Pacers legend McGinnis dies from complications of cardiac arrest

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Former Indiana Pacers star George McGinnis, the 1969 Indiana Mr. Basketball who went on to a professional career that culminated in his enshrinement in the Naismith Hall of Fame, died Dec. 14. He was 73.

McGinnis succumbed to complications from a cardiac arrest suffered last week at his Geist home. He was taken to Community North Hospital where family, friends and former teammates maintained a vigil of support until his passing.

McGinnis starred on an unbeaten Indianapolis Washington High School team that won the 1969 state championship, led the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore at Indiana University, then helped guide the Pacers to two of their three American Basketball Association (ABA) championships. He earned the ABA’s co-most valuable player (with Julius Erving) in the 1974-75 season. McGinnis then moved on to the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he was twice named an All-Star. He later played for the Denver Nuggets before returning to the Indiana Pacers, closing his 11-year professional basketball career in 1982.

He is one of four Pacers (Roger Brown, Mel Daniels and Reggie Miller being the others) to have his Pacers jersey – No. 30 – retired. He was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2017.

The son of Willie and Burnie McGinnis, George married his high school sweetheart, Lynda, who died in 2019. He is survived by his sister, Bonnie.

McGinnis’ burial will be private, but a celebration of life will take place in Gainbridge Fieldhouse in early 2024.


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