‘The Legend’ Nathan ‘Sonny’ Lewis

It is, in fact, inevitable. As the folks say, “As sure as you come into this world, you’re going to leave it,” and certainly we expect it and we accept it.

That being said, it does seem to be an unusual number of fallen basketball legends from Pittsburgh that have departed us, seemingly much too soon and certainly much too young.

Here is a reminder of some of the greats that have gone on to join “The Ultimate Team,” where they play well above the rim forever, and can never foul out. Note: Please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone, and please notify me so that I may put them in the next issue.

LEGENDS—From left: ABA/NBA legend and Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins, Bill Neal, and Pittsburgh legend and NBA star Kenny Durrett. Neal credits both with playing a vital role in establishing Champion Enterprises. (Photos courtesy of Bill Neal)

1. Kenny Durrett—The Schenley Spartan legend recognized as the greatest player in Western Pennsylvania history, and voted the greatest player in Pennsylvania Big Five history. A 6 feet 8, he could jump at center, play both power and small forward, and handle the ball like a guard.

2. “Sonny” Lewis—Nathan “Sonny” Lewis, a Schenley grad who played at Pitt and went on to Point Park college where he broke several scoring records and is recognized as Pittsburgh’s greatest vertical leaper.

Rivers.jpg

Anthony Rivers

3. Anthony Rivers—Garfield native out of Peabody High School, recognized as “The Greyhound.” Small in size, mighty otherwise, a Connie Hawkins League 2 time MVP and Hall of Famer.

4. Leroy Freeman—a Westinghouse graduate who was a world class accomplished artist both on and off the court. His paintings were simply outstanding. He played at Pitt and with the New Orleans Jazz. One of Pittsburgh’s all-time greats.

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