Safely in the Hall, McGinnis works to walk again

This was written shortly after George McGinnis was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. At the time he was due to have the back operation described below. He finally followed through under pressure from his wife, Lynda, who was dealing with terminal cancer at the time.

As of early 2021 he is still rehabbing. He uses a walker to get around but can drive and otherwise live a normal life. Former Pacers trainer David Craig goes to his house once or twice a week to work with him. McGinnis considers the struggle to walk without assistance his greatest athletic challenge. I wrote an article on it for the Indianapolis Business Journal in February of ’21.


One more public recognition of his lifetime achievement award and then he can go back to life as a regular person again. He’ll still have another event to anticipate and hopefully celebrate, but that will be a private one, out of public view.

George McGinnis, still basking in the afterglow of his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, will be honored again during halftime of the Pacers’ game against San Antonio on Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It figures to be the last formal acknowledgement of the achievement that felt overdue to fans who saw him dominate ABA competition with the Pacers from 1971-75, and that’s fine with him.

“This is my last hurrah,” he says, smiling. “They’re going to put me out to pasture after that.”

So much has changed for McGinnis since he received word last Spring of his selection to the Hall, although nothing changed fundamentally. He’s been the subject of widespread media coverage that has introduced his career to many younger fans, and been the guest of honor at several occasions, including one attended by about 150 longtime friends near downtown and another at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle. Endless congratulations via text, e-mail and personal greeting have flowed his way, both before and after his induction.

“I’ve gotten more attention here in the last month than in the last 30 years combined,” he says.

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