Jump Shot History and Life History of Kenny Sailors

We Miss You Kenny

We regret to inform the fans of Kenny Sailors that on the morning of Saturday, January 30th,  2016, Kenny Sailors has passed away. Please read the notice from Wyoming Athletics.

"Birth of the Jump Shot: How One Man, and One Shot, Changed the Game of Basketball Forever" - CBS Sports - Brad Botkin, February 13, 2015, CBS Sports.com

Kenny Sailors, Pioneer of the Jump Shot, Dies at 95 - By William McDonald, New York Times, JAN. 30, 2016

University of Wyoming legend Kenny Sailors dies at 95 - Jack Nowlin and Ryan Holmgren, Casper Star-Tribune staff writers Updated Jan 30, 2016


CBS Sports Feature

CBS Sports presents a short video on Kenny Sailors, Originally aired February 12, 2015. Watch it here:


Jumpshot Movie

Jumpshot, the Movie, is now available to rent online, through jumpshotmovie.com.


A Tribute to a Man, His Life, and His Legend

Kenny Sailors died in his sleep the morning of Saturday, January 30, 2016.
His funeral was held Friday, February 5 in the Arena-Auditorium, University of Wyoming.
He was interred the same day at Greenhill Cemetery, Laramie

This website is being updated. If you want more information than you find here
click on “Oral Histories” in the left column OR to access other materials in his archives
call the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming (307) 766-3756
or Email them at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Kenny Sailors shoots his jump shot in Madison Square Garden, January 3, 1946

(Photo from LIFE Magazine, January 21, 1946, p. 85, photographer Eric Schaal.)

Photo Caption: “Guard Kenny Sailors of Wyoming Jumps and Shoots To Make Score 21-16.
He Scored Seven Field Goals and One Free Throw, a Total of 15 Points”


An excerpt from the LIFE story on this game: . . . . “Fortnight ago the Wyoming Cowboys made a long trek east and defeated Long Island University before a crowd of 18,056 . . . . using the expert ball control of Milo Komenich . . . and the fast, smooth dribble and the accurate jump shots of Kenny Sailors (above), the Cowboys went on to win 57-42”


In “The Origins of the Jump Shot,” (University of Nebraska Press, 1999, pp. 205-206) author John Christgau wrote, “Discharged from the Marines in late 1945, Kenny . . . within days . . . found himself in Madison Square Garden again. One shot by Kenny Sailors . . . remains historic . . . . He had stolen a pass and then raced down the left side of the floor . . . . At the top of the key, he cut to his right and then stopped suddenly and jumped. Courtside spectators in folding chairs watched as he seemed to rise up into the scoreboard . . . . Now, at the peak of his jump and hanging-in-the-air in Madison Square Garden, he drew a bead on the basket . . . . Just before he dropped his left hand away to release the shot, a photographer’s flashbulb exploded silently. To the 18,056 fans who were watching, the flashbulb explosion seemed to freeze Kenny Sailors in the air, while beneath him men as floor-bound as statuary looked up in awe. Two weeks later Life Magazine ran a photo story of the game . . . . millions of young players saw that picture of Kenny’s jump shot in Life, and that . . . began a chain reaction in basketball . . . . Everywhere young players on basketball courts began jumping to shoot.”