Many NBA players go on to have exceptional careers. One player who did that was Elvin Hayes. Hayes spent 16 seasons in the league and played for two different teams.
Elvin Hayes was a standout player in college
Hayes attended the University of Houston, where he was one of the first Black American basketball players in 1966. He had an impressive career at Houston. In 1966, he helped lead the team to the Western Regional semi-finals of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. During his career at Houston, he became one of the team’s top scorers.
The next season, Hayes helped lead Houston to the Final Four, where they lost to eventual champions UCLA. When Hayes was on the court, there was no question that he was one of the best scorers out there. At 6-foot-9, Hayes used his size and length to get to the basket, and he was physical down in the paint.
Hayes led Houston in scoring for three consecutive seasons, and during the 1968 season, he averaged 36.8 points per game. He finished his college career averaging 31 points and 17.2 rebounds per game. Hayes has the most rebounds in NCAA tournament history with 222.
Elvin Hayes making an immediate impact when he entered the NBA
After putting up impressive numbers in college, Hayes was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1968 NBA draft by the San Diego Rockets. He wasted no time when he entered the league. During his rookie season, he averaged 28.4 points per game, which led the league. Hayes also averaged 17.1 rebounds per game and was selected to play in the All-Star game in his first season. At the end of his rookie season, he was named to the All-Rookie First Team.
Hayes spent his first four seasons with the Rockets, where he continued to put up impressive numbers. He was a walking double-double, and you knew that Hayes was going to get you points and help out on the glass with rebounding. During his first four NBA seasons, he averaged more than 25 points per game. After his time with the Rockets, he joined the Bullets, where he played nine seasons.
During his time with the Bullets, Hayes continued to play at a high level and made multiple All-Star teams. He helped lead the team to three NBA championships, and they won the 1978 NBA title defeating the Seattle SuperSonics. During that season, Hayes averaged 21.8 points and 12.1 rebounds in 21 playoff games. He returned to the Rockets after playing for the Bullets. Hayes spent the final three seasons of his NBA career with the Rockets and retired in 1984.
Elvin Hayes had a basketball career to remember
Hayes finished his career averaging 21 points, 12.5 rebounds, and two blocks. He currently ranks 10th on the all-time scoring list with 27,313 points. In 1990 he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and he was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team during the 1996-97 season.
Hayes has spent time as a radio analyst for his alma mater, the University of Houston, and fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming a Police Reserve Officer. When you mention the NBA greats, Elvin Hayes’ name should be in that conversation because he dominated during his time in the league.