There's not original commentary in this post; I'm just repeating things I just learned. Consider it a public service announcement: respect the ABA.
While watching this basketball game I've been surfing around basketball-reference.com, and I was looking at the season-by-season league rebounding leaders. I came across the name Artis Gilmore. Gilmore is a guy I remember my dad telling me about, but I didn't really know that much about him. Looking at his profile, I just have one thing to say.
Checking out Gilmore's profile on basketball-reference, here are the reasons you should know about Gilmore, and why he's one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
He was an ABA rookie of the year, MVP, All-Star MVP, and Playoff MVP.
He led the ABA in field goal percentage twice and led the NBA in field goal percentage four times: he is both the all-time ABA and NBA leader in field goal percentage.
In his five years in the ABA, he led the league in rebounds per game four times, and was second a fifth time; he's the ABA's all-time leader in rebounds per game (17.1). When he moved on to the NBA, he was in the top-10 in rebounds per game 7 times.
He led the ABA in blocks three times and blocks per game twice.
And he led the Kentucky Colonels to the 1975 ABA championship.
We've got to start paying more historical respect to the greats of the ABA. A lot of ABA players went on to great NBA success, but we should remember those stars that played their primes in the ABA. Like Gilmore, many great centers have their best statistical years in their first five years (look at Wilt's sick first six years, or Kareem's dominant Milwaukee years). I think we ought to at least bring up Gilmore's name when we discuss the all-time great centers. When you consider his ABA dominance, you can make an argument that Gilmore is one of the top 10 centers every to play the game.
So, in summary, at the end of the day, what it comes down to, the bottom line is, in conclusion, respect Artis Gilmore.