Artis Gilmore: Wikis


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Artis Gilmore
Position(s) Center
Jersey #(s) 53
Born September 21, 1949 (1949-09-21) (age 60)
Chipley, Florida
Career information
Year(s) 1971–1989
NBA Draft 1971 / Round: 7th / Pick: 117 (Chicago Bulls)
College Gardner-Webb Junior College, Jacksonville
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     15,579 (NBA only)
024,941 (ABA/NBA)
FG%     59.9 (NBA only)
058.2 (ABA/NBA)
Blocks     1,747 (NBA only)
03,178 (ABA/NBA)
Stats @
Career highlights and awards
  • ABA All-Time Team (1997)
  • ABA MVP (1972)
  • ABA Rookie of the Year (1972)
  • 5x ABA All-Star (1972-76)
  • 5x All-ABA First Team (1972-76)
  • 5x ABA All-Defensive First Team (1972-76)
  • ABA All-Star Game MVP (1974)
  • ABA Playoff MVP (1975)
  • 6x NBA All-Star (1978, 1979, 1981-83, 1986)
  • 1x NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1978)
  • NBA career leader in field goal percentage

Artis Gilmore (born September 21, 1949) is a former professional basketball star in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA). Gilmore grew rapidly to an extraordinary height, reaching a height of seven feet and two inches by the beginning of his college years.

A star center during his two collegiate years at Jacksonville University, in Jacksonville, Florida, Gilmore led the Jacksonville Dolphins to the NCAA Division I championship game in 1970, where his team was edged by the University of California at Los Angeles Bruins. Gilmore remains the top player in rebounds per game in the history of NCAA Division I basketball.

In the minds of many, Gilmore was surpassed as an ABA star only by the forward, Julius Erving. Gilmore followed five All-Star seasons with the Kentucky Colonels team of the ABA by becoming the Number 1 pick of the 1976 NBA dispersal draft, which occurred when the ABA was disbanded (with four teams transferring to the NBA, also). In Gilmore's complete pro basketball career, he was an eleven-time All-Star, the ABA Rookie of the Year, and an ABA MVP, and he remains the NBA career leader for field goal percentage.

Nicknamed "The A-Train" for his unprententious but dominating style of play, the durable 7 ft., 2 inch, (2.18 m) Gilmore once played in 670 consecutive professional basketball games.


Early years

Gilmore was born in Chipley, Florida, and reared there and in Dothan, Alabama, — a larger community 35 miles to the north. He graduated from Dothan's Carver High School in 1967. He played college basketball at the Gardner-Webb Junior College for two years and at Jacksonville University for two years, leading the Jacksonville Dolphins team to the NCAA title game in 1970, where they were edged by the UCLA Bruins. During the two years that Gilmore played NCAA basketball at Jacksonville, he became one of only five college basketball players ever to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds over his career. Gilmore led the NCAA in rebounding both years at Jacksonville, and his career average of 22.7 rebounds per game is still the highest in NCAA Division I history.[1]

When departing from college, Gilmore was drafted by the Kentucky Colonels in the 1971 American Basketball Association draft, and also by the Chicago Bulls in the 1971 NBA Draft.[2]

ABA career

Gilmore began his professional career with the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association for the 1971-72 season, signing a record high-paying contract. He was so immediately dominant that he earned the rare distinction of being selected both the Rookie of the Year award and the league Most Valuable Player award for his first season.

Over his five-year ABA career, Gilmore led the ABA four times in rebounding average, twice in both field goal percentage and blocks per game, and once in personal fouls. He was named to the All-ABA First team five straight seasons, and the All-Defense team four times. He played in the ABA All-Star Game all five years he was in the league, earning the 1974 game's MVP. The capstone of his time in the ABA was leading the 1974-75 Kentucky Colonels to the 1975 ABA championship and being named the ABA Playoffs Most Valuable Player.

During his days as an ABA dominator, Gilmore established league records for career field goal percentage (0.557), career blocked shots (750), blocked shots in a season (287 in the 1973-74 season), and rebounds in a game (40).[3]

NBA career


Number 1 NBA draft pick

The ABA ended its existence after the 1976 season, with four of its teams (Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs) joining the NBA in the ABA-NBA merger, and the remaining teams, including Kentucky Colonels, folding. Since his team, the Kentucky Colonels, had folded, Gilmore went into the special 1976 ABA dispersal draft, and he was chosen with the first overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. While not the same awesome force that he had been in the ABA, after four All-Star selections in five solid basketball seasons in Chicago, Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1983. Twice again an All-Star in San Antonio through 1987, he rejoined the Bulls for part of the 1988 season before finishing his NBA career with the Boston Celtics in 1988.

Gilmore played the 1988-89 season with Arimo Bologna of the Italian league, where he averaged 12.3 points and 11.0 rebounds and made the European All-Star Team.

NBA achievements

Gilmore played in a total of six NBA All-Star Games. He led the NBA in field goal percentage in four consecutive seasons, including a career best 67.0% during the 1980-81 season — the third highest percentage in NBA history. He remains the NBA's career leader in field goal percentage (minimum 2000 shots made) with a 59.9 percentage.

Hall of Fame controversy

Despite an ABA career in which he averaged 22.3 points and 17.1 rebounds per game, NBA career averages of 17.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, ranking in the top ten in rebounds, blocked shots, games, and minutes played, among the top 25 all-time in points, and first overall in field goal percentage, Gilmore has yet to be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

No other player with comparable statistical accomplishments has been omitted from the Hall.[4] For the past three years, he failed to receive even a single vote of support from a panel of nine anonymous members serving on the North American screening committee. He remains ineligible for enshrinement until 2012.

After basketball

In 2007, Gilmore took a position as Special Assistant to the President at his alma mater, serving in various public relations capacities.[5]


External links

Further reading

  • Heisler, Mark (2003). Giants: The 25 Greatest Centers of All Time. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1-57243-577-1.  
Preceded by
Dan Issel and Charlie Scott
American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Brian Taylor (basketball)
Preceded by
Mel Daniels
American Basketball Association Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Billy Cunningham
Preceded by
Warren Jabali
American Basketball Association All Star Game Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Freddie Lewis
Preceded by
Julius Erving
American Basketball Association Playoffs Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Julius Erving


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