george mcginnis
Everett Collection
  • Faith: Christian
  • Career: Athlete
  • Birthday:  August 12, 1950
  • Date of Death:  December 14, 2023

George McGinnis was a basketball player who played 11 seasons in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). In 1971, he was drafted into the ABA from Indiana University. McGinnis attended Washington High School in Indianapolis, where he and teammate Steve Downing led Washington to a 31-0 record and a 1969 state championship.

McGinnis set an Indiana state tournament record with 148 points in his last four games and was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Indiana that year. His professional career started in 1971 with the Pacers, where he quickly developed into an All-Star forward. In four seasons, he was an All-Star three times and led the ABA in scoring, averaging 29.8 points per game in the 1974-75 season. He shared the league’s MVP award with Julius Erving.

Then, he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was an All-Star two more times. McGinnis played for the 76ers through the 1977-78 season before joining the Denver Nuggets, where he was an All-Star one more time. However, the Nuggets traded him back to the Pacers for Alex English and a first-round pick in 1980. McGinnis ended his career in Indiana as a six-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA First-Team selection.

On December 14, 2023, McGinnis died at 73 years after complications from a recent cardiac arrest incident, according to the Indiana Pacers. He was struggling to walk in recent years after having multiple back surgeries due to a hereditary condition. The Simon Family and Pacers Sports & Entertainment said, “From his all-state high school days to his time as an IU All-American and, of course, to his legendary ABA championship runs with the Pacers, George McGinnis shaped so many of the fondest basketball memories for generations of Hoosiers.”

They added, “He was the very definition of an Indiana basketball legend, a champion, and a Hall of Fame athlete. But he was more than that. George was family. A passionate advocate for his fellow ABA players and a present, smiling face around the franchise, George has been as synonymous with our Pacers franchise as anyone. He will be greatly missed, and all of us at Pacers Sports & Entertainment will keep George and his family in our prayers.”

The Philadelphia 76ers said, “George McGinnis was a Hall of Famer on and off the court, earning several accolades during an ABA-NBA career that spanned a decade,” the 76ers said. “He joined our team in the mid-70s and proved to be an incredible force alongside Julius Erving – the duo leading our team to a 1977 NBA Finals appearance. Our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family and friends. He will be sorely missed.”

What religion was George McGinnis?

George McGinnis grew up in a Christian household. In one interview, he compared basketball in Indiana to a religion, saying, “When I was a kid, I used to watch the state high school tournament. Basketball here is like a religion.” It was his faith that led him to become a successful basketball player and appear in numerous All-Star games.

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