Now the athletic director at Touro College, Bader was all business when it came to basketball.
“He really pushed my buttons,” Danny Stern, a former Yeshiva High player, said last week. “I’d want to go out [on the court] and kill for the ball, do whatever it took to win.”
The veneer hid a warm heart. Bader arranged summer jobs for campers whose families could not afford the cost or waived the fees altogether. And along with the well-heeled NBA players he brought in for one-day clinics, Bader provided seasonal employment to down-on-their-luck guys like Meminger.
“It just shows the real character of somebody…who looks out for people who aren’t on the fast track anymore,” said Elliot Auerbacher, a Manhattan real estate financier who spearheaded a 2012 dinner honoring Bader. As a kohen, Bader could not attend Meminger’s funeral on Aug. 30. Among those who did attend was Leo Klein, who had provided legal assistance to Meminger and knew him well.
Klein had played for the Manhattan Talmudical Academy when Bader was coaching Yeshiva High. His son now attends Seneca Lake. As a camp administrator and educator, Klein said, Bader engenders “the right combination of fear and respect.”
He was among those who eulogized Meminger, who is survived by two children, two grandchildren and his father. Among the mourners at the Harlem service were ex-teammates Bradley and Monroe, Meminger’s closest friend on the Knicks – Meminger memorably replaced Monroe in a deciding playoff game against the Boston Celtics in 1973 and shut down guard Jo Jo White – as well as film director Spike Lee, a huge Knicks fan.
Klein described his remarks as a “vort,” the Yiddish word for a short talk on Torah. He asked the audience to consider a twin who is born. The child momentarily left behind in the womb misses the born one, unaware that he or she reached a better place filled with sunshine and other worldly wonders.
“I submitted to the people,” Klein said, “that Dean Meminger is in a better place.”