George McGinnis – Big Mac

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

The Basketball Hall of Fame inducted a new class last Friday, and as usual, it was a mixed bag of names you’ve heard, coaches and players from non-NBA leagues, and basketball pioneers.

One of the names that you might have recognized but not known much about was George McGinnis.  Known as Big Mac or Baby Bull, McGinnis was one of the best players of the 70s.  Coming in at 6’8″ and about 235 pounds (roughly the same size as LeBron James), McGinnis was a powerhouse in both scoring and rebounding, and excelled both in the ABA and NBA, including a shared MVP with Dr. J in 1975.

Let’s break down some key stats on Big Mac.  McGinnis was great right out of the chute, making the All-Rookie first team, and then making All-League first or second team for the next five years straight.

But 1974-75 was the year he really stepped up his game. He averaged nearly 30 points a game, 14 rebounds, and almost doubled his previous best to average 6.3 assists per game (which was 3rd in the ABA that year)!  Let’s take a look at the list of NBA/ABA players who have averaged 29/14/6 in a season.

  • George McGinnis

That’s it – there’s no one else.  In fact, if you drop it all the way down to 25/12/5, the list still only has five additional players: Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  That is some rarified company.

McGinnis will forever sit atop the ABA’s career usage list, along with being 3rd in Box Score Plus/Minus, and 4th in VORP.  And though he didn’t win any more scoring titles, McGinnis was still great once he moved over to the NBA, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game for his first four years.

His career wasn’t extremely long – he played 11 years combined between the ABA and NBA and was finished at the relatively young age of 31.  But, as they say, only the good retire young, and George was definitely one of the good ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *