George Gervin On Klay Thompson: “I Don’t Feel He Broke My Record”

The league’s official ledger reads that Klay Thompson broke George Gervin’s mark for most points scored in a quarter during his mind-bending 37-point barrage last week. But the Ice Man has a slightly different take on things. In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, the San Antonio Antonio Spurs legend says he doesn’t believe that Thompson ‘broke’ his record as much as set a new one altogether.

Gervin maintains that his 33-point quarter in 1978 belongs in a class separate from Thompson’s altogether. Why? The NBA hadn’t yet introduced the three-point line when the Hall-of-Famer went off in the the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets.

Here’s the lighthearted, playful Gervin explaining his take:

The 62-year-old Gervin had two immediate reactions when he learned of Thompson’s incredible feat.

First: “I said, ‘Wowwwww, that’s pretty impressive.'”

Then: “But I’d like to see him try to get 33 or 37 in a quarter when there wasn’t no three-point line…”

“I don’t feel—and it’s funny, everybody laughs—I don’t feel he broke my record,” Gervin told Bleacher Report in a phone interview. “I feel he set a new record. He set a new record for the new NBA.”

He paused again to break into another contagious chuckle.

“Think about it, man,” Gervin said. “That’s like if we’re going to have a race, and you start on the 50-yard line and I start on the 1-yard line and we’re doing a 100-yard race. It’s not even.”

“I’m saying, like, wait a minute, y’all. Y’all are making it seem like what I did was just regular,” he said, laughing again. “I ain’t mad at the kid doing what he did. But what I’m saying is, let’s let the fans know what really happened, and let them be the judge of it.”

Shots fired?! No. Take a moment again to remember Gervin’s tone. And if our urging and the excerpt above aren’t enough, here’s Back reiterating his subject’s levity:

Gervin actually can have it both ways here.

He’s obviously impressed by Thompson’s explosion and understands the significance of the feat more than anyone else. On the flipside, the 62 year-old is absolutely right that scoring 33 points in 12 minutes without aid of a three-point shot is different than scoring 37 over the same timeframe with it.

Gervin also mentions the pressure associated with his record – it came on the final day of the regular in a game which served most no purpose other than the 6-7 dynamo securing the individual scoring title. And after David Thompson put up 72 points during an earlier contest, he knew exactly how many he needed to be crowned king scorer: 58 points.

Talk about pressure. But they don’t call him Ice for nothing. Gervin managed 59 points through three quarters and finished with 63 in a scintillating 33 minutes.

So while Thompson’s name is now in the record books, Gervin’s achievement still belongs. Might the league acquiesce to his urgings and include a separate distinction for his quarter? Highly doubtful.

Nevertheless, fans everywhere should certainly give the effort its proper due. And while we shouldn’t need Gervin’s reminder to do so, it certainly helps.

(H/T James Herbert of Eye On Basketball)

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