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George Gervin
George Gervin
Position(s) Shooting guard
Jersey #(s) 44
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Born April 27, 1952 (1952-04-27) (age 57)
Detroit, Michigan
Career information
Year(s) 1973–1987
NBA Draft 1974 / Round: 3 / Pick: 40
College Long Beach State
Eastern Michigan
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     26,595 (25.1 ppg)
Rebounds     5,602 (5.3 rpg)
Assists     2,798 (2.6 apg)
Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

George "The Iceman" Gervin (born April 27, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan) is a retired American professional basketball player; a shooting guard for the American Basketball Association's (ABA) Virginia Squires and San Antonio Spurs and the National Basketball Association's (NBA) San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. Gervin averaged at least 14 points per game in all 14 of his ABA and NBA seasons, and finished with an NBA career average of 26.2 points per game. Despite his lack of defensive recognition, Gervin retired with the second-most blocks of any NBA guard.

Contents

Career

Nicknamed Iceman for his cool demeanor on the court, Gervin was primarily known for his scoring talents. He led teams at both Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Long Beach State. After leaving college due to an altercation, Gervin was set to try out for the Virginia Squires of the ABA. According to legend, Gervin made 22 of 25 three-point attempts at the tryout; he was immediately signed despite the fact that Virginia officials had never seen him play competitively.

His first scoring crown, which took place in 1978, was one of the most memorable moments in NBA history. He defeated David Thompson by seven hundredths of a point (27.22 to 27.15). Although Thompson came up with a memorable performance for the last game of the regular season, scoring 73 points, Gervin maintained his slight lead by scoring 63 points (including an NBA-record at the time 33 points in the second quarter, Carmelo Anthony is tied with him) in a loss in his last game of the season. With the scoring crown in hand, he sat out some of the third, and all of the fourth quarter.[1] Gervin went on to lead the NBA in scoring average three years in a row from 1978 to 1980 (with a high of 33.1 points per game in 1979-80), and again in 1982. The Spurs drafted high scoring guards Oliver Robinson of UAB and Tony Grier from South Florida to take some offensive pressure off Gervin. Prior to Michael Jordan, Gervin had the most scoring titles of any guard in league history.

When he left the NBA, Gervin played for several years in Europe: in Italy for Banco Roma during the 1986-87 season, and in the Spanish National Basketball League for TDK Manresa team (he was 38 years old at the time).[2][3] At this point in his career he had lost some of his quickness, but his scoring instinct remained; he averaged 25.5 points, 5 rebounds and 1.2 assists, and in his last match he scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to keep Manresa in the first Spanish division.[2]

Gervin's trademark move was the finger roll, a shot in which one rolls the basketball along his or her fingertips. While others mimicked this style when shooting layups, Gervin was known to "finger roll" from as far as the free throw line.

While sitting out 3 games due to injury, Gervin's replacement, Ron Brewer, averaged over 30 ppg. When Gervin returned, he scored 40+ points. When asked if he was sending a message, Gervin said, "Just the way the Lord planned it" and added, "Ice be cool" (with Ron Brewer).

Gervin's legacy has inspired other athletes, such as Gary Payton who said Gervin was his favorite player to watch as a kid. Asked to elaborate, Payton said that it was because "he was just so saucy." He was also idolized by former NFL and Heisman-winning quarterback Ty Detmer. Detmer records in his autobiography that he was elated to receive Gervin's autograph one day as a youth in San Antonio.

Awards and Records

Gervin was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame, had his #44 jersey retired by the Spurs and was named to the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.[2] Gervin was ranked #25 on SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of All Time in 2003.

He remains active in the San Antonio community with his seven organizations designed specifically for underprivileged kids, including the George Gervin Youth Center. Gervin is beloved in San Antonio and believes that his own experience as an underprivileged child in Michigan inspired him to get involved. [1]

At the time of his trade to the Bulls, he held nearly every significant scoring record in Spurs history. Many of his records have been shattered by David Robinson, but Gervin is still the Spurs' all-time leader in field goals made (9,201), field goal attempts (18,111) and points (23,602).

Though a revered NBA and ABA All-Star and Hall of Famer, Gervin never made an appearance with a team in either an NBA or ABA championship series during his 13-year career in American professional basketball.

Gervin holds the distinction of being a former teammate of both Julius Erving (with the Squires) and Michael Jordan (with the Bulls).

On his 2009 release 'Slaughterhouse on the Prairie' American guitarist Buckethead dedicated a track to Iceman.

Personal and Family Life

Gervin played interscholastic basketball while attending Martin Luther King High School; he was a Detroit Free Press All-State selection in 1970.[4] George has a son, George Gervin, Jr. (nicknamed "Gee"), who has played for the Harlem Globetrotters and in the Swedish League for the Norrköping Dolphins.

Avant-garde guitarist Buckethead immortalized him with the paean "Iceman" on his album Slaughterhouse on the Prairie in 2009.

See also

References

External links

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