Former Detroit Piston Bob Ferry, who built NBA champs in Washington, dies at 84

Detroit Free Press

Longtime NBA executive Bob Ferry, an ex-Detroit Piston, has died at age 84.

The St. Louis native played for four seasons with the Pistons, averaging 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 312 appearances from 1960-64. Ferry also played his rookie season with the Hawks (then in St. Louis) and finished his career with five seasons with the then-Bullets in Baltimore.

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After his retirement, Ferry became one of the NBA’s top general managers as the head of the Bullets’ front office. The team moved from Baltimore to Washington in his first season; under Ferry, the Bullets (who would become the Washington Wizards in 1997, seven years after the end of Ferry’s tenure) made the playoffs in 13 of 17 seasons., with three NBA Finals appearances and a championship in 1978.

Ferry was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year for 1978-79 and 1981-82. He also was the second NBA GM to hire two Black coaches, tabbing K.C. Jones in 1973 and Wes Unseld in 1988.

Ferry’s son Danny followed in his father’s footsteps, first with a 13-year NBA career, then with stints as GM with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

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