Standing just a shade under 7-feet, New Jersey’s own Billy Paultz was a towering figure in the ABA. With hair flopping around, The Whopper, as he became known, averaged a double-double in his time with the Nets.
With his wide frame and a great understanding of the game, he quickly became a big contributor to the mid-‘70s powerhouse that was the New York Nets.
With his rebounding ability and his soft touch around the hoop, he and The Doctor, Julius Erving, brought the ABA trophy to home to Long Island in 1974.
Watching grainy game film of him playing, you would be surprised that he was as good as he was. He was physically one of the largest people on the court and naturally dominated the paint, but the way he moved up and down the court resembled more of a rhino stampeding.
His size and stature only contributed to a great basketball mind.
"I have realized that I’m not the overpowering center. […] I have always been the type of player that can do a little bit of everything. I add defensive stability, can shoot when I’m in position, set picks to get people free and am smart enough to pick out the open man in double-team situations."
He shot at an even 50 percent as a Net and close to 73 percent from the free throw line. He was no Kareem, but he did have a smooth sky hook too.
In 1975, Paultz was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, where he spent most of his 15-year career.
He got another shot at a ring in 1981 with the Cinderella Houston Rockets, taking down the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, followed by the Spurs and Kansas City Kings.
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But in the Eastern Conference, there was a resurgent dynasty gaining steam in Boston and the Celtics beat the Rockets 4-2.
After spending two more seasons with Houston, he bounced around, spending time in Atlanta and Utah before retiring in 1985. By the end of his 15-year career, he had made the playoffs every year he played professional basketball, both in the NBA and ABA.
Today, in his late 60s, he resides in Texas, spending time as a car salesman, according to a 2011 interview.