Posted on February 15, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Saturday, Feb 16 at 6:49 PM
Almost 33 years after his last season as a Spur, Larry Kenon remains one of the most exciting players in the franchise's history.
While James Silas muscled past defenders and George Gervin finger-rolled into basketball immortality, Kenon blew by opponents with his speed and quickness.
Although Kenon played only five seasons with the Silver & Black, from 1975-80, he still ranks as one of the most productive players in franchise history. A 6-foot-9 forward, Kenon averaged 21.9, 20.6, 22.1 and 20.1 points in the first four seasons following the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, and made the NBA All-Star team in 1978 and 1979.
Kenon, who was traded by the New York Nets to San Antonio for center Swen Nater, also led the Spurs in rebounding in each of his five seasons with the team. He averaged 21.2 points and 10.1 rebounds as a Spur before signing with the Chicago Bulls in 1980.
Kenon’s meteoric career with the Spurs will be recalled Friday night when he is inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame at the Alamodome.
“I am honored but it’s not anything I ever thought about it,” Kenon said. “I just enjoyed playing the game. I love it and worked hard."
Other members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 are:
- Norm Charlton, a Madison High School graduate who won a World Series title as a relief pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 and played 13 seasons in the major leagues.
- Golfer Joe Conrad, who won numerous amateur championships in the 1950s and was inducted into the Texas Golf of Fame in 1997.
- Nell Fortner, a New Braunfels High School graduate who coached the U.S. women's basketball team to the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics.
- Former AT&T CEO Edward Whitacre, Jr., who became a major force on the local sports scene in 1992 when the Fortune 500 Company, then called Southwestern Bell, moved to San Antonio.
Friday night's even will be emceed by KENS 5 Sports Director Joe Reinagel.
Kenon, 60, played three seasons in the ABA and seven in the NBA during his 10-year pro career. He had 11 steals against Kansas City in 1976, setting an NBA record that still stands.
“I was there that night and saw him get those 11 steals,” former Spurs coach and general manager Bob Bass said Friday. “Larry was a great athlete. He could run like the wind, and could jump. I really believe that he was the kind of athlete who could play today if he were coming out of college now.
“One thing he really did well was when he’d get a defensive rebound, he’d take the ball down the floor himself instead of passing it to the point guard. He went full speed and beat his man, and usually did what I call a Statue of Liberty of dunk. Dr. J (Julius Erving) was the only other player I ever saw do that in those days. Larry would take off from the free-throw line and fly through the air to the basket. He was terrific.”
Kenon, who was known as "Special K" by Spurs fans, also played for Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring in 1983. He owns a car dealership and lives in Boerne now.
Charlton, 50, was part of Cincinnati's "Nasty Boys" bullpen in 1990, when the Reds beat the Oakland A's in the World Series. A left-hander, Charlton played for six teams during his career and was selected for the MLB All-Star game in 1992. He retired in 2001 and is now a fishing guide in Rockport, where he lives.
Fortner, 53, was a standout volleyball and basketball player at Texas before starting her coaching career. She coached at Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech and Purdue before she was named head coach of the U.S. women's national team in April 1997.
Fortner guided the squad to the gold medal in the 1998 FIBA World Championships, and was the winning coach when the Americans beat Australia for the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics.
She coached the WNBA's Indiana Fever for two seasons and worked as an ESPN analyst from 2001-2004 before returning to women's college basketball at Auburn before the 2004-05 season. Fortner coached at Auburn for eight seasons, leading the Tigers to the NCAA tournament twice. She retired after the 2011-12 season and has rejoined ESPN as a basketball analyst.
Conrad, 83, is the only Texas golfer to win the British Amateur Open.
Whitacre, former CEO of AT&T and General Motors, is being honored for the impact he’s had on the San Antonio sports scene since moving to the city in 1993. Whitacre, 71, and the late Robert McDermott, then chairman of USAA, put together an ownership group in 1993 to keep the Spurs in San Antonio.