Movie Made About Kenny Sailors, Inventor Of The Basketball Jump Shot & Local Hero

Kenny Sailors Of The Copper River Valley. Today, Many Local People Know About "Sailors Pit"  In Gak ona, And E ven More Ar...

Kenny Sailors Of The Copper River Valley.

Today, Many Local People Know About "Sailors Pit"  In Gakona, And Even More Are Aware That The Copper Valley Man Who Named That Gravel Pit Also Invented The Famous Basketball Jump Shot 

When Kenny Sailors was growing up in Wyoming, he used to shoot baskets out by the water tanks, competing with his 6 foot 4 inch brother. In those days, you always threw a basket with your feet planted on the ground, up through your legs. That didn't work very well, and young Kenny knew it. So he decided to jump while throwing. Nobody had ever done that before. The rest is history. 

This week, a 79 minute Sports Documentary, "Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story," has just been released. You can rent it for $7.99. See the trailer for this movie. 

Click The Link Below:

If You Grew Up In The Copper Valley, And Your Folks Went To Glennallen, They Probably Called Kenny Sailors "Coach"
Everybody knows "Sailors Pit" – the rugged dirt road at Gakona Junction that leads down to the Gulkana River. It was named after Kenny Sailors, who lived nearby.

But what lots of Glennallen adults remember about "Coach Sailors" was his ability to teach them to play basketball. 

Ken Sailors was so good nationally at the sport in his youth that he was named College Basketball Player of the Year in 1943. A superstar for the Boston Celtics, he was enormously popular all over America.

Eventually, he and his wife, Marilynne, came to the Copper Valley, where they set up a small ranch north of Gakona Junction. He coached the Glennallen High girls' basketball team to a series of stunning victories. 

Kenny Sailors' national fame translated to local hometown glory. In March, 1994, for example, Caleb, Rico and Andrew Johns posed in a snowbank for the Copper River Country Journal. They were holding a Kenny Sailors basketball card. 

Sailors was a hero to Ken Johns of Copper Center. 

The March 3rd Country Journal wrote:

Copper Center - It took a while, but Ken Johns of Copper Center has added his most valuable sports card to his extensive 20,000 card collection. It's a mint condition 1948 Bowman Gum Co. card of 27-year old Kenny Sailors - a forward on the Providence Steamrollers.

Kenny Sailors was the Larry Bird of his day. He was a Boston Celtic Globetrotter. He invented the one-handed jump shot. He led his team at Madison Square Garden - and was honored as one of the top 10 players to play there between 1933 and 1943. He won the Chuck Taylor Award for best basketball player in America. He won the Helms Award. He won the Most Valuable Player on the All-America Team award. And he won the Sullivan award.

Many years later, he was coach at Glennallen High School - leading the Glennallen girls to the state championships and the Glennallen boys to regional championships. Ken Johns was a student at Glennallen, and is proud he had Ken Sailors as his coach 20 years ago.

It's because he admires him that he tracked down the Sailors card. Ken Johns remembers that when Coach Sailors taught him, he was modest about his past. "I really didn't know too much about his (professional) background until later on, after I graduated," Ken Johns says now.

Ken Johns won't say how much the card cost. But he says he's already had offers for it.





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