William Rodney “Bird” Averitt passed away this past weekend.
Sad news per the Kentucky Colonels ABA Facebook page, that 1975 ABA Champion/fan favorite, "Bird" Averitt passed away peacefully this morning at 7:36 AM.— NBA to Louisville (@nba2lou) December 12, 2020
Born in Hopkinsville, KY.
- WCC POY
- Averitt played for the Spurs, Braves, Nets and Colonels
RIP to Bird pic.twitter.com/DeeOPFGKxJ
The 1973 NCAA scoring leader and West Coast Conference Player of the Year was drafted in 1975 by the NBA and the ABA. Chosen in the forth round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Bird chose the ABA route. He was originally drafted in the second round by the San Diego Conquistadors. Instead, he spent his rookie season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Averitt averaged 11.5 points per game along with 1.8 assists and just under one steal per game.
Alas, one season was the end of the road as Bird headed northeast back home to Kentucky where he helped the Colonels to win the 1975 ABA Championship. His two seasons in Kentucky saw some of his best stats in scoring, rebounding, and assists.
Averitt crossed over into the NBA with the Buffalo Braves (who became the San Diego Clippers, and eventually the Los Angeles Clippers). He also played with the New Jersey Nets after the ABA/NBA merger.
Averitt died on Saturday, December 12th. No cause of death has been released nor have funeral arrangements been announced.
My teammate and friend Bird Averitt left us for heaven today. He was a great player and was in a tragic car wreck 25 years ago that left him partially paralyzed. He was a good man and fought so hard. I will miss him. RIP Bird pic.twitter.com/sdeHMOlqOY— Dan Issel (@DanIssel44) December 12, 2020
Averitt moved back to Hopkinsville after retiring from basketball. In the mid-1990s he survived a car accident that left him partially disabled.
Really saddened to hear of the passing of William “Bird”Averitt who was a Pepperdine legend and former professional basketball player. He really inspired me when I was growing up and learning the game.— Lorenzo Romar (@CoachRomar) December 12, 2020
Bird is survived by his daughters, Shayla Averitt and Temeshia Faulkner, as well as a number of grandchildren.
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