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JUMP SHOT: THE KENNY SAILORS STORY
THE HISTORY OF THE JUMPSHOT
“Jumpshot” uncovers the inspiring true story of Kenny Sailors, the
proclaimed developer of the modern day jump shot in basketball,
and how the zenith of our lives doesn’t end in our athletic prime.
Introducing this never before seen “leaping one-hander” to the
masses on a national level Kenny quickly grew to be a fan favorite
while leading his Wyoming Cowboys to the Collegiate National
Championship in Madison Square Garden in the 1943. But after
playing on several losing teams in an unstable, emerging league now
known as the NBA, Kenny disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness
only to be forgotten by the sport he helped pioneer. Now, nearly
sixty years later, the multitude of people he has touched along the
way have forced Kenny’s humble reemergence. This film will follow
Kenny’s supporters’ ongoing efforts to not only get him in
recognized in the Naismith Hall of Fame, but also, to uncover the
man behind the shot and why the sport he helped define never de-
“CLICK FOR THE JUMPSHOT TEASER.”
Kenny Sailors grew up on a farm south of Hillsdale, Wyoming, where he developed his effective jump shot while playing against his
6-foot-4-inch older brother Bud. He eventually brought his skills to the University of Wyoming, and in 1943 he led the Cowboys to
the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship defeating Georgetown 46-34. Two days after winning the NCAA Championship, Wyo-
ming played NIT Champion St. John’s in a Red Cross benefit game for the war effort in Madison Square Garden. Wyoming beat St.
John’s in overtime by a score of 52–47, becoming the undisputed national champions on the court.
Kenny was named the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player for his efforts. He was the unanimous selection as
College Basketball Player of the Year in 1943. He would earn the honor again in 1946. Kenny is the only player in the history of Wy-
oming Cowboys basketball to be selected as an All-American three times, in 1942, 1943, and 1946.
From 1946 to 1951, Kenny played professionally in the BAA and NBA as a member of the Cleveland Rebels, Chicago Stags, Philadel-
phia Warriors, Providence Steamrollers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, and Baltimore Bullets. He scored 3,480 points in his pro-
fessional career. Kenny had a distinguished professional career. He was popular with fans and journalists, but his achievements and
skills went largely unnoticed in later years because he had played for only five seasons and then chose to retire in far off Wyoming
and, eventually, in even more remote Alaska, where he pursued his passion of big game hunting as a guide and outfitter.
Little did Kenny know that his basketball stardom would follow him to the furthest reaches of civilization. Not long after settling
into his homestead, Kenny was asked to coach Glenallen’s first high school women’s basketball team. Having never coached before,
Kenny accepted the offer as an opportunity for his daughter to continue to play organized sports and to invest in young people. His
freshmen would go undefeated the next four seasons, winning 60+ consecutive games until they reached the State Championship
their senior year.
Sailors was inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame on October 29, 1993 and returned to Wyoming after
the passing of his beloved wife in 1998. In 2012, Sailors was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, yet still has
not been recognized by the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contribution to the game of basketball.
Season Team G AST FGM FTM PTS
1946-47 Cleveland Rebels (BAA) 58 134 229 119 577
1947-48 Chicago Stags (BAA) 1 0 0 0 0
1947-48 Phildelphia Warriors (BAA) 2 0 2 0 4
1947-48 Providence Steamrollers (BAA) 41 59 205 110 520
1948-49 Providence Steamrollers (BAA) 57 209 309 281 899
1949-50 Denver Nuggets (NBA) 57 229 329 329 987
1950-51 Boston Celtics (NBA) 10 8 4 10 18
1950-51 Baltimore Bullets (NBA) 50 142 177 121 475
Career Total 276 781.00 1255 970 3480
Statistical Rankings (Top 10):
134 - Cleveland 1946-47 (ranked 2nd)
209 - Providence 1948-49 (ranked 8th)
ASSISTS PER GAME
2.3 - Cleveland 1946-47 (ranked 2nd)
1.3 - Providence, + two other teams' games 1947-48 (ranked tied for 10th)
3.7 - Providence 1948-49 (ranked 7th)
4.0 - Denver 1949-50 (ranked tied for 5th)
FIELD GOALS MADE
309 - Providence 1948-49 (ranked 9th)
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
30.9% - Cleveland 1946-47 (ranked 9th)
FREE THROWS MADE
281 - Providence 1948-49 (ranked 4th)
329 - Denver 1949-50 (ranked 7th)
899 - Providence 1948-49 (ranked 8th)
987 - Denver 1949-50 (ranked 8th)
POINTS PER GAME
15.8 - Providence 1948-49 (ranked 5th)
17.3 - Denver 1949-50 (ranked 4th)
Playoffs: Cleveland 1946-47 * 12.6 Points Per Game
All-BAA: 2nd Team, Providence 1948-49 * 2.8 Assists Per Game
The Sporting News, Official NBA Guide, 1990-91, pp. 493-515
4 Collegiate Seasons at the University of Wyoming.
98 Total Games. Won 82. Overall Winning Percentage 83%
Won 31 out of 33 home games. Two losses came final season in ’46.
Won 51 out of 66 away games. Winning Percentage on the road 77%
1943 NCAA Champions – Defeated Georgetown
1943 National Champions – Defeated NIT Champion team St. Johns
3 Big 7 Conference Championships
3 time All-American – ’42, ’43, ‘46
NCAA Player of the Year – ’43 and ‘46
AAU Player of the Year - Basketball
1946 Sullivan Award Finalist – Overall Amateur Athlete of the Year
MAJOR NAMES IN THE FILM FILM PRESS/MEDIA
JUD HEATHCOTE JIM BRANDENBURG JOHN CHRISTGAU
JERRY KRAUSE LARRY SHYATT SENATOR AL SIMPSON
Wyoming Short Film Competition
2012 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund
USA Today – “The game still goes on for the NCAA’s oldest MVP” Mar 31, 2009.
NCAA – “The Inventor of the Jump Shot” Feb. 5, 2013.
ESPN – “A Stroll Down NCAA Title Memory Lane” April 2, 2013.
Sports Illustrated – Article unknown. March 6, 2013.
Dick Vitale Twitter – “Kenny Sailors ex-Wyoming star invented the jump shot.
Should be in the HOF as contributor says Bob Knight & I agree!”
CBS Sports – February2, 2015
CLICK THE VIDEO TO WATCH THE SHORT FILM
KENNY’S INFLUENCE IS HISTORIC
Director: Jacob Hamilton 512 289 3731
Basketball Consultant: Ty Clark 972 322 2833