PITTSBURGH – Armen Gilliam, who was part of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team that made a run to the Final Four in 1987 and played for several NBA teams, has died. He was 47.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday that Gilliam died Tuesday night at the LA Fitness gym in Bridgeville while he was playing basketball.
The office said the cause of death has not yet been determined pending an autopsy.
After college, the Phoenix Suns drafted Gilliam as the No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the draft. Besides the Suns, Gilliam also played with the then-Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. He retired in 2000.
Nicknamed “The Hammer,” Gilliam was the leading scorer on the 1987 UNLV team coached by Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin’ Rebels’ coach from 1973-92.
In a statement released by UNLV, Tarkanian called Gilliam one of the best players the university ever had.
“He was such a great person. Everybody loved him and he loved everybody,” Tarkanian said.
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