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
Via KWC Panthers – Jim Mashek
After his collegiate career at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Sam Smith played five years in the American Basketball Association, including three with the Kentucky Colonels. He won a league championship in his final ABA season, with the Utah Stars.
Before the ABA, Kentucky Wesleyan College basketball voice Joel Utley remembers the move. Or better yet, the strategy.
KWC needed nothing short of a miracle to stay alive in the NCAA Division II tournament in Durham, North Carolina. The Panthers were facing a talented South Carolina State squad in a first-round game, on the campus of North Carolina Central University.
KWC trailed South Carolina State by three points in the final seconds of regulation, and the Panthers’ George Tinsley was instructed to make the first of two free throws, only to miss the second. Sam Smith, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound KWC center, was listening to his coach, Guy Strong, as the Panthers broke the huddle.
“You could always count on Sam,” Utley said. Strong certainly could, and so, too, can the Kentucky Wesleyan community.
To honor Smith the Dropping Dimes Foundation took over logistical issues so the 72-year-old Smith and his wife, Helen could both attend Saturday’s celebration of the 1966 KWC national championship squad, along with the induction of the 2016 KWC Athletic Hall of Fame class at the Convention Center.
Strong remembers Smith’s sheer strength, when he converted Tinsley’s missed free throw into the tying points against South Carolina State. The Panthers took control in overtime, winning 81-73.
“I just said to Sam, ‘On the second one, just tip it in,’ ” Strong recalled. “I’m not a prophet, but with Sam, it was almost like it was meant to be.”
Find out more about Sam Smith HERE.
The Dropping Dimes Foundation came together with former American Basketball Association players and ESPN Radio AM Radio 680 to help former Kentucky Colonels Players Ron Thomas (’72-’76) and Bird Averitt (’74-’76). ABA players in attendance included Bob Netolicky, Darnell “Dr. Dunk” Hillman, Louie Dampier, Dan Issel, Joe Hamilton, Van Vance (Colonels’ radio/TV broadcaster), and Lloyd Gardner (Colonels’ longtime medical trainer and biographer). Learn how you can make an assist today HERE.
While in Louisville, the former American Basketball Association alumni stopped by ESPN Radio with former Kentucky Colonel Mike Pratt to rehash stories from around the league. You can listen to the show here:
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Enjoy the gallery from events of the day:
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Be sure to tune in Friday February 19th at 12:00pm ET to hear the Dropping Dimes Foundation join University of Kentucky sports analysts and former Kentucky Colonel Mike Pratt, as they host former American Basketball Association players from the Kentucky Colonels and Indiana Pacers. The show will focus on the Foundation’s latest acts in memory of Mel Daniels, to come help former Kentucky Colonels player Ron Thomas.
The show can be heard on ESPN Radio AM Radio 680, FM Radio 105.7, or online at ESPN680.
The Indiana Pacers alumni will feature American Basketball Association greats Bob Netolicky and Darnell “Dr. Dunk” Hillman. Meanwhile, Kentucky Colonel alums will include Louie Dampier, Dan Issel, Joe Hamilton, Van Vance (Colonels’ radio/TV broadcaster), and Lloyd Gardner (Colonels’ longtime medical trainer and biographer).
Check out some great shots from the Pacers and Colonels in action, courtesy of Remember The ABA.
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The Dropping Dimes Foundation is excited to announce Louie Dampier, former American Basketball Association Kentucky Colonel and Basketball Hall of Famer, has joined the Dropping Dimes Foundation Advisory Board.
After high school Louie Dampier went on to become an All-American at the University of Kentucky. He continued his success as a member of the first Kentucky Colonels team. To name just a few of his accomplishments, Dampier was the ABA All-Time Leader in points scored, three pointers made, assists, games played, and minutes played. His stamina and hard work earned him several all-star nominations and a national championship. Dampier’s accomplishments rightfully led to his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in the fall of 2015.
Please be sure to read more about Louie Dampier and his many contributions to the game of basketball:
- Indy Star: Louie Dampier’s devastating road to Basketball Hall of Fame
- Courier-Journal: Dampier Finally Where He Belongs
- Lexington Herald Leader: Louie Dampier “Overwhelmed” by Election to the Hall of Fame
- Remember the ABA: Louie Dampier Player Profile
Dampier may be the only man to ever play the game of basketball who, deep down within his soul, secretly hoped he would never get into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.