May 27, 2024

Respectful acknowledgment comes from Charles Oakley towards Bulls icon Artis Gilmore, a formidable center known for his dominance. In the extensive history of the Chicago Bulls, the spotlight often falls on renowned figures like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Phil Jackson, shaping the team’s enduring identity. Understandably, casual fans may primarily associate the Bulls with these Hall of Famers, given their pivotal roles in the team’s legacy.

Charles Oakley shares his respect for the legendary center Artis Gilmore -  Basketball Network - Your daily dose of basketball

However, true aficionados recognize the seven-foot-tall Artis Gilmore, adorned with an afro, who once served as the focal point for the Bulls. Despite the limited awareness of Gilmore’s prowess, Charles Oakley stands as someone enlightened about the greatness of this basketball giant.

A Remarkable player both on and off the court, Artis Gilmore contributed six seasons to the Bulls, concluding his tenure in the early stages of the 1987-88 season. During this period, he shared the court with emerging talents like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and Oakley himself. Despite being 38 years old in his final season, Gilmore left a lasting impression on the young Oakley, who admired the veteran’s stature, kindness, and overall greatness.

Charles Oakley fondly recalls Gilmore’s demeanor, stating, “Artis Gilmore just wants to shake your hand and smile. A tall seven-footer, I played with him in Chicago; he was a good guy and a dominant center inside.”

Despite Gilmore’s significant contributions to the Bulls, it’s surprising that Chicago has yet to retire his No. 53 jersey. This oversight seems unjust, given the dominance he exhibited during his time with the team.

While Artis Gilmore gained prominence in his superstar days in the ABA, his impact continued when he transitioned to the NBA with the Bulls. From 1976 to 1982, he showcased his prowess as a two-way force in the paint, earning four All-Star selections. During the standout 1977-78 season, Gilmore’s impressive averages included 22.9 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.2 blocks, and a remarkable 55.9 percent field goal shooting over 82 games.

Before the era of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen captivated Chicago Bulls fans, there was The A-Train—Artis Gilmore—an imposing player who guided the franchise through its early years with distinction.

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