Jim Krebs


1957-58 (#32) 68 7.8 7.4
1958-59 72 8.8 6.8
1959-60 75 7.6 4.4
1960-61 75 8.2 6.1
1961-62 78 10 7.9
1962-63 79 8.3 6.4
1963-64 68 4.9 4.2

Center, #32


Krebs was selected by the Lakers with the third overall pick in the 1957 NBA draft. He played for them for seven seasons, mostly off the bench, and was a noted jokester, feeling he could best help the team by keeping them loose. Legendary Times columnist Jim Murray once wrote of him: "Time and again I've seen him make a team that was about to cry, laugh."

On Jan. 18, 1960, the Lakers' team plane experienced electrical problems and lost all power to the instruments and cabin lights. The pilot was forced to take the plane down immediately. Upon impact, the plane bounced straight up. Then it bounced again. After knocking down 100 yards of corn stalks through a succession of jarring bounces, the aircraft finally came to a rest, a few feet shy of a steep cliff.

All the passengers survived, and Krebs later wrote an account of the crash for Sports Illustrated. In his typical manner, he made light of it. Describing a hearse that arrived at the scene, he wrote, "I'm positive I detected a slightly disappointed look when the driver found out everyone was all right."

After retiring from basketball in 1964, Krebs became a loan officer at a bank in Beverly Hills. He was killed on May 6, 1965, while trying to remove a tree from his neighbor's yard. A limb from the tree struck him in the head as the tree was falling. His wife was pregnant with a son, who was born two months later.

Krebs was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and his No. 32 jersey was retired at Southern Methodist in 2002.

— Houston Mitchell
Feb. 12, 2011