|Born||January 20, 1937|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school||Middleton (Middleton, Tennessee)|
|College||Mississippi State (1956-1959)|
|NBA draft||1959 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Detroit Pistons|
|Number||52, 18, 15, 16|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||17,770 (18.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||9,383 (9.9 rpg)|
|Assists||1,853 (1.9 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Bailey E. Howell (born January 20, 1937) is an American former professional basketball player. After playing college basketball at Mississippi State, Howell played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Howell was a 6-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA Champion and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Playing for Middleton High School (1953-1955), Howell scored 1,187 career points, the Tennessee high school record at the time. He was selected all-conference each season, All-State his junior and senior seasons and All-American his senior year of 1955. He averaged 31.2 points per game as a senior.
Howell was recruited by major schools Memphis State, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, among others. Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp never made the trip to see Howell play. Ultimately, Howell chose to play for Coach Babe McCarthy and the Mississippi State Bulldogs men's basketball program of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
In 1956-1957 Howell made his varsity debut, as freshman were prohibited from playing varsity. Playing for Coach McCarthy, Howell made an immediate impact as a sophomore, averaging 25.9 points and 19.7 rebounds, as Mississippi State finished 17-8, placing 3rd in the SEC.
The 1957-1958 season saw Mississippi State improve to 20-5, placing 3rd in the SEC and being ranked 15th in the final polls. Howell averaged 27.8 points and 16.2 rebounds.
In his senior season (1958-1959), Mississippi State finished 24-1 and won the SEC with a 13-1 record. Howell averaged 27.5 points and 15.2 rebounds. In both 1958 and 1959, Howell was awarded the SEC Most Valuable Player award. In 1959, Howell was named AP First Team All-American along with Bob Boozer Kansas State, Johnny Cox Kentucky, Oscar Robertson Cincinnati and Jerry West West Virginia. All but Cox have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Mississippi State forfeited its possible NCAA tournament bids during Howell's tenure, due to the state of Mississippi's unwritten policy to not play integrated basketball teams. "It was the biggest disappointment of my basketball career," Howell said. "I was never so disappointed. In America, no matter what you do, you have the opportunity to go as far as you can go and be whatever you can be. We were denied that opportunity."
Overall,during his three varsity seasons, Howell led the Bulldogs to a 64-14 record. His career averages of 27.1 points and 17.0 rebounds per game (both still school records), led Howell to conclude his career as Mississippi State's leading scorer (2,030 points) and leading rebounder (1,277 rebounds). His 47 points against Union in 1958 and 34 rebounds against Louisiana State University in 1957 remain single-game MSU records.
Despite playing at the college level for only three years, he set and still holds Mississippi State records for single-game points scored, career scoring average, single-season and career free throws made, single-season and career free throws attempted, single-game free throw percentage, single-game rebounds, single-season rebounds, career rebounds, and single-season and career rebounding average. His scoring records are particularly impressive, since there was no three-point line or shot clock at the time that he played. He is considered a legend to the Bulldog basketball faithful, and one of the best-known players to have played at MSU. He is probably most known for his hook shot, rebounding ability, and work ethic as a player and person.
In his first season, Howell became friends with Piston teammate Earl Lloyd, who earlier in his career had become the first African-American to play in an NBA game. "Earl took me under his wing and spent a great deal of time teaching me about the pro game." Howell said years later. "He was truly my mentor. We continued our friendship after our playing days were over, keeping in touch and visiting occasionally. My wife and I were at his Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony."
In his second season, Howell improved to 23.6 points and 14.4 rebounds in 1960-1961 as Detroit finished 34-45 under Coach Dick McGuire. Howell was named to his first of four consecutive NBA All-Star Teams. On November 25, 1960, Howell had career highs of 43 poinst and 32 rebounds in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pistons lost 3-2 in the playoffs to the Los Angeles Lakers as Howell averaged 11.2 points in the series.
The Pistons improved to 37-43 in 1961-1962, with Howell leading the team averaging a double-double of 19.9 points and 12.6 rebounds, along with 2.4 assists. The Pistons defeated the Cincinnati Royals 3-1 in the playoffs, behind 22.0 points from Howell. The Pistons were then defeated by the Lakers for the third consecutive year in the Western Conference Final 4-2, as Howell averaged 18.7 points in the series.
In 1962-1963 Howell averaged a double-double of 22.7 points and 11.5 rebounds. The Pistons finished 34-46, losing to Bob Pettit and the St. Louis Hawks 3-1 in the playoffs, with Howell averaging 17-8 and 10.5 in the series.
On June 18, 1964, Howell's Detroit tenure ended. He was traded by the Pistons with Bob Ferry, Les Hunter, Wali Jones and Don Ohl to the Baltimore Bullets for Terry Dischinger, Don Kojis and Rod Thorn.
With Baltimore in 1964-1965, Howell led the league in personal fouls (345) and averaged 19.2 and 10.5 rebounds, playing alongside Walt Bellamy. The Bullets finished 37-43 under Coach Buddy Jeannette. The Bullets won their first round series 3-1 over the St. Louis Hawks, before losing 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, despite 21.8 points and 13.4 rebounds from Howell. Jerry West averaged 46.3 points and 6.8 assists for the Lakers in the series.
Under Coach Paul Seymour (Jeannette moved to become the GM), the Bullets finished 38-42, and Howell averaged 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds. The team was swept by the St. Louis Hawks in the playoffs.
Howell's career took a landmark turn on September 1, 1966, when he was traded by the Baltimore Bullets to the Boston Celtics for Mel Counts in a trade engineered by the Celtics' Red Auerbach. In Boston, Howell joined a roster loaded with future Hall of Famers: player/Coach Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Don Nelson, K.C. Jones, Satch Sanders, Wayne Embry and Sam Jones. Howell blended in quite well, averaging 20.0 points and 8.4 rebounds for the 60-21 Celtics. Undoubtedly Russell's rebounding skills kept a few from Howell, as Russell averaged 21.0 rebounds per game. The Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 3-1 in the playoffs, before losing 4-1 to Wilt Chamberlain and the eventual NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Chamberlain averaged a triple-double of 32.0 points, 21.6 rebounds and 10.0 assists in the series. Howell averaged 17.2 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Howell earned an NBA Championship ring in 1967-1968. The Celtics won the NBA Title, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in the NBA Finals. Howell averaged 19.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in the regular season as the 54-28 Celtics earned Russell his first title as Coach. The Celtics beat the Pistons 4-2 in the playoffs, with Howell third on the team with 17.7 points in the series.
In a rematch against Chamberlain and the 76ers in the 1968 Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics prevailed 4-3 with a 100-96 game seven win, with 17 points and 10 rebounds from Howell.
The Celtics defended their NBA Title in 1968-1969, earning Howell a second NBA Championship ring. The Celtics finished 48-34 in the regular season as the 32-year-old Howell averaged 19.7 points an 8.8 rebounds on the season, second on the team in scoring to Havlicek and second in rebounding to Russell.
In the 1969 playoffs, the Celtics beat the 76ers 4-1 and the Knicks 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, to set up a rematch with the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Baylor and West now had Chamberlain alongside them as a teammate.
In the 1969 NBA Finals, the Celtics won in seven classic games. Game seven was a 108-106 Celtic win in Los Angeles. Howell averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in the series.
Bill Russell retired after the 1969 title, with Tommy Heinsohn taking over as Coach of the Celtics in 1969-1970. With an aging lineup and without Russell, the Celtics slipped to 34-48, missing the playoffs. Howell averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds at age 33.
After the season, on May 11, 1970, Howell was drafted by the Buffalo Braves from the Celtics in the NBA expansion draft. He was immediately traded by the Braves to the Philadelphia 76ers for Bob Kauffman and a future 1971 2nd round draft pick (Spencer Haywood).
At age 34, Howell played one final NBA season with the 76ers in a slightly reduced role, averaging 10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds for the 47-35 76ers under Coach Jack Ramsey. The 76ers were defeated by the Bullets in the playoffs with Howell averaging 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in the series.
Overall, Howell played 12 seasons (1959–1971) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Detroit Pistons (1959-1954), Baltimore Bullets (1964-1966), Boston Celtics (1966-1970), and Philadelphia 76ers (1970-1971). A six-time All-Star with 17,770 career points (18.7) and 9383 rebounds (9.9), he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997. He won two NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. The best years of his career were during his time with the Celtics and the Pistons.
At the time of his retirement from the NBA in 1971, Howell ranked among the NBA's top 10 leaders in nine statistical categories.
After his career ended in 1971, Howell returned to Mississippi State, earning his Masters in Physical Education while assisting the man's basketball team. Howell then went to work with the Converse shoe company, particularly with the Converse All-Star. Residing in Starkville, he is very active in Mississippi State athletics fund-raising, specifically the Bulldog Club, an organized fund to pay for MSU athletic scholarships.
Howell has served as an elder for the Starkville church of Christ for many years.
Howell is the father of Mississippi Board of Realtor's CEO Beth Hansen and father-in-law of current University of Florida Athletic Director, Scott Stricklin, a Mississippi State graduate who was athletic director at his alma mater before taking the same position at Florida.
Stricklin, is married to the former Anne Howell, the youngest daughter of Howell. She was a three-time All-Lone Star Conference team member, playing tennis at Abilene Christian. The couple has two daughters.