The NBA and larger basketball world lost a figure from their distant past on Tuesday with the death of former Syracuse star Billy Gabor at the age of 97.
“Gabor died after a brief battle with pneumonia,” Syracuse.com reported. “He had turned 97 on May 13 and was believed to be the oldest living former NBA player. He had been living for the past several years in Jupiter, Fla.”
A star for the Orange during the early 1940s, Gabor left the school after his freshman season to serve in the United States Army. He returned in 1945 and finished as Syracuse’s highest-scoring player ever.
Gabor was a member of the NBA’s Syracuse Nationals from 1948-1995, earning All-Rookie Team honors and winning the 1955 championship.
The Nationals ultimately moved to Philadelphia and rebranded as the Sixers a few years after Gabor’s retirement.
“He was one of the greatest Syracuse players of all-time,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He was always a great representative of his school and his family.”
Gabor is survived by his children, Bill, Bob and Hallie.