Dave DeBusschere

Last updated

Dave DeBusschere
Dave DeBusschere.jpeg
DeBusschere circa 1974
Personal information
Born(1940-10-16)October 16, 1940
Detroit, Michigan
DiedMay 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
New York City, New York
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school Austin Catholic Preparatory School
(Detroit, Michigan)
College Detroit (1959–1962)
NBA draft 1962 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1962–1974
Position Power forward / Small forward
Career history
As player:
19621968 Detroit Pistons
19681974 New York Knicks
As coach:
19641967 Detroit Pistons
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 14,053 (16.1 ppg)
Rebounds 9,618 (11.0 rpg)
Assists 2,497 (2.9 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

David Albert DeBusschere (October 16, 1940 – May 14, 2003) was an American professional National Basketball Association player and coach and Major League baseball player. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. DeBusschere was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History were chosen in 1996 to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). These fifty players were selected through a vote by a panel of media members, former players and coaches, and current and former general managers. In addition, the top ten head coaches and top ten single-season teams in NBA history were selected by media members as part of the celebration. The fifty players had to have played at least a portion of their careers in the NBA and were selected irrespective of position played.


Early life

DeBusschere was born in Detroit to parents Peter Marcell and Dorothy Debusschere. [1] He attended Austin Catholic Preparatory School and inspired the "White Shirted Legion" (the tradition of wearing white shirts to the school's games to make fans more visible). As a junior, he was named all-state, and in his senior year of 1957–58, in just the school's third year of organized basketball, he led his team to the Michigan Class A high school basketball championship, scoring 32 points despite fouling out midway through the fourth quarter as the Friars defeated Benton Harbor High School and Debusschere's future NBA rival forward Chet Walker. [2]

Detroit Largest city in Michigan

Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

Austin Catholic Preparatory School

Austin Catholic Preparatory School was an all–male, non–residential college preparatory school in Detroit, Michigan. Austin was "one of the city's most widely respected schools." The school was founded in 1951 and operated by the Roman Catholic Order of Augustinians. Its first class graduated in 1956. Austin was closed in 1978 due to declining enrollment and a desire by the Augustinians to sell the school's property.

Benton Harbor High School is a high school in Benton Harbor, Michigan, United States, and is part of the Benton Harbor Area Schools.

College career

DeBusschere starred in both basketball and baseball at the University of Detroit. He averaged 24 points a game in basketball, helping Detroit reach the National Invitation Tournament twice and the NCAA basketball tournament once. He also pitched the Titans to three NCAA baseball tournament berths. [3]

National Invitation Tournament second tier postseason college basketball tournament

The National Invitation Tournament (NIT) is a men's college basketball tournament operated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Played at regional sites and at Madison Square Garden in New York City each March and April, it was founded in 1938 and was originally the most prestigious post-season showcase for college basketball.

Baseball career

Dave DeBusschere
Born:(1940-10-16)October 16, 1940
Died: May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
April 22, 1962, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 2, 1963, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 3–4
Earned run average 2.90
Complete games 1

In 1962, DeBusschere was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent. He was a pitcher for the White Sox from 1962 to 1963. He pitched a shutout on August 13, 1963, against the Cleveland Indians, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out three. In 22 career at bats, he had only one hit, a single off Bennie Daniels on July 17, 1963. He pitched in the White Sox's minor league system for two more seasons before giving up pitching to focus on both playing and coaching basketball. [4]

Chicago White Sox Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. The White Sox are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, and play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field, located on the city's South Side. They are one of two major league clubs in Chicago; the other is the Chicago Cubs, who are a member of the National League (NL) Central division.

Pitcher the player responsible for throwing ("pitching") the ball to the batters in a game of baseball or softball

In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.

Cleveland Indians Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with 10 Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians' current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought.

He is one of only 13 athletes to have played in both the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. The 13 are: Danny Ainge, Frank Baumholtz, Gene Conley, Chuck Connors, DeBusschere, Johnny Gee, Dick Groat, Steve Hamilton, Mark Hendrickson, Cotton Nash, Ron Reed, Dick Ricketts and Howie Schultz. [5] . [6] [7] [8]

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams. It is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Danny Ainge American basketball executive and former player

Daniel Ray Ainge is an American basketball executive and former professional basketball and baseball player. Ainge is currently the general manager and President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Basketball career

Detroit Pistons

DeBusschere was selected by the Detroit Pistons in 1962 NBA draft as a territorial draft selection. During his rookie season, he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and was later named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. However, DeBusschere was injured during his second season and only played in 15 games, resulting in the Pistons finishing with a disappointing record of 23-59.

Detroit Pistons Professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association

The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division and plays its home games at Little Caesars Arena. The team was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons in 1941, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) where it won two NBL championships: in 1944 and 1945. The Pistons later joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1948. The NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA in 1949, and the Pistons became part of the merged league. Since moving to Detroit in 1957, the Pistons have won three NBA championships: in 1989, 1990 and 2004.

The 1962 NBA draft was the 16th annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on March 26, 1962, before the 1962–63 season. In this draft, nine NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players. A player who had finished his four-year college eligibility was eligible for selection. If a player left college early, he would not be eligible for selection until his college class graduated. In each round, the teams selected in reverse order of their won–loss record in the previous season. Before the draft, a team could forfeit its first-round draft pick, then select any player from within a 50-mile radius of its home arena as their territorial pick. The Chicago Packers, who finished last in the previous season, were renamed the Chicago Zephyrs. The Philadelphia Warriors relocated to San Francisco and became the San Francisco Warriors prior to the start of the season. The draft consisted of 16 rounds, comprising 102 players selected.

The NBA All-Rookie Team is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) honor given since the 1962–63 NBA season to the top rookies during the regular season. Voting is conducted by the NBA head coaches; who are not allowed to vote for players on their own team. The All-Rookie Team is generally composed of two five-man lineups, a first team and a second team. The players each receive two points for each first team vote and one point for each second team vote. The top five players with the highest point total make the first team, with the next five making the second team. In the case of a tie at the fifth position of either team, the roster is expanded. If the first team consists of six players due to a tie, the second team will still consist of five players with the potential for more expansion in the event of additional ties. Ties have occurred several times, most recently in 2012, when Kawhi Leonard, Iman Shumpert, and Brandon Knight tied in votes received. No respect is given to positions. For example, the first team had four forwards, and one guard in 2008, while the first team had four centers and one guard in 2016.

In the 1964–1965 season, at the age of 24, he was given the position of player-coach for the Pistons, and thus became the youngest-ever coach in league history. However, this stint as coach was not successful and he became a full-time player. During the 1968–1969 season, DeBusschere was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives.

New York Knicks

DeBusschere was named to the First Team All-Defensive Team every season of his career after the inception of the designation. Dave DeBusschere 1972.jpeg
DeBusschere was named to the First Team All-Defensive Team every season of his career after the inception of the designation.

DeBusschere, along with future Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier, became an NBA champion when the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Finals. With Earl Monroe in the backcourt, they became champions again in 1973, beating the Lakers 4-1 in the finals.

DeBusschere was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983 after a 12-year career (19621974) in which he averaged 16.1 points and 11 rebounds while being named to eight NBA All-Star teams. He became a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996. He was renowned for his physical style of play and tenacious defense, and he was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team six times. [9]

Life after basketball

DeBusschere retired as a player in 1974, and his #22 jersey was retired by the Knicks, though not until many years later; it is thought the delay was due to his taking a front-office job with the rival New York Nets of the American Basketball Association (now Brooklyn Nets) upon his retirement. The next year DeBusschere became the ABA's commissioner for the 1975–76 season, its last. DeBusschere helped bring about the merger between the NBA and the ABA that year. [10] He was later the assistant coach and director of basketball operation of the Knicks during the 1980s, when he drafted fellow Knicks legend Patrick Ewing, the first overall selection in 1985.

DeBusschere and some partners purchased Ring magazine in 1979. [11]

DeBusschere authored a book entitled The Open Man, a chronicle of the New York Knicks' 1969–1970 championship season.


In May 2003, Dave DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street from a heart attack and was pronounced dead at New York University Hospital. He was 62 years of age. DeBusschere was interred at Saint Joseph's Church Cemetery in Garden City, Nassau County, New York. DeBusschere, who lived in Garden City, was survived by his wife, Gerri (who died of cancer in 2009), [12] sons Peter and Dennis, and daughter Michelle. [3]

In his honor, the University of Detroit Mercy inaugurated the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship in 2003. It provides support to two student-athletes that must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. [12]

NBA career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage 3P%  3-point field goal percentage FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high
Denotes seasons in which DeBusschere won an NBA championship

Regular season

1962–63 Detroit 8029.4.430.7188.72.612.7
1963–64 Detroit 1520.3.391.5817.01.58.6
1964–65 Detroit 7935.1.425.70011.13.216.7
1965–66 Detroit 7934.1.408.65911.62.616.4
1966–67 Detroit 7837.1.415.70511.82.818.2
1967–68 Detroit 8039.1.442.66413.52.317.9
1968–69 Detroit 2937.7.447.72312.22.216.3
1968–69 New York 4739.4.442.68211.42.716.4
1969–70 New York 7933.3.451.68810.02.514.6
1970–71 New York 8135.7.421.69611.12.715.6
1971–72 New York 8038.4.427.72811.33.615.4
1972–73 New York 7736.7.435.74610.23.416.3
1973–74 New York 7138.0.461.75610.


1963 Detroit 439.8.424.68215.81.520.0
1968 Detroit 643.8.425.57816.22.219.3
1969 New York 1041.9.351.82014.83.316.3
1970 New York 1936.9.421.66211.62.416.1
1971 New York 1240.7.416.65913.01.816.4
1972 New York 1638.5.450.75012.12.316.6
1973 New York 1737.1.442.77510.53.415.6
1974 New York 1233.7.380.6218.

See also

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  1. [ dead link ]
  2. "Data" (PDF). Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  3. 1 2 Goldstein, Richard (May 15, 2003). "Dave DeBusschere, 62, Relentless Forward On Knicks' Championship Teams, Is Dead" via NYTimes.com.
  4. "Dave DeBusschere". August 6, 2007.
  5. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/baseball_and_basketball_players.shtml
  6. "Sports Hot Line". Beaver Country Times. November 1, 1981. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  7. "Hendrickson Becomes Latest to Play In Both NBA and Major League Baseball". WSU Cougars. CBS Interactive. August 9, 2002. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  8. Crowe, Jerry (August 13, 2002). "The Inside Track; Morning Briefing; New Coach Pulls the Strings in Washington". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  9. "Dave DeBusschere Stats - Basketball-Reference.com". Basketball-Reference.com.
  10. Grasso, John (2011). Historical Dictionary of Basketball. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 110. ISBN   9781442255333.
  11. "The Ring Timeline". The Ring . November 12, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  12. 1 2 "Titans Mourn Passing Of Gerri DeBusschere". DetroitTitans.com.