Blog Entry

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 7:30 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.

Armen Gilliam, a former No. 2 overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in 1987, died Wednesday. He was 47.

Police say Gilliam collapsed of a heart attack while playing basketball at LA Fitness in Collier Township, Penn. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.

Gilliam, nicknamed "The Hammer," starred at UNLV on the 1987 team that won a record 38 games and made it to the Final Four.

Over at CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball, Matt Norlander notes that he leaves a big legacy in Las Vegas.
At Vegas, Gilliam was the seventh-highest scorer in school history. He put up 1,855 points in his three-year career, and scored a still-standing record of 903 points in the Final Four season of 1986-87. The team was 93-11 while he was there. He averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds as a Runnin' Rebel.

"I'm all shook up," former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian told the Las Vegas Sun today. "He was such a great person. He would take the shirt of his back for you."

Besides the Suns, he also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. He retired in 2000.

On Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Suns president Lon Babby issued the following statement.
“On behalf of the entire Phoenix Suns family, I’d like to express our sadness at the news of the passing of Armen Gilliam and offer our condolences to his family.  Armen will always have a place in Suns history as only the second No. 2 overall pick for the franchise, but the rugged, tough enforcer known as ‘The Hammer’ on the court will be remembered by his former teammates and our fans for his easygoing nature off the court.”
Gilliam briefly ended his retirement, playing for the Pittsburgh Xplosion (Gilliam is from Pittsburgh), an expansion team in the American Basketball Association, in the 2005-2006 season. He was also the team's coach.
In his 13 NBA seasons, Gilliam, a 6-9 forward, averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was always one of the most powerful, physical players in the league, hence the nickname "The Hammer." He was a strong dunker, and while he never really lived up to his draft position, he had a solid 13-year NBA career.

And finally, a did you know: Gilliam's first name was spelled Armon in college and first few years in the NBA, but he later changed it to Armen.

Comments

Since: Jul 10, 2010
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

RIP Armen!!!!!



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:40 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

Very good player but not one of the best all time in Pittsburgh.For sure not top 10.



Since: Apr 8, 2011
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

RIP Armen.

I surely don't remember Armen being a physical player- in fact, quite the opposite. I remember him being "soft". He was hardly the Charles Oakley, Rick Mahorn type like the article says.




Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:23 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

One of the best high school players to ever play in Pittsburgh.



Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies


Very good Vegas teams in the late 80's...The Hammer, Freddie Banks, Gerald Pattio, Jarvis Bassknight....everyone remembers the 90/91 teams with Larry Johnson, Stacy Augmon, Anderson Hunt and Greg Anthony, but let's not forget about the 87 team. Great NCAA tourney run to the final four

RIP Hammer



Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

This was my favorite player growing up as a kid.  Him and CB always dominated in Tecmo NBA basketball.  RIP




Since: Mar 2, 2007
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:15 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

A small bit from the Las Vegas Sun:

"I'm all shook up," legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian said while in tears this morning. "He was such a great person. He would take the shirt of his back for you."

That's what I'm hearing a lot of this morning...by most every account a classy, standup, truly decent man.




Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:08 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

He was a force in college.  Solid NBA player and despite not living up to his #2 overall pick, 13 years in the NBA is something very few people have the talent to do.  RIP Hammer.



Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

Sad to see.  Prayers are with his family and friends.  RIP



Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

RIP "Hammer"! One of the all-time greats at UNLV! Class act on and off the court and was a huge part of UNLV's success back in the day! You will be missed.


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