Former Syracuse, NBA Player Billy Gabor Dies at Age 97

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

A Syracuse University logo is displayed inside the lobby of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Bernie Fine, Syracuse University men's basketball associate head coach, was placed on administrative leave, Thursday, Nov. 17,  after old child molesting allegations resurfaced.(AP Photo/David Duprey)
David Duprey/Associated Press

Former Syracuse University and Syracuse Nationals basketball star Billy Gabor died Tuesday at the age of 97 due to complications from pneumonia.

According to Mike Waters of Syracuse.com, Gabor was believed to be the oldest living former NBA player prior to his death.

Syracuse Basketball tweeted the following on Gabor's passing:

Syracuse Basketball @Cuse_MBB

We say goodbye to a Syracuse legend, Billy Gabor, who passes away at 97. His No. 17 jersey was retired on 3/1/09. Here's the story from 2009 announcing that his jersey would take its place in the Dome: https://t.co/T14OIrGZfz https://t.co/WgjjCSO4uR

Gabor starred at Syracuse University for four seasons beginning in 1942-43 and ending in 1947-48, with two years spent serving in World War II as part of the Air Force. He also spent six seasons in the NBA and was named an All-Star in 1952-53.

When Gabor graduated from Syracuse, he was the all-time leading scorer for the Orange with 1,344 career points. More than 60 years later, Gabor had his No. 17 jersey retired at Syracuse in 2009.

Per Waters, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim called Gabor "one of the greatest Syracuse players of all time," and added, "He was always a great representative of his school and his family."

During his six years with the Nationals, the Binghamton, New York, native averaged 9.8 points, 2.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game.

The diminutive guard who was known as "Bullet Bill" and "The Human Projectile" because of his blazing speed was at his best in 1950-51 when he averaged 11.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 61 games.

He also won an NBA championship with the Nationals in 1955, which was his final NBA season.