The NBA may have its first ever Armenian basketball player in its ranks come next season. Gary Chivichyan is a 24 year old Shooting Guard out of the University of the Pacific who helped his Division I squad achieve a historic 23-10 record in the 2019-20 season. Being one of the top scorers on the team, Chivichyan took his opportunities by the horns and never looked back. In his senior year with the Pacific Tigers, Chivichyan had himself an uphill battle.
His first three years of college ball was spent at Idaho State where he became a regular starter and etched his name into the school’s history books. He ranked fourth all-time in made three-point field goals (175) and finished seventh all-time with a 40.4% three-point field goal percentage. But he had to prove his worth once more under new head coach Damon Stoudemire with the Tigers.
And he did just that.
Gary went on to shoot 38.7% from the three-point line while averaging 7.9 points per game. Chivichyan knew his role and knew what his team needed from him, especially during a classic match-up against Saint Mary’s where Chivichyan made a deep three-pointer to send the game to its third overtime period.
Gary has since finished his collegiate career and has begun preparations towards becoming the first ever Armenian to play in the NBA. Not to mention the fact that Gary also became the first ever Armenian to be nominated for an ESPY when he was chosen as a nominee for the ESPY’S 2020 Honorary Outstanding Senior Award. The achievements Chivichyan has and will aim for are massive for the Armenian community. With roughly 11 million Armenians globally, this tight-knit community has seen representation in soccer, martial arts, the UFC, and even the NFL. If Gary Chivichyan makes it on the roster of an NBA team ahead of the 2020-21 regular season, he will bring a new and untapped fan base alongside him from every corner of the world. With the NBA marketing itself as the global game, the acquisition of Chivichyan in its ranks would be the epitome of becoming more and more of a global game.
To Gary, being a role model in the Armenian community is what’s most important to him. That’s why he puts in tireless amounts of hours into his craft so that he can prove that he deserves to not just make it to the NBA, but to stay in it for the rest of his career.
For context, the Armenian community is so close with each other primarily because of the tragic and despicable events that took place between 1915 and 1923. The Armenian Genocide saw roughly 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children killed by the hands of the Ottoman Turks. This eventually led to the Armenian diaspora that both Gary and I (the writer) are a part of.
I sat down with Gary in Las Vegas to talk about his early childhood, his time in college, and so much more. The full interview will be linked to this article.
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