Thomas William Owens (born June 28, 1949) is a retired American professional basketball player.
A 6'10" center born in the Bronx, New York and from the University of South Carolina, Owens played five seasons (1971–1976) in the American Basketball Association and seven seasons (1976–1983) in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Carolina Cougars, Memphis Pros, Memphis Sounds, Spirits of St. Louis, Indiana Pacers, Kentucky Colonels, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Detroit Pistons. He scored 9,898 points and grabbed 5,985 rebounds in his ABA/NBA career. He has one son, Thomas William Owens Jr., born October 21, 1972.
Late in his career, Owens was involved in one of the most one-sided trades in NBA history. After the 1980-81 season, the Blazers traded him to the Pacers and got the Pacers' 1984 draft pick in return. Owens was traded to the Pistons after the season and retired a year later. Four years later, the Pacers finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. However, because of the trade, the Pacers were left as bystanders in one of the deepest drafts ever, featuring such future stars as Michael Jordan, Sam Bowie, Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. The pick acquired from Indiana turned out to be the one the Blazers famously used to select Bowie while Jordan was still available.
He was inducted into the University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He led the ACC in rebounding for all three years of his eligibility. At that time, freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity squad. He scored the winning basket to give the Gamecocks their one and only ACC Tournament Championship in 1971.
By Dean Hanley
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