Posted on October 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm by Jonathan Feigen in General
Hall of Famer Slater Martin, a star guard from Jefferson Davis High School and the University of Texas who won five NBA championships in the 1950s, died Thursday in Houston. Martin was 86.
Martin had led Jeff Davis to State Championships in 1942 and 1943, took Texas to the Final Four in 1947 and was a beloved figure in Houston for decades after his retirement while running the Slater Martin Golf Tournament and a restaurant and bar, Slater Martin’s.
“He was a guy that could converse about anything,” said Jim Foley, a longtime media relations director and broadcaster with the Rockets. “You could go into Slater Martin’s and it was a gathering place for University of Texas alums, but everybody he had a relationship with from the schoolyard to the NBA, old Oilers, would be there. He had a lot of friends in politics, too. You’d run into judges, people from the sheriff’s office, politicians.
“He was a true Houstonian, a true Texan. He had friends in every walk of life. He never met anybody he didn’t like.”
Martin enrolled at Texas in 1943 before a stint in the Navy. Martin returned to lead the “Mighty Mice” team to the 1947 Final Four. He was a first-team All America in 1949, scoring 49 points against TCU in his second-to-last game at Texas. His No. 15 was retired by the University in 2009.
An All Star in seven of his 11 NBA seasons, Martin was the playmaker that drove the great Minneapolis Lakers frontcourt of George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen and Jim Pollard to four NBA championships. He was traded to the Knicks, but quickly moved to the St. Louis Hawks who needed a guard to match up with Bob Cousy to get past the Celtics. Cousy long called Martin his toughest adversary. Led by legendary power forward Bob Pettit, Martin and the Hawks won the 1959 championship.
“He was small in stature (5-10),” but he was one tough hombre,” Foley said.
He was also tenacious. Legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach said that Martin shadowed Cousy so closely that during a timeout Martin followed Cousy into the Celtics’ huddle.
When Auerbach confronted Martin, he said, “I’m just waiting for No. 14 (Cousy) there. When he steps back on this court, I’m going to be right in his shirt. He ain’t going nowhere tonight without me. He and I are going to dance together all night.
“When he comes out, tell him I’m right here waiting for him.”
Martin is survived by his sons Jim and Slater, Jr. Funeral arrangements are pending.
http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2 ... ies-at-86/
R.I.P. Mr. Martin.