Alex Groza Was Banned For Life in 1951

Published on July 7th, 2023 2:54 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Alex Groza illustration.  The scandal that shook the college basketball world in the early 1950s. Imagine a scenario like this taking place in the modern NBA.

A much-hyped #2 overall draft pick lives up to the hype and immediately becomes one of the best players in the league, making the All-NBA First Team in each of his first two seasons in the league.

This player wins the Rookie of the Year award and averages 22/10 through the first two years of his career.

After these two seasons, the player is banned from the NBA for life.

This is the story of Alex Groza.


Alex Groza had one of the most decorated careers in the history of college basketball.

Groza was the center on Kentucky from 1945-1949, and led the team to two straight titles in 1948 and 1949.

Groza, who was the captain of the team that would become known as the "Fabulous Five", was a 3-time All-American, 3-time All-SEC and 2-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

On top of all of that, Groza also win a gold medal with the 1948 Olympic basketball team.

It's no surprise that Groza was the #2 overall pick in the 1949 NBA Draft.


Groza dominated in his first two seasons with the Indianapolis Olympians, averaging 23.4 PPG and 21.7 PPG respectively.

Groza also averaged well over 10 rebounds per game.

Then, in a blink of an eye, Groza's NBA career was over.


In the early 1950s, a scandal erupted that shook college basketball to its core - the CCNY point-shaving scandal.

The unravelling of the scandal started when somebody offered Junius Kellogg $1,000 to shave points in an upcoming game against DePaul.

Kellogg, despite working at a minimum wage job, refused the bribe and went to his coach.

Law enforcement became involved, and eventually a massive point-shaving scandal came to light.

32 players from seven different colleges were found to have accepted bribes, and one of those players was Alex Groza, who reportedly accepted a bribe of $2,000 to shave points in a game.


The NBA cracked down heavily on the players involved, banning everybody who was found to have accepted a bribe from their league for life.

One of those players was Alex Groza, the promising, 2-time 1st Team All-NBA player.

Just like that, Groza was gone, never to return. No leniency. No reinstatement.

Gone for life.

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