When people talk about big men in the history of the NBA th name Elvin Hayes rarely comes up yet he was and still one of the best big men in the history of the game.
In 1967, he led the Cougars to the Final Four of the 1967 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. He would attempt 31 field goals, and score 25 points and 24 rebounds in a semi-final loss to the eventual champion UCLA Bruins featuring Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). His rebounding total is second to Bill Russell’s Final Four record of 27.
On January 20, 1968, the Big E and the Houston Cougars faced Lew and the UCLA Bruins in the first-ever nationally televised regular season college basketball game. In front of a record 52,693 fans at the Houston Astrodome, Hayes scored 39 points and had 15 rebounds while limiting Alcindor to just 15 points as Houston beat UCLA 71–69 to snap the Bruins’ 47-game winning streak in what has been called the “Game of the Century”. That game helped Hayes earn The Sporting News College Basketball Player of the Year.
One month later, he grabbed a career-high 37 rebounds in a game against Centenary on February 10.
In the rematch to the “Game of the Century”, Hayes faced Alcindor and UCLA in the 1968 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. He was held to 10 points, losing to Alcindor and the Bruins 101-69 in the semi-final game.
Hayes led Houston in scoring (1966 27.2 points per game, 1967 28.4, and 1968 36.8). For his college career, Hayes averaged 31.0 points per game and 17.2 rebounds per game.
With his departure from college Hayes was selected in the first round of the 1968 NBA Draft by the San Diego Rockets and by the Houston Mavericks in the 1968 ABA Draft.
Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday salutes…The Big E …Elvin Hayes.
Selected by the San Diego Rockets
Pro playing career
San Diego / Houston Rockets
Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets
Career highlights and awards
NBA champion (1978)
12× NBA All-Star (1969–1980)
3× All-NBA First Team (1975, 1977, 1979)
3× All-NBA Second Team (1973, 1974, 1976)
2× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1974–1975)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1969)
NBA scoring champion (1969)
Washington Wizards all-time leading scorer
No. 11 retired by Washington Wizards
NBA 50th Anniversary Team
2× Consensus first team All-American (1967–1968)
Associated Press Player of the Year (1968)
UPI Player of the Year (1968)
Sporting News Player of the Year (1968)
No. 44 retired by University of Houston
Career NBA statistics
27,313 (21.0 ppg)
16,279 (12.5 rpg)
1,171 (2.0 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013