Peter Vecsey (sports columnist)
July 1, 1943|
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Sports columnist, analyst, TV color commentator|
Peter Vecsey (born July 1, 1943 in Queens, New York) is an American sports columnist and former NBA TV sports analyst.
Early life and career
Peter attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood section of Queens, where he was among the school's first 4-year class. After graduation, Peter worked in the U.S. Merchant Marines for a year before enrolling at Hofstra University, where he played freshman basketball before leaving to accept full-time job as a sports statistician for the New York Daily News, where he'd been employed during the baseball seasons while a junior & senior at Archbishop Molloy HS. He spent 14 years there, including two in the United States Army after getting drafted on May 13, 1965. Vecsey volunteered for the Airborne & Special Forces (Green Berets) but never was deployed overseas, receiving an honorable discharge on May 12, 1967 as Sergeant E-5.
Vecsey left the News in '76 to become an NBA columnist—first such national specialist in any sport—for the New York Post. Joined USA Today as its NBA columnist for three years in early '90s when legislation forced Rupert Murdoch to sell the Post. Returned in '94 when Murdoch re-purchased it. With David Stern's approval, Vecsey was hired by USA Network for the NBA's first year on cable. He was fired after three shows for negative remarks about a player or more. Vecsey originated the first NBA pre-game show (Earl Monroe and Mike Breen and Hubie Brown shot the pilot with him), which he wound up co-hosting with Hubie. Roughly 75 percent of CBS affiliates picked up the ten half-hour segments. Vecsey beat out 50 plus journalists who auditioned for 1 of 2 'Insider" roles on NBC when the NBA switched from CBS in '91. The first studio team comprised Bob Costas, Pat Riley, Bob Ferry and Vecsey, who remained on the air as co-host, primary features' interviewer and news breaker for all 12 years NBC carried the NBA. During that time, he served in similar roles as TNT-TBS studio analyst/news-breaker for 4 1/2 seasons. After that, he worked another five seasons for NBATV where he performed the same duties. Won back-to-back Victor Awards in the mid-90s as the country's best sports columnist.
Vecsey resigned from the Post effective Sept 6, 2012. His final column appeared July 1. His thrice-weekly columns provided readers with behind-the-screens enlightenment and entertainment. He broke hundreds of exclusive stories, some of the biggest being Julius Erving's $3M sale by the Nets to the 76ers...Latrell Sprewell's choking of coach P.J. Carlesimo at Warriors practice, Gilbert Arenas & Jarvaris Crittenon threatening each other with guns in the Wizards' dressing room, the 76ers' early-season firing of Gene Shue/hiring of Billy Cunningham, Charles Barkley's trade from Philly to Phoenix and Penny Hardaway's team vote to get rid of Magic coach Brian Hill…Knicks buyout of Larry Brown/replaced by Isiah Thomas…death of Drazen Petrovic in a car crash…Nets' hiring of Chuck Daly as coach... as well as first to report the Lakers were contemplating axing Paul Westhead.
Love for the sport of basketball
Vecsey's ardent affair with basketball began at Molloy when, as a freshman, its varsity, coached by Lou Carnesecca, went undefeated. The Stanners won the CHSAA championship, along with several other east coast tournaments, one against D.C's Archbishop Carroll that flaunted eventual pros John Thompson and Tom Hoover. His writing/reporting career began in ernest covering the ABA (Nets) almost from its 1967 inception. He became the Knicks' beat writer a month into the '73-74 season. Prior to the '71 season, Vecsey organized a summer team to play in Harlem's famed Rucker Tournament. He coached and played. His teams—Julius Erving, Charlie Scott, Billy Paultz, Bob McIntyre, Dave Brownbill, Ollie Taylor, Joe DePre, Bob Love, Larry Kenon, Manny Leaks, Mike Riordan, Kenny Charles, Earl Foreman, Walt Szczerbiak, Tom Chapin, Bob Leckie, Clyde Bradshaw, Louis Orr, Sam Worthen, Bobby Willis, Pat Cummings—captured four titles in six summers.
As a caustic columnist, Vecsey both genuflected and gutted when appropriate. Nobody was too sacred or too obscure to be called out and castigated. Hence, the secret of his success. People, superstars, fringe players, coaches, executives, owners and commissioners understood they couldn't escape becoming targeted if Vecsey believed their performance or conduct warranted a public flogging. His negative nicknames Sir Cumference (Charles Barkley), Joe Barely Cares (Joe Barry Carroll), Spawn Kemp (Shawn Kemp), Medical Bill (Cartwright and Walton), Spencer Deadwood (Spencer Haywood), the Jail Blazers (Portland), Nyets (New Jersey), Next Town Brown (Larry Brown), The Organ Groaner (Alonzo Mourning), Paper Clips (Los Angeles Clippers), Pat ShortCummins, Camp Cablevision (Knicks), the Sexual Harassment Hacienda (Madison Square Garden, after the Anucha Browne Sanders lawsuit), Cadavers (Cleveland Cavaliers), San (Quentin Dailey), Hot Plate (John Williams), (Carmelo) Anthony & The Immaterials, The Jordanaires and The E-Limo-nator (Jayson Williams), to underline a few, stick in craws.
Vecsey is most proud of branding Bird 'Lucky Larry' and Michael 'Air Jordan'...and gets little credit for either....just as Hubie Brown gets no credit for stamping him 'The Viper.'
Vecsey received (Springfield Basketball Hall Of Fame) the Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2009. He also was inducted into the NYC Basketball HOF in 2001, and before that, the Rucker and Molloy HOFs
Personal and present family life
Peter is four years younger than his brother, semi-retired New York Times' sports columnist George Vecsey. Their parents, George and May met at the Long Island Press where George was sports editor and May was society editor. She left the business to mother five children. He worked two full-time jobs — AP radio sports editor and Daily News deskman — for three decades.
Peter is father to Michael, 45, a college professor; Taylor K. Vecsey, 31, a journalist and Digital Media Editor at The East Hampton Star, who was editor for East Hampton Patch (Patch Media) and has written for The Post; and Joseph, 27, a stand-up comedian, screen play writer and interviewer of 80-plus comedians on his podcast.