Adieu The Erasor, Marvin Webster, star en éclipse de jour de la NBA des 70's

Publié le par Jean-Marie Tartane

7 avril 2009


Legendedubasket ets encore en deuil.
Après la disparition tragique de Howard Porter, Norm Van Lier et  Johnny 'Red) Kerr, tous joueurs aux mythiques Chicago Bulls, c'est un autre joueur emblèmatique des 70's de nous quitter.
Marvin Webster, un des meilleurs "slrpping" pivotmen, vient de nous quitter à l'age  de 56 ans.
Marvin Wrbster fait partie de cete génération de frands pvots (^lus de 7 pieds), soit plus de 2.13m, qui ont connu l'époque bénie de l'euphorie de la fin des années 70's.
.
Une vie et une carrière mouvementée.


Webster starred at Edmondson High after growing up in Baltimore, and he played from 1972 to 1975 at Morgan, where he was renowned for his shot-blocking. In the 1974 championship season, he averaged 21 points, 22.4 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

His career totals of 1,990 points and 2,267 rebounds are still school records.

"He controlled games," said Nat Frazier, Webster's coach. "One of my colleagues once said if he had Marvin, he would score 40 points a game. Marvin could've scored 40 points a game for us, but he was a tremendous team player. He averaged 20 [points] and 20 [rebounds]. He incorporated his game into the team game.

"I was a very fortunate coach to have him."

Jethro Crum played small forward on that team and last saw Webster at the team's 25-year reunion in 1999. He still remembers going to Bible study with Webster at Morgan.

"He was a humble, down-to-earth guy," Crum said. "Very approachable. When he came back from playing in Denver [as a member of the Nuggets], he took me to dinner. He took everybody from the team to dinner."

Webster was a first-round pick in 1975 by both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association; he joined the NBA when the Nuggets were absorbed into the league in 1976. He took the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA finals in 1978.

From there, he signed a five-year, multi-million-dollar contract with the New York Knicks. Even in New York, he didn't forget his Morgan friends. He gave Ivan Young, another former teammate, four tickets behind the Knicks' bench at Madison Square Garden when Young worked for a brokerage firm in Manhattan.

"He was a true professional who worked hard at his job and was good with his teammates and peers," said Hubie Brown, Webster's coach on the Knicks from 1982 to 1984. "And he had a good family, too. You never had to worry about anything with Marvin."

Except for his fight with hepatitis.

Webster, who contracted hepatitis after Morgan's championship season and played his senior year at a bloated 280 pounds, required medication for the disease. He would grow to resent taking the medicine once he was forced to retire after the 1985 season.

He attempted a comeback with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1986-87 season but soon abandoned the game.

His first wife, Mederia Webster, died of a ruptured aneurysm in 1992 after their divorce. Five years later, his 6-foot-11 son, Marvin Jr., died of cardiomyopathy as a sophomore at Temple University.

"I couldn't imagine walking in his shoes, to bury your wife and then bury your son," said Bobby Newton, one of Webster's closest friends from Morgan. "That's enough to take even the strongest person over the edge.

"Once he was ill, that contributed to his mind-set."

Webster made enough money in the NBA to retire to a life of leisure. He lived out of hotels in various cities when he wasn't spending time with his parents. At the upscale Hotel Ambassador in Tulsa, where he died, he was friendly with the staff but kept to himself, said Michael Frimel, managing director of the hotel.

He held occasional jobs -- as a used-car and clothing salesman -- but primarily traveled the country.

Bennett, an Albuquerque, N.M., accountant who worked as Webster's financial adviser after the NBA, said the family sometimes forced Webster into hospitals to take his medication.

"The way hepatitis affected him, it caused him to appear to have mental problems," Bennett said. "I spent a great deal of time with Marvin, except the last two years, when he really went into a shell. I think it was the fact he wasn't taking his medication regularly."

A month ago, after traveling to Tulsa, Webster went into a hospital for a short stay. In late February, his father, Edward Leo Webster, a minister, died.

Bennett said he believes that, at the end, Webster was dealing with depression as well as his liver condition.

"The illness really had Marvin," he said. "When he wasn't on his meds, he spent a lot of time in his room."

Baltimore Sun reporters Robert Little and Mike Klingaman contributed to this article

"He controlled games," said Nat Frazier, Webster's coach. "One of my colleagues once said if he had Marvin, he would score 40 points a game. Marvin could've scored 40 points a game for us, but he was a tremendous team player. He averaged 20 [points] and 20 [rebounds]. He incorporated his game into the team game.

"I was a very fortunate coach to have him."

Jethro Crum played small forward on that team and last saw Webster at the team's 25-year reunion in 1999. He still remembers going to Bible study with Webster at Morgan.

"He was a humble, down-to-earth guy," Crum said. "Very approachable. When he came back from playing in Denver [as a member of the Nuggets], he took me to dinner. He took everybody from the team to dinner."

Webster was a first-round pick in 1975 by both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association; he joined the NBA when the Nuggets were absorbed into the league in 1976. He took the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA finals in 1978.

From there, he signed a five-year, multi-million-dollar contract with the New York Knicks. Even in New York, he didn't forget his Morgan friends. He gave Ivan Young, another former teammate, four tickets behind the Knicks' bench at Madison Square Garden when Young worked for a brokerage firm in Manhattan.

"He was a true professional who worked hard at his job and was good with his teammates and peers," said Hubie Brown, Webster's coach on the Knicks from 1982 to 1984. "And he had a good family, too. You never had to worry about anything with Marvin."

Except for his fight with hepatitis.

Webster, who contracted hepatitis after Morgan's championship season and played his senior year at a bloated 280 pounds, required medication for the disease. He would grow to resent taking the medicine once he was forced to retire after the 1985 season.

He attempted a comeback with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1986-87 season but soon abandoned the game.

His first wife, Mederia Webster, died of a ruptured aneurysm in 1992 after their divorce. Five years later, his 6-foot-11 son, Marvin Jr., died of cardiomyopathy as a sophomore at Temple University.

"I couldn't imagine walking in his shoes, to bury your wife and then bury your son," said Bobby Newton, one of Webster's closest friends from Morgan. "That's enough to take even the strongest person over the edge.

"Once he was ill, that contributed to his mind-set."

Webster made enough money in the NBA to retire to a life of leisure. He lived out of hotels in various cities when he wasn't spending time with his parents. At the upscale Hotel Ambassador in Tulsa, where he died, he was friendly with the staff but kept to himself, said Michael Frimel, managing director of the hotel.

He held occasional jobs -- as a used-car and clothing salesman -- but primarily traveled the country.

Bennett, an Albuquerque, N.M., accountant who worked as Webster's financial adviser after the NBA, said the family sometimes forced Webster into hospitals to take his medication.

"The way hepatitis affected him, it caused him to appear to have mental problems," Bennett said. "I spent a great deal of time with Marvin, except the last two years, when he really went into a shell. I think it was the fact he wasn't taking his medication regularly."

A month ago, after traveling to Tulsa, Webster went into a hospital for a short stay. In late February, his father, Edward Leo Webster, a minister, died.

Bennett said he believes that, at the end, Webster was dealing with depression as well as his liver condition.

"The illness really had Marvin," he said. "When he wasn't on his meds, he spent a lot of time in his room."

Baltimore Sun reporters Robert Little and Mike Klingaman contributed to this article.

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