In October of 1968 the Sports world was abuzz about that year’s Summer Olympics. An event held in Mexico City, the games would be overshadowed by a number of cultural issues however when it came down to basketball few events could outshine Louisville native Mike Silliman.
Captain of the United States team, Silliman led his collection of athletes to a gold medal. A year prior Silliman was a major factor in the U.S. victory in the Uruguay hosted 1967 FIBA World Championship.
Three years later, Silliman would return to the FIBA World Championships with the U.S., which were located around Eastern Europe.
Silliman started his journey in the Derby City, as a standout athlete at St. X. In 1962, Silliman became a Kentucky Mr. Basketball, a honor highlighting his contribution to the Tigers.
The Small forward came out of high school with a highly prestigious scholarship at Army, where he led the team through the mid- 60’s. His contributions were so noted that in 2008, Silliman became an inductee into the 2008 Army Sports Hall of Fame, in addition to his athletic exploits Silliman was unquestionably a hero serving his country in the military.
Going into the 1966 NBA draft, Silliman found a spot in the pros with the New York Knicks. However, Silliman wouldn’t see playing time in the league until 1970 when he suited up for the Buffalo Braves (currently the Los Angeles Clippers).
Following his draft in 1967, Silliman led the U.S. team to gold in the 1967 Pan-American game in Winnipeg.
Despite being a notable athlete on the team’s inaugural squad Silliman would play only one season with the Braves.
Sadly the legend passed away in June of 2000 at the age of 56, but his legacy lives on as noted by his induction into the Inaugural class of the Catholic Sports Hall of Fame this year.
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