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NBA 75 Series: #42 Bob McAdoo

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

Coming in at #42 on my NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time is one of the most lethal scorers of all time, a champion, and a great all around player, Bob McAdoo. McAdoo was born on September 25, 1951, to his father Robert, and mother Vandalia. He was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he would attend Ben L. Smith High School where he was a multi-sport athlete doing basketball, track, and being a saxophone player in the marching band.

He helped lead Smith to the state basketball semifinals and to the state track tournament his senior year, where he would break the state record for high-jumping of 6’7, besting his future college teammate in Bobby Jones. Coming out of high school, McAdoo lacked the test scores to initially play for a Division I school, so he chose to play for a junior college in Vincennes University from 1969-1971, helping lead them to the championship in 1970 while McAdoo added 27 points.

He would be named a junior college All-American in 1971. McAdoo would improve his averages from his freshman and sophomore season in points(19.3 to 25), and rebounds (10-11) per game. After two massively productive years at Vincennes, McAdoo made his way to play for the legendary Dean Smith and the North Carolina Tar Heels. He was the only junior college player Dean Smith ever recruited in his career, and he sure didn’t make a mistake, as McAdoo, with the help of Jones, helped lead the Tar Heels to a 26-5 record and a Final Four appearance.

He would average over 19 points and 10 rebounds during the season while also being named a first team All-American, and being named MVP of the ACC Tournament. McAdoo would fight for hardship, and win, to enter the 1972 NBA Draft and leave college early. He would go on to be selected No.2 overall in the draft by the Buffalo Braves (now Los Angeles Clippers), after there were rumors and contract disputes that prevented McAdoo from going first overall to the Portland Trail Blazers, with them ultimately selecting LaRue Martin.. Yikes.

McAdoo would make the Blazers quickly regret their decision as he ultimately became one of the best scoring and shooting forwards in NBA history, who possessed one of the most potent offensive packages the league has ever seen, similar to a Kevin Durant, or a Tracy McGrady that we would see years later. He had one of the best starts to a career ever, garnering Rookie of the Year honors (1973), three consecutive scoring championships (1974-76), and an MVP Award (1975), where he averaged a whopping 34.5 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 2.1 BPG, all in his first four years. One of the best shooting bigs of all time, McAdoo won the first of his three scoring championships in only his second year in the NBA, 1973-74, the same year he led the league with a .547 field-goal percentage.

His star slowly faded in the middle of his career, due to being on losing teams, but was reignited in the early 1980s, joining the Magic-led Lakers where he would win two titles (1982, 1985). Over 14 seasons, McAdoo scored 18,787 points and averaged 22.1 points. A five-time NBA All-Star, he shot .503 from the field and .754 from the line, scoring in double figures in all but one season. McAdoo is also a two-time All-NBA selection, and also won two Euroleague titles (1987, 1988), EuroLeague Final Four MVP(1988) and top scorer (1988).

He is severely underrated, due to being on losing teams early in his career, but he was one hell of a player on both ends, being the original stretch-big prototype we would see come later on such as Dirk Nowitzki, Karl Towns, Nikola Jokic, and so forth.

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