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Mel Grant Counts (born October 16 1941 in Coos Bay, Oregon) is a retired American NBA player from 1965–1976. He was on the United States Olympic basketball team that won the gold at the 1964 Summer Olympics. He played in college for Oregon State University and was selected by the Boston Celtics in the 1964 NBA Draft. The Celtics won the NBA Championship in 1965 and 1966 with Counts on the team as Bill Russell's backup, but he was traded for the 1967 season to the Baltimore Bullets. Halfway through that season he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, whom made it to the playoffs that year.

The next three seasons Counts' Lakers made it to the NBA Finals, where they would play in and ultimately lose three years in a row. In the 1969 NBA Finals, Counts indirectly played a role in one of the most controversial coaching decisions in NBA history, when he replaced an injured Wilt Chamberlain with five minutes to go in Game 7, and the Lakers trailing the Celtics by nine points. The Lakers cut the deficit to one point on a shot by Counts, with coach Butch van Breda Kolff refusing to reinsert Chamberlain into the game in the final minutes. The Lakers lost the game, 108-106, and the series, 4-3.

Counts played one more season with the Lakers before being traded to the Phoenix Suns. After several more stops around the league, including a return to the Lakers in 1973, Counts ended his career with the New Orleans Jazz in 1976.

As of 2006, he works as a real estate agent in Woodburn, Oregon. [1]


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