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    The definitive "big man" of the ABA

    1971-74 Artis Gilmore Game Worn Kentucky Colonels Rookie-Era Uniform, MEARS A9. "There's just no one else like him in the league," Dan Issel said of his superstar teammate. "He's devastating. He does devastating things." At seven-foot two and 240 pounds, the A-Train may have been the most powerful figure ever to grip the red, white and blue of an ABA basketball, claiming both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in his inaugural 1971-72 season while recording a league-topping 422 blocked shots. During his five ABA seasons, Gilmore never surrendered ownership of the total rebounds record, averaging an absurd 17.1 per game. Even his wife followed the Gilmore theme of unstoppable force, named Enola Gay after the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

    Presented is the home Colonels style that welcomed Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer into the professional ranks, the style worn during each of his first three seasons in the ABA. The team is widely considered the definitive ABA representative, both for its status as the winningest franchise in league history and for the fact that it went down with the ABA ship, one of two teams that was not absorbed in the NBA merger.

    The home white knit ensemble begins with a jersey with blue tackle twill identifiers reporting "Colonels 53" on the chest and "Gilmore 53" on verso. Rear interior tail holds proper "Rawlings" label, detached on one side and frayed, though the first digit is clearly a "5," as one would expect for the center's massive frame. MEARS deducts a half-point for the heavy wear on the tagging, and another half-point for scattered light staining, the only diversions from an otherwise perfect score.

    Matching shorts likewise exhibit heavy wear, with a full "Rawlings [size] 32" label at interior waistband, bearing a vintage markered number "53." Considerable "pilling" of the elasticized blue trim speaks to Gilmore's physical style of play, and suggests strongly the possibility of multiple seasons of wear.

    This uniform, and the Dan Issel representation likewise presented within this Platinum Night auction, was purchased by our consignor directly from famed Colonels trainer Lloyd "Pink" Gardner, with his signed letter on team letterhead. LOA from MEARS, A9. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Letter of provenance from Kentucky Colonels trainer Lloyd Gardner.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2015
    30th-31st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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