Bob McAdoo

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Buffalo Braves NBA Star

Many of the figures in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame engraved images in our collective memory over years of sustained excellence. Other stars burned brightly for a shorter time, creating memories crafted from a few outstanding moments instead of a lifetime’s statistics. However, no athlete in Buffalo’s professional sports history left a more indelible impression in such a short Buffalo career as Bob McAdoo, who crammed a career’s worth of achievements into a five-year stay in the Queen City. Bob joined the expansion Braves in their third season, 1972-73. McAdoo’s impact was immediate, significant and indicated that a solid foundation for the future was being built. With NBA Rookie-of-the-Year McAdoo as the cornerstone and the addition of Jim McMillian, Randy Smith, Garfield Heard, and Ernie DiGregorio, the future arrived early in Buffalo in 1973-74.

McAdoo led the NBA in scoring (30.6 points per game) and field goal percentage (.547) in 1973-74, and led the upstart Braves to their first playoff appearance in the tough Atlantic Division. Their opponents were the legendary Boston Celtics of Havlicek and White, Cowens and Nelson. These Bostonians were the eventual league champs that year, but for six exhilarating games in the spring of 1974, the Braves stool toe-to-toe with the Goliath in green and captured the imagination of Buffalo sports fans everywhere. McAdoo’s brief career in Buffalo was marked by lofty achievement, but that single playoff series against the Celtics was the signature event, the exclamation point which fans recall vividly to this day. Bob’s 33.3 point series average and Game 6 heroics nearly provided the Braves with the upset they richly deserved.

The Braves, paced by McAdoo, remained contenders for the next 2 seasons. In 1974-75, the team and its star reached their apex: the team with 49 victories and McAdoo with a second scoring title and selection as a First-Team-All-Star. His scoring average of 34.5 points per game has been exceeded only twice since; by Michael Jordan in 1986-87 and 1987-88. Mac completed his remarkable run with a third consecutive scoring title in 1975-76.

While McAdoo is remembered as an outstanding scorer, he also was an unselfish team player, whose overall play elevated and inspired his teammates. Mac’s point parade was also notable for the fact that, at 6-11, he possessed a deadly outside shot uncommon among big men at that time. Mac played for seven teams after leaving Buffalo, and he earned a Championship ring in 1984-85 as a Los Angeles Laker. He finished his career with an impressive total of seven seasons during which he averaged 20 points per game. 1995 was Bob McAdoo’s opportunity to hear the cheers once again as he took his rightful place among Buffalo’s sports elite.