Bobby Sura

Came home tonight thinking of Bobby Sura. I think of Bobby Sura more than you, I promise.

Let’s be honest, “load management” is an embarrassment to current NBA players, the league itself and all those hard-nosed, play-through-injury guys of the past. John Stockton and Karl Malone must be appalled; Michael Jordan completely annoyed; and lord knows what A.C. Green thinks of it all.

But what about a player like Bobby Sura? My main man from Wilkes-Barre, PA! Bobby is about 10 years younger than me, maybe more, but he was from Eastern Pennsylvania, which means I paid attention to him. I always pay attention to Pennsylvania.

Bobby wasn’t just from Wilkes-Barre, he went to Wilkes-Barre G.A.R., which meant he went to school where Larry Koretz went. Koretz ended up playing at La Salle, but I want to say we beat an all-star team of his at Rockne Hall in Allentown when he was in high school. Can’t prove it, though.

Koretz was a little younger than me, and boy was he good. Yes, he reminded me of Larry Bird, but you’ve got to understand: Every introspective and self-respecting white player 6-foot-5 or over was patterning after Bird.

Bobby Sura didn’t emulate Bird. He was “only” 6-foot-4, and besides, Bobby could jump out of the gym — which Bird never did. Sura just happened to go to G.A.R., after Koretz. No, I didn’t know Sura back then. Didn’t know him when he was at Florda State, either, when he played alongside Sam Cassell and Charlie Ward during his days there.

Bobby was doing fine in the NBA, and then he came to the Warriors. He did fine with Golden State, too, but it was on some real lousy teams. His first year with the Warriors they won 17 games. In year two at Golden State the Warriors won 21 games. His third year, Sura started feeling the effects of some back issues. He played for Detroit, then Atlanta before winding up his career in Houston. He was out of the NBA before his 32nd birthday.

Bobby Sura played too hard; he dove on the floor too much; he took too many charges; he jumped too high and landed too hard. Bobby played when he was healthy or hurt; he didn’t skip games to be more ready for the next one. And don’t ever forget he was such a great athlete that he was a slam dunk participant in 1997. I remember catching up with Sura in Houston, when the end was in sight, circa 2005.

“Sometimes, I think about” … Bobby Sura started. … “What if I’d paced myself a little bit when I was younger? What if I didn’t dive a million times, get knocked down a few hundred? What if I didn’t take on every defensive challenge even though sometimes I knew I was overmatched? Maybe I could have played longer.”

“Or, maybe you never make it to the NBA in the first place,” I responded.

He agreed. Bobby Sura was tough as hell, stuck his nose into places it didn’t belong and earned the respect of every coach he played for. He’d compete when others wouldn’t. Here’s to Bobby Sura, one tough SOB and the opposite of a “load manager.”

About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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1 Response to Bobby Sura

  1. Mary Attili says:

    I can see why he would have automatic appeal for you as an athlete.You always had a soft spot for those who went above and beyond. That work ethic you admired of those on the court set the bar for your own drive when you played the game.

    Like

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