Without a doubt, George Gervin is easily one of the greatest and most versatile scorers in history. His showmanship was remarkable, and there’s no wonder he is a 12-time NBA All-Star and the 1980 All-Star MVP. However, “Iceman” felt that he should’ve copped that feat three times if it wasn’t for Pat Riley.
The ice was hot
Riley coached an All-Star team nine times throughout his Hall of Fame coaching career. But the one that stood out the most for Gervin was the 1985 All-Star game, known to some as the infamous “Freeze Out” game (due to the allegations that Isiah Thomas was preventing the ball from getting to the hands of Michael Jordan).
According to Gervin, he was in the zone that game, and he was certain he was the best player on the floor. But for some reason, Riley, the coach of the West All-Stars, decided to bench him, preventing “Iceman” from scoring more buckets.
“I think I could have got MVP that [’85 All-Star] game,” Gervin told The Post Game in 2017. “[But] Pat Riley took me out.”
Gervin doesn’t remember exactly when, but he added that the 1985 All-Star game wasn’t the only time Riley did that to him.
“Pat Riley did me like that twice,” he continued. “I hope Pat hears it too. You dogged me twice. Every time I see him. ‘You know you dogged me man. No hard feelings, but you did dog me.’ In another All-Star Game, he was the coach. He didn’t play me and I was going off and he sat me down the whole fourth quarter.”
Numbers don’t lie
We may never precisely know how the All-Star MVP is being determined. Surely, metrics are being used, but definitely, the decision-makers rely largely on individual player stats from the team that won the game. In the case of the 1985 All-Star game, the West beat the East 140-129, so the MVP should come from West All-Stars.
In line with Gervin’s claim regarding that game, it appears that he was most likely an MVP candidate that game. In 25 minutes of action, “Iceman” dropped 23 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and an assist.
Delving into it a bit, Gervin’s scoring was impeccable, but he evidently failed to impress in other aspects. The other two notable candidates were Magic Johnson, who unsurprisingly tallied 21 points, 15 assists, and 5 rebounds, and Ralph Sampson, who logged 24 points and 10 rebounds. But in the end, it was Sampson who was crowned All-Star MVP.
Gervin may have never won another All-Star MVP after 1980, but in the eyes of old-school basketball fans, “Iceman” was undeniably one of the brightest stars of his generation.