Billy Gabor

Bill Gabor, age 91, played in the NBA in the 1950s. He was photographed at his home in Jupiter on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, holding an engraved ice bucket. "When we won in 1955, we didn't get anything from the NBA," he said. "The stockholders gave us this engraved ice bucket." The engraving reads "Presented to Billy Gabor World Champions Syracuse Nationals 1954-1955 by the Stockholders." (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Former Syracuse basketball star Billy Gabor, who went on to play for the Syracuse Nationals of the NBA, has died.

Gabor, who played at Syracuse during the 1940s, was 97. His son, Bill Gabor, told The Post-Standard of Syracuse that his father died after a brief battle with pneumonia. Gabor, who lived in Jupiter, Florida, was believed to be the oldest living former NBA player.

Nicknamed “The Bullet’” because of his speed, Gabor, who grew up in Binghamton, New York, played six years for the Syracuse Nationals of the NBA, including the Nats’ 1955 championship team. He averaged 9.8 points per game during his NBA career and was named to the league’s All-Star team in 1953.

At Syracuse, Gabor was the first player in school history to score 400 points in a season and the first to score 1,000 points. He finished his career as Syracuse’s all-time leading scorer with 1,344 points, a record that stood for nearly 20 years until Dave Bing surpassed it in 1966.

In 2009, Syracuse retired Gabor’s No. 17 jersey, which now hangs in the Carrier Dome alongside those of Bing, Derrick Coleman, Carmelo Anthony and other former Orange greats.

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