|No. 35, 43, 10, 5|
|Date of birth||May 28, 1964|
|Place of birth||Bethel Park, Pennsylvania|
|Death of death||July 5, 2011 (age 47)|
|Listed height||6 ft 9 in|
|Listed weight||230 lbs|
|NBA Draft||1987; Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd|
|Selected by the Phoenix Suns|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Armen Gilliam at NBA.com|
Armen Louis Gilliam (born Armon Louis Gilliam on May 28, 1964-July 5, 2011), nicknamed "The Hammer", was a retired American professional basketball player. In the 2005-06 ABA All-Star Game at the BankAtlantic Center, Armen Gilliam was named MVP.
Gilliam began his professional career with the NBA when he was selected second overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns just after San Antonio selected David Robinson. He retired from the NBA in 2000 after 15 seasons with six different teams. In his career, he averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Also had an unusually high free throw% for a power forward/center at a career 78% as well as a deft offensive low post game and medium range jump shot.
Gilliam a genuine understated NBA enforcer had several run-ins with Charles Barkley as a Philadelphia 76er. Barkley admitted, in Jayson Williams's book Loose Balls, that he went out his way to beat up Gilliam in Philadelphia 76ers practices, but ended up hurting himself in the process. This is partly because the sinewy Gilliam, a former Pittsburgh wrestler, was impervious to pain or intimidation. Gilliam, mostly a peaceful soul, had the worst brought out of him by Barkley as he shot back at Barkley screaming "You just found out why they call me "The Hammer" on the court and now you're gonna to find out in the locker room shower that I have a hammer in my shorts, too, Chuck!"
Gilliam's best seasons and stint perhaps was with the Charlotte Hornets (89-91). He fell just shy of the exclusive 20 point 10 rebound club at 19.3 points and 9.1 rebounds as a Hornet. To this day stands as the most statistically productive power forward or center in the franchise's short history. Gilliam also had a stellar run with the New Jersey Nets often sealing the leak for the erratically unstable #1 pick Derrick Coleman. Gilliam in the 95/96 campaign lead the Nets in both scoring (18.3) and rebounding (9.1). And many felt he was snubbed by the all star voters of both fans and coaches for an Eastern conference power forward spot.
Towards the end of his NBA career he altered the spelling of his first name from "Armon" to "Armen" because he was tired of it continually being mispronounced. At the time, he was quoted as saying: "Most people pronounced it Ar-MON. I've been correcting it a long time, and I got tired of it. I just thought that if I put the 'e' in there, it would make it a lot easier. I'm not Muslim. It's not religious or anything like that."
Following his playing days in the NBA, Gilliam coached the NCAA Division III Penn State-Altoona Cougars of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference for several unsuccessful years before returning to play in the new ABA.