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Billy Harris (November 12, 1951–January 3, 2010) was an American basketball player.

Harris grew up in Chicago, where he earned a reputation as a streetball star. A prolific long-range scorer, he was nicknamed "Billy the Kid" and "Shotgun".[1] Scoop Jackson of the magazine SLAM later dubbed him the best playground basketball player ever. "No one has ever claimed to have seen, heard about or witnessed Billy having a bad game. Not one story, not one game," wrote Jackson.[2]

Harris graduated from Dunbar High School in Chicago in 1969, having averaged about 33 points per game as a senior. After being recruited by many colleges, including the University of Kansas, he played at Northern Illinois University from 1969 to 1973.[1] During his junior season at NIU, he led the team to a 21-4 record, which was good enough for NIU to be ranked in the national top 20 for the first time in school history. Harris tallied 17.8 points per game that season, and 24.1 points per game the next season.[3]

After college, Harris was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the seventh round of the NBA Draft. However, he did not make the team, and instead played in the American Basketball Association with the San Diego Conquistadors and in the Philippines.[1] Later in his life, he coached basketball for young people in his Chicago neighborhood[2] and became a car salesman.[4] He was inducted into the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001[5] and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002.[1]

On January 3, 2010, Harris died of a stroke at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. He was survived by his wife, six children, eight step-children, and many grandchildren.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Taylor Bell. "'The Kid', a Chicago legend, dies at 58". Chicago Sun-Times. January 4, 2010. 44.
  2. ^ a b Scoop Jackson. "Ghetto Superstar". Slam. 1998. Retrieved on January 5, 2010.
  3. ^ Mike Korcek. "NIU hoops legend dies". Daily Chronicle. January 5, 2010. Retrieved on January 5, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Angie Leventis Lourgos and Daarel Burnette. "Billy Harris, 1951-2010: NIU basketball hall of famer". Chicago Tribune. January 4, 2010. Retrieved on January 5, 2010.
  5. ^ Mike Korcek. "Memorial Services for NIU Hall of Famer Bill 'The Kid' Harris set for Friday, Jan. 8". January 4, 2010. Retrieved on January 5, 2010.

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