After battling leukemia for a short time, basketball great Nate Thurmond passed away yesterday at the age of 74.
A seven-time All-Star and one of the most dominant centers in the game, Thurmond played for the Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers during an NBA career that spanned 14 seasons, from 1963 – 1977. The 6’ 11” center was often referred to as “Nate the Great” or “Great Nate” due to his outstanding play.
Known for his aggressive rebounding and shot blocking, Thurmond was the centerpiece of the San Francisco, later Golden State, Warriors throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. His teams twice made it to the NBA Finals, but lost to the legendary Boston Celtics of the 1960s and former teammate Wilt Chamberlain’s Philadelphia 76ers.
Musician Alan Vega, 78, has died, it was announced:
Vega and Rev created Suicide after they attended a Stooges concert in 1969. They named the band after an issue of the Marvel comic “Ghost Rider.” The band was known for their intense live shows at venues like CBGB in New York._____
Their debut album was self-titled and was featured on Pitchfork’s greatest albums of the 1970s and is also on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Director Hector Babenco, 70, known for his work on Kiss of the Spider Woman, died of a heart attack the other day.
The Argentine-born Brazilian director was nominated for an Oscar for “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which was released in 1985. The movie was also nominated for best picture and actor William Hurt won the best actor Academy award for his role in the movie.
Former Democratic representative and judge Abner Mikva, 90, died on July 4:
Abner Joseph Mikva was born Jan. 21, 1926, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After his education in public schools, Mikva enlisted in the Army Air Corps, but World War II ended before he could be deployed. He later attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he met his wife. He received his law degree in 1951 from the University of Chicago Law School._____
“Long known as a liberal reform leader and a man of unassailable integrity, Abner J. Mikva successfully bucked Chicago’s Democratic political machine when he was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1956 as an independent, reform-minded Democrat, and later served as a Democractic congressman in the late 1960s and ‘70s,” the Mikva Challenge wrote in a post on Facebook.
Entertainer Caroline Aherne, only 52, died July 2 after a battle with cancer:
Known best for the BAFTA Award-winning working-class comedy “The Royale Family,” Aherne played the role of Denise, a lazy, chain-smoking, self-centered, neglectful mother. Most episodes took place entirely in the small living room of her parents’ house as the family watched television, engaged in banal conversations, and bickered. She co-wrote the series, which lasted three seasons, from 1998 – 2000 and five specials between 2006 and 2012. She also directed many of the later episodes and specials._____
Famed women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, recently died after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was just 64 and had been struck down way too young with that scourge:
In her 38 years at Tennessee, Summitt won eight national titles and 1,098 games -- the most by any Division 1 basketball coach, male or female. Her teams made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament._____
Beyond the wins and the statistics, Summitt had a profound impact on women's college athletics.
When she became head coach of the Lady Vols in 1974 at the age of 22 -- barely older than some of her players -- the NCAA did not even formally recognize women's basketball. Summitt had to drive the team van to road games herself.