Basketball Hall of Famer George “The Iceman” Gervin smooths it out with Weareregalradio.com editorial director Kyle Means in an exclusive interview.
Gervin, coach of the Ghost Ballers in the Big3, gives his candid thoughts on the growth of the second-year league that has extended the time in the spotlight for so many former NBA players including himself and dozens of players who take the court each week to play 3-on-3 ball. The league put on its second championship game on Aug. 24th in Brooklyn.
“It’s real good interest,” Gervin said of the league’s increasing exposure in 2018. “A lot of interesting things, the guys come to play, they really put on a good show.”
A reported 14,675 fans attended four games played during the evening of June 29th at Chicago’s United Center, where this interview was recorded. On the brink of the NBA’s latest off-season free agency extravaganza Gervin expressed similar confusion to the position his San Antonio Spurs were in with former star Kawhi Leonard as everyone else had prior to his being traded to Toronto.
Like many, the Iceman thought it possible Leonard could end up in Los Angeles with LeBron James and Paul George, a situation that wouldn’t happen eventually but one he doesn’t fault due to one word — “rights,” although he says “superteams aren’t his thing,” staying in lockstep with most players of his generation.
Gervin had plenty thoughts on what makes the league go round today including super-teams and great marketing, which could make some fans forget about the exploits of Gervin and the other great players from his era but the Iceman sees that as an unbelievable concept.
“You can’t forget about me, forget about what I done,” Gervin said. “When you talk about records today, they’ll say ‘since somebody did it’… ‘ain’t nobody got 30 points since so-and-so did it…’ so they got to bring us back because we’re the ones that got them, we the ones got the big numbers.”
In the case of Gervin, one outstanding record of his was his record for most points in a quarter in an NBA game (33), a record broken by Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson in 2015 (37) though his mark was aided with 9 3-pointers (another NBA record).
Gervin, who didn’t have the benefit of a 3-point shot back in 1978 when he made his record, has in the past questioned the validity of Thompson’s feat and reiterated with WARR a need for proper context when assessing what he and other players did in the by-gone era of pro basketball.
“How you gonna say what somebody did and you never saw them?,” Gervin said. “People believe what they see…they don’t show us. I got 63 in 33 minutes, they don’t know nothing about that. I shot 51 percent career. Hell, I got 26,500 points. All you know is what they tell you today, cause our babies don’t do history.”
Gervin also spoke on ending his pro basketball career in Chicago and what he saw in a young Michael Jordan, with whom he shared top billing on the Bulls during Jordan’s second NBA year (1985-86), which would be Gervin’s last.
“I got a chance to see him grow, I saw his desire as a basketball player, I knew he had potential,” Gervin said. “You only look at potential and you see what (Jordan) turned out to be, one of the greatest to ever do it…they were more looking up to me, if they wasn’t they was crazy.”
Still, with over 30 years past since his last NBA action, Gervin has another home in the Big 3 and he fits in with a coaching family in that league that features some of the greatest players ever. In fact, fellow Hall of Famers and Big3 coaches Rick Barry and Gary Payton both crashed this interview, all the way the Iceman kept his cool no matter who was in the room.
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