George F. McGinnis (born August 10, 1950) is an American former professional basketball player who played 11 seasons in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA). He was drafted into the ABA from Indiana University in 1971.
McGinnis attended Washington High School in Indianapolis. He and teammate Steve Downing led Washington to a 31–0 record and a state championship in 1969. McGinnis set an Indiana state tournament scoring record with 148 points in his final four games. He was also named Mr. Basketball for the state of Indiana that year.
In the 1970–71 season at Indiana, McGinnis became the first sophomore to lead the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding. He averaged 29.9 points per game in his lone season in Bloomington earning All-American and All-Big Ten Honors in 1971. He played for coach Lou Watson, the year before IU hired Bob Knight.
Indiana Pacers (1971–1975)
McGinnis immediately became one of the marquee players of the ABA, playing a key role on the Indiana Pacers' championship teams in each of his first two seasons with his hometown franchise. He was named the ABA Playoffs MVP in 1973, averaging 23.9 points and 12.3 rebounds in 18 playoff games to help the Pacers repeat as champs. His best season came in 1974–75, when McGinnis scored a career-high 29.8 points per game en route to ABA MVP honors. In the 1975 ABA Playoffs, he nearly averaged a triple-double (32.3 points, 15.9 rebounds, and 8.2 assists in 18 games), but the Pacers fell short of the title, losing to Kentucky in the ABA Finals. However, in these playoffs, McGinnis established multiple statistical feats.
- Recorded the first 50+ point triple-double in NBA/ABA Playoff history with 51 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the 1975 ABA Western Division Semifinals on April 12th, 1975 — a feat matched only by Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the 2017 Western Conference First Round against the Houston Rockets on April 19th, 2017.
- Became the first player in NBA/ABA history to record 200+ points, 100+ rebounds, and 50+ assists in a single playoff series, which he accomplished twice, in back-to-back series.
- In six games against the San Antonio Spurs in the 1975 ABA Western Division Semifinals, registered totals of 230 points (38.3 per game), 113 rebounds (18.8 per game), and 55 assists (9.2 per game).
- In seven games against the Denver Nuggets in the 1975 ABA Western Division Finals, registered totals of 214 points (30.6 per game), 103 rebounds (14.7 per game), and 61 assists (8.7 per game).
- Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is the only other player to replicate this, doing so in the 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the Boston Celtics with totals of 237 points (33.9 per game), 103 rebounds (14.7 per game), and 50 assists (7.1 per game) in the seven-game series.
- Became the first player in NBA/ABA history to lead the playoffs in total points (581), total rebounds (286), and total assists (148) — a feat matched only by Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, who recorded playoff totals of 600 points (30.0 per game), 169 rebounds (13.5 per game), and 190 assists (9.5 per game) in 20 games.
Philadelphia 76ers (1975–1978)
Two years into his professional career, McGinnis was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as the 22nd overall pick in the second round of the 1973 NBA draft. In October 1974, the 76ers were ready to send McGinnis' draft rights to the New York Knicks with the stipulation that the latter ballclub signs him before the agreed-upon deadline. The deal fell through when he decided to stay with the Pacers and signed a two-year contract with an $85,000 buyout clause which was exercised following the 1974–75 season. Preferring to play in New York because of its financial endorsement opportunities, McGinnis sought a preliminary injunction and restraining order against the NBA on May 23, 1975, that would have permitted him to negotiate with any of the league's 18 teams. The lawsuit was dropped a week later on May 30 when he signed a six‐year $2.4 million contract with the Knicks in a challenge to the league's constitution. In his first action as new NBA commissioner on June 5, Larry O'Brien disapproved the contract and ordered the Knicks to forfeit its first selection in the 1976 NBA draft and reimburse the 76ers for all expenses relevant to the dispute. McGinnis signed a six‐year, $3.2 million guaranteed, no‐cut, no‐trade, no-option contract with the 76ers five weeks later on July 10, 1975.
McGinnis made the All-NBA First Team in his debut season with the 76ers, and was selected to two All-Star games in his three seasons with the team. While on Philadelphia, he teamed up with fellow ABA alumni Julius Erving and Caldwell Jones. McGinnis helped lead the 76ers through the playoffs to the NBA Finals in 1977 by averaging 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per playoff game, where he and the 76ers lost in six games to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Denver Nuggets (1978–1980)
McGinnis was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 1978 for Bobby Jones, and was an All-Star again that season. On January 9, 1980, McGinnis scored an NBA career-high 43 points (His career high in combined ABA/NBA is 58 points in the ABA), along with grabbing 12 rebounds, in a game against the Houston Rockets.
Return to Indiana (1980–1982)
Hoping to boost sagging attendance in their early NBA years, the Pacers re-acquired McGinnis by trading away young forward Alex English. However, McGinnis was beyond his prime, averaging a comparatively low 13.1 points per game during the 1980-81 NBA season, and was unable to help the Pacers past their first round matchup against the 76ers in the 1981 NBA Playoffs, while English went on to be a multiple time all-star and franchise player for the Nuggets.
Basketball Hall of Fame
On April 1, 2017, it was announced that McGinnis was part of the 2017 class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside Tracy McGrady, Bill Self, and Rebecca Lobo. He was inducted on September 8.
ABA and NBA achievements
- Member of the 1972 and 1973 Indiana Pacers ABA championship teams.
- Second Team All-ABA selection in 1973.
- Two All-ABA First Team selections (1974–1975).
- Three ABA All-Star selections (1973–1975).
- Selected as ABA Co-MVP, with Julius Erving, in 1975.
- Won the ABA scoring title in 1975.
- Recorded 14 known triple-doubles in the ABA, including 5 playoff triple-doubles, both of which are more than anyone else during the league's lifespan.
- Led the NBA in triple-doubles with a total of 5 during the 1975–76 season, along with Alvan Adams of the Phoenix Suns and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- First Team All-NBA selection in 1976.
- Second Team All-NBA selection in 1977.
- Three NBA All-Star selections (1976, 1977, and 1979).
- Member of the ABA's All-Time Team.
- Number retired by Indiana Pacers.
- Inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2017.
- Inducted into IU Athletics Hall of Fame in September 2023.
- Montieth, Mark (January 25, 2017). "For Keller and McGinnis, Memories of Winning State Never Faded". Pacers.com. NBA Media Ventures. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
- 1975 ABA Western Division Semifinals Game 4: Spurs vs Pacers, April 12, 1975 | Basketball-Reference.com
- 2017 NBA Western Conference First Round Game 2: Thunder vs Rockets, April 19, 2017 | Basketball-Reference.com
- Lynch, Andrew (April 20, 2017). "Russell Westbrook records first 50-point triple-double in NBA playoff history". foxsports.com. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
- 1975 ABA Western Division Semifinals – Pacers vs. Spurs | Basketball-Reference.com
- 1975 ABA Western Division Finals – Pacers vs. Nuggets | Basketball-Reference.com
- Quinn, Sam (May 15, 2022). "Giannis Antetokounmpo posts historic series numbers despite Bucks' second-round loss to Celtics". cbssports.com. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
- 1975 ABA Playoffs Summary | Basketball-Reference.com
- Nikola Jokić Stats, Height, Weight, Position, Draft Status and more | Basketball-Reference.com
- Wright, Michael C. (June 13, 2023). "Nikola Jokic's resume after winning 2023 Finals MVP". NBA.com. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
- Goldaper, Sam. "Knicks Sign McGinnis; 76ers Label It 'Piracy,'" The New York Times, May 31, 1975. Retrieved January 27, 2020
- Koppett, Leonard. "Knicks' Signing of McGinnis Revoked; Hawks Fined $400,000 in Erving Case," The New York Times, June 6, 1975. Retrieved January 27, 2020
- Goldaper, Sam. "McGinnis Signs $3.2‐Million 76er Pact," The New York Times, July 11, 1975. Retrieved January 27, 2020
- 1977 Philadelphia 76ers Logo via Sports Logos.net About logos 1976–77 Philadelphia 76ers Roster and Stats
- George McGinnis Career High 43 Points
- 1980–81 Indiana Pacers Roster and Stats
- "McGrady, Self, Lobo headline 2017 HOF class". ESPN.com. April 1, 2017.
- "George McGinnis Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
- NBA & ABA Single Season Leaders and Records for Triple-Doubles | Basketball-Reference.com
- "McGinnis Takes Rightful Spot in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame". Indiana University Athletics.
- "McGinnis, Rink Enshrined in IU Athletics Hall of Fame". iuhoosiers.com. September 22, 2023. Retrieved October 19, 2023.