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Tom Gola

Tom Gola, born in Philadelphia, is one of that city's greatest basketball legends. Came to national attention playing for local LaSalle University in 1954 as an All-American forward. Gola had one of the most remarkable all-around games of any player of his time. At 6'6", Gola was clearly a forward who could shoot/score, rebound and defend with any player at that position. But Gola also had the ballhandling ( dribbling, passing ) skills of a guard, and with his shooting range and All-Pro defensive skills, could play just as well in the backcourt. One of the greatest college players of all-time, Gola turned pro with the Philadelphia Warriors as a territorial draft pick. He teamed with All-Pros Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston to lead the Warriors to the NBA Championship in 1956. He gained praise for concentrating on defense, passing and rebounding and allowing the other two to be the chief scorers during these years. In 1959, Johnston retired due to a knee injury and the Warriors added seven-foot superstar Wilt Chamberlain. Again sacrificing himself for his team, Gola helped the Warriors back to the NBA Finals, but they could beat the star-studded Boston Celtics during his seasons in the early 60's with Chamberlain. Was an NBA All-Star in 1950's and was arguably it's best defensive forward. Is enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.