Tom Meschery

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Tom Meschery
Tom Meschery.png
No. 14
Power forward
Personal information
Born (1938-10-26) October 26, 1938 (age 75)
Harbin, Manchuria
Nationality Russian / American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (198 cm)
Listed weight 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school Lowell (San Francisco, California)
College Saint Mary's (1958–1961)
NBA draft 1961 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall
Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors
Pro playing career 1961–1971
Career history
19611967 Philadelphia / San Francisco Warriors
19671971 Seattle SuperSonics
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 9,904 (12.7 ppg)
Rebounds 6,698 (8.6 rpg)
Assists 1,331 (1.7 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Thomas Nicholas "Tom" Meschery (born October 26, 1938 as Tomislav Nikolayevich Meshcheryakov (Russian: Томислав Николаевич Мещеряков))[1] is a Russian American former professional basketball player. He was a power forward with a 10 year National Basketball Association career from 1961 to 1971. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and the Seattle SuperSonics. He led the league in personal fouls in 1962 and played in the 1963 NBA All-Star Game. His jersey, number 14, was retired by the Warriors.

Early years[edit]

Meschery was born as Tomislav Nikolayevich Meshcheryakov in Harbin, China. His parents were Russian emigrants who fled from the October Revolution in 1917. The Meschery family was later relocated to a Japanese internment camp near Tokyo during World War II. After the war, Meschery and his parents emigrated to the United States. It was also in this phase of his life where his father renamed the family "Meschery" due to the anti-Communist/anti-Soviet Red Scare under Joseph McCarthy, and Tomislav Nikolayevich was renamed Thomas Nicholas, which later was abbreviated to Tom.[1] Living in San Francisco, California, Meschery attended Lowell High School. After graduating in 1957, he went to Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961. In 1973 Meschery was inducted into the St Mary's Hall of Fame and his basketball jersey was retired.[2]

Professional basketball career[edit]

Standing 6 ft 6 in, Meschery also was a highly talented basketball player. After graduating from St. Mary's, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors as the 7th pick overall in the 1961 NBA Draft. Meschery played alongside legend Wilt Chamberlain, to whom he later dedicated a poem. Meschery led the NBA in personal fouls in 1962 and played in the 1963 NBA All-Star Game.[3] Chamberlain left the Warriors in 1965, returning to his home town Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to play with the 76ers. The Warriors however, strengthened by the arrival of Rick Barry, made it to the 1967 NBA Finals, in which they lost to Chamberlain's 76ers. After his NBA Finals appearance, Meschery was selected by the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics during the 1967 NBA Expansion Draft.

In the SuperSonics' inaugural season, Meschery led the team in rebounds (10.2 per game) as well as personal fouls.[4] He retired following the 1970-71 season, having played four seasons for the SuperSonics.

After retiring as a player, Meschery became head coach of the ABA's Carolina Cougars, which he guided to a record of 35–49 in the 1971-72 season before being replaced by Larry Brown.

Post-basketball life[edit]

Meschery published his first book of poems in 1970, and returned to school after his coaching stint, receiving his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1974. He studied poetry with Mark Strand, U.S. poet laureate at University of Washington. After receiving his teaching credentials at University of Nevada, Reno, Meschery taught high school English in Reno, Nevada, until his retirement in 2005. He is also a poet, whose works often relate to basketball, teaching, and being a Russian immigrant. In 2002, Meschery was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Tom Meschery was also inducted to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

Meschery is living in Alameda, California with his artist wife Melanie Marchant Meschery. Meschery continues to write poems, fiction, and essays. He traces his love of writing to his Russian maternal ancestors, Alexei and Leo Tolstoy. He has recently completed a novel, 'Mr. Dolby's Dream' and a collection of poetry 'Some Men'. His blog 'Meschery's Musings' discusses a variety of controversial subject relating to sports. Each blog ends with a sports poem. Meschery says he wishes to introduce the public to fine contemporary poems whose subject is sports in the same way Garrison Keeler makes poetry in general available to his listeners on his morning radio broadcasts.[5]

Works[edit]

  • Over the Rim (1970), New York: McCall Publishing.
  • Caught in the Pivot: a Diary of a Rookie Coach in the Exploding World of Pro Basketball (1973). Dell.
  • Nothing We Lose Can Be Replaced (1999), Black Rock Press, University of Nevada, Reno.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b TOM MESCHERY: THE FIRST RUSSIAN IN THE NBA
  2. ^ "Matthew Dellavedova's jersey retired". Associated Press. ESPN.com. February 15, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ "basketball-reference.com: Tom Meschery". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  4. ^ "basketball-reference.com: Seattle SuperSonics 1967-68". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  5. ^ Andrieson, David (October 13, 2007). "Sonics ushered Seattle into the big time 40 years ago Saturday". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jerry Steele
Carolina Cougars Head Coach
1971–1972
Succeeded by
Larry Brown