One of the best-shooting big men of all time, McAdoo won the first of his three scoring titles with the Buffalo Braves in only his second year in the NBA, 1973-74, the same year he led the league with a .547 field-goal percentage.
Despite all of that, McAdoo seemed destined to become a footnote in NBA history before he found success off the bench with the Lakers in the early 1980s, playing a key role for teams that reached four straight NBA Finals and won two titles.
A season-ending injury to Mitch Kupchak midway through 1981-82 had the club scrambling for a second big man. On Christmas Eve, 1981, the Lakers sent a second-round draft pick to the New Jersey Nets for McAdoo and he was the first man off the bench for the Lakers' 1982 NBA title team.
In 1982-83 he averaged 15 points per game, but the Lakers lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Finals.
In 1983-84 McAdoo's 13.1 scoring average led all non-starters in the NBA and he averaged 14 points per game in a losing effort against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers returned to the Finals after the 1984-85 season, their fourth Finals appearance in McAdoo's four seasons with them. This time McAdoo averaged 11.4 points in the playoffs as the Lakers won the title.
The Lakers decided after the season that they needed an infusion of youth, and declined their option on McAdoo's contract.
McAdoo played his final NBA season with the 76ers before playing seven more seasons in the Italian League, finishing with career Italian League averages of 26.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. McAdoo retired in 1992 at age 41.
He was elected to the basketball hall of fame in 2000.