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Ticky Comes Home

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

An Albany basketball legend has returned to one of the places where his career began.

One of Albany's own NBA Stars came home Friday afternoon to the little gym that helped form the foundation for his career. Luther “Ticky” Burden made his way home to Trinity Place, which has been serving children in the city's South End for decades. Burden's pro career entailed a single season with the Virginia Squires and two with the New York Knicks in the late 1970s.

Burden's homecoming is bittersweet. Now 60 and ill, has 10 children and countless grandchildren. No stranger to hard times, Burden was jailed for two years for his alleged involvement in a bank robbery that was never proven. His wife battled breast cancer. Burden himself has undergone multiple surgeries. And now he's having liver problems. But he loves talking basketball - his favorite teams include the Lakers, the Bulls and the Celtics.

Credit WAMC / Dave Lucas
Ron Sontz coached Ticky Burden at Philip Schuyler High School. The two appear together in a photo taken June 21, 2013 at Trinity Alliance in Albany, NY.

Community activist and former Albany mayoral candidate Alice Green was a leader and mentor at Trinity for many years: she says Trinity Institution was "home" for many kids who lived in the city's South End neighborhood.

Burden's memorabilia will be on permanent display at Trinity.. I asked him now that he's played the game on the court of life what advice he'd give today’s kids.

Although today he walks with a cane, Luther "Ticky" Burden stands tall as an example of what the team of talent, nurturing, luck and dedication can do ... Burden has been mentoring and coaching young basketball players at his North Carolina home.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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