As a lifelong fan of the New York Knicks–I can still remember watching the ’69-’70 championship team, including the game 7 win over the Lakers on the black and white TV–I’ve had my fandom stoked like never before this year. The Knicks are good again, and my son, with whom I’ve never really shared much in the way of recreational interests, has become a Knick fan the last two years and we watch many games together.
In addition to the enjoyment I get from catching the games, I also have taken to following some favorite writers on Twitter, including Hall of Famer Peter Vecsey (@PeterVescey1)who still provides the most insightful remarks about the NBA that one is likely to find anywhere. As a longtime reader of his Hoop du Jour column in the NY Post, I was disappointed when he left the Post, but happy to once again find him dispensing insights on Twitter. He is an interesting guy with an encyclopedic knowledge of the NBA and ABA and its characters, but he occupies a unique place in hoop history as a player, coach and the man who brought Julius “Dr J” Erving to the Rucker League in Harlem.
The Doc was my favorite player growing up and the Rucker League held a mythic place in hoop lore as the place where the best pro players went to play in the summer against the best streetballers. I heard Vecsey recently on a podcast with an Australian hoop fanatic, Adam Ryan, and their conversations and the anecdotes Vecsey told rekindled my interest in the Rucker’s mythical past. You have to remember that it was all taking place pre-Youtube, so the exploits are only recorded via words. He is the only one who can tell the stories and should write the book. I’ve been on his case over the years to write the book that no one else can write, but he has declined so far allowing that he’ll write it all when his children unlearn how to read.
A couple of years ago a student, AJ Goldhoff, contacted him for help with a capstone project about the old ABA and Vecsey graciously took time to answer all of AJ’s questions. If any of you pursue any basketball-related topics, Peter Vecsey might be helpful to your cause.