What Ever Happened to former Piston Terry Dischinger?

How we remember him: Acquired by Detroit from Baltimore in an 8 player trade, the three time Purdue All-American, 1960 Olympic Gold medalist, the 1963 NBA Rookie of the Year, and three time NBA All Star was a sharp shooting forward with the Pistons in ’64-’65 and from ’67 to ’72 in a career interrupted by a 2 year Army stint. He led the team in scoring his first year in Detroit and lead the Pistons in field goal percentage for two seasons. (’64-65, ’68-’69)

After the Pistons: In 1972 Dischinger was traded to Portland in a three way deal that brought Fred Foster to Detroit. After playing one season for the Trailblazers, he obtained his dentistry degree from the University of Tennessee and settled in the Portland area to practice. For the ‘78’-’79 season he provided color TV commentary for the Trailblazers.

Today: Dischinger is now one of the nation’s leading orthodontists and practices with his son Bill in Lake Oswego, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. Dischinger regularly lectures on orthodontics and often travels around the world to teach.

On being the NBA’s only part time player: “ During my rookie year I wanted to obtain my Chemical Engineering degree from Purdue, so Chicago let me attend school and play on weekends and holidays. One time after class I left Purdue at 4 PM, taped my ankles in a cab and played that night in San Francisco. It wasn’t that tough of a year because I received my degree, the rookie of the year award, and was paid to play the game I loved.”

On missing 2 seasons at the peak of his career: “I was in the ROTC in college and was told I could fulfill my commission with the National Guard. But I ended up serving for two years in Hawaii. It was really bad for my basketball career but it was there that I decided to practice dentistry when my playing days ended.”

Greatest thrill in basketball: “Winning the Gold medal as a starter on the U.S. Olympic team in 1960 after my first college season. It was a fairy tale because I played with my idol, Oscar Robertson. The experience made me a much better player.”

On playing for the Pistons: When you were winning it was great, and when you weren’t it wasn’t so great, but that’s true anywhere. I played with a bunch of great players like Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, Tom Van Arsdale and Jimmy Walker. We had a special relationship and I loved my basketball life. I’m just fortunate that I got into another profession that I enjoy just as much.”

2 replies on “What Ever Happened to former Piston Terry Dischinger?

  • William Holko

    Dischinger was an incredible college player! Although I grew up in Ohio, as a teen in the early 1960s, I rooted for Dischinger and Purdue, even against Lucas and Ohio State. I first read about Dischinger in a Scholastic Magazine when I was in junior high school and followed his career from that point on.

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  • Chuck Combs

    I started in first grade with Terry and have continued as distant friends ever since. I use to see him once a year in Indianapolis and now have been trying to call him at home. All calls go directly to forward. I am concerned about. his health rumors. His wife , Mary. Mary does not answer. Would love to know how he is.

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