Cliff Hagan

Position Power Forward
Born Dec 9, 1931
Nationality United States United States
Nickname Li’l Abner
Team History
Boston Celtics Boston Celtics 1956 - 1969

A former professional NBA player, Clifford Oldham Hagan was born in Kentucky, USA. He was a 6’4” forward who played for the Dallas Chaparrals before his retirement in 1969. His NBA career lasts for 10 seasons wherein he was nicknamed “Li’l Abner” for his excellent hook shots.

Hagan studied at the University of Kentucky and played for the university under Coach Adolph Rupp. Hagan helped Kentucky reach a 68-58 win at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Championship against the Kansas State. However, in 1952 because of a match-fixing scandal, the NCAA penalized the Kentucky’s basketball team with a “death penalty” resulting from a ban from playing for few years. It is regarded as one of the most severe punishment in basketball.

Although drafted by the Boston Celtics in the 1953 draft, Hagan returned to play for Kentucky the same season. In the opening game, Kentucky emerged victorious against Temple with Hagan scoring 51 points, a record which stood unbroken until 1970. Associated Press ranked him as number 1 for a perfect score of 25-0 and an average of 24.0. Hagan was so important for Kentucky that the team refused to participate at the NCAA Tournament which prohibited graduate students to play. If the team had went ahead to participate, it would have gone without Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos, all star players for the team.

At graduation, Hagan had tallied a total of 1475 points with 1035 rebounds. He was ranked third in the points list and second in the rebound list of the school history. The University of Kentucky retired his number 6 jersey.

After he was drafted by the Celtics, Hagan served the military at Andrews Air Force Base. While with the air force base, Hagan won the Worldwide Air Force basketball championships. In 1958, with his second season with the NBA, he was traded by the Celtics with St. Louis Hawks. The Hawks won the NBA Championship the same season by defeating the Celtics 4 games to 2 at the finals. While at NBA, Hagan played a total of 745 games and acquired 13,447 points with an average of 18.0.

The Dallas Chaparrals, from ABA (American Basketball Association), hired Hagan as a player-coach in 1967. He performed well at his very first game by scoring 40 points. He was the first ever player to have played All-Star Games at both NBA and ABA. He retired as a player for the team in 1970 but retained his duties as a coach. At the end of his ABA career, he had played a total of 94 games and acquired 1423 points with an average of 15.1.

Post-retirement, Hagan returned to the University of Kentucky as an assistant athletic director in 1972. He served as an athletic director from 197 onwards until retiring in 1988.

Career Highlights

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.

He is the first player to have played All-Star Games at NBA and ABA.

The University of Kentucky renamed its baseball field to honor Hagan.

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  • Profile image 46x46 Don Copple - over 8 years ago

    Without a doubt, the greatest hook shot ever. Powerful yet graceful. A joy to watch play. Played with great determination and pride.