Known as "The Iceman" for his legendary calm in the heat of battle, George Gervin has etched his place in NBA hi">
CHAT TRANSCRIPT -- DECEMBER 4, 1998
One-on-One with George Gervin
During his NBA/ABA career, which spanned 14 seasons, the 6-7 guard/forward participated in 12 straight All-Star Games, and was named the MVP of the 1980 All-Star Game after a 34-point, 10-rebound performance.
In 1996, Gervin received two very prestigious honors -- he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
"The Iceman" answered NBA.com fan questions live on December 4. Here's a transcript:
Jason Woullard from nc.us.ibm.net at 2:03pm ET
Iceman, I hear so many stories about the best to ever play. Who is the best you ever played with or against? NBA or playground legend.
George Gervin at 2:03pm ET
Wow...let's see...the best I ever played against was probably Kareem Abdul Jabbar, because the things he accomplished and his consistency over the years in my mind, nobody can do it like him. Playing with would probably be Julius Erving. Even though I played with Michael Jordan for a year...I have to go with Julius Erving.
ThreeOn3 from as.wcom.net at 2:04pm ET
Iceman, how is it you came across the finger roll as your weapon of choice, during the time when dunking was the "in" style?
George Gervin at 2:04pm ET
Dunking to me was exciting, but everybody was trying to do it. So with me being able to add the finger roll to my game, it was really different. Nobody was doing it.
Camille at 2:04pm ET
Ice: what would you say was the furthest away from the basket that you ever converted a finger roll during a game?
George Gervin at 2:05pm ET
Probably at the free throw line. I was coming down and a finger roll went from the free throw line. The shot was something I created from Connie Hawkins, Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain. They all did it before me, but I was able to master it. I was real comfortable finger rollin'.
Lucas from ge.com at 2:05pm ET
You must be proud of your son. I saw that he had a fantastic 25 pt. game recently. What do you feel his school's chances are of playing in the NCAA tourney and of him making it to the NBA?
George Gervin at 2:06pm ET
We know there's a large gap between college ball and NBA ball, whether we like to think so or not. My son has a chance to play professional basketball, but he has to take care of where he's at right now to keep that chance. So I want my son to grow up to be a fine young man. If he plays basketball, it'll be for his own merit and commitment to the game. I go to most of his games...not all of them, but most.
Nadav Noy from kinneret.co.il at 2:07pm ET
Who do you think is a better scorer, you or Michael?
George Gervin at 2:08pm ET
Michael couldn't score with me. Personally, I don't think anybody can put it in the basket like me, as much as I admire him. He's a great athlete, and great scorer, but I was a scorer and a shooter. It made me a threat every time I had my hands on the ball. Our shooting percentages are quite different. I shot 50% career- he's probably shooting 45-46%. No bragging, but..(laughs) I'll bet your fans will enjoy that.
Freddy at 2:08pm ET
Those commercials with you from a few years ago were great -- do you feel that they lifted you back to a new level of celebrity with the younger generation of fans?
George Gervin at 2:09pm ET
No question. It gave the younger generation an opportunity to know who George Gervin, alias "the Iceman" is. It was fortunate, because I have a good relationship with young people, and I still workout and can still demonstrate the things that these young people may never have seen before. I'm very grateful to Nike for giving me a chance to be a celebrity again.
Nadav Noy from kinneret.co.il at 2:09pm ET
Where did you enjoyed playing the most, ABA, NBA, CBA or Italy?
George Gervin at 2:10pm ET
I enjoyed the ABA. The ABA was the beginning for me, where I first teamed up with Julius Erving, Roland "Fatty" Taylor, really good friends of mine. They took me under their wings and showed me the way. That has a lot of meaning to me, to have those two guide me the way they did. The ABA was truly the greatest league in my eyes.
Billy Devlin at 2:10pm ET
How did you like the two years you spent as an assistant coach with the Spurs? Was it tougher than you expected?
George Gervin at 2:12pm ET
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being with John Lucas. John is a great coach, a great communicator. He developed real relationships with ballplayers. It was fun, a good learning experience. I don't think I'd want to be an assistant coach again, unless I was with John Lucas. I think I have head coach qualities, but probably not in the NBA. I want to teach - teaching basketball, teaching kids how to score. So be looking for the George Gervin scoring basketball camp in the future.
Bishop at 2:12pm ET
George, during a game did you keep track of how many points you had?
George Gervin at 2:13pm ET
It was hard during a game. If I would've tried to count them, it would've taken away some of the energy I had to get 'em. If I got excited the way these young guys get excited about scoring, jumping around, I would've been really tired after a game.
Nadav Noy from kinneret.co.il at 2:13pm ET
If you played today,how many points per game do you think you would score?
George Gervin at 2:14pm ET
If I played today, I'd probably have 30 or so. These guys today, and this is no disrespect to them, they just don't know how to play. I'm not saying they can't play-- they just don't know how to play. The way I understand the game, it'd be a cinch to score on these guys. They just want to dunk and shoot three-pointers. They don't know the in-between game. Probably whatever Michael's scoring...I'd average a few more points (laughs).
Loyd at 2:14pm ET
Do you name all of your finger rolls?
George Gervin at 2:14pm ET
No, I never give them names. I was proud of it then, just the original.
Wild Billy at 2:15pm ET
What is your role now with the Spurs? It must be great having an active role in the community where you can make a positive impact.
George Gervin at 2:16pm ET
Right now I work with the community services department. I'm a community services representative. I go out to schools, community groups, and do different programs, talk to kids. I talk about the importance of education, and I have the George Gervin Youth Center in San Antonio. I have a Charter School, an alternative school. It gives a chance to a kid who's dropped out of school to earn his GED, his diploma. I have a facility with 209 kids.
Nadav Noy from kinneret.co.il at 2:16pm ET
What is the greatest achievement in your career?
George Gervin at 2:17pm ET
When I got my first scoring title and David Thompson and myself were competing for the title and I won it on the last day of the season. I needed to score 59 points after he scored 73 to regain my title and I was able to score 63 points in 33 minutes. That was probably my greatest feat.
Wild Billy at 2:17pm ET
Do you still keep in touch with some former teammates? What about former on-court rivals? If so, who?
George Gervin at 2:18pm ET
Of course, I still have relationships with a lot of the guys. Relationships mean a lot. To have some with some of the guys I competed against and played with, is very special with me. To see how our lives revolved around our careers, and what happened afterwards... I see Julius Erving, of course, with Larry Kenon, Johnny Moore, seven or eight of the guys who played with me still live in San Antonio... I travel around the country, so I see a lot of peole.
Grandmaster B from n224.resnet.queensu.ca at 2:18pm ET
You say that players these days don't know how to play, but I beg to differ. I think that any team today would absolutely destroy a team from the past, such as your San Antonio Spurs teams...what is your reaction?
George Gervin at 2:20pm ET
I played the game, I know the game. I know these guys are as athletic and talented as ever, but I think the skill level is down. So I don't agree with the gentleman.
Bert at 2:20pm ET
How has your son's playing style been affected by you?
George Gervin at 2:21pm ET
I've been working with my son since he was a baby. I'm quite sure he's probably developed my demeanor, has a similar style. But he's really showing his own style. He can put the ball on the floor, find people...being fundamentally sound is what makes my son the player he is today. That was taught at the beginning. And that's what I'm saying about the guys today. If you're not fundamentally sound, you can only go so far with your abilities.
Wild Billy at 2:21pm ET
Are there any players out there that remind you even a fraction of yourself?
George Gervin at 2:22pm ET
You have a guy like the big guards, the Penny Hardaway, Steve Smith, the scoring guards, Walt Williams, guys like that, kind of have some similarities to me. Even to the point where they're wearing the long socks.
Derrick at 2:22pm ET
How has the game changed over the years after your career?
George Gervin at 2:23pm ET
I still get back to guys, athletic, big and strong, but their skill level has changed. That's what made us in the old days -- we had the fundamentals down. We made basketball fun because there was some artistry. We had some Fred Astaire. We had a fun brand of basketball when I played, and now it's changed. It's not as fun to watch. We all get crazy when Mike comes on, but when anyone else comes on, we're really not that excited.
Robert from rhi.hi.is at 2:24pm ET
You say that you're a better scorer than Jordan. If the two of you would play one-on-one, you in your prime and he in his prime, who would win?
George Gervin at 2:25pm ET
Michael wouldn't have a chance with me! I know it doesn't sound real to our young people, but ask a veteran. Ask a guy who was around when I was playing, and ask a guy today, and they'll probably fight. The guy from my era would say, "Mike couldn't score like Ice!" But the guy from today would say, "Mike would kill the old guy!" He's 6-4, 6-5, I'm 6-8. He'd have to jump a little higher and come down a little further.
Jon Walgren at 2:25pm ET
Are you going to make another poster like the one where you were sitting on the throne made out of ice?
George Gervin at 2:26pm ET
That would be nice if I could. It'd probably look kind of funny right now with me being 46. I probably won't be able to do that. The one that I have may be worth something one day. It was one of the first posters created, and we won an award the first year it came out. I was impressed by it and it got a lot of recognition around the world for that Iceman poster.
Jimbo at 2:27pm ET
Do you remember any games where you got into a shootout with another great scorer where you were both in the zone, like that Bird vs. Dominique one?
George Gervin at 2:27pm ET
Yeah - matter of fact it was with Milwaukee in '77, triple overtime with Brian Winters. We were down here in San Antonio and had three overtimes. I think I scored 50-something points, and Brian scored 49, and we ended up winning.
Na from baltimore10.md.pub-ip.psi.net at 2:28pm ET
How do you change the current state of players' lack of fundamentals?
George Gervin at 2:29pm ET
I really think that I could help. I'm going to start a camp this summer -- The George Gervin Scoring Camp -- teaching guys how to stay on balance, teaching guys footwork. These are the essentials for young kids coming up, for a player to have staying power, to keep a kid from being traded all the time, or on the bench because he can only do one thing. Developing these type of camps could make a significant difference in future players. I want to be the pioneer behind it.
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