July 7, 2011

Former UNLV Great Armen Gilliam Dies at 47

By - Kris Fletcher

UNLV great and former NBA player Armen Gilliam died Tuesday night while playing pickup basketball at a Pittsburgh-area health club. He was only 47.

Photo from: msn.foxsports.com
Gilliam led the UNLV Runnin' Rebels to the Final Four in 1987 with a 37-2 record, and was the #2 overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in that year's NBA draft. Along with the Suns, he also went on to play for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz.

Nicknamed "The Hammer," Gilliam averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds during his thirteen-year NBA career. He changed the spelling of his first name from Armon to Armen during his professional playing days.

UNLV retired Gilliam's #35 jersey in 2007 and inducted him into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. He was a consensus second-team All-American and Big West player of the year during the 1986-87 season.

"He was one of the greatest Rebels ever," Jerry Tarkanian, his coach at UNLV said in a statement released by the university. "He was such a great person. Everybody loved him and he loved everybody. He was such a gentle person and such a caring guy. I am all shook up over it. I think the world of him and I'm just really shocked."

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