There have been many deaths in the sports world this year, and it is always a loss to everyone who loves sports. These iconic sports figures have captured the hearts of millions and have ultimately changed the sports world forever. This week, an icon of the basketball world will be honored as a legend and true hero both on and off the basketball court.
According to KPTV, fans will get the chance to pay their final respects to deceased Portland Trail Blazer Maurice Lucas Monday, Nov. 8, at the Memorial Coliseum. Lucas died last week at the age of 58 from a battle with bladder cancer. Lucas helped lead the Trail Blazers to their only National Basketball Association Championship back in 1977, and will be remembered as “The Enforcer.” Lucas will be honored through a dedication for the rest of the Trail Blazers’ season, and a patch will be worn on all jerseys with Lucas’ number 20.
I cherish a lot of favorite memories of Lucas’ life and death on and off of the court, including his battle with cancer. Cancer is an illness that strikes a lot of people and has devastating consequences. One thing I will cherish about Lucas was his ability to continue on as a true champion and legend, even after his cancer diagnosis. Lucas might have been brilliant on the basketball court, but he was just as determined and brilliant in his personal life as well. Lucas never let the thought of cancer get him down or stop him from coaching, which is something he enjoyed a lot. Lucas kept on continuing to coach until his health began to seriously decline in 2009, which is amazing to me.
I have seen many people fight cancer, but Lucas was one who was never willing to forfeit the game of life. I think a lot of people could learn from Lucas and his determination to fight cancer because he showed that you can still live your life even if you are sick.
I will also remember “The Enforcer” situation during the 1977 NBA Finals series. I will always remember when Lucas made his nickname known to the world in a battle with the Philadelphia 76ers. Although I was not alive when the game happened, I am an avid basketball fan who has heard about the incident numerous times.
During that game, the 76ers were ahead comfortably late, but the Trail Blazers went down the court looking to come out on top. A fight broke out between Bob Gross and Darryl Dawkins after they both were trying to rebound the basketball and ended up falling on the floor. They both were ready to fight it out but Lucas ended up slapping Dawkins and insisted Dawkins fight him and not Gross. The crowd went crazy and the bleachers were cleared out as everyone began fighting, just like you would see in a professional hockey game. It ended when Dawkins and Lucas were subsequently ejected out of the game and the 76ers won the game in fashion.
I will remember that moment in the game because it was a spectacular moment in sports history; you had Lucas sticking up for his teammate. It is always good to know people have your back, even when things during the game are not going right. I will remember that Lucas did not back down to Dawkins and he stood his ground, even if it meant they both got ejected from the riveting basketball game. Lucas was special on the basketball court and that incident proved that he was a force not to be reckoned with, especially when you try to fight a teammate of his. Although the Trail Blazers lost that game, it went on to become one of the defining moments of Lucas’ career.
KPTV Staff, “Fans to Remember Maurice Lucas At Memorial”, KPTV