And then we lost Johnny too


Sometimes fate can be both strange and cruel. Hours after Norm Van Lier was taken from us, we lost Johnny “Red” Kerr as well. Two local legends passed in a single day, a double dose of grief. The only bright side is that we got to lavish Johnny with praise and joy before an end that came far sooner than it should have. I wish we would have done the same for Norm. He certainly deserved it.

I’ve talked about Johnny’s contributions to the state of Illinois, the NBA and the Bulls organization at length on this site — see the links below — but Melissa Issacson of the Chicago Tribune may have summed it up best when she said: “He was a high school and college basketball great, an NBA champion and an All-Star, a front-office executive and a respected broadcaster, but Johnny Kerr always will be known as a Chicago Bull.”

I can only hope that Norm was saving Johnny a spot next to him in Hoops Heaven. I’d like to imagine them sitting next to each other — Johnny on his bar stool, Norm in a big, comfy chair — watching the Bulls play and loving them from on high.

More media:
Ex-Bulls broadcaster, coach Johnny “Red” Kerr dies
Red Kerr passes away at 76
First and always a Bull
Bulls mourn the loss of Johnny “Red” Kerr
Chicago icon Johnny “Red” Kerr dies
Red Kerr dies after battle with cancer
Bulls’ emotional 24 hours

More Johnny at By the Horns (with Web extras):
My tribute to old “Red”
An awesome ending to a special night

More Johnny from
Watch the Feb. 10 ceremony to honor “Red” Kerr
Tribute to Red Kerr | Life and Times
Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on Johnny “Red” Kerr’s legacy
Red Kerr Memories | Red sings Irish Eyes
Bio, facts, quotes and more (.pdf)
Johnny Kerr the original iron man

3 Responses to And then we lost Johnny too

    Noor Hammad February 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    What a sad “double” for Bulls fans.

    Matt McHale February 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    Noor — Very sad. And very strange. What are the chances?

    Noor Hammad February 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Yeah strange indeed.

    Adds another level of poignancy to the recent tribute Johnny was afforded. Glad I got to see MJ clap the rosin one more time.

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