When you talk about the all-time NBA greats, one player that people remember is George Gervin. Gervin played in the ABA and the NBA and was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996.
Throughout his career, Gervin developed a nickname that stuck with him. ‘The Iceman’ is what people referred to him as. But how did that nickname come about? Let’s take a look at how he got that nickname.
A look at George Gervin’s basketball career
Gervin was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. Gervin didn’t become a top player until his senior year. He averaged 31 points and 20 rebounds and led his school to the state quarterfinals. In 1970 he was a Detroit Free Press All-State selection. After high school, he received a scholarship to play at California State University, Long Beach. Gervin was not there for long, and he returned home after the first semester was over. He then transferred to Eastern Michigan University and had success on the basketball team.
He averaged 29.5 points as a sophomore during the 1971-72 season. Gervin was removed from the team after he punched a player during a national semifinal game. After being removed from the basketball team at Eastern Michigan, Gervin played for the Pontiac Chaparrals of the Continental Basketball Association. While he was playing with the Chaparrals, a scout for a team in the ABA noticed him. The Virginia Squires ended up signing him to a contract. During his time with the Squires, he was named to the ABA All-Rookie First Team. After playing for the Squires, Gervin was sold to the San Antonio Spurs. He was eligible for the NBA draft in 1974, and the Phoenix Suns selected him, but he decided to stay in the ABA with the Spurs. During his time with the Spurs, he was a two-time All-ABA Second Team selection and played in three ABA All-Star games.
After the ABA-NBA merger, Gervin continued his success playing in the NBA. At 6-foot-7, he was a versatile scorer and quickly became one of the league’s top scorers. He led the league in scoring three consecutive seasons and four times overall throughout his career. The game came easy to Gervin, and he had no problems when it came to putting the ball in the basket. There was only one time during his NBA career where he didn’t average 20 or more points.
George Gervin finished his career as an all-time great
Gervin spent five seasons playing in the ABA and 10 seasons playing in the NBA. He spent all but one season playing for the Spurs. In the final season of his career, he played for the Chicago Bulls. During his ABA career, he averaged 21.9 points, and he averaged 26.2 points during his NBA career. Gervin was a nine-time NBA All-Star and a four-time NBA scoring champion.
In 1996 Gervin was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His No. 44 was retired by the Spurs, and he was ranked No. 44 on Slam Magazine’s Top 50 Players of All Time. Gervin left a lasting legacy on the game is still remembered by NBA players to this day.
Why was George Gervin nicknamed ‘The Iceman’?
Gervin’s skills on the court got him the nickname ‘The Iceman.’ He got that nickname because of his cool demeanor on the court, and he was always calm and collective when he played. Gervin also got that nickname because he would play the game at a high level without sweating.
Well, after his NBA career finished, he is still referred to as ‘The Iceman.’ Former NBA players grew up watching him play, and he was a childhood idol for some. One former player who loved watching Gervin play was Gary Payton. Gervin’s game inspired many of the all-time greats, and they studied his game a lot. ‘The Iceman’ is a nickname the NBA world will always remember.