A reader of this blog recently asked me about Maurice Lucas and whether he and I are still in touch with each other.
I’m pleased to say that my friend Maurice and I have maintained a very good relationship since our playing careers ended.
Most of you with an interest in the answer to this question will know that Maurice and I were teammates for the Kentucky Colonels during the last year before the ABA and the NBA merged.
In addition to having been a great hard-nosed basketball player, Maurice also has an equally great heart and has hosted or supported numerous charitable events over the years. He has, as many of you know, struggled with health issues in recent years and if all of his fans across the country will keep Maurice in their prayers, my friend would really appreciate that, and likewise so would I.
Let me share two memories of my days on the court with Maurice.
During a game against the Spirits of St. Louis, tempers flared up for some reason I can’t even remember. The result was that Maurice, who was then a rookie, punched me good to the jaw. Maurice was a strong man who, unlike me, enjoyed a good brawl, and he landed a solid fist. Believe me --- I felt it from my head to the end of my sneakers. I think my knees may have gone in a few different directions. Over the years this story has grown to where I supposedly chased Maurice around the arena until, when cornered, he put my lights out. Well, that's a fair amount more dramatic than what really happened. As it was, some accounts claim that the incident made Maurice so confident in himself that it contributed to his career-long success as a player. If my chin gave an assist to Maurice, I'm happy. He's a great guy. I doubt, though, that this had much to do with his many great years as a player. Maurice was pretty damn good to begin with!
The other memory comes from when Maurice and I were teammates being coached by the famous Hubie Brown. Hubie, as all basketball fans know, was a truly great coach and I am honored to have played for him. He cared about me as a player and as a person and I will always appreciate everything he did for me. As a coach, Hubie was a stickler for being sure that even the smallest detail was done correctly. If something was being done wrong he had no problem getting up in a guy's face and yelling until he ran out of breath. A couple times he lit into me so bad, cussing at full volume, that other guys felt bad for me and tried to calm him down. Maurice Lucas actually got benched once during a game for telling Hubie to stop yelling at me!
Yes, Maurice was and is a friend of mine. I’m proud to have played with and against him!