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NBA Legend Albany Basketball Icon Ticky Burden Dies At 62

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Albany basketball legend Luther “Ticky” Burden has died in North Carolina.

The 62-year-old former New York Knicks player had spent nearly three decades in the Winston-Salem area.  His son, Luther Jr., tells the Winston-Salem Journal his father died in his sleep at Forsyth Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized since last week.

Burden was proud of his involvement with youth: he taught basketball at a North Carolina YWCA for many years, after retiring from the NBA due to an injury. He urged youngsters to stay in school during a 2013 visit to Albany.

"Learn your skill and your craft, whether it be basketball, football, baseball, but make education the first and foremost thing in your life."

Burden praised his Phillip Schuyler High School basketball coach Ron Sontz, who explained the origin of the nickname.

"The way he got that nickname, when he shot, he used to use the backboard. And you'd hear the tick, then the swish. And so they gave him the name 'Ticky.'”

According to the paper, the family is making funeral arrangements.

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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