Artis Gilmore, best hoopster denied HOF entry
September 21, 2009 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Basketball doesn't have baseball's numerous simmering controversies over Hall of Fame inductees, but the greatest basketball player denied enshrinement may be 11-time ABA and NBA All Star center Artis Gilmore. At 7-foot-2 plus 4 inches for his towering afro, they called him "The A-Train" for his powerful but unpretentious play, and today on his 60th birthday he still owns career records in the NCAA (22.7 rebounds per game) and NBA (59.9% field goal percentage). OK, I only posted this so I could link to these three photos.

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. 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.
posted by planetkyoto (12 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

It appears that Gilmore’s humility and unassuming nature is costing him votes when it comes time for the decision-makers to consider placing a bronze bust of him alongside the legends of pro basketball. Durham says it succinctly: "He didn’t want the media attention, and he didn’t get it."
posted by swift at 9:01 AM on September 21, 2009

Wow. I had no idea. I grew up in Indy during the heyday of the ABA. The rivalry between the Colonels and the Pacers was legendary stuff. That Gilmore hasn't made it into the Hall of Fame is an embarrassment.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:01 AM on September 21, 2009

His numbers are impressive, and he deserves a berth, but he had the unfortunate timing to play on bad teams while some of the most dominant big men at the time -- Chamberlain, Kareem, Parish, Lanier, Walton, Moses Malone, etc. -- played on great teams.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:05 AM on September 21, 2009

It was worth it for those pictures :)
posted by diogenes at 9:11 AM on September 21, 2009

It's cliche' on my part I'll admit, but when you look back at a guy like Gilmore being overshadowed by so many great big men playing at the same time, you just have to wonder what kind of damage he'd do in what passes for pro ball these days.

And I love the picture of him elbow up over the rim
posted by ElvisJesus at 9:42 AM on September 21, 2009

Hell yeah, those pictures are great.
posted by jquinby at 9:53 AM on September 21, 2009

I love those pictures because of the look on his face. I absolutely love seeing pictures of athletes who are just having fun. The sheer joy is infectious, and you can't help but smile when you see it. It's the same with musicians. Great music is wonderful, but when the drummer's just smiling maniacally while beating drums like Animal? Perfect.

Can't really say I feel like I have any more to add to the conversation since I'm more of a baseball and hockey fan, but great post. Thanks.
posted by explosion at 10:10 AM on September 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

This belongs on SportsFilter (also).
posted by absalom at 12:02 PM on September 21, 2009

I remember that final game against UCLA. He was a 100% competitor. Graceful and intense. Just played the game as best as anyone could play it. UCLA was just too deep and he didn't get enough help.

But he was an inspiration to me.
posted by surplus at 4:26 PM on September 21, 2009

Great pictures - for the infectious joy that explosion mentions, for the incredible grace on display, and for the flashback to the days when it was expected that basketball players would show almost as much thigh as the cheerleaders.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:31 PM on September 21, 2009

Stop. Go back up. View those three photos. WIN
posted by effugas at 10:39 PM on September 21, 2009

Dang, most players that tall have about an 8 inch vertical, and 670 consecutive games is great at any height.
posted by vapidave at 1:11 AM on September 22, 2009

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