I attended the Tribute to Dough Moe Charity Dinner, sponsored by the JoAnn Ficke Cancer Foundation, Sunday night at the Doubletree, and it was virtual "who's who" of Nuggets and NBA History. Notables in attendance included Mike Evans, Jeff Kingery, David Thompson, Rod Thorn, Billy Cunningham, George Karl, Larry Brown, Bill Hanzlik, Kiki Vandeweghe, Mike Fratello, Adrian Dantley, Drew Goodman, and Al Albert. Video tributes included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Don Nelson. Lebron James, David Stern, Roy Williams, TR Dunn,Michael Adams, and Alex English.
It was a great night, with wonderful old footage of Doug Moe as a player and coach, great stories about Doug (including his colorful wardrobe and language) and what a terrific friend Doug has been to those close to him. I was amazed that Doug's average Nuggets practice was 45 minutes long, how very few plays (if any) he called, how incredibly hard his players played, and how they played the "right" way (passing and movement). Larry Brown in particular gave a real heart felt and hilarious tribute to his old pal (and college roommate) Doug. Larry called Doug one of the greatest coaches of all-time (and most underrated) because his teams won a lot of games, played hard, and were fun to watch. Doug is one of the true characters in professional basketball history, and let's hope one day he finds a way into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In the meantime, this was a great tribute to a true original. Hail to the King!
Interesting Notes from the evening:
1) George Karl spent a lot of time schmoozing Rod Thorn. Not sure if he is using New Jersey as leverage in his negotiations with Kroenke, or if he has a real interest in the New Jersey job, but he spent a lot of time with Thorn and sat near him.
2) Kiki spent very little time with current Nuggets (and coaches) or former Nuggets and kept mostly to himself. Maybe some leftover hard feelings for the way he exited. Nice of him to show up to honor Doug, however, particularly with him in the middle of nightmare season as coach of the woeful Nets. Kiki ended his funny tribute to Doug by getting choked up and saying how he would love to play for Doug again.
3) Billy Cunningham gave a heart felt tribute to Doug and even teared up when he talking about him. He ended with "if you look up friend in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Doug." Nice touch by an NBA all-timer.
4) Nice to David Thompson in Denver, and he had very kind words for Doug. I always thought DT and Doug had a falling out when DT was traded to Seatle for Hanzlik, but Skywalker had kind words for Doug.
5) Carl Scheer was a dud, and seems bitter about his lack of respect and appreciation in Denver. he didn't say one nice word about Doug, and ended his speech abruptly.
6) Notable absence -- Dan Issel. I know Dan is going through tough times with his Bankruptcy, but he should have swallowed his pride and showed up for this tribute to his good friend Doug.
7) JoAnn Ficke, who died a few years ago of cancer, seemed like a wonderful lady. Many in attendance heeped praise on her and there was a very touching video tribute to her.
8) Doug's favorite player was clearly Hanzlik. Even though Hanz was Doug's "whipping boy" during games, the two are clearly close, and it was nice to see that bond in public.
A great, great night for a life long Nuggets fan.