kid who towered over others.
"Mr. Bill" or “Big Bill” certainly lived up to his nicknames as he was the greatest big man to come out of the Sacramento area. Cartwright was a major success the moment he stepped on the court at Elk Grove High. Cartwright and the Thundering Herd would play in front of packed houses because fans wanted to see the towering superstar. He was literally a man playing amongst boys.
Bill went to USF and led the Dons to three straight trips to the NCAA tournament. They advanced to the Sweet 16 in both 1978 and 1979. He was the Dons all time leading scorer averaging 19.1ppg and 10.2rpg.
Bill was the third overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, selected by the New York Knicks. He made the All Star team in his rookie season averaging more than 20 points per game. He went on to play nine seasons with the Knicks before being traded to the Chicago Bulls in 1988.
Starting in 1991 through 1993, Bill helped the Chicago Bulls win three consecutive NBA Titles. Bill played a total of 16 years in the NBA where he accumulated 12,713 points and 6,106 rebounds at the center position. Bill retired from the NBA after the 1995 season, but continued his association with the NBA as a coach. First as an assistant to Phil Jackson were he was once again part of the Bulls and their three straight NBA Titles. He later became head coach of the Bulls. He was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns. He is currently the Head Coach of the Osaka Evessa in the Japanese Professional Basketball League.
“I remember when I was in college, people told me I couldn’t play in the NBA. There’s always somebody saying you can’t do it and those people need to be ignored.” It is this down to earth, humble, never quit attitude that makes Bill the incredible player and leader he was and is today.
Bill married his junior high school sweetheart, Sheri, and they have four children. Bill currently resides in Lake Forest, Illinois but will always be remembered as one of our areas greatest players.
Bill's sister, Jennifer Cartwright-Thomas, accepted is induction on his behalf and told the audience that Bill told her he would enjoy this award most because everytime he looked at it he would be reminded of his entire life's work. Not just his time in the NBA, but his time at Elk Grove, growing up and everything he has done in his life. Bill truly wished he could have been there to thank the voters and all the people of Sacramento personally.