Believe it or not, the first Elvin Hayes appearance for a basketball team was as a benchwarmer for his high school’s junior varsity team. The 6’5” Hayes couldn’t shoot, and was routinely laughed at by his teammates. But Hayes took the criticism to heart, working on his game during the off season and returning to eventually leading his high school team to a state championship.
The work Hayes did during high school continued to pay off. In 1966, Hayes, alongside Don Chaney, became one of the first two African American basketball players at the University of Houston. He led the Houston Cougars to the NCAA tournament multiple times over his college career, but perhaps the best known NCAA-level Elvin Hayes appearance came on January 20, 1968. “Big E,” as Hayes was nicknamed, face Lew Alcindor and the UCLA Bruins in the first-ever nationally televised regular season college basketball game. In front of a record 52,693 fans at the Houston Astrodome, Hayes scored 39 points and had 15 rebounds to defeat the Bruins and end their 47-game winning stream. That game as since been dubbed the “Game of the Century.”
Hayes’s NBA career is equally as distinguished. He was drafted by the San Diego Rockets, and split his time between the Rockets (who would eventually become the Houston Rockets) and the Washington Bullets, becoming a regular NBA scoring and rebounding leader. He helped the Bullets to the 1978 NBA title, and he played in twelve straight NBA All-Star Games from 1969 to 1980.
**Elvin Hayes Speaker**
One of the most famous Elvin Hayes speaker moments came after he’d retired from the NBA. Hayes elected to return to the University of Houston to finish the last thirty credit hours he needed for his undergraduate degree. When interviewed about his return to school, Hayes explained: “I played 16 years of pro basketball, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
**Elvin Hayes Appearance**
During his 16 seasons of professional basketball, there was an Elvin Hayes appearance in nearly every game his teams played. In fact, during his 16 years, Hayes never missed more than two games in any given season.
**Elvin Hayes Endorsement**
A momentous Elvin Hayes endorsement cam in the 1996-97 NBA basketball season when Hayes was naed to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
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