Basketball on the radio brings back Holiday memories of Bridgeman, Bing, Lanier and Chenier

Posted by Andy Durham on December 24, 2008 at 7:33 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

We were talking about basketball on the radio earlier today with the discussion leaning towards Emeka Okafor and his performance last night for the Charlotte Bobcats.

I still remember back about the 1983-84 range when I was driving down the highway on Christmas night and Bernard King was in the process of hitting for right at 65 points for the NY Knicks in a victory at Madison Square Garden.

King was one-half of the famous Bernie and Ernie Show that included his college teammate Ernie Grunfeld who later became the GM of the Knicks and now serves in the same capacity for the Washington Wizards. Grunfeld and King were basketball mates at the University of
Tennessee.

The wikipedia on Ernie Grunfeld:
Some 200 colleges pursued him. He rejected such major basketball powers as Marquette and Notre Dame, and picked the University of Tennessee because he liked the facilities, the schedule, and the chance it afforded him to become a college star.

He starred with fellow New York City high schooler and future NBA star, Bernard King. Together they were dubbed the “Ernie and Bernie Show.” Together they averaged over 40 points per game. In his sophomore year he averaged 23.8 points per game; in his junior year, 25.3; and in his senior year, 23.8. He left as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,249 points.

With the talk of Grunfeld with the Wizards it brings holiday wishes from Budwiser, no not really, but it does make me think of the Baltimore Bullets-Washington Bullets/Wizards and their players from the past that we used to listen to on the radio. Earl Monroe before the Knicks, Gus Johnson, Wes Unseld, “The Big E” Elvin Hayes, Jack Marin, and the man; Phil Chenier…..

Here’s what wikipedia.org was saying about Chenier:
Philip Chenier (born October 30, 1950 in Berkeley, California) was a professional basketball player. After playing for Berkeley High School and the University of California at Berkeley, Chenier played professionally for the Washington Bullets in the National Basketball Association from 1971 to 1979. He won a championship with the Bullets in 1978. He also briefly played for the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors.

Chenier was a 1972 NBA All-Rookie Team selection, averaged 17.2 points per game for his career, and was named to three NBA All-Star teams. He has announced Washington Bullets and Washington Wizards games for years, now working for Comcast Sports Net alongside play-by-play commentator, Steve Buckhantz.

I always liked Phil Chenier and his style of play for some reason…

Many of the reasons for keeping the ear to the radio were exhilarated or accelerated by following Detroit Pistons games on radio with guys like, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, John Long, Terry Tyler, Terry Thomas, and Dick Vitale as the coach. Kenny Carr from N.C. State played for the Pistons and ML Carr from Guilford College did too….You just don’t hear that name Dave Bing any more, and it was a good one, unlike any other.

Here’s the Bling on Bing from wikipedia:
In 1966 Bing joined the NBA as a first round pick of the Detroit Pistons, where in his rookie year he scored 1,601 points (20.0 points per game) and was named the NBA Rookie Of The Year. The next year, he used his sweet shooting touch to lead the NBA in scoring with 2,142 points (27.1 points per game). Bing averaged 20.3 points and 6 assists per game in his 12 NBA seasons, played in seven NBA All-Star Games (1968, 1969, 1971–1976, and winning the 1976 NBA All-Star Game MVP Award), was named to the All-NBA First Team twice in 1968 and 1969, and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

His playing style was somewhat unusual for the time. As the point guard he functioned as the playmaker distributing the ball, but also did more shooting and scoring than most others who had this position. At one time a current joke about him and his backcourt partner, Jimmy Walker, was that it was a shame they could only play the game with one ball at a time.

At the 1990 NBA All-Star Game, he received the Schick Achievement Award for his work after his NBA career. His number 21 was retired by the Detroit Pistons, and in 1996, he was named as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of all time.

On October 16th, 2008, Dave Bing announced that he would be a candidate for Mayor of Detroit in the February 2009 primary. The official website for Dave Bing’s mayoral campaign is http://www.bingformayor.com
*****Dave Bing for Mayor, you learn something new every day.*****

We also mentioned Bob Lanier of the Pistons/Bucks up top in our title and here’s the wiki on Bob:
Lanier was drafted number one overall by the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons and was named to the All-Rookie Team following the 1970-71 season. He starred for Detroit until being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1980. In his five seasons with the Bucks, they won the division championship each year. The same year he retired, in 1984, he was awarded the Oscar Robertson Leadership Award.

In his 14 NBA seasons, Lanier averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting a respectable 51.4 percent from the field. He played in eight NBA All-Star Games, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 1974 game. Lanier was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and had his #16 jersey retired by both the Pistons and the Bucks.

The last man in our title spotlight is Junior Bridgeman who came to the Bucks from the LA Lakers in the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar trade. Here’s our wiki inside on JB:

Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman was a member of the 1971 East Chicago Washington High School Senators basketball team, which went undefeated (29-0) and won the Indiana state high school basketball championship. Among his teammates were Pete Trgovich (who played at UCLA) and Tim Stoddard (N.C. State), who would go on to have success as a Major League Baseball pitcher.(Baltimore Orioles)

A 6’5″ guard/forward from the University of Louisville, Bridgeman was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975 and immediately traded with Brian Winters, David Meyers and Elmore Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bridgeman went on to have a solid 12-year NBA career, spent mostly with the Bucks, and he scored 11,517 total points. Although he was a sixth man for most of his career, he averaged double figures in scoring for nine consecutive seasons. He played in 711 games for the Bucks, still the most in franchise history, although he started only 105 times. His #2 jersey was retired by the Bucks franchise in 1988.

Bridgeman is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

To close out our Holiday basketball journey we would be leaving something out if we didn’t mention a few of our Carolina Cougars that we followed on the radio.

Names like Larry Miller from the North Carolina Tar Heels, who scored 67 points in an ABA game one night for the Cougars; then there was Bob Verga from Duke, Van Williford of N.C. State fame, Randy Mahaffey from the Clemson Tigers and of course Gene Littles from over at High Point College.

A another fun basketball/sports journey for the Holiday Season……..


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