- Tom Gola
number= 15, 6
birthdate= birth date and age|1933|1|13
draftpick= territorial pick
college= La Salle
*Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors (1955–1962)
New York Knicks(1962–1966)
*NBA Champion (1956)
*NCAA Champion (1954)
*NIT Champion (1952)
NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player(1954)
*NIT Co-MVP (1952)
*5x NBA All-Star (1960–1964)
*All-NBA Second Team (1958)
*Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1976)
*Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame
Thomas (Tom) Joseph Gola (born
January 13 1933, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a retired American basketballplayer.
Gola was praised as a great all-around player as a high school student at
La Salle College High School, where he led the Explorers to a Philadelphia Catholic League Championship. He entered La Salle a year after another NBA hall of famer, Paul Arizin, graduated. Gola came to national attention while playing for the hometown La Salle UniversityExplorers men's basketball team in 1954 as an All-American forward. At 6'6" (198 cm), Gola was clearly a forward who could shoot/score, rebound and defend, but he also had the ballhandling (dribbling, passing) skills of a guard, and with his shooting range and All-Pro defensive skills, could play just as well in the backcourt.
After a phenomenal college career, Gola turned pro with the Philadelphia Warriors as a territorial draft pick. He teamed with All-Pros
Paul Arizinand Neil Johnstonto lead the Warriors to NBA championship in 1956. He gained praise for concentrating on defense, passing and rebounding and allowing the other two to be the chief scorers during these years.
Gola was married to Caroline in June 1955, and they had one son. Tom Sr. served in the military from 1956 to 1958.
In 1959, Johnston temporarily retired due to a knee injury and the Warriors added seven-foot superstar
Wilt Chamberlain. Again sacrificing himself for his team, Gola helped the Warriors back to the NBA Finals, but they could not beat the star-studded Boston Celticsduring his seasons in the early 1960s with Chamberlain.
Gola played with the
New York Knicksfrom 1962 to 1966.
Gola was listed on "ESPN's Countdown to the Greatest" College basketball players as #17.
In 1968, he returned to
La Salle Universityto serve as an acclaimed basketball coach, leading the Explorers to a 37-13 record during his two-year stay. He was named Coach of the Year by Philadelphia and New York journalists. He led the Explorers to a 23-1 record during the 1968-69 season, but La Salle was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to a suspension for an alumni offering some players "no show" jobs. The school's Tom Gola Arenawas named after him.
He was enshrined in the
Basketball Hall of Fameon April 26, 1976.
After his retirement from basketball, Gola served in the Pennsylvania State Legislature, followed by a stint as Philadelphia City Controller. He ran for city mayor in 1983, but came in third in the race.
College basketball achievements
* All-District player (four times, 1952-55)
* All-State player (four times, 1952-55)
* All-America selection (four times, 1952-55)
* Consensus All-American (three times, 1953-55)
* NIT Championship, NIT Co-MVP (1952)
* First alternate to US Olympic Basketball Team (1952)
* NCAA Championship, NCAA Tournament MVP (1954)
* College Basketball Player of the Year (1954)
* NCAA all-time rebounding leader (2,201)
* 2,462 points
* 102-19 (.843) won-lost record
* #15 retired by La Salle
Pro basketball achievements
* NBA championship (1956)
* All-NBA second team (1958)
* 5-time NBA all-star (1960–1964)
* One of only two players to win NCAA, NIT & NBA championships
* Elected to Basketball Hall of Fame (1976)
* Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame
List of college men's basketball players with 2000 points and 1000 rebounds
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20000915111602/http://nba.com/history/gola_bio.html NBA.com Bio]
* [http://www.hoophall.com/halloffamers/bhof-tom-gola.html Basketball Hall of Fame profile]
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