50 vs 50, #12: Artis Gilmore

This year Tottenham celebrate their 50th season in San Antonio. There have been many ups and downs. 1 brand of San Antonio Spurs It was their culture and consistency. The keys to those qualities lie in their players. Always known for evolution as well as being ahead of the curve in exploring international players, Tottenham Road has made the franchise one of the most successful franchises ever. When we look back at the Silver and the Black, we learn about the 50 best players in Tottenham history. Every day we’ll go up the countdown.

12 – Artis Gilmore

Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images

Tottenham are blessed with some of the best big men in basketball history. In the past 30 years, fans have enjoyed watching all-time greats like David Robinson and Tim Duncan as well as futuristic Hall-of-Famers like Pau Gasol and possibly LaMarcus Aldridge patrol the paint.

The one who should be on that list but gets left out at times is the great Artis Gilmore. The Hall-of-Famer made All-ABA or All-NBA teams in 11 of his 17 years as a professional, won an ABA Championship and an ABA MVP award, and ranked fifth all-time in total rebounds and fourth in total blocks in ABA/NBA history. A-Train has been a force in the paint throughout his entire career, leading the league in field goals percentage multiple times and breaking the top ten in Tottenham franchise history in rebounds and blocks despite spending only five seasons in San Antonio. His numbers put him in rare companionship, but he’s somehow not as well known as his peers, even to Spurs fans.

There are many reasons behind Gilmore’s relatively low profile. The 7’2″ Giant was often reprimanded for being quiet and not as passionate about control as some of his contemporaries despite having enormous physical advantages over his opponents. For Spurs fans, the fact that he joined the franchise towards the end of his career and was part of some early ’80s teams that simply couldn’t get over the hump probably hurt his vision. He too is inevitably compared to two of the few big men who were actually noticeably better than him in Duncan and Robinson. But make no mistake: Despite spending only a few years in the Alamo City, Gilmore was one of the best talents the franchise had ever seen. His averages of 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks at 62 percent of shooting with Spurs makes that very clear.

It’s fairly easy and understandable to overlook most players from the late ’70s to early ’80s from Tottenham teams that simply cannot compete in terms of achievements with those of the late ’90s and beyond. But looking back gives us a chance to really recognize and admire the amount of talent that has passed through San Antonio over the decades. When Artis Gilmore is the third best man in the history of your franchise, you have no choice but to admit that you were blessed as a fan.

Next: The Biggest Free Agent Signing in Franchise History?


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