Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Few Classic Memories

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Few Classic Memories

Article excerpt

Shaquille O'Neal was soft spoken and a model of politeness, always saying thank you. Penny Hardaway was mild mannered and appreciative for the ride to and from the SAT.

But Jalen Rose? He was Mr. Attitude and threatened not to practice or play unless he was given spandex shorts.

Those are just a few of the memories in my years of being involved behind the scenes with the old, illustrious Dapper Dan Roundball Classic.

I miss a lot of things about the Roundball. It was such a unique, great event for Pittsburgh, an all-star basketball game that was a pageant for high school players in Western Pennsylvania and around the country. Every April for almost three decades (1965-91) the Roundball was played at the Civic Arena and this marks the 25-year anniversary of the final Roundball. And, oh, the memories - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Remember the "Fab Five" at Michigan? Well, four of them played in the final Roundball. Let's just say the "Fab" might not have described their congeniality off the court during the Roundball, and leave it at that. Except Chris Webber, who was mostly cool.

I attended my first Roundball in 1977. By the mid 1980s, I was deep into covering high school sports for the Post-Gazette and heavily involved with the Roundball. The P-G sponsored the Roundball and the Dapper Dan is a charitable organization run through the newspaper. In the last few years of the Roundball, I was actually tagged with the title "assistant director." I took a little time off from being the high school editor at the paper to help run the Roundball, with everything from player tryouts, to advertising for the game program to dealing with the players.

Of course, Sonny Vaccaro was the Roundball. He and partner Pat DiCesare started it and Sonny was one of the most generous people I ever knew, but someone who had trouble saying no. One year at tryouts for district players, Sonny was nowhere to be found. I found him hiding in the bathroom because he didn't want to tell a father who showed up on his own that his son wasn't getting a tryout.

I remember Bob Hurley Sr. …

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