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Bob's Corner: Gone but not forgotten

BOB'S CORNER: THE year 2021 wasn't too thrilling for many but it would be remiss to watch it pass into obscurity without some measure of Memorium. Fortunately our USA correspondent and former import, big BOB CRAVEN, is always at the ready and was moved to give us an update on who we lost.

OVER the New Year’s weekend, a piece on people who left the planet this past year kind of put me in a funky, sad, almost contemplative mood

So, here’s a short list of people from my more youthful days - basketball people and people from the music world — who are no longer with us.  One other addition is just historic and has a direct connection with me and my time in Australia.  I have mentioned a few of these before as they happened.

Basketball people and their ages:

Paul Westphal, 70—national high school player of the year, All-American at U. of Southern California (I played against his older brother Bill in college), all-pro in the NBA, great college and NBA coach, in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Elgin Baylor (below), 86—One of the greatest college and pro basketball players of all time, college all-American, NBA all-pro, Hall of Famer 

John Chaney, 89—long-time coach at Temple U. in Philadelphia, took Temple to the Big Dance 17 times, one of the greatest college coaches, Hall of Famer

Stan Albeck, 89—long-time coach for many teams, mostly in the old ABA.

Bobby “Slick” Leonard, 88—All-American at Indiana U., hit the game-winning free throw which gave Indiana the win in the 1953 NCAA title game, played in the NBA,  is best known as the coach of the Indiana Pacers in the ABA for 13 seasons, winning 3 ABA titles in 4 seasons in the early-1970’s.

Mark “Mount” Eaton, 64—at 7’4”, one of the tallest (and biggest) NBA players ever, was a bench player in college, but turned into one of the best defenders, shot blockers and rebounders in the NBA.  Played his entire career with Utah.

Music people and their ages:

Graeme Edge, 80—drummer and co-founder of the The Moody Blues.

Jay Black, 82—leader of Jay and the Americans.

Dusty Hill, 72—the bearded bassist for ZZ Top.

Bunny Wailer, 73—the last living member of the seminal reggae group, The Wailers.

Mary Wilson, 76—one of the 3 original Supremes.

Jimmy Rodgers, 87—semi-local from small town Camas, Washington.  Biggest hit (#1 for four consecutive weeks) was “Honeycomb” from 1957.  He had a few other Top Ten hits, the best known of which was “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”.  Known for his high tenor voice.

And lastly, a historical figure, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, 90.

Collins (centre, below) was known as “the loneliest man in the world” for his job of piloting the command module alone orbiting the moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the historic moon landing. 

This happened while I was in Canberra, and I spent all day watching the TV set up in a conference room in our building. 

The telemetry and video signals from the moon were first beamed to the tracking station at Tidbinbilla, NSW, outside Canberra, which then sent them on around the world, as the US was on the opposite side of the earth at the time of touchdown and for most of that first day.

BECKY HAMMON's contract as head coach of the WNBA's Las Vegas is reportedly a five-year deal.

Hammon replaces former Detroit Pistons enforcer Bill Laimbeer as head coach of the Aces who boast the reigning WNBA MVP, A’ja Wilson, and the league’s best young player, plus all-time NCAA women’s career scoring leader, Kelsey Plum from the U. of Washington here in Seattle.

Wilson is a restricted free agent, so she will definitely be coming back.

Aussie Liz Cambage is also on the Aces roster, but she is an unrestricted free agent and could sign wherever she wants if she decides not to stick with the Aces.

Jan 9

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