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Five-time champion dies at 86

Guard Slater Martin scores for St. Louis near the end of his Hall of Fame career.

Associated Press (1959)

Guard Slater Martin scores for St. Louis near the end of his Hall of Fame career.

HOUSTON — Slater Martin, a Hall of Fame defensive-minded guard who won four NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers and one with the St. Louis Hawks, died Thursday (Oct. 18, 2012) at 86.

Mr. Martin had a sudden illness, daughter-in-law Becky Martin said. He was admitted to a skilled nursing facility in Houston on Monday, she said.

Mr. Martin was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. He went into the University of Texas' Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1962, entered the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1964, and the school retired his No. 15 in 2009.

The 5-foot-10 Martin averaged 9.8 points and 4.2 assists in 745 regular-season games with Minneapolis, New York and St. Louis from 1949-50 to 1959-60. He won titles with Minneapolis in 1950, '52, '53 and '54 and St. Louis in 1958.

"He's the best defensive guard that ever lived. That includes all the ones right now," said Sid Hartman, 92, a sports columnist for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and who was the Lakers' acting general manager.

Former Hawks radio announcer Skip Erwin recalled: "When he would play against Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics, it would look like you were watching two ballet dancers because they both were so smooth. Also, he could have been a welterweight boxing champion, because he was a tough guy."

around the league: Timberwolves forward Kevin Love does not need surgery to repair two broken bones in his right hand. Injured doing knuckle pushups, he will miss six to eight weeks. "I think that should be taken out of the repertoire," coach Rick Adelman said. "In fact, all pushups.'' … Marreese Speights, an ex-Gator from St. Petersburg, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Grizzlies' 97-94 preseason win over the host Bucks.

Five-time champion dies at 86 10/18/12 [Last modified: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:03am]

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