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Ex-Piston Yardley, 75, succumbs to ALS

LOS ANGELES -- George Yardley, a former Detroit Pistons forward who in 1957-58 became the first player in the NBA to score 2,000 points in a season, has died. He was 75.

Yardley, who played for Fort Wayne, Detroit and Syracuse in his
seven-year professional career, died Thursday of Lou Gehrig's
disease at his Newport Beach home, said his oldest son, Rob.

Yardley was a basketball star at Stanford, where he studied
engineering and was known as "Yardbird" by his fraternity
brothers because of the frequent chores they assigned him. The
springy-legged "Bird," as the name was shortened to later, was a
clutch playoff performer, averaging 20.3 points per game in 46
games.

He is best known for his accomplishment in the 1957-58 season
when he became the first player in NBA history to score 2,000
points in a single season, breaking the 1,932-point record held by
George Mikan.

Yardley's son Rob, called him "a wonderful father and a legend
in Newport Beach."

"He's unique," Rob said of the 6-foot-5 Yardley. "He was an
outgoing, flamboyant guy. He wouldn't even talk about his
basketball career for decades because he said there's nothing more
pathetic than an ex-jock who's always living in the past."

In his seven seasons in the NBA, Yardley made the All-Star team
every year except his rookie year. He served in the military for
two years at the Los Alamitos (Calif.) Naval Air Station before
marrying Diana Gibson on Aug. 29, 1953.

Since hanging up his No. 12 jersey in 1960, he had run an
engineering business in Fountain Valley, Calif.

In addition to his son Rob, Yardley is survived by son Richard,
daughters Marilyn and Anne and his brother Robert.

There will be a memorial service Thursday in Newport Beach.