Friend, Larry : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Friend, Larry

Lawrence H. Friend

Friend was an All-America in 1957 and led the University of California to a conference title (Pacific Coast Conference, forerunner of the Pac 10), and to the NCAA West Regional Final. Larry played one season in the NBA, then became a part-owner in the Phoenix Suns. Between 1968-1983, he represented the owners in approving all players and scouting.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 14, 1935 - d. Feb. 27, 1998

Career Highlights:
Born and raised in Chicago, Friend was scheduled as a starter at Marshall High School (a well-known program) when his family decided to move to Los Angeles before his senior season. Disappointed, he ended up starring for Fairfax High School and local newspapers wrote: "A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed!" Friend then became a three-year starter at the University of California after transferring from Los Angeles City College (where he was named All-America Junior College).

After the Bears struggled to a 9-16 record (1-11 in conference) in 1955, they rebounded the following year. Friend was terrific on the court and helped lead California to a 17-8 record and third place in the Pacific Coast Conference with a 10-6 conference record. The improvement in 1956 over the Bears' disastrous 1955 season, however was just a glimmer of things to come during Friend's senior season.

1957 was a dream season for Friend as he captained coach Pete Newell's first conference championship team and was named Converse first team All-America, and Helms third team All-America. He finished sixth in the PCC in scoring with 19.1 points per game and helped lead the Golden Bears to a record of 20-4, a final UPI ranking of No. 6 (No. 13 AP) and into the NCAA tournament. In their 86-59 victory over BYU in the West Regional Semifinal, Friend set school postseason records in field goals made (11) and attempted (25) as he finished with 25 points and 7 rebounds.

The West Regional Final followed as Cal faced rival San Francisco, which was still an excellent team even though stars Bill Russell and K.C. Jones had graduated. In a tightly fought game, Friend scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds as San Francisco defeated the Bears, 50-46. Friend was named to the All-West Regional Team and was the regional MVP. He graduated as Cal's all-time leading scorer with 1,061 points (the record would last 10 years) and averaged 14.9 points per game during his 71 game career.

In 1957, Friend was selected in the second round by the New York Knicks (13th overall). During the 1957-58 season, Larry played in 44 games for the Knicks, who missed the playoffs with a record of 35-37; he averaged 4.0 points per game. He injured his knee during the year and did not play again in the NBA.

In 1961-62, Friend returned to professional basketball to play in the American Basketball League, a new league started by Harlem Globetrotters founder, Abe Saperstein. Larry appeared in 39 games for the Los Angeles Jets, averaged 11.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while leading the league in 3-point shooting (58-163). Unfortunately, due to financial problems, the Jets disbanded midway through the season with a record of 24-15; the ABL would fold entirely in the middle of the following season.

Chicago, Illinois

Career Dates:
Friend played forward at the University of California from 1955-1957. He played in the NBA with the New York Knicks in 1957-58, and in the ABL in 1961-62 with the Los Angeles Jets.

Physical description:
6'4", 185 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 44
Points: 175
Points Per Game: 4.0

Field Goals Made: 74
Field Goals Attempted: 226
Field Goal Percentage: .327

Free Throws Made: 43
Free Throws Attempted: 67
Free Throw Percentage: .642

Rebounds: 106
Rebounds Per Game: 2.4
Assists: 47
Assists Per Game: 1.1
Personal Fouls: 54

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Official NBA Encyclopedia: Third Edition, edited by Jan Hubbard (New York: Doubleday, 2000)
Inside Sports Magazine: College Basketball, by Mike Douchant with Jim Nantz (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1997)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)