Two Old Pros & More

vic fortezza
4 min readJun 13, 2024

RIP basketball legend Jerry West, 86. Born in West Virginia in humble circumstances, he was all-state three years at East Bank High School, which eventually changed its name to West Bank in his honor. The school won the state championship in 1956. He earned a scholarship to West Virginia U. In three years he averaged 24.8 PPG and 13.3 RPG. He was the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in ’59, Consensus first-team All-America (’59, ‘60), third-team All-America — AP, UPI (‘58). While WVU did not go all the way in post season tournaments, West enjoyed success internationally, a Gold medalist in the Pan American games of ’59 and Olympics of ’60. He was the second overall pick in the ’60 draft, just before the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to L.A.. He was a major piece in the team’s path to excellence. In 15 seasons he averaged 27 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He was a member of the ’72 championship squad. Here are other accomplishments: NBA Finals MVP (‘69), 14-time NBA All-Star (‘61–’74), NBA All-Star Game MVP (‘72), ten-time All-NBA First Team (‘62–’67, ‘70–’73), two-time All-NBA Second Team (’68, ‘69), four-time NBA All-Defensive First Team (‘70–’73), NBA All-Defensive Second Team (‘69), NBA scoring champion (‘70), NBA assists leader (‘72), NBA anniversary team (35th, 50th, 75th), #44 retired by the Lakers. He became head coach of the team in ’76 and was only moderately successful, making the playoffs each season but not reaching the finals. He became GM in ’82 and established the dynasty, the franchise winning eight championships. He was named NBA Executive of the Year in ’95. In 2002 he became GM of the Memphis Grizzlies. He made them competitive but no more. He was NBA Executive of the Year in ’04. In 2011 he became an executive with the Warriors and enjoyed championships in ’16 and ’17. He became a board member with Clippers in ’17 and stayed in the position until his passing. Married twice, he was a father of five. He was so revered that the NBA logo was designed as a shadow of his image. He led an incredible life, as successful as anyone who ever lived. Facts from Wiki, photo from GI:

RIP Brooklyn-born actor Tony Lo Bianco, 87, at home on the stage and big and small screen. He studied under Stella Adler. Of Sicilian heritage, he was often cast as an Italian. There are 108 titles under his name at IMDb, screen career spanning 1951–2022. In 1963 he co-founded the Triangle Theater and served as artistic director for six years, directing and producing numerous productions. On Broadway he appeared in classics such as The Threepenny Opera, Tartuffe and A View from the Bridge, his performance in the latter earning him a Tony nomination. He won an Obie for his prized role as a washed-up big-league pitcher in Yanks-3, Detroit-0, Top of the 7th. He starred as Fiorello La Guardia in the one-man show Hizzoner. On the silver screen he appeared in the cult classic The Honeymoon Killers (1970), The French Connection (1971), The Seven-Ups (1973), F.I.S.T. (1978), Nixon (1995) and The Juror (1995), to name just six films. On the small screen he was in Jesus of Nazareth, the star of Marciano, as well as making a host of appearances on primetime fare. He has five credits as director, four of TV movies, one theatrical: Too Scared to Scream (1984). He was named “King of Brooklyn” at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1997. Married three times, he was a father of three. A terrific run, Sir. Thank you. Photo from GI:

Headline from “Twice as nice: 14 sets of twins and one set of triplets graduate from the same high school class.” Photo from NYP:

Theft of catalytic converters of gasoline-powered cars has been a problem for years. Now this, from NYP: “Charging cable thefts pose yet another obstacle in turning consumers on to electric vehicles.”

Headline from “GOP Plans for Ultimate November: Control of the WH and Both Chambers.” Then it better get started on mail-in voting because Dems certainly have. They were just as optimistic for the 2022 midterms — and how did that turn out?

My thanks to the kind folks who donated and bought stuff at today’s session of the Anti-Inflation Book Shop. The breeze blowing up East 13th made it a pleasant stay.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.