clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube Gold: Dave DeBusschere

A great too often overlooked

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks
Dave DeBusschere vs. the Milwaukee Bucks

Dave DeBusschere is one of those guys who got kind of pushed out of the public consciousness by later greats but he was a remarkable athlete.

Born in Detroit in 1940, he stayed home at the University of Detroit where he starred in both baseball and basketball.

Amazingly, he starred for both the Pistons and the Tigers after college and, at the age of 23, was named player-coach of the Pistons.

Eventually he gave up pitching and was later traded to the Knicks in 1968 where his greatness found a natural home.

Red Holzman had carefully assembled at team for the ages: Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Jerry Lucas, Dick Barnett and DeBusschere. Oh, and Phil Jackson too.

DeBusschere fit perfectly and helped lead the Knicks to the 1970 and 1973 NBA championships.

In some ways he was really ahead of his time: he could play outside or in and at times they asked him to do crazy things like guard Wilt Chamberlain (he held his own). He played as hard as anyone who has ever played the game.

Sadly, DeBusschere suffered a heart attack in New York in 2003 and died.

He’s not as well-known as he should be. If you were to talk to guys like Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, we expect they’d love to have a guy like that on their teams. He was very gifted, but most of what made him great was his willingness to work hard.

By the way, in the New York clips, Jackson is #19.