May 15, 2003
RIP, Dave DeBusschere
The news that former New York Knicks star Dave DeBusschere died of a heart attack at the age of 62 makes me really sad. I grew up a Knicks fan, and got to see him play a couple of times back the glory days. I remember my folks taking me to Madison Square Garden for my birthday - somewhere among the stuff they sent me when they cleaned out the house prior to their move west in 1999 is a game program from February 19, 1972.
Mike Lupica is frequently a twit, but he's the man to write an appreciation of a player like DeBusschere. He finds just the right quote:
"Sometimes you hear old guys in sports say they didn't know how good they had it," DeBusschere said to me once in a bar, because we both spent too much time in bars in our lives. "I knew how good I had it. We all did."
It's tough to say goodbye to a childhood icon. Rest in peace, Dave DeBusschere.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 15, 2003 to Other sports
As another Knick fan from that era, I am also sad to find out that Dave DeBusschere passed away last night. If Walt Frazier was the example of New York flash and style, and Bill Bradley represented the intellectual New Yorker, Dave DeBusschere best represented the blue collar working man. Here was a guy that basically left everything he had on the court.
I don't think Mike Lupica is a twit, however, he is the best person among New York sportswriters to write about what Dave and the team meant to New York.
Dave DeBusschere was one of the great New York basketball players. I happened to be there 2 years ago on 05/14/03, the day Dave collapsed on the corner of Broadway & Rector Street. I was on my lunch hour, and I saw a tall man in front of me keel over. I didn't know who he was initially, but he was shaking like he was having a seizure, so I put my hands under his head to keep him from hitting the ground. Someone called for an ambulance, but the ambulance seemed to take forever to come, although it was probably about 10 minutes. I recall wishing that I knew CPR, but soon someone who did know CPR came to help and he worked on him until the ambulance came. A woman who knew him was in tears, and said he was Dave DeBusschere and he was probably on his way to have lunch at Michael's Of Broadway, where he ate lunch regularly. We were all telling him to hang in there, but he was unconscious from the beginning, so I don't know if he heard us. The EMT guys worked on him a few minutes before putting him in the ambulance. It didn't look good, but I was trying to be optimistic and hope for the best, but a couple of hours later I heard on the radio that Dave was gone. It was the end of an era for me. You are missed Dave. Rest in peace.
Dave DeBusschere was a defensive stopper who could take the air out of opponents with his physical brand of ball. He will always reamin in the memory of those who love basketball!
This is late, and not sure if anyone will read this, but baby David William Debusschere just celebrated his first birthday. David would have been Dave's first grandchild. He started walking at only 10 months. Look for him in the NBA in about 17 years (20 if his mother gets her way). For those of you who are into numbers, he was born on 11/22 (Dave was #22). Friends and family all call him "Little D".
And so life goes on.
Dave was an excellent talented " team " player and gentleman. While a teenager in Northern N.J., I watched the Knicks on t.v. and listen on radio. Their championship seasons were wonderful to witness in the media. Men of his " mold " a few and far between.
Dave was my first cousin. We grew up in a tight knit Belgian family on the east side of Detroit. Our grandparents immigrated from Belgium after WWI. Dave's sisters, Barb, Sharon, Judy, and Marcia were close to my sister, Trish and I and we often spent nights at their Courville Street home. One pajama party kept David from getting his sleep and so he opened the door and told us that the next girl who made one peep was going to have their mother called and taken home. Marcia, Dave's youngest sister responded with a "peep, peep!" Although, he seemed towering in that backlit doorway, we really weren't all that concerned.
David was a special guy, as all of our family is and was. I miss them all.