CLBR #67: Remembering Munich ’72




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 and 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.
  •  After Congress he served as Co-Chair (with Florence Griffith Joyner) of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

Election Results


Charles Thomas McMillen (D) 50.2%
Robert R. Neall (R) 49.8%


Charles Thomas McMillen (D) 68.3%
Bradlyn McClanahan (R) 31.7%


Tom McMillen (D) 58.9%
Bob Duckworth (R) 41.1%


Wayne Gilchrest (R) 51.6%
Thomas McMillen (D) 48.4%


Massacre at Munich

Just before dawn on September 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists penetrated the Olympic village and seized eleven athletes from the Israeli Olympic team.  By midnight that night, all 11 would be dead following a failed rescue attempt on the tarmac of Munich airport.

The world sobbed as ABC’s Jim McKay uttered the words “they are all gone.”

The massacre brought calls to end the games, but the International Olympic Committee Chairman Avery Brundage was insistent that the games continue.

Short News Reel

One Day in September (trailer) – 2000 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary


US-USSR Gold Medal Game 

The 1972 Olympic men’s basketball final between the United States and the Soviet Union remains one of the most controversial in Olympic history and was the first ever loss for Team USA since the sport began Olympic play in 1936.

The heavily favored Americans trailed much of the game until Doug Collins’ two free throws put the U.S. ahead 50-49 with seconds remaining. The final play of the game was played three times, with the Soviets scoring on the third attempt to win 51-50.  The U.S. team refused to accept their Silver Medal in protest.

NBC 1992 Segment on Game and Where Are the Medals

Three Seconds of Chaos


Media Guide for 1973-74 Maryland Basketball Team

 ACC Profile on McMillen’s career off and on the court

Highlights of 1974 ACC Finals

McMillen’s Birthday Bash With Lefty and DC Elite