A very special OVERTIME R.I.P. ‘Hammer’

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:10 An All-State wrestler, yea I said wrestler, out of Bethel Park High School. Basketball, he would say was his third love after football.

:09 Little known to most of us until the summer of 1979 when Connie Hawkins came over to me behind the score table at East Hills Park and said “Neal, see that big guy standing on the hillside. He wants to get on a team.” To which I said, “Hawk, where can we put him. The league is jam packed” and Connie said, “I don’t know where but find him a spot…He’s going to be a superstar someday!!” Longer story short we found a spot for ARMON GILLIAM. When we next saw him the following summer, Armon had become “THE HAMMER.”

BillNeal
BILL NEAL

:08 One of the five greatest players in UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) history, he was the second player taken in the 1987 NBA Draft and went on to drop the hammer on the best in the world for 15 NBA seasons…And could have played 5 more if he wanted to.

:07 His diet was that of a world class body builder, never smoked, didn’t drink, worked out nearly every­day, and at 47 years old, could still have played professional in Europe. I know this because he told me that the European teams called him to come play all the time.

:06 When they call you names like “Rocky,” “Spike,” “Ace,” “Skylab” or “The Hammer” it’s for a reason. For those who don’t know the history, go online and review the legend that was Armon “The Hammer” Gilliam and be reminded of his greatness.

:05 Armon brought “Sir Charles” Barkley to speak at our Willie Stargell Pittsburgh MVP Awards Banquet a few years ago…yeah he would do stuff like that all the time…During his speech Barkley said, and I quote “when The Hammer was on the floor with me when we played together for the 76ers my job was a whole lot easier because nobody worked harder than The Hammer…and mmaaannn don’t get him mad, then even I had to watch out!”

:04 Lock this in. The Champions “Hard Work” youth basketball camp will forever be named The Armon “The Hammer” Gilliam Hardwork Youth Basketball Camp. It is our pleasure and our honor to do so!!! The Camp will be held Saturday and Sunday July 30 and 31 for boys and girls ages 8-16. To sign them up for this special opportunity call The Champions at 412-628-4856.)

:03 As I said when the great Kenny Durrett passed away. “K.D.” was my best friend but he was the best friend to a lot of people. Some people…special ones…have that effect on the world. The same was true of Armon and for those of us that shared our special inner circle with him, we will remember these moments and smile forever. Myron (Brown), Coleman (Debbie), Chanel (Smith), (Dwayne) Woodruff, (Dominic) Gambino, B.B.(Flenory), (Dennis) Briggs, (Mike) Booker, Coach (Karen) Hall, “Hawk” (Connie Hawkins), Jennifer (Bruce), and Margo (Hinton) here’s to our friend:

•The Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament, the team that never was!

•The Willie Stargell Banquet, LeMont, Mt. Washington—Best dressed in the room

•The Chicken Wing night. That’s all I can say!

•The night at Station Square…Boys Nite Out

•The night he brought Charles Barkley to the banquet

•Every Connie Hawkins League game he played and brought the hammer down (and there were many).

:02 Did you know he played piano, wrote music, wrote for the New Pittsburgh Courier, considered running for political office, had great faith, would do anything for anybody if he could, is ranked among the greatest power forwards in NBA history, and Dominique Wilkins said he was the hardest guy he ever had to guard !!!

:01 And now Ladiees and Gentlemeeen here is your all time “Pittsburgh Dream Team”…

Larry “Byrd” Richardson—Point Guard; Robert “Jeep” Kelly and Nathan “Sonny” Lewis—Guard (TAKE YOUR PICK); Kenny “Kid” Durrett—Small Forward; Maurice “Big Luke” Lucas—Center; and NOW, STARTING AT POWER FORWARD ARMON “THE HAMMER” GILLIAM…and The Rest of the Dream Team: Eugene McKay, Thomas “Junebug” Howard, George Harvey, Warner Macklin and Coach “Tuna Fish.”

“DOUBLE OVERTIME”

:00 Blessings and much love to the family of Armon Gilliam and much love to all that knew him and called him friend.

This Game is Over…

But He Will Play On!!!

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