Former NBA, ABA player passes away, NBRPA mourns the loss


bill-mcgill-nbaFormer NBA and ABA player Bill McGill has recently died at the age of 74. The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) has extended its condolences to McGill’s family and friends.

McGill was a power forward/ center who rose to prominence in college at the University of Utah and later played in the NBA.

McGill was the NBA’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 1962 by the then-Chicago Zephyrs, who quickly became the Baltimore Bullets. McGill was soon traded to the Knicks, where he played his best NBA ball. He also played for St. Louis Hawks and the LA Lakers, before going to ABA.

McGill was dominant during his college career at Utah. During the 1961-62 season, McGill was the NCAA Division I scoring leader at 38.8 points per game and was named an All-American.

At Utah in his junior year, McGill was described by Time magazine as “one of the basketball phenomena of the year — a 6-9, 215-pound giant who can nevertheless dribble with the slick speed of a sawed-off backcourt man and get off every shot in the book, ranging from arching hooks to driving layups.”

In the NBA he averaged career high 15.1 ppg during the 1963-64 season. He played 158 games in the NBA and 137 in ABA, averaging a total of 10.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg in 18.9 mpg in both leagues.

After playing his last game in ABA, McGill soon found himself in debt.

LA Times: ” His two years of sleeping in laundromats and at bus stops ended in 1972, when sports editor Brad Pye Jr. of the Los Angeles Sentinel, who first called him “Billy the Hill,” found him a job in general procurement at Hughes Aircraft. That lasted until 1995, when he was laid off. A similar job in the aerospace industry lasted until 2007, when McGill says he was again laid off.

In 2008, McGill was honored as a member of the University of Utah All-Century team, and his number was retired by the school.

Since then, the NBA has been occasionally calling McGill to give speeches about the importance of finishing education.

” “It helps me because I get a few bucks,” McGill said in 2011. “But every time I get up on that podium to speak, I break down discussing my homelessness, what it means to not have a degree and looking for jobs. It hurts.”


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