Eastern Michigan University renames Convocation Center in honor of basketball legend

George “Iceman” Gervin played on EMU team from 1970-1972

A banner on the Eastern Michigan University campus.

YPSILANTI, Mich. – During Saturday’s men’s basketball game, Eastern Michigan University unveiled the new name of its convocation center: the George Gervin GameAbove Center.

The building was renamed in honor of Detroit native George “Iceman” Gervin. The basketball legend played on the EMU men’s basketball team from 1970 to 1972 and led the team to the NCAA College Division National Championship Final Four, the university said.

“George has built a wonderfully impactful legacy,” said GameAbove advisory board member Keith J. Stone in a release. “He is truly a special person to me and so many others across the country. As a Detroit native and one of the best to ever play at EMU, this recognition is long overdue given all that he has accomplished on and off the court.”

The move to rename the building was done in partnership with GameAbove, a group of Eastern Michigan University alumni and supporters who have collectively donated over $25 million to university staff, students, faculty and the surrounding community. The organization has committed an additional $2.7 million to EMU Athletics for technology infrastructure, students, athletes and visitors.

After his time at the Ypsilanti university, Gervin went on to play with the American Basketball Association and in the National Basketball Association where he became known for his signature shot, the finger roll. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996 and recently named by the National Basketball Association as one of 75 greatest players in NBA history.

Gervin is known for his charity in addition to his scoring skills. He has established several youth and community centers for underprivileged children in San Antonio, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are excited to put George’s name on this building,” said EMU President Jim Smith in a release. “George personifies the kinds of traits all successful people show-resilience, bravery, kindness and vision to make our world a better place. These traits are the cornerstones of our partnership with GameAbove. They continue to provide the vision to help move our university forward.”

Gervin’s achievements will feature in an upcoming 2022 documentary produced by award-winning producer, writer and director Michael Tollin.

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.