Artis Gilmore

February 23, 2012 by staff 

Artis Gilmore, Artis Gilmore (born September 21, 1949) is a retired American Hall of Fame basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA). Artis 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, in Jacksonville, Florida, 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 5 All-Star seasons with the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA by becoming the 1st overall pick of the 1976 NBA dispersal draft, which was held after the ABA was disbanded, as four teams transferred to the NBA. In Gilmore’s complete pro basketball career, he was an eleven-time All-Star, the ABA Rookie of the Year, and an ABA MVP, and he remains the NBA career leader for field goal percentage.

Nicknamed “The A-Train”, the 7′ 2″ (2.18 m) Gilmore once played in 670 consecutive games.

The ABA ended its existence after the 1976 season, with four of its teams (Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs) joining the NBA in the ABA-NBA merger, and the remaining teams, including the Kentucky Colonels, folding. Since his team, the Kentucky Colonels, had folded, Gilmore went into the special 1976 ABA dispersal draft, and he was chosen with the first overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. While not the same force that he had been in the ABA, after four All-Star selections in five solid basketball seasons in Chicago, Gilmore was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1983. Twice again an All-Star in San Antonio through 1987, he rejoined the Bulls for part of the 1988 season before finishing his NBA career with the Boston Celtics in 1988.

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.

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 – the third highest percentage in NBA history. He remains the NBA’s career leader in field goal percentage (minimum 2,000 shots made) with 59.9%.

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