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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Tom McMillen

     (Born May 26, 1952) -- Tom McMillen didn't just have an interesting career in professional sports. He had an interesting life. It included a stop in Buffalo.

     McMillen certainly is the best basketball player to come out of Mansfield, Pa. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated then, one of the few prep athletes to have that honor. McMillen landed with the University of Maryland, where he was part of some great teams under coach Lefty Driesell.

     McMillen graduated in 1974, and was a top player coming out of college. By chance, Braves' owner Paul Snyder's hometown was also Mansfield. Everyone figured the 6-foot-11 forward would be a good fit for the Braves, and that's where he went in the NBA Draft. Buffalo outbid the Virginia Squires for McMillen's services.

     The forward didn't come to Buffalo for a year, accepting a Rhodes scholarship instead. He averaged about 5 points per game in a season plus 20 games here, and then was traded with Bob McAdoo to the New York Knicks for John Gianelli and a pile of cash. McMillen went on to play with Atlanta and Washington in an 11-year career.

     McMillen went on to serve three terms as a Congressman. He is believed to be the tallest member of the House of Representatives in history. At last report, McMillen was the chairman of Homeland Security Capital Corporation.

--- Budd Bailey

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