Artis Gilmore

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Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore.jpg
Gilmore in 2011
Personal information
Born (1949-09-21) September 21, 1949 (age 70)
Chipley, Florida
NationalityAmerican
Listed height7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
Listed weight240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High schoolCarver (Dothan, Alabama)
College
NBA draft1971 / Round: 7 / Pick: 117th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career1971–1989
PositionCenter
Number53
Career history
19711976Kentucky Colonels
19761982Chicago Bulls
19821987San Antonio Spurs
1987Chicago Bulls
1988Boston Celtics
1988–1989Arimo Bologna
Career highlights and awards
Career ABA and NBA statistics
Points24,941 (18.8 ppg)
Rebounds16,330 (12.3 rpg)
Assists3,050 (2.3 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Artis Gilmore (born September 21, 1949) is an American retired basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA). Gilmore was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August 12, 2011.

A star center during his two collegiate years at Jacksonville University, Gilmore led the Dolphins to the NCAA Division I championship game in 1970, where his team was beaten 80–69 by the UCLA Bruins. Gilmore remains the top player in rebounds per game in the history of NCAA Division I basketball.

Gilmore followed five All-Star seasons with the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA by becoming the first overall pick in the 1976 ABA Dispersal draft, which dispersed the players in the ABA clubs, such as the Colonels, that did not join the NBA. During his career, Gilmore was an 11-time All-Star, the ABA Rookie of the Year, and an ABA MVP. Nicknamed "The A-Train", the 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) Gilmore once played in 670 consecutive games.

Early years[edit]

Gilmore was born in Chipley, Florida as one of 10 children, he was reared there, and attended Roulhac High School. Gilmore was 6'5' at age 15; when public schools were integrated, he attended Chipley High School for one week before leaving home to attend Carver High School in Dothan, Alabama, a larger community 35 miles to the north.[1] He graduated from Dothan's Carver High School in 1967, at 6'10" as a Third Team All-American.[2][3]

College career[edit]

Gilmore played college basketball beginning at Gardner–Webb Junior College in Boiling Springs, North Carolina from 1967–1969. Under coach Eddie Holbrook, Gilmore led Gardner-Webb to the NJCAA tournament in 1968 and 1969, playing along side George Adams. Gilmore averaged 22.5 points and 16.0 rebounds in his two seasons, with career totals of 1,530 points and 1,150 rebounds at Garner-Webb.[4][5]

Reflected Coach Holbrook, “Bringing in a player like Artis who was 7-foot-2 and could do so many things drew a lot of attention, but Artis showed that he was deserving of that attention. I would say Artis and George Adams were two of the hardest-working players I ever coached, they were relentless. Anything you asked them to do or pushed them to do, they did it — or tried to do it anyway.””[6]


In 1969–1970, Gilmore transferred to Jacksonville University. He led the Jacksonville Dolphins team to a 27–2 record under Coach Joe Williams. In the 1970 NCAA Tournament Gilmore led the team to the NCAA Championship game, where they lost 80–69 to Coach John Wooden and UCLA Bruins as Gilmore scored 19 points with 16 rebounds, they defeated Western Kentucky 109–96 (30/19), University of Iowa 104–103 (30/17) and the University of Kentucky 106–100 (24/20) to reach the Final Four. The Dolphins defeated St. Bonaventure 91–83 (29/21) in the Semi-Final. For the season, Gilmore averaged 26.5 and 22.2 rebounds per game.[7]

At Jacksonville, Gilmore became one of five college basketball players ever to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds over his career at 24.3 and 22.7.[7] 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.[8]

Professional career[edit]

ABA[edit]

Kentucky Colonels (1971-1976)[edit]

Gilmore was drafted by the Kentucky Colonels in the 1971 American Basketball Association draft, and by the Chicago Bulls in the 1971 NBA draft.[9] ABA teams were interested in keeping Gilmore in the ABA and wanted to ensure he was signed by a team that could afford him. Therefore, he went to Kentucky with the 7th pick and signed a 10-year 2.5 million dollar contract. NBA teams knew Gilmore would not sign, so the Bulls strategically used a 7th round pick to secure any possible future rights to Gilmore.[2][10]

He was so immediately dominant that he earned the rare distinction of being selected both the ABA Rookie of the Year Award and the ABA Most Valuable Player Award in 1971–1972, both over Virginia Squires rookie Julius Erving . Kentucky finished 68–16 after being 44-40 the season before.[11]

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.

In 1974–75, Gilmore, alongside teammate Dan Issel led 1974–75 Kentucky Colonels to the 1975 ABA championship, as Gilmore was dominant, being named the ABA Playoffs Most Valuable Player. In the final game of the series against the Indiana Pacers, Gilmore scored 28 points and grabbed 31 rebounds in front of 16, 000 fans at Freedom Hall.[12][11]

During his days as an ABA dominator, Gilmore established league records for career blocked shots (750), blocked shots in a season (422 in the 1971–72 season),[13] and rebounds in a game (40),[14] he averaged 22.3 points and 17.7 rebounds, 58.5% shooting, 3.4 blocks and 3.0 assists per game in his 5 seasons and 440 ABA games"[12]

NBA[edit]

Gilmore with the Chicago Bulls, 1977

Chicago Bulls (1976-1982)[edit]

The ABA disbanded after the 1976 season. Four of its teams (Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs) were absorbed into the NBA in the ABA–NBA merger, and the remainder, including the Kentucky Colonels, folded; as a result Gilmore went into the special 1976 ABA dispersal draft, and was chosen first overall by the Chicago Bulls. He signed with them for 1.1 million over three years.[2]

San Antonio Spurs (1982-1987)[edit]

After four All-Star selections in five solid basketball seasons in Chicago (19.3 ppg/11.1 rpg), Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1982. There he teamed with spidery 6’8” shooting guard George “The Iceman” Gervin to provide the Spurs with a potent inside-out game, he was twice an All-Star in San Antonio through 1987.

Chicago Bulls (1987-88)[edit]

Gilmore rejoined the Bulls for part of the 1988 season.

Boston Celtics (1988)[edit]

Gilmore finished his NBA career with the Boston Celtics in 1988.

Italian League[edit]

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[edit]

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% during the 1980–81 season — at the time, the third-highest percentage in NBA history.[15] At the time of his retirement, Gilmore was the NBA's career leader in field goal percentage (minimum 2,000 shots made) with 59.9%.

Personal life[edit]

In 1972, Gilmore married his college sweetheart Enola Gay, they have five children.[16]

In 2007, Gilmore took a position as Special Assistant to the President at Jacksonville University, his alma mater, serving in various public relations capacities.[17]

Gilmore provides radio color commentary for Jacksonville University on the school's flagship station, WJXL. Gilmore was also a frequent guest on the basketball call-in show Ballin' with Al Edwards, also on WJXL.[18]

Honors[edit]

In 1993, Gilmore was inducted into the Jacksonville University Hall of Fame.[19]

Gilmore was inducted into the Gardner-Webb Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995.[20]

Gilmore was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2011,[21][22] an honor many fans, sportswriters, and ex-players felt was long overdue.[1][23]

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Bio of Gilmore reads:

Artis Gilmore was basketball's greatest gentle giant. Standing seven feet two inches, the A-Train was a force of nature but his low-key disposition offset his impressive physical stature, his professional career lasted 17 seasons starting in the ABA where the quietly dominant center managed one championship, four All-Defensive team honors, and three Most Valuable Player awards – one regular season, one playoff, and one All Star. His long arms and quick feet helped him block shots from clear out on the perimeter, shots that ordinary players never dreamed of reaching. Gilmore played during an era of great centers and thrived, still holding the NBA career record for highest field goal percentage at .599. A unanimous First Team All-America his junior season at Jacksonville University, Gilmore carried the Dolphins to the 1970 NCAA Final Four and national championship game, he led the nation in rebounding two seasons and his career average of 22.7 boards per game is an NCAA record..[24]

In May 2012, Gilmore was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

ABA and NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes seasons in which Gilmore's team won an ABA championship
* Led the league

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1971–72 Kentucky (ABA) 84* 43.6 .598* .646 17.8* 2.7 5.0 23.8
1972–73 Kentucky (ABA) 84* 41.7 .559* .500 .643 17.6* 3.5 3.1 20.8
1973–74 Kentucky (ABA) 84 41.7* .493 .000 .667 18.3* 3.9 0.7 3.4 18.7
1974–75 Kentucky (ABA) 84 41.6* .580 .500 .696 16.2 2.5 0.8 3.1 23.6
1975–76 Kentucky (ABA) 84 39.1 .552 .682 15.5* 2.5 0.7 2.4 24.6
1976–77 Chicago 82 35.1 .522 .660 13.0 2.4 0.5 2.5 18.6
1977–78 Chicago 82 37.4 .559 .704 13.1 3.2 0.5 2.2 22.9
1978–79 Chicago 82* 39.8 .575 .739 12.7 3.3 0.6 1.9 23.7
1979–80 Chicago 48 32.7 .595 .712 9.0 2.8 0.6 1.2 17.8
1980–81 Chicago 82 34.5 .670* .705 10.1 2.1 0.6 2.4 17.9
1981–82 Chicago 82 82 34.1 .652* 1.000 .768 10.2 1.7 0.6 2.7 18.5
1982–83 San Antonio 82 82 34.1 .626* .000 .740 12.0 1.5 0.5 2.3 18.0
1983–84 San Antonio 64 59 31.8 .631* .000 .718 10.3 1.1 0.6 2.1 15.3
1984–85 San Antonio 81 81 34.0 .623 .000 .749 10.4 1.6 0.5 2.1 19.1
1985–86 San Antonio 71 71 33.7 .618 .000 .701 8.5 1.4 0.5 1.5 16.7
1986–87 San Antonio 82* 74 29.3 .597 .680 7.1 1.8 0.5 1.2 11.4
1987–88 Chicago 24 23 15.5 .513 .514 2.6 0.4 0.2 0.5 4.2
1987–88 Boston 47 4 11.1 .574 .527 3.1 0.3 0.2 0.4 3.5
Career 1329 476 35.5 .582 .150 .698 12.3 2.3 0.6 2.4 18.8

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1972 Kentucky (ABA) 6 47.5 .571 .000 .711 17.7 4.2 21.8
1973 Kentucky (ABA) 19* 41.1 .544 .626 13.7 3.9 19.0
1974 Kentucky (ABA) 8 43.0 .559 .576 18.6* 3.5 0.9 3.8* 22.5
1975 Kentucky (ABA) 15 45.3 .539 .772 17.6* 2.5 1.0 2.1 24.1
1976 Kentucky (ABA) 10 39.0 .608* .757 15.2* 1.9 1.1 3.6* 24.2
1977 Chicago 3 42.0 .475 .783 13.0 2.0 1.0 2.7 18.7
1981 Chicago 6 41.2 .583 .691 11.2 2.0 1.0 2.8* 18.0
1983 San Antonio 11 36.5 .576 .696 12.9 1.6 0.8 3.1 16.7
1985 San Antonio 5 5 37.0 .558 .689 10.0 1.4 0.4 1.4 17.8
1986 San Antonio 3 3 35.7 .667 .000 .571 6.0 1.0 2.3 0.3 13.3
1988 Boston 14 0 6.1 .500 .500 1.4 0.1 0.0 0.3 1.1
Career 100 8 36.3 .561 .000 .688 12.7 2.3 0.8 2.2 17.7

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Frenette, Gene (August 10, 2011). "After 17 years of waiting, Jacksonville's Artis Gilmore is finally entering the Basketball Hall of Fame". Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "NBA.com: Artis Gilmore Bio". www.nba.com.
  3. ^ https://hoopsaddict.wordpress.com/2007/08/28/historical-glimpses-artis-gilmore/
  4. ^ https://www.gardner-webb.edu/newscenter/final-stop-for-the-a-train-the-hall-of-fame/
  5. ^ https://www.shelbystar.com/sports/20190208/gardner-webb-to-remember-its-1968-69-basketball-team-next-saturday
  6. ^ https://www.shelbystar.com/sports/20190208/gardner-webb-to-remember-its-1968-69-basketball-team-next-saturday
  7. ^ a b "Artis Gilmore College Stats". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.
  8. ^ https://judolphins.com/hof.aspx?hof=4
  9. ^ BasketballReference.com Artis Gilmore page Archived December 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ vhttps://dailydsports.com/artis-gilmore/
  11. ^ a b http://www.remembertheaba.com/Kentucky-Colonels.html
  12. ^ a b https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/g/gilmoar01.html
  13. ^ "Artis Gilmore Stats". Basketball-Reference.com.
  14. ^ The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia. Villard Books. 1994. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-679-43293-0.
  15. ^ "NBA & ABA Single Season Leaders and Records for Field Goal Pct". Basketball-Reference.com.
  16. ^ https://www.gardner-webb.edu/newscenter/final-stop-for-the-a-train-the-hall-of-fame/
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ https://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/030408abc.html[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Hall of Fame". Jacksonville University.
  20. ^ "Gardner-Webb Athletics Hall of Fame". Gardner-Webb University Athletics.
  21. ^ "Rodman, Mullin, Winter lead Hall's Class of 2011". ESPN.com. April 4, 2011.
  22. ^ Artis Gilmore, Tara VanDerveer Round Out Basketball Hall Of Fame's 2011 Class, SB Nation, Tom Ziller, April 5, 2011.
  23. ^ Artis Gilmore enjoys Hall of Fame induction 17 years in the making, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville.com, Tania Ganguli, August 12, 2011 at 10:58 PM.
  24. ^ "The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame :: Artis Gilmore". www.hoophall.com.

Further reading[edit]

  • Heisler, Mark (2003). Giants: The 25 Greatest Centers of All Time. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1-57243-577-1.

External links[edit]