Sonny Dove

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Sonny Dove
Personal information
Born(1945-08-16)August 16, 1945
Brooklyn, New York
DiedFebruary 14, 1983(1983-02-14) (aged 37)
Brooklyn, New York
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight198 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High schoolSt. Francis Preparatory
(Brooklyn, New York)
CollegeSt. John's (1964–1967)
NBA draft1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1967–1978
PositionSmall forward
Number44, 11
Career history
19671969Detroit Pistons
1969Scranton Miners
19691972New York Nets
1972–1973Allentown Jets
1977–1978Brooklyn Dodgers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA/ABA statistics
Points2,458 (11.1 ppg)
Rebounds1,334 (6.0 rpg)
Assists219 (1.0 apg)
Stats at

Lloyd "Sonny" Dove (August 16, 1945 – February 14, 1983) was a Native American professional basketball player. As a star at St. John's University in New York, in his last season of 1967, Dove won the Haggerty Award. That year he was part of the United States basketball team that won the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

His record has continued to make him one of the top players ever at St. John's. In 2005 Dove was among the first ten men selected for "Basketball Legacy Honors" at the university. In 2011 Dove was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

Early life and education[edit]

Lloyd Dove Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1945 and nicknamed "Sonny." His father was Lloyd Dove, a member of the Narrangansett tribe. Sonny's mother Adeline B. Dove (1921–2010) was Mashpee Wampanoag and the sister of Earl Mills Sr. (Flying Eagle), the hereditary sachem since 1956 of this people.[1][2] His siblings are Larry Dove of Mashpee and Gladys Dove Barnes of Queens, N.Y. By Wampanoag matrilineal tradition, the children are considered to belong to the mother's clan.[3]

The Doves divorced. In 1951 Adeline Dove married Donald Hicks Sr. of Mashpee, Massachusetts, and returned to the town where she had grown up. She had more children with Donald: Donnella Hicks Pocknett, Errol Hicks, Donald Hicks Jr., and Gary Hicks, all of Mashpee.[1]

Dove graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn, where his skill at basketball was noted. He was recruited for St. John's University by Lou Carnesecca, the assistant basketball coach at the time.[4]

College career[edit]

Sonny Dove's retired number

Dove attended St. John's University, where he was a forward and played for three seasons. He started under the legendary coach Joe Lapchick and was nicknamed the "Big Indian", as the team was called the Redmen. At St. John's, Dove as of 1983 was the fifth-highest scorer and second-ranked rebounder in its basketball history.[5] In his last season of 1966–67, before being recruited by a professional team, Dove was captain of a team with a 23-5 record.[5]

As of 2008, when Dove was selected posthumously for the "All-Century Team" of St. John's, he was one of only two players in the university basketball program's history with more than 1,000 career points (he ranked 10th with 1,576 points) and more than 1,000 career rebounds (he ranked 2nd with 1,036).[6]

Career and death[edit]

Dove was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the fourth pick of the 1967 NBA draft. He played two years with the Pistons before joining the New York Nets of the ABA, with whom he remained until 1972. In his NBA/ABA career, Dove averaged 11.1 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game.[7] His pro career ended when Dove shattered his leg in a bicycle accident.[4]

After his pro career, Dove returned to St. John's University and completed his degree.[4] He went into sports radio broadcasting, often sharing comments on basketball games with other former pro players. In the 1980s he was partnered with Dave Halberstam in commenting on St. John's University basketball games.[8]

He was also a taxi driver. Dove died at age 37 from injuries in an accident when the taxi he was driving skidded from a partially open bridge[9] into the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn in February 1983. A memorial Mass was held at St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, St. Albans, Queens.[10]

Marriage and family[edit]

He married Patricia. At the time of his death, Dove and his wife were separated.[9] Dove had three children: Leslie, Zaynid, and Kimberly.[11]

Legacy and honors[edit]

  • 1967, Haggerty Award
  • 1967, Consensus NCAA All-American Second Team
  • 1967 gold medal for basketball team, Pan American Games, Winnipeg
  • 2005, named among the first 10 men selected for "Basketball Legacy Honors" at St. John's University[12]
  • 2008, named to St. John's University "All-Century Team"[6]
  • 2011, inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame[13]

Further reading[edit]

  • Earl Mills Sr. and Alicja Mann, Son of Mashpee: Reflections of Chief Flying Eagle, a Wampanoag, Tucson, Arizona: Word Studio, 1996, Revised Edition 2006, ISBN 978-0-9654360-7-6
  • Earl Mills Sr. and Betty Breen, Cape Cod Wampanoag Cookbook: Traditional New England & Indian Recipes, Images & Lore, [Paperback], Clear Light Books, 2000


  1. ^ a b Staff, "Obituary of Adeline B. Hicks", Barnstable Patriot, 2 April 2010, accessed 19 November 2011
  2. ^ Earl Mills, Sr. and Alicja Mann, Son of Mashpee: Reflections of Chief Flying Eagle, a Wampanoag, Tucson, Arizona: Word Studio, 1996, Revised Edition 2006
  3. ^ "Obituary: Adeline B. Hicks", Nashauonk Mittark, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, May 2010, accessed 19 November 2011
  4. ^ a b c Vic Siegel, "The Gospel According to Lou", New York Magazine, Vol. 16, No. 6, 7 February 1983 ISSN 0028-7369, accessed 19 November 2011
  5. ^ a b GLENN FOWLER, Obituary: "Sonny Dove, St. John's Star In 1960's, Dies in Car Plunge", New York Times, 15 February 1983, accessed 19 November 2011
  6. ^ a b St. John's Names All-Century Team" Archived 2012-01-10 at the Wayback Machine, College Hoop Nets, 29 May 2008, accessed 19 November 2011
  7. ^ Sonny Dove,, accessed 19 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Sonny Dove's Elusive Search", New York Times, 15 February 1983, accessed 19 November 2011
  9. ^ a b "Ex-Cager Drowns in Cab, Family Sues for $100 Million", Jet, Mar 14, 1983, Vol. 63, No. 26 ISSN 0021-5996, p. 46, accessed 19 November 2011
  10. ^ "A Mass for Sonny Dove", New York Times, 17 February 1983
  11. ^ "St. John's Greats Gather For Legacy Night", CBS Sports, January 20, 2006, accessed 20 September 2012
  12. ^ "St. John's to Bestow Legacy Honors on 10 Men's Basketball Legends". November 22, 2005. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015.
  13. ^ "Sonny Dove set for induction into New York City Basketball Hall of Fame", Amsterdam News, 16 September 2011, accessed 19 November 2011

External links[edit]