Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oliver Shannon

That's Oliver above, playing for Erasmus, scoring in the 1966 high school championship game against Clinton
Joe Bruno's mentioning of Oliver Shannon triggered some memories, numbered in sequence from different Kvers:
1. I knew an Oliver Shannon in Jr Hi. A black kid, great b-ball player. Is this the same person you mention. And do you know his whereabouts?

2. Now some bravado. Oliver came to "our" park having heard of my speed and challenged me to a race. I had "school" shoes still on and he had sneakers. I easily beat him. Another time some Italian "kid" also came to challenge me-he was from the Bronx or Brooklyn and looked real tough. Well the result was the same I easily beat him and he shook my hand and said "you won fair and square".

3. I have listened to the tales of Marvin K speeding up and down the asphalt, taking all comers from all neighborhoods and sending them on the impecunious ways besmirched and bedraggled, festooned in defeat and despair. And to o’ercome the human foe is grand and ne’er do I contest it. But I, in no less titanic a tussle have rebuked the grandest adversary of them all-–Father Time himself. Hear me now oh you from KV come. My daily journey around the Central Park of Manahatta runs up and down hill but always from North to South along the western ridge and then due up the Eastern byway. Just so, as the arrows point the path. Yet today I sought to run my duo-pedaled steed down the eastern and up the western drives, thus reversing the direction of traffic and, in effect, biding my pace betwixt and between the rungs of oncoming cyclists and motorists. Backwards did I run my race, you brethren. And for all the time I sped, spinning backwards, I out-pointed my previous best by a full 79 seconds. Around the entire park with time to spare. I beat my best time backwards. Say it with me please, he beat the best backward. And the best of the mightiest. Father Time himself stood speechless by the park exit and dipped his brow into the Harlem Meer, he was spent but now unencumbered by the mantle of invincibility that he once so proudly sported. Do you see what I’m saying here/ Can you make it out clearly oh yee of KV come?

4. Would you be kind enough to repeat that?

I looked to find an address and phone number for an Oliver Shannon. The one suspect I found in North Carolina wasn't him. In searching the Social Security Death Index I found an Oliver Shannon, born 9/29/47, and passed away 9/21/01. The card was issued in NYC and had numbers that corresponded to a lower east side location. This prompted this email to the chatterers.

Looks like Oliver Shannon may have lost the race we all will eventually lose, only looks like he lost in the trials at age 54

1. Very sad about Ollie. He passed 10 days after 9/11--I wonder if it had anything to do with the Twin Towers. Ollie signed my elementary school yearbook, played one year on my Edgies team--went on to star for Erasmus Hall on their city championship team with Coak Cannon and George Thompson and starred in the Rucker league, then played for the Cincinnati Royals for a year or two. Genuinely sweet guy.

2. He had that sleeper play where he would fall down at the key and writhe as if in agony and when people gathered around him he would dribble in and lay the ball up. Willowy and always smiling.  I can't even remember talking to him but I remember his presence very clearly.  A dominating player but a gentle soul. Poetry in motion. An idiosyncratic personality but a true as gravity eye. God bless Oliver Shannon.


Anonymous said...

I'm just learning of Ollie's passing. Truly a loss for humanity. We were teammates @ Erasmus and adversaries in college; he @ Minnesota and me at Marquette. Ollie was always smiling and full of pleasant mischief. Between he and Sol McMillon there was never a quiet moment. Very fond memories of a good guy.

Hugh McMahon
EHHS 1966

Anonymous said...

Ollie is my uncle. My mom's sister was married to him, but they divorced a long time ago. Ollie lost his battle with cancer in 2001. He was such a woderful person! His son, Quincy plays basketball for the international league.

Anonymous said...

For all those who loved Ollie, please know his memorial service was as beautiful as his spirit. He was a remarkable man.

Anonymous said...

My father taught at a small college in southern Minnesota, named Bethany Lutheran College. Ollie came and played in a tournament when I was about 11 yrs.old, in 1969 (?). He played for Metro College in Minneapolis before going to the Gophers. He was unbelievable. The gym was packed just to see him play. Once he was trapped in the corner baseline, took one giant dribble and step and jammed over two defenders. Bethany's coach still thinks he may have been the greatest BB player to ever grace Bethany's gym. Great memories. - Don Moldstad

Anonymous said...

Oliver and I played 2 yrs. together at Man. JHS-12 on the lower east side. He lived on Montgemory St. just off Madison, I lived in The "Smith" He was a great guy..a lot of fun ! Our coach Norman Goldhaver( spelling ?)was a great coach!!! Our school played for The Manhattan Championship our share of times....and Oliver, man he could score. In 62 we played Cooper JHS, and they had some ringers. Ric Coob,Billy Meggett, Bouncy and I can't remember the rest. We lost the championship to them, but Oliver played great!
We were both 8th graders. I left to go to Brooklyn Tech, Oliver went to Lefferts JHS in Brooklyn to finish 9th grade. That's how he got into Erasmus, still living in Manhattan.
Those were some great times. After practice or a game, we'd go to "Cozy Corner" and Oliver would always ordered Rice pudding, always! He loved it.
I stumbled onto this site and was shocked to read he's been gone almost 10yrs. I moved from N.Y. years ago and we lost touch. I could write a book about Oliver. We came up when N.Y.C. was producing some Great ball players....to many to mention, but "Ollie" was one of them ! ! ! !
I wasn't to bad myself!

Ernie Bliey
JHS 12 "62"
Brooklyn Tech 66

Anonymous said...

He was my coach in highschool. He had pancreatic cancer. Great guy...had some great stories about when he used to play and would play with us. At 50 he still had it!!

Sam Lefkowitz said...

played with & against ollie when i was young-played for coach goldhaber at brownsville boys club-remember ollie growing from 5'8" to 6'3" over 1 summer. RIP ollie.


Anonymous said...

I went to Erasmus when Ollie played----had very impressive jumper. Was top player on the team although Coak got most of the PR.Team. Coak played center at 6-5. Seeemed like great guy, but as Billy Joel said'only the good die young."

Walter Hicks Jr said...

my name is butch i grew up on sterling st and graduated from lefferts jr high and played with ollie myi remember Charlie Donovan,jackie jackson,eldrige webb my cousin connie hawkins my brother kelvin hicks i miss ollie be bless my number (910-273-7095