CLBR Goes to the Olympics — Remembering the Tragedies of the 1972 Olympics 40 Years Later with Tom McMillen



Our Guest: Tom McMillen

Basketball Career

  • Tom McMillen was a star basketball player on all levels. In 1970, he was the number one high school basketball player in the U.S. coming out of Mansfield, Pennsylvania, and was the biggest recruiting catch early in Coach Lefty Driesell’s career at the University of Maryland, beating out rival Coach Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina for McMillen’s services.
  • McMillen is the University of Maryland’s only Rhodes Scholar and holds the all-time career scoring average for Maryland Men’s Basketball.  Averaged 20.5 points and 9.8 rebounds during his three-year career … was selected as a three-time All-American and a three-time Academic All-American … one of only three Terps to average more than 20 points per game in successive seasons and is one of two players in school history with a career scoring average over 20 points per game … led Maryland to the 1972 National Invitation Tournament championship, earning tournament MVP honors.  Ranked #5 of top 25 Maryland players in modern era and included in ACC Top 50 of all time.
  • McMillen was also a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team that lost a controversial gold medal game to the Soviet Union.
  • After graduating from Maryland in 1974, McMillen was drafted in the first round of the 1974 NBA Draft by the Buffalo Braves and the first round of the1974 ABA Draft by the Virginia Squires. McMillen signed with the Braves and during his National Basketball Association career, he would play for the Braves, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Washington Bullets before retiring in 1986 to pursue his political career. McMillen played for a year in Europe before joining the 1975–76 Buffalo Braves (now Los Angeles Clippers).

Political Career

McMillen was elected to the U.S. Congress as a Democrat to represent Maryland’s 4th district, and served 1987-1993 as that district’s representative.  In 1992, however, the 4th was redrawn as a black-majority district due to a mandate from the Justice Department. McMillen’s home in Crofton was drawn into the Eastern Shore-based 1st District, represented by one-term Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest. Although McMillen did very well in the more urbanized areas of the district near Baltimore and Washington, D.C., it was not enough to overcome Gilchrest’s margin on the Eastern Shore, and he left the House in January 1993. McMillen is thought to be the tallest-ever member of Congress. At 6 feet 11 inches, he is two feet taller than current Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is believed to be the shortest representative ever.

For background on the 1972 Olympics

Massacre at Munich

US-USSR Gold Medal Game 

  • Short (first half of video)
  • Less Short