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My first basketball game (and other memories)

April 17, 2013

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

My introduction to the game of basketball came in the 1959-60 NBA season when my dad took me to Convention Hall to see Wilt The Stilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors host the Syracuse Nationals led by Dolph Schayes.

I don’t remember much about the game other than Chamberlain was big and scored a lot of points and that a bunch of guys shot free throws underhanded.

We moved from Philly to Upstate NY when I was 10 years old. The Warriors moved from Philly to San Francisco and the Syracuse franchise relocated to Phillly, becoming the 76ers. Part of the arrangement was that the 76ers were required to play some games in Syracuse.

Chamberlain was traded from the Warriors back to Philadelphia in 1965. My dad had bought tickets to see the 76ers play the Boston Celtics in Syracuse for my 12th birthday. Chamberlain was traded just in time for us to see him play again.

We hopped into the old Ford Country Squire station wagon that morning, went skiing at Greek Peak in Cortland, NY and then headed up to the game. My friend Rick Knox accompanied us. There was a blinding snowstorm as we left Greek Peak and headed up Hwy 12 to Syracuse.

All I remember from the game was that the 76ers won 104-100.

I do remember the car ride home as my dad negotiated the snow covered 2-lane road to get us home safely. The 90-mile trip took about 2.5 hours. Interstates didnt exist in those days.

The next year we would do the same thing. The Celtics won the game 83-81 and there was no snowstorm to deal with.

This morning I received a phone call that my dad had died.

He was 91 years old. He had suffered a mild heart attack a few weeks ago but was doing better. He went peacefully without pain, falling to the ground as my mom was helping him up so thaty he could breathe a little better. His big heart could not go any further.

He was the kindest man I ever met.

And he provided me the experiences growing up that allowed me to develop a passion for all thing sports.

I won’t forget him.

I love you Dad.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2013 3:08 am

    Sorry for your loss.

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