George McGinnis, 70s basketball legend, died Thursday morning of complications from cardiac arrest. Family, friends, and former teammates surrounded him at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis before his passing. He was 73.
Born in Indianapolis in 1950, George McGinnis was named Mr. Basketball USA in 1969 at the age of 19. This honor came after leading Indianapolis Washington High School to an impressive 31-0 record and a state title. After high school, McGinnis played one season at Indiana University, where he led the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding.
He followed his brief college stint with immediate success at the professional level. McGinnis went on to win an ABA championship with the Pacers as a rookie and make the first of six career All-Star appearances in 1972-73. He and Julius Erving shared the honor of league MVP in 1974-75 before the ABA merged with the NBA.
With the NBA door flung wide, McGinnis took his career to the next level. He joined the Philadelphia 76ers, kicking off seven NBA seasons. In the 1979-80 season, George McGinnis played for the Denver Nuggets and was subsequently traded to the Pacers. He retired following the 1981-82 season after an 11-year career.
Pacers Pay Tribute to George McGinnis
George McGinnis became the first player in ABA/NBA history to record a 50-point triple-double in the playoffs, with a 51-point, 17-rebound, 10-assist game against the San Antonio Spurs. He’s one of just four Pacers to have his number (No. 30) retired by the franchise.
A member of the ABA All-Time team, he joined the ranks of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
“From his all-state high school days to his time as an IU All-American and, of course, to his legendary ABA championship runs with the Pacers, George McGinnis shaped so many of the fondest basketball memories for generations of Hoosiers,” the Simon Family and Pacers Sports & Entertainment wrote in a statement.
“He was the very definition of an Indiana basketball legend, a champion, and Hall of Fame athlete. But he was more than that. George was family. A passionate advocate for his fellow ABA players and a present, smiling face around the franchise, George has been as synonymous with our Pacers franchise as anyone. He will be greatly missed, and all of us at Pacers Sports & Entertainment will keep George and his family in our prayers.”
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