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You Tube Gold: Young Artis Gilmore

One of the better players to come to the NBA from the ABA after the merger

Colonels v Nets
UNDATED: Artis Gilmore #53 of the Kentucky Colonels on the court against the New York Nets.
Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images

Before he got to the NBA, Artis Gilmore had built a reputation at Jacksonville and in the ABA as a mobile and effective big man.

At Jacksonville, he teamed with Pembroke Burroughs to form one of the first twin towers in college basketball - Gilmore was 7-2 and Burroughs 7-0.

And in the ABA, he was the best big man the league had ever seen.

This video is more oriented to show skills than most similar retrospectives are. You can see here that he has a nice hook shot and a nice jump shot among other refinements to his game.

Some of the early shots are from a series the ABA used to have with the NBA where they would play exhibition games between the leagues. So at one point you see him taking on an end-of-career Wilt Chamberlain. And in a nice bonus for Duke fans, at about 1:40 in, you see him going up against Duke great Randy Denton, a Raleigh native and one of Vic Bubas’s last major recruits.

Trivia points:

  • Pembroke Burroughs went on to become the tallest state trooper in Florida history.
  • Gilmore’s wife is named Enola Gay, leading one to wonder if she was named after the bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb used in war on Hiroshima, Japan.