Cunningham learned throughout the season that McGinnis, a strong influence in the locker room, was a lousy practice player and his attitude spread to the younger players on the team: Lloyd Free, Darryl Dawkins and Joe Bryant. So when the Denver Nuggets, who were looking for a power player to help push them farther in the playoffs, offered Bobby Jones and Ralph Simpson for McGinnis, the Sixers jumped at it.
"He was getting by all those years on sheer talent," Sixers general manager Pat Williams told Sports Illustrated in 1982. "He was never a hard worker. Given a choice between paying the price and cutting a corner, George would always cut the corner. He was a forceful personality, and he set the tone for that team. If he didn't work hard, the younger players would see it and they wouldn't work hard either."
History tells us that this was one of the best trades in Sixers history. Bobby Jones became a fixture in the Sixers' lineup, a defensive presence who was one of the the game's greatest finisher. In his 8 years with the Sixers, he made the All-Star team twice, was named to the NBA All Defensive first team his first 6 years with the team and to the second team his seventh, and was a key cog in the Sixers' run to the 1983 championship. And his No. 24 is hanging in the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center.
As for McGinnis, unfortunately, his career took a downward spiral after his first year in Denver. He played 121 games for the Nuggets before being traded to Indiana, his original ABA team, where he lasted three seasons. By 1982, his career was over.
Next Friday: We're talking stats in the Top 25 and crossing off Jordan in the Bottom 13.