Clyde Lovellette was the first basketball player to be on teams that won N.C.A.A. and National Basketball Association championships and Olympic gold medals. Only Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan have repeated that accomplishment. At 6' 9" and 245 pounds, Lovellette was probably the first of basketball's big men to show exceptional athleticism, speed and strength.
High School, College and the Olympics
He was a two-time All-State player at Garfield High School in Terre Haute, Indiana. At the University of Kansas, he averaged 25 points a game and was the best college basketball player in the United States. In his senior year (1952), he led the nation in scoring with an average of 28.6 points per game. He was the star of the 1952 U.S. gold-medal-winning Olympic basketball team in Helsinki, Finland.
In 1953, he joined the Minneapolis Lakers that had won two consecutive N.B.A. titles, when they were led by 6'10" George Mikan. Mikan was more gifted than Lovellette in massive body size, but Lovellette outshone Mikan with his skills to shoot from the outside, run fast, and jump high. Lovellette was back-up center to Mikan the first year and in the following years he led the team in scoring. Lovellette was so gifted athletically that unlike other big men at that time, he didn't even have to play close to the basket. The Lakers could leave Mikan close to the basket while Lovellette's shooting skills were so accurate that he could play either small forward, power forward or center and score from anywhere on the court. The Lakers with Mikan and Lovellette were so overpowering that they destroyed all the other teams to win their third straight N.B.A. championship. In 1963 and 1964, Lovellette joined Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn and Sam Jones on the championship Boston Celtics.
After retiring from basketball, he was a sports broadcaster, auto salesman, cattle rancher, country-club manager, teacher, counselor, gift-shop entrepreneur and the sheriff of Vigo County, IN. He retired completely in 1995. He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. On March 9, 2016 at age 86, he died of stomach cancer.
Symptoms of stomach cancer include heartburn, upper belly pain, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellow skin and eyes, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and blood in the stool.
Nobody really knows what causes stomach cancer, but more than 60 percent of stomach cancers are associated with infection by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. If you have belching, burping or belly pain, ask your doctor to check you for infection with this bacterium. Taking two antibiotics along with a medication to decrease stomach acid will usually cure you of helicobacter in one week. See my report on Helicobacter and stomach ulcers
Risk for stomach cancer increases with age, and people with close family members (parents, siblings or children) who have had stomach cancer are at increased risk. Other factors that increase a person's risk for stomach cancer include:
• A diet high in smoked, salted and pickled foods. As the use of refrigeration to preserve food increased, the incidence of stomach cancer decreased.
• A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
• Eating foods contaminated with aflatoxin fungus
• Being overweight
• Chronic stomach inflammation (belching, burping, stomach pain)
• Stomach polyps
• Tobacco use in any form
• Having had part of the stomach removed
• Pernicious anemia
• Working in coal, metal or rubber industries
• Type A blood (explained here)
• Certain inherited cancer syndromes
• Menetrier disease, a rare disease that involves changes in the stomach lining
• A syndrome called common variable immunodeficiency, in which the immune system cannot respond adequately to protect you from infections
In the United States, stomach cancer is more common in Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders. Worldwide, it is more common in Japan, China, Southern and Eastern Europe, South America and Central America.
Reduce Your Risk
You can reduce your risk for stomach cancer by paying attention to the preventable factors listed above: avoid excess weight, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, do not eat large amounts of smoked, salted or pickled foods and do not use tobacco or live around smokers.
By all means, do not get in the habit of treating stomach symptoms with antacids. If you have frequent stomach problems, check with your doctor and be sure that you ask to be tested for Helicobacter pylori. You may enjoy my story about the doctor who made this breakthrough discovery and was laughed at by other researchers: Barry Marshall, from Quack to Nobel Prize.
September 7, 1929 – March 9, 2016