Darrall Imhoff

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Darrall Imhoff
Darrall Imhoff.png
Personal information
Born (1938-10-11)October 11, 1938
San Gabriel, California
Died June 30, 2017(2017-06-30) (aged 78)
Bend, Oregon
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school Alhambra (Alhambra, California)
College California (1957–1960)
NBA draft 1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career 1960–1972
Position Center
Number 18, 17, 14, 22, 30, 35
Career history
19601962 New York Knicks
19621964 Detroit Pistons
19641968 Los Angeles Lakers
19681970 Philadelphia 76ers
19701971 Cincinnati Royals
1971–1972 Portland Trail Blazers
Career highlights and awards
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Darrall Tucker Imhoff (October 11, 1938 – June 30, 2017) was an American professional basketball player. He spent twelve seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), playing for six teams from 1960 to 1972. Imhoff was the starting center for the New York Knicks, and played for 20 minutes in the game when Wilt Chamberlain scored an NBA personal scoring record of 100 points.


Imhoff attended Alhambra High School, Alhambra, California,[1] after making the team as a walk-on, at the University of California, Berkeley, Imhoff was a two-time All-American and was the top rebounder on the 1959 NCAA championship team and hit the winning basket with :17 remaining. He was the leading scorer and rebounder on the 1960 NCAA runner-up Berkeley team and was a member of the gold medal-winning 1960 Olympic basketball team.[2]

As a collegian, Imhoff was feared as a shot blocker, and was a respected rebounder who was the hub around which coach Pete Newell built his NCAA champion University of California team. The Golden Bears edged Jerry West's West Virginia University team in 1959, with Imhoff rated by some the best college player in the country; in 1960, leading the nation's top-rated defense from his center spot, the 6'10" 235-pounder led Cal back to the NCAA finals before losing to Jerry Lucas and Ohio State. He was a two-time First Team All-American and a member of Berkeley's Nu Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

Imhoff was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and enshrined in the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2005, his jersey at Cal (No. 40) was retired during a game between Cal and Stanford at Haas Pavilion on February 14, 2009.[3]


Imhoff was a senior awaiting entry into the National Basketball Association in 1960 when coach Pete Newell, now the U.S. Olympic coach, added his prize player to the Olympic Games. Walt Bellamy and Imhoff saw action together as center and power-forward during the Rome Games, especially against the tall Russian team as the Americans usually jetted out to a big lead early and then rested their starters.


New York Knicks[edit]

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.

Detroit Pistons[edit]

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.

Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

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.

Philadelphia 76ers/Cincinnati Royals/Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

The 76ers were second in the East, but were knocked out by Boston and Russell again in the playoffs. 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.

Later years[edit]

After retiring he lived in Hillsboro, Oregon, and then Eugene,[4] 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. Imhoff died on June 30, 2017, in Bend of a heart attack.[2]


  1. ^ "Inaugural win takes back seat", Los Angeles Times, Sports Section, January 14, 2009
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (July 3, 2017), "Darrall Imhoff, a Decorated Basketball Center, Dies at 78", The New York Times 
  3. ^ Former Great Darrall Imhoff to Have No. 40 Jersey Retired
  4. ^ Eggers, Kerry (September 3, 2008). "After final buzzer, Oregon's still home". The Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 

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