Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer George McGinnis died early Thursday morning, the Indiana Pacers said in a team statement.
McGinnis “succumbed to complications from a cardiac arrest suffered late last week,” according to the Pacers. He was 73 years old.
McGinnis played three seasons with the Sixers and helped the team win the 1977 Eastern Conference title. He averaged 21.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a Sixer.
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“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 Sixers said in a statement. “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. Our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family and friends. He will be missed.”
The 6-foot-8 McGinnis was known for his distinctive one-handed jumper. He’s also widely considered a predecessor to the powerful, skillful forwards of the modern-day NBA.
“Until LeBron (James) came along, I never saw another guy that had George’s physical abilities on a basketball court,” Erving said ahead of McGinnis’ Hall of Fame induction in 2017.
The Pacers have McGinnis’ No. 30 retired. An Indianapolis native, McGinnis starred at Indiana University and then won ABA championships his first two professional seasons with the Pacers.
“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 Pacers said 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.”
McGinnis will have a private burial. The Pacers plan to hold a celebration of his life in Gainbridge Fieldhouse at a later date.