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Without ‘Fatty’ Taylor, there would be no ‘Iceman’

All-ABA defender who gave George Gervin his famous nickname dies at 71

Hall of Famer George “The Iceman” Gervin made it to Denver in time to say farewell to his former teammate who gave him his famous nickname.

Former ABA and NBA defensive standout guard Roland “Fatty” Taylor died in Denver on Dec. 7 at age 71. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.

Son Kobie Taylor said funeral services for the two-time All-American Basketball Association first-team defender will take place Dec. 15 in Denver. He will be buried in his native Washington, D.C. Kobie Taylor said his father’s cancer recently became untreatable after it spread to his lungs.

Gervin was on hand Wednesday to say goodbye to his dear friend.

“The Iceman flew out to Colorado and was able to see my dad the night before he passed,” Kobie Taylor said. “[Gervin] was able to hold his hand and tell him he loved him. That was one of my dad’s dearest friends in this world. I just wanted everyone to know, his fans and the community of Colorado back home and in Washington, D.C., that my father is definitely going to be missed and he touched a lot of people’s hearts.”

The former La Salle star played in the ABA for the Washington Capitals, Virginia Squires and Denver Nuggets from 1969-76, and for the Nuggets in the NBA during the 1976-77 season. Taylor averaged 8.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 640 ABA and NBA games.

Taylor was known as one of the ABA’s top defenders because of tenacity, toughness and hustle while playing with Hall of Famers Gervin and Julius Erving.

Hall of Famer Alex English and former NBA star Chauncey Billups were among the former pro basketball standouts who honored Taylor on social media. Hall of Famer David Bing and former Nuggets star Mack Calvin have also reached out to the Taylor family.

Kobie Taylor said the Nuggets are planning a tribute to his father during their next home game on Dec. 15 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Brother Fatty Taylor lost his battle with breast cancer today,” English, the former Nuggets star, wrote on Twitter. “I have many memories of spending time with him in Denver. May he rest in peace now. The Battle is over.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.