Another excerpt from my book, “Irene and Abe, An Unexpected Life.”
This passage opens the book and includes a moment with Abe that I’ll never forget: the look on his face when he met legendary Knicks President and Hall of Famer Ned Irish. I hope you enjoy this brief look into the book. Of course, the book is on sale and available on Amazon at this link.
From “Irene and Abe: An Unexpected Life”
As luck would have it, our first away game as owners of the
Baltimore Bullets took place in St. Louis, my hometown. We
invited my whole family, lots of cousins of all ages, and we
all cheered so loudly that one woman sitting in front of us finally
turned around and said, “Why are you yelling like that for the
Bullets? You’d think you owned the team!” Abe loved to tell that
story along with several other stories from that weekend because
the game coincided with the first meeting we attended, also in St.
Louis, of owners of National Basketball Association league teams.
My cousins still talk about it. “Remember the time Irene brought
Boston Celtics owner Red Auerbach to our house for lunch?”
There were Abe and I—the new kids on the block—mixing with
basketball legends we had up to that time only read about. While
Red Auerbach was explaining to me how his favorite trick was to
turn up the heat in the visiting team’s locker room in Boston to
tire the guys out before the game started, Abe was across the room
chatting strategy with Knicks founder and basketball icon Ned
Irish (who had just been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame)
and giving me a look that said I can’t believe I’m talking to Ned Irish!
It was a very heady experience for us, suddenly finding ourselves
on the inside, listening to the behind-the-scenes talk about coaches
and players and strategy and trades.
“Irene, have you met Wilt Chamberlain?” someone asked me.
As I turned to shake Chamberlain’s hand, I found my eyes at the
exact same level as the over-seven-foot-tall player’s belly button.
He seemed to me to be a living statue. I had never seen a live person
that big. He just didn’t seem real. And there I was talking to him.
It was at that point that I found myself asking: How in the world
did I ever (ever!) end up in the world of professional basketball?