June 19, 2024


George McGinnis, a Basketball Hall of Famer who won two ABA championships and was an ABA MVP, died Thursday, the Indiana Pacers announced. He was 73.

McGinnis died following complications from a cardiac arrest he suffered last week at his home, the Pacers said. He was struggling to walk in recent years after he had multiple back surgeries due to a hereditary condition.

“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 said. 

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George McGinnis dribbles

George McGinnis of the Indiana Pacers drives to the basket during an ABA game in Indianapolis, Indiana, circa 1970. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

“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.”

McGinnis started his career with the Pacers in 1971 and quickly developed into an All-Star forward. In four seasons, he was an All-Star three times and led the ABA in scoring, averaging 29.8 points per game in the 1974-75 season. He shared the league’s MVP award with Julius Erving.

He then joined the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was an All-Star two more times.

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George McGinnis in 2017

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinee George McGinnis speaks during the enshrinement ceremony at Symphony Hall on Sept. 8, 2017, in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

McGinnis played for the 76ers through the 1977-78 season before he joined the Denver Nuggets where he was an All-Star one more time. The Nuggets traded him back to the Pacers for Alex English and a first-round pick in 1980. He would wrap his career there.

He finished his career as a six-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA First-Team selection.

“George McGinnis was a Hall of Famer on and off the court, earning several accolades during an ABA-NBA career that spanned a decade,” the 76ers said. “He joined our team in the mid-70s and proved to be an incredible force alongside Julius Erving – the duo leading our team to a 1977 NBA Finals appearance.

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George McGinnis portrait

George McGinnis of the Nuggets, circa 1979, at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. (NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images)

“Our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family and friends. He will be sorely missed.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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