#15 Mike McGee


SportBasketball
HometownOmaha
Born1959

Tom Brosnihan, the late Creighton assistant basketball coach, showed up for an Omaha North practice to check out a prospect in the winter of 1975.

"The guy you want to look at is over there," said Vikings coach Bob Murray, pointing to another player, sophomore Mike McGee, who had just been called up from the junior varsity.

"You could tell that he was something special. He improved so fast that year and had so much talent," Murray said.

McGee was 6-foot-3 at the time and grew to 6-5 by his senior year. As a junior, he averaged 25 points in the Metro holiday tournament with a badly cut hand. "He played one-handed," Murray said.

By the time he was finished at North, the explosive McGee owned 10 Metro scoring records, including an average of 38.1 points per game, and was named the World-Herald high school athlete of the year in 1977.

That drew recruiters from coast to coast and Michigan eventually won. McGee started all four years at Michigan and became the first player to lead the Wolverines in scoring for four straight seasons. McGee is second on Michigan's all-time scoring list with 2,439 points.

McGee took his incredible shooter's touch to the NBA when he was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 1981 draft. He would play five seasons with the "Showtime" Lakers, winning NBA championships in 1982 and 1985. McGee played for three other teams before leaving the NBA in 1990.

McGee also played for teams in Italy and Venezuela, and has coached in Korea and China since his playing career ended. He became the first non-Chinese head coach in the Chinese Basketball Association when he was hired by the Beijing Aoshen Olympians in 1998.

In 2014, McGee was inducted into the Omaha Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame.

"I’ve seen them all in the last 50 or 60 years," said Murray, who retired in 1991. "Mike is the best I've ever seen, and he was the most pleasurable. Not many coaches are blessed with a player like that. How lucky can you be?"

There was a bad rap on McGee that he was just a shooter and didn't play defense, Murray said.

"The heck he didn't. We couldn’t afford to lose him, though. The only games we lost in two years were when Mike fouled out. He was a great team player, quiet, no showboating, all business.

"He was a once-in-a-lifetime player. Too bad we didn't have the 3-point shot back then. His numbers would have been phenomenal."

Quick facts about McGee

Played for: Omaha North High; Michigan Wolverines; Los Angeles Lakers; Atlanta Hawks; Sacramento Kings; New Jersey Nets; Phoenix Suns and Desio, Italy

At Michigan: 21.3 points per game, 2,439 points, 1,010 field goals made

NBA: 9.6 points per game, .487 field-goal percentage


Nebraska 100: 2005 edition

McGee was No. 25 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »