(KRON) The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame has inducted its five newest members. Bill Cartwright was a three time NBA champion as a player with the Chicago Bulls and the number three overall pick in 1979 from the University of San Francisco.
KRON4’s Gary Radnich talked with Cartwright before the induction ceremony on April 24, 2017.
Cartwright grew up in Elk Grove playing all sports even though he was already seven feet tall by his freshman year of high school “played a little football, baseball was my sport. I was a pitcher. I don’t care what anybody says, I thought I was good.”
By the time Cartwright was a senior at Elk Grove High School he was the number one recruit in the nation and could have taken his talents to any college hoops program but he felt right at home at USF “when we came here, we were really carrying on a tradition of excellence in basketball, so I felt drawn to this place. It was close. From Sacramento, mom and dad could watch me and my friends, so yeah, this was the spot.”
From 1975 to 1979 Cartwright became USF’s all time leading scorer while guiding the Dons to the post season four years in a row “we were number one in the country, we had gone over to Hawaii and played in a tournament over there and after that we were the number one team in the country. Just unfortunate at the end of the year, we did lose to Notre Dame and we ended up losing in the first round that year to Nevada Las Vegas, but that year was really special.”
Cartwright went from center stage at USF to the center of the professional basketball world. He was drafted number three overall by the New York Knicks.
“I did enjoy New York, New York was a great test after four years I believed I was ready to play and it was a fortunate and unfortunate thing that happened. Marvin Webster got sick, he got hepatitis, so he couldn’t play. So that left me in the starting position, so my first year in the league, I was second in the league in minutes it was a great experience, it was a great time to get in there and my first game was against Darrell Dawkins and Dr. J so you are looking at going wow, I played against those guys.”
Eight seasons later, Cartwright went from playing against the legends to playing alongside the game’s future greats “as I was vacationing for the first time in Hawaii, I get a phone call from Jerry Krause and he says, ‘hey come to Chicago.’ I was like no, I just got here Jerry.’ But to be traded at that point in time, to a young Michael Jordan, a young Horace Grant, a young Scotty Pippen, I was really very fortunate that they took a chance on me.” “It was interesting because our practices, really competitive and it was at a point where we believed that we should be one of the best teams in the league and challenging for a championship.”
Cartwright was a part of all Chicago’s six NBA titles, three as a player and three as an assistant coach.
The latest honor on his storied resume, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
“We have some really impressive people in there and I’m just really pleased to be selected very fortunate and what I remember most of all about a hall of fame is that all I am really is a representative of my family and how fortunate I was. How fortunate I was to play with really great high school teammates, college teammates while I was here. So I’ve been really fortunate, really fortunate to have great coaches”