Basketball Wiki
Happy Hairston
File:Player image.jpg
Small Forward / Power Forward
Personal information
Born                           May 31, 1942
                                    Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Died                           May 1, 2001 (aged 58)
                                    Los Angeles, California
Nationality                 U.S. Flag.png American
Listed height            6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight           225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school             Erasmus Hall
                                  (Brooklyn, New York)
College                   NYU (1961–1964)
NBA Draft                 1964 / Round: 4 / Pick: 33rd
Selected by the Cincinnati Royals
Pro career               1964-1975 (11 years)
Career history
1964-1968                Cincinnati Royals
1968-1969                Detroit Pistons
1969-1975                Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
  • NBA champion (1972) profile profile (active)
profile (retired)

Harold Hairston (May 31, 1942 – May 1, 2001) was an American professional basketball player.

Early Life

Hairston was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 31, 1942. Hairston attended Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn, New York.


He played college basketball at New York University from 1962 to 1964, where one of his teammates was Barry Kramer.

Pro Career

Happy was selected by the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) with the 33rd overall pick. He played professionally for the Royals (1964-1968) and Detroit Pistons (1968-1969) before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 1969. In 1971-72, Hairston grabbed 1,045 rebounds; his teammate Wilt Chamberlain pulled down 1,572. Hairston led the Lakers in both rebounds and field goal percentage during the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons, and set an NBA record for most defensive rebounds in a quarter with 13 (vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, November 15, 1974). During his 11 seasons in the NBA, Hairston averaged 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Post Retirement

After his retirement in 1975, Hairston established the Happy Hairston Youth Foundation in Century City. With financial help from celebrities such as Kelsey Grammer, the foundation found bright children from broken homes and paid for their college education. He also hosted a celebrity golf tournament. He had a small role in the 1981 Happy Days episode "Tall Story," where he played the father of an epileptic high school basketball player.


Hairston died at the age of 58 in L.A. from prostate cancer.