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George Irvine – Played with Dr. J, David Thompson and The ICEMAN George Gervin

George Irvine was a basketball lifer who made his mark on the game both as a player and as a coach and executive. His career spanned several decades and multiple leagues, and he left a lasting legacy that continues to be felt in the basketball world today.
Irvine’s basketball journey began as an All State player at Linclon High School (Seattle).  He went on to accepted a scholarship to play for legendary University of Washington Coach Marv Harshman, where he was a standout player for the Huskies. He played three seasons for Washington from 1968-71, and during that time he earned All-Pac-8 honors twice and was named team MVP in his junior season. Irvine was known for his versatile game, as he could play both guard and forward positions and was a strong rebounder and scorer.
After his college career, Irvine was selected in the fifth round of the 1971 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. However, he decided to forgo the NBA and instead signed with the Virginia Squires of the upstart ABA. Irvine spent three seasons with the Squires, and he quickly established himself as a key player on the team. He averaged 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game over his ABA career, and he was named an All-Star in 1973.
In 1974, Irvine made the jump to the NBA when he signed with the Denver Nuggets. He played three seasons in Denver, and he was again a solid contributor for the team. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game over his NBA career, and he was known for his tough, physical style of play.
After his playing days were over, Irvine transitioned into coaching and executive roles. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Indiana Pacers in 1980, and he eventually worked his way up to become the team’s head coach in 1984. Irvine spent four seasons as the Pacers’ head coach, and he led the team to two playoff appearances during that time.
In 1988, Irvine moved on to become the general manager and head coach of the Detroit Pistons. He served in that dual role for three seasons, and he helped to build the foundation for the Pistons teams that would win back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990.
Irvine’s final coaching job came in 1992, when he was hired as the head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent two seasons in Seattle before transitioning into a front office role with the team. Irvine served as the Sonics’ assistant general manager and director of player personnel for several years, and he was instrumental in the team’s success during the mid-to-late 1990s.
Overall, George Irvine’s basketball career was a remarkable one that spanned multiple leagues and roles. He was a versatile player who could do a little bit of everything on the court, and he translated that versatility into a successful coaching and executive career. Irvine’s impact on the game of basketball is still felt today, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of players, coaches, and executives.

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