There was more to life than basketball, McCarthy knew. His son John said his father sold life insurance during his NBA playing career because he still had a family to raise.
"In the 1950s and 1960s, they didn't pay the players what they pay them now," said John, who lives in
But McCarthy wasn't known in
McCarthy died Saturday at age 86. His death, his son said, came after he had recently been injured in a fall.
"No matter where you went, in
McCarthy played for six seasons in the NBA and was a scout for the Buffalo Braves during their inaugural season. He then served as head coach for 81 games in the 1971-72 season, going 22-59 after taking over for
He lived in
"He had a true zest for life," John said. "He did things his way, no matter what anyone else said. A lot of people know about him athletically, but he was a fiercely, fiercely competitive individual. He was a Buffalonian, through and through. He left to play pro basketball, but his heart was always in
McCarthy was born
In three seasons on the Canisius men's basketball team, (1953-54, 1954-55 and 1955-56), the 6-foot-1 guard scored 1,160 points and had 457 rebounds in 61 games.
McCarthy led the Griffs to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in the
McCarthy was inducted into the
"It is always dangerous territory in athletics to talk about the best, but
McCarthy averaged 7.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists during his NBA career with four teams.
After averaging 21 minutes a game as a rookie for the Rochester Royals, who had drafted him in the fourth round in 1956, he missed the 1957-58 season to serve his military commitment. By the time he returned, the Royals had moved to
He led the St. Louis Hawks in assists on teams that lost to the
He returned to the NBA with the Celtics in 1963-64 and played 28 games on a championship team led by
"John had a very high basketball IQ, and his background was through Red Auerbach," Walton said. "He played for the Celtics and he had a lot of Red Auerbach's philosophies. He was big on passing the ball, sharing it, spacing. Kind of like how (Gregg)
McCarthy has a note in the NBA record books, too. He was the first of only four players in NBA history to record a triple-double in his playoff debut. McCarthy scored 13 points, had 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the St. Louis Hawks' win against the Minneapolis Lakers on
McCarthy actually didn't even know his performance was noteworthy until he saw his name mentioned with Johnson when James added his name to the list in 2006.
"Triple-double wasn't a thing when I was playing," McCarthy told
After his playing career ended, he coached boys basketball at
In his lone season coaching the Braves, 1971-72, he won his first game as coach, 111-109 in overtime, against the
The 1971-72 team was led in scoring by
McCarthy then coached the Canisius men's basketball team for three seasons. The Golden Griffins were 28-49 in McCarthy's tenure as head coach, from 1974 to 1977.
He later worked for the city as a loan officer in the community revitalization department.
"He remained a humble person, his whole life," John said. "He could have done other things, but he came back to Buffalo. He had humility in his life, and he never thought he was bigger or better than anybody else."
A gathering of immediate family will be held at
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