Much more than a player with a cool nickname and the master of arguably the prettiest shot in basketball, George “The Iceman” Gervin was an unguardable 6’7″ guard who led the league in scoring four times during a five-season stretch — including the 1978 season when he scored 63 (53 in the first half) on the final day to edge out David Thompson for the scoring title. What many people don’t know about the man Magic Johnson once called the best scorer in NBA history was his offensive repertoire was much more than just a graceful flip of the fingertips, he was just as likely to throw down on a defender or hit a mid-range jumper for two, over and over and over again.
Thanks to Gatorade at a recent event in Houston called The Frost House, I had a chance to chat with the 5 x All-NBA 1st Teamer about his nickname (given to him by Fatty Taylor); why his 33 in a quarter was more impressive than Klay Thompson’s 37 (Ice didn’t have the 3-point line); playing Dr. J one-on-one every day after practice (legendary stuff); putting up big numbers when he was playing on the Chicago Bulls when MJ went down with an injury (a near retired Ice was dropping 30 on a routine basis and scored a season-high 45 on two weak legs); And preventing the people of Indiana from enjoying some fried chicken.
NO CHICKEN TONIGHT!
My favorite story about Gervin happened during a game between the Spurs and Pacers in 1980. Indiana held a promotion saying everybody in the building would get free chicken if the Pacers could hold Gervin to under 30 points. Gervin took this as a challenge, especially since the man assigned to him was Dudley Bradley aka “The Secretary of Defense.”
So how did the Secretary do against Ice?
Gervin dropped 25 points in the first half. And while he walked to the lockers at the half, he was yelling “No chicken tonight” to the crowd.
He still needed five more points to prevent the crowd from getting some finger-licking chicken. He got the five and 30 more to finish with an arena record of 55.
Bradley had six points before fouling out.
SOURCE: LA TIMES, GATORADE