George Gervin On Why He Refused To Play For The ‘Showtime’ Los Angeles Lakers

Mary Raleigh
18/10/2023

The Spurs’ legend explains why he refused to play for the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy.

George Gervin is one of the most iconic players in the history of the San Antonio Spurs. With 12 seasons played for the franchise (ABA & NBA), he is one of the most memorable superstars of the ’70s and was desired by the Showtime Lakers to form an incredible superteam late in his career.

Recently, the legendary “Iceman” spoke with Vincent Goodwill, on the “Good Word” podcast on Yahoo Sports, and revealed that he had the opportunity to join the Lakers before signing a contract with the Spurs. However, his goal was not to join the Los Angeles team but to defeat them.

“I don’t regret it at all. I come from an era where I loved to compete and embrace challenges. Angelo Drossus, the owner of the Spurs, approached me before I signed a contract and said, ‘The Lakers are offering three first-round picks for you, and the decision is yours.’ I responded, ‘I don’t want to play with the Lakers; I want to beat the Lakers!'”

Gervin played in an era where switching teams and forming superteams were not even options. In the NBA of his time, superstars aimed to compete against one another rather than join forces.

“I didn’t believe in winning at all costs because, in the end, it’s just a game. When everything is said and done, if you had the chance to do it all over again, would you? I said, ‘Oh, hell no!'”, he said at last.

How Many Championships Would’ve George Gervin Won With The Lakers?

Speculating about the scenario of George Gervin joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980 alongside the likes of Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a tantalizing thought. The combination of Gervin’s scoring prowess and the Lakers’ already formidable roster would have presented a daunting challenge to any opponent in the league.

The ’80s Lakers were known for their Showtime style of play, and Gervin’s smooth offensive repertoire, exemplified by his iconic “finger roll,” would have seamlessly blended into their fast-paced, high-scoring approach. This hypothetical merger might have propelled the Lakers to even greater heights, potentially securing multiple NBA championships during that era.

The Lakers won the championship in 1980, 1982, and 1985, but they could have won even more titles if they had Gervin on the lineup from 1980 to 1986, the year that he retired at 33 years of age with the Bulls.

George Gervin Was An Inspiration For The Next Generation

George Gervin’s legacy in basketball extends far beyond his time on the court. His influence and impact have served as a wellspring of inspiration for generations of aspiring athletes. The “Iceman,” as he was affectionately known, didn’t just excel in basketball; he embodied the spirit of dedication, competition, and unwavering commitment.

Gervin’s journey from humble beginnings to NBA stardom resonates with countless young players who dare to dream big. His story is a testament to the idea that greatness is not a destination but a continuous pursuit. From the playgrounds to the pinnacle of professional basketball, he showcased the significance of hard work, perseverance, and an unyielding love for the game.

Gervin’s Incredible NBA Career

Gervin’s illustrious career spanned a total of 10 NBA seasons, during which he donned the jerseys of both the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls. Throughout this remarkable journey, Gervin showcased an extraordinary ability to put the ball through the hoop, boasting an impressive career average of 26.2 points per game. Beyond his scoring prowess, he contributed significantly to his teams with 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, demonstrating a versatility that extended beyond pure point production.

He was a four-time NBA scoring champion, earned twelve consecutive NBA All-Star selections, and was named the MVP of the 1980 NBA All-Star Game. Gervin also secured a spot on the NBA All-NBA First Team five times and received the honor of having his No. 44 jersey retired by the San Antonio Spurs in tribute to his contributions.

In 1996, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and recognized as one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History.” George Gervin’s name can be found among the top 50 all-time leading scorers in the NBA, with a total of 20,708 career points. Moreover, in 2021, he was selected as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, solidifying his legacy as one of the most significant figures in the history of the sport.

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