It is 31 years to the day since George Gervin broke the 25,000 point barrier in the NBA. This put him in elite company and the 25k club currently contains just 24 players from the entirety of the league’s history.
Throughout a career that straddled the NBA/ABA merger in 1976, the wiry guard amassed a total of 26,595 points.
Gervin was one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, averaging 26.3 points per game across his thirteen season career.
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He also earned one of the greatest nicknames in all of sport, “the Iceman”. According to NBA.com, the nickname originated in Gervin’s ABA days, when his Virginia Squires teammate Fatty Taylor referred to him as “Iceberg Slim”.
Eventually it evolved into the Iceman, the most accurate description of Gervin’s on-court persona.
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Whilst his nickname was cool, his ability to score was blisteringly hot. In 1978, with a shot at the scoring title on the line, Ice dropped a career high 63 points on the New Orleans Jazz to secure the first of his four scoring crowns.
For reference, four scoring titles puts the Iceman on a par with Allen Iverson and Kevin Durant.
Perhaps more impressive than the number of points Gervin could pour in, was the rate at which he could do it. Of the top ten NBA career point averages (the Iceman ranks ninth), only two players averaged more than 50% from the field. One is Gervin at 51.1% and the other is Wilt Chamberlain at 54%. The fact that Gervin was not a post player makes the achievement even more impressive.
Of the top ten NBA career point averages (the Iceman ranks ninth), only two players averaged more than 50% from the field. One is Gervin at 51.1% and the other is Wilt Chamberlain at 54%. The fact that Gervin was not a post player makes the achievement even more impressive.
The fact that Gervin was not a post player makes the achievement even more impressive.
In the '70’s and '80’s, the most efficient way to score was to, understandably, get as close to the hoop as possible. Gervin is one of a handful of players who have a specific shot/move that they have trademarked.
Kareem had the Sky Hook, Dirk has the one legged fade away and George had the finger roll.
A sweeping, gliding underhand lay up usually over the out-stretched arms of defenders. An unstoppable and beautiful move that has been imitated by thousands of players since.
GiveMeSport had an exclusive sit down with the former San Antonio Spurs swingman and asked him about his deadly shooting:
“No question it was about consistency," explained. "For me, you've got guys who shot 30 times and got 30 points. I shot 12 times and got 30 because of being efficient. I'm proud of that, I'm proud that I know how to get 30 without taking away from the other guys that I play with.”
"I'm proud of that, I'm proud that I know how to get 30 without taking away from the other guys that I play with.”
The Hall of Famer sees parallels between his on-court efficiency and a couple of guards who are working to secure their own status as all-time great scorers:
“That's what makes Curry so special too; he can (get) 40 (points) and 10 (assists), and somebody else on his team who can shoot the ball too like Klay (Thompson) can get 30. Being efficient and understanding the game like that makes you special.”
Speaking of Klay Thompson, you may remember his scoring outburst in January last year.
Thompson erupted for 37 points in a single quarter versus the Sacramento Kings. In doing so, the Splash Brother laid claim to the NBA record for the most points in a quarter. Coincidentally, the record he broke belonged to the Iceman and was set in the aforementioned game against the Jazz in 1978.
27 of Klay’s 37 were from three-pointers. The Iceman, given that the NBA didn’t introduce the three-point line until 1979, never had the benefit of a bonus point unless it was an and-one.
This wasn’t lost on Gervin either who, when speaking to Bleacher Report last year, said:
“I don't feel he broke my record." But Ice wasn’t being cold towards Klay adding, "That's very impressive, for accuracy and shooting. But that's for another record."
In addition to four scoring titles, Gervin’s Hall of Fame résumé included being runner up in MVP voting twice, 12 All-Star appearances, one All-Star MVP, five All-NBA first team nominations and he was voted as one of the leagues 50 greatest players.
Though his records might officially fall, the Iceman will forever be frozen in NBA history.