The Lowdown on ABA Pacer Don Buse

From time to time, we like to point our readers in the direction of some worthwhile writers and posts around the NBA blogosphere. Today, we bring you Curtis Harris of Hardwood Paroxysms and The Lowdown: Don Buse.

It’s hard to pluck just a few lines from such a great piece (just one of a great series of Lowdowns), but this is a nice microcosm of a guy’s career who deserves to be remembered far more than he is. Harris excerpted this passage on Buse from a Sports Illustrated piece in 1977

In Boston, the public-address announcer had to ask Don Buse how to pronounce his name. In Milwaukee, a sportswriter burned out his typewriter criticizing the Bucks’ guards for being victimized by a “nonentity” named Don Buse (Boo-See). In Atlanta, Lou Hudson, a 10-year veteran, said he had “never heard of him” before playing against Buse for the first time. New Orleans’ Pete Maravich had “heard of him but never seen him.” Presumably that held true the night Buse swiped the ball from Maravich four times.

Then he further explains the road Buse took from obscurity to mild fanfare.

Over the next three seasons, Buse would team with Paul Westphal, Walter Davis, Truck Robinson and Alvan Adams for a high octane Suns team that won 49, 50 and 55 games. His assists totals took a hit as everyone but Robinson was a superb passer and averaged over 4 a game, but his skills remained undiminished as he fit like a glove into their defense-leads-to-offense scheme.

I must admit that I appreciate Boo-Boo more retroactively than I did when I was watching him – but I’ve got an excuse. Don’s first stint with the Pacers spanned from my 6th year on the planet to my 11th. I was just a touch more fascinated with Dave Starsky’s red-and-white Gran Torino than professional basketball at that point in my life.

Another thing that prevented me from “getting” Buse was that, at my tender age, he wasn’t much more to me than “not Billy Keller” at that point. Billy, you see, was my first favorite Pacer.

But, it’s never to late to give a really good player his due, and it’s always the right time to give yourself the gift of reading the work of a guy like Curtis. Enjoy.

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