Artis Gilmore, the 7-foot-2 “A-train” who imposed his will on the American Basketball Association during the first stage of his Hall of Fame career, has joined the rapidly growing Dropping Dimes Foundation with a similarly forceful mission: to help his ailing brothers.
“There are a lot of guys out there who really need an assist, players who helped change the game who are now hurting,” Gilmore said from his home in Florida. “This Foundation is making a difference, and I wanted to lend my support.”
Gilmore’s addition brings to 16 the number of Advisory Board members of the 2-year-old Foundation, including nine other Hall of Famers: Bob Costas, Louie Dampier, Mel Daniels (in memoriam), George Gervin, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, Bobby Leonard, Reggie Miller and Peter Vecsey. Other ABA legends on the board are Mack Calvin, Bob Netolicky, David Craig, Nancy Leonard, George McGinnis and Brian Taylor.
“We’re incredibly honored to welcome Artis to our advisory board. The extent to which these great Hall of Famers and basketball legends are stepping up to help former players in need is truly humbling, and it says a lot about the brotherhood of the ABA”, said DDF President Scott Tarter, who is joined on the Operating Board by Dr. John Abrams and film producer Ted Green. “Artis told me he’d seen some of the things we’ve been doing for former ABA players in need and that he really wanted to join in and do what he could to support us in those efforts,” said Tarter.
After leading little-regarded Jacksonville University to the 1970 NCAA title game, Gilmore played his first five seasons in the ABA, all with the Kentucky Colonels. His impact was immediate and dramatic: He led the league in total rebounds every year and in blocked shots three times, won the league’s MVP his rookie season, won the All-Star game MVP in 1974 and led the Colonels to the championship in 1975.
He went on to play 12 seasons in the NBA, mostly with Chicago and San Antonio, and retired as that league’s career leader in shooting percentage at .599. He averaged 22.3 points per game in the ABA, 17.1 in the NBA. He was the first player enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame by the ABA committee, in 2011.
Around the Web:
Artis Gilmore Official Website
Remember the ABA – Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore Career Retrospective
From college to the ABA and NBA, Artis Gilmore was a monster star
Artis Gilmore Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech