Gilmore's career has been legendary from the beginning - starting with taking Jacksonville University on a Cinderella run to the national title game in 1970. From there, he was drafted by the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA - leading them to the title in 1975, earning Most Valuable Player honors in the playoffs. After the merger, Gilmore was the first pick in the ABA dispersal draft by the Chicago Bulls, playing 12 seasons in the NBA with Chicago, San Antonio and Boston.
He will be inducted into the Hall during the annual enshrinement ceremony set for Aug. 11-13 in Springfield, Mass.
"As a youngster growing up in Chipley, Florida I admired with awe, basketball legends like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. I never imagined that one day I might share a stage with them as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame," Gilmore said. "On behalf of the entire Gilmore family I want to thank everyone who made this honor possible. I hope to represent you all proudly."
His basketball career was blossoming when he signed with Jacksonville University in the spring of 1969. Less than a year later, Gilmore had put not just the school, but the entire city on the map.
"This is a tremendous and well deserved honor for Artis and on behalf of the entire JU community, we congratulate him on receiving this recognition," said JU president Dr. Kerry Romesburg. "Artis has meant so much to the University, from his days as a student-athlete to his current position with the school that it thrills everyone to see him receive this prestigious honor and to take his place among the best in the history that have ever played basketball."
Standing at 7-foot-2, Gilmore teamed up with the 7-foot tall Pembrook Burrows to form the tallest front line in America for the 1969-70 season. Joined by JU legends Rex Morgan, Vaughn Wedeking, Rod McIntyre and a cast of others, the Dolphins went on an unprecedented run to the national title game.
His legend grew with each game - whether it was scoring, rebounding or blocking shots. In just two years at JU, Gilmore scored more than 1,200 points, set the school record with more than 1,000 rebounds and blocked more than 300 shots - recording at least 12 triple-doubles in his career.
Today, Gilmore remains the all-time leader in NCAA history for rebounds per game average for a career at 22.7 - a record that has stood for 40 years.