web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


For Legendary Camp Owner Irv Bader, Death Of Ex-Knick Was Hard Blow

Irv Bader

Irv Bader

Dean Meminger sat in owner Irv Bader’s office at Camp Seneca Lake and talked of his girlfriend, her battle with lupus and their plans to marry.

Meminger, known as “The Dream” as a star guard at Marquette University and a key reserve for the New York Knicks’ 1973 championship team, had just finished a four-day stint late last month at a basketball camp at the Pocono Mountains’ Jewish facility. He had taught the players with enthusiasm and his demeanor bespoke an apparent contentment with life.

Before Meminger boarded a bus back to New York, the friends, who had known each other for decades, hugged and pledged to meet soon in the city.

The next day Meminger, 65, was gone, found dead in a hotel room in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood.

For Bader, the phone call informing him of Meminger’s death was “like hitting me in the head.” He had employed the ex-backcourt ace for many summers at Seneca Lake.

Shortly after the call, Bader wondered to another longtime employee, Gus Kennedy, whether his cash payment to Meminger had prompted a splurge that indirectly led to the ex-ballplayer’s demise, since Meminger had battled drugs for many years. (The cause of death has not been released.)

With the Knicks, Meminger had played for Hall of Fame coach Red Holzman and with a cast of future Hall of Famers – Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley and Jerry Lucas.

After his six-year NBA playing career with the Knicks and Atlanta Hawks, Meminger worked in basketball off and on, running clinics and teaching kids at camps like Bader’s. He also had three coaching stints spread over more than two decades, until 2003. Since then, several friends said they didn’t know how Meminger earned a living or whether he could make ends meet.

They said Meminger kept quiet about his life; several weren’t even sure where he lived. The friends were circumspect about his drug addiction, with Bader saying he saw no signs of the problem but that Meminger would’ve been fired if he had.

Meminger had been hospitalized following a 2009 fire that started in his room in the Bronx. Crack pipes were found in the room, but they did not cause the fire, according to newspaper reports.

After the fire, “I was hard on him,” Meminger’s former Knicks teammate and longtime friend Mel Davis told JTA. “I told him, ‘Dean, God gave you another chance.’ ”

In their semiweekly conversations in recent years, “I always motivated him to take care of himself,” Davis said. Davis and other friends preferred remembering Meminger for his personableness and court acumen. They said “The Dream” displayed a high basketball IQ and an ability to teach his young charges, notably defensive skills – the aspect of the game in which he shone in the pros.

Meminger loved the sport, watching games on Seneca Lake’s courts late into the night.

“It was very educational for me to work alongside him,” said Barry Neuberger, Columbia University’s associate athletic director, who worked with Meminger at the camp’s basketball sessions and also hugged him goodbye before Meminger boarded the bus for Manhattan.

Meminger, Bader said, “couldn’t jump, didn’t have a jump shot, but he had a great first step and was great with kids.”

Bader, 74, has long brought past and present NBA players to his camp, including Nate Archibald, a Hall of Famer, this summer.

Basketball has been in Bader’s blood going back to his days as a shooting guard at the Brooklyn Talmudical Academy – before he broke his mother’s heart by transferring to Erasmus Hall High, a public school, because it would improve his game. He placated her by attending Yeshiva University, graduating in 1960 as its all-time leading scorer with 1,374 points (he now ranks sixth), before embarking on a career in education that largely embraced sports.

For 26 years, Bader instructed teachers at Brooklyn College on working with mentally disabled children. He also coached basketball at Jewish schools in New York, including the Yeshiva High School of Queens.

In those days, Bader sported a sloping mustache and rode a motorcycle to work (doubtlessly to the consternation of his daughter and son, who then attended Yeshiva High).

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “For Legendary Camp Owner Irv Bader, Death Of Ex-Knick Was Hard Blow”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Megillat Esther
The Origins of Purim
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Hillel Kuttler
Stan Fischler

Providing New York-area hockey fans with a bird’s-eye view and expert analysis is what Fischler, 81, has done on broadcasts of Islanders, Rangers and Devils games. He’s had a love affair with the sport since he was introduced to it quite by accident as a 7-year-old growing up in Brooklyn.

Eddie Gottlieb

Gottlieb, who immigrated as a boy from Kiev, Ukraine, was a founder, player and coach of one of the most important teams in basketball history: the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association club known by its acronym, the Sphas.

Dean Meminger sat in owner Irv Bader’s office at Camp Seneca Lake and talked of his girlfriend, her battle with lupus and their plans to marry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/for-legendary-camp-owner-irv-bader-death-of-ex-knick-was-hard-blow/2013/10/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: