NBA legend Harry “The Horse” Gallatin passes away

harry-gallatin-horseFormer NBA player from the early days of basketball, Harry Gallatin, has passed away at age 88. Gallatin had died after surgery, according to his wife Beverly, NY Times reported.

After serving in the Navy in World War II, Gallatin attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Truman State University) and led the basketball team to a 59-4 record in two years. The Knicks drafted him in 1948.

At 6’6 Gallatin, a ferocious rebounder, played 9 seasons for the Knicks and 746 consecutive games in a postwar era when pro basketball was a low-paid game for smaller, thinner men.

Gallatin left his mark in basketball history, as a bruising rebounding forward/center was a 7-time All-Star, never missed a game in his 10-year playing career, from 1948 to 1958, and who grabbed 33 rebounds in a game against the Fort Wayne Pistons on March 15, 1953. Gallatin is also a Hall of Famer.

At 6’6 Gallatin wasn’t the biggest of the bigs on the court, and yet he never averaged below 10.1 rebounds per game in 7 consecutive NBA years. He led the NBA in rebounds per game (15.3 rpg) and total rebounds (1098) in 1953-54.

After his playing career, he had a successful four-year run as the head basketball coach at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

In 1962, he returned to the N.B.A. to coach the St. Louis Hawks. That season, the Hawks reached the division finals, and he was named the N.B.A.’s coach of the year. After three seasons in St. Louis, he coached the Knicks briefly in 1965.

Gallatin was also the favorite player of former NBA Commissioner David Stern, as is mentioned in David Halberstam’s book “Michael Jordan and the World He Made”.

Gallatin once told the NY Times:
“I think the difference between modern players and the pioneers is that we probably would have played for nothing. Of course, we didn’t tell the owners that.”

Along with being a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Gallatin is also a member of the SIU Edwardsville Athletics Hall of Fame, the Truman State University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame, the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Hall of Fame, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame, and the SIU Salukis Hall of Fame.

Gallatin played 10 years in the NBA and BAA, 9 of them with the NY Knicks. He appeared in total of 682 games. In the NBA Gallatin averaged 13.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg.

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