I was fortunate, I got to know Ernie Vandeweghe a little.
One of my first jobs was as an usher at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, where the Clippers played before Staples Center, and there Vandeweghe was a regular in my section. His son Kiki, now the VP of basketball operations with the NBA, had been a Clipper for a while. He was a kind, wise, generous man.
Ernie Vandeweghe has passed away at the age of 86, the NBA has announced.
He played six seasons with the Knicks following World War II, finishing medical school while he was an NBA player. He averaged 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a game in those years. He had been a college star at Colgate.
He was a member of the U.S. Air Force who went on to be the chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He was the Lakers’ team doctor when the team first moved to Los Angeles.
His son Kiki was a two-time NBA All-Star in 14 seasons. As noted by the AP, his daughter Tauna competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the backstroke as the U.S. Champion. Another daughter, Heather, was captain the U.S. women’s polo team, while another son Bruk was a professional volleyball player. His granddaughter CoCo is currently the 40th ranked women’s tennis player in the world.
Our thoughts are with his family. He was one of the best people I have met around the NBA.