Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Where Are They Now?

I thought a good place to continue would be with brief "Where Are They Now?" summaries for several of the major actors in the Game of the Century.

As noted in my introductory posting, Guy V. Lewis, who coached the victorious Houston Cougars in the famous game, was the subject of a recent Fox Sports documentary. Lewis, born on March 18, 1922, will soon be celebrating his 83rd birthday (see this article mentioning his 76th birthday).

Lewis suffered a stroke in 2002. He was honored in a ceremony at UH's Hofheinz Pavilion in 2003 and also received an honorary doctorate from UH that year. According to the recent documentary, Lewis continues to visit Hofheinz.

John Wooden, the UCLA coach, still attends UCLA home games at age 94 (he was born October 14, 1910 according to this biographical sketch). As of 2001, when former Bruin player Andy Hill came out with his book Be Quick -- But Don't Hurry, Hill was taking Wooden out to breakfast once a month (whether this has continued to the present day, I don't know). There is a website called CoachWooden.com, which features his famous "Pyramid of Success."

Among the players that night in January of 1968, the star of the evening had to be UH center Elvin Hayes, who made the game-winning free throws. Born November 17, 1945, Hayes would thus now be 59 years old. After a successful pro career in which he helped lead the Washington Bullets to the NBA championship in the 1977-78 season, Hayes was voted to the Hall of Fame. He played two stints back in Houston with the Rockets, the latter one at the end of his career. In recent years, Hayes has owned an automobile dealership in Houston.

UCLA's center, of course, was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor). The owner of six NBA championship rings (five with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Milwaukee Bucks) and the master of the "sky hook" shot, Adbul-Jabbar also entered the Hall of Fame after a long and illustrious career.

Now 57 years old (born April 16, 1947), Kareem has in recent years been writing books and doing commentary/analysis on basketball telecasts. He has made known his desire to coach, but so far has had no takers at the NBA or major college level.

Finally, there's Dick Enberg, the play-by-play announcer for the landmark telecast of the UH-UCLA Game of the Century. If you're a tennis fan, you would have heard Enberg in just the last week or so. Having just turned 70 (born January 9, 1935 according to this biographical sketch), the legendary Enberg covered his first Australian Open, for ESPN.

For the last 40 years, Enberg has made a major impact on both the Los Angeles and national sports scenes. While Enberg's switch to national broadcasting prevented him from having the longevity in L.A. of a Vin Scully or Chick Hearn, he made up for it with his ubiquity (announcing for the Angels, Rams, and UCLA basketball). I look forward to writing additional material on Enberg in future postings.

Likewise, I intend in future postings to profile additional players in the Game of the Century.