To many Bert Sugar is a boxing legend and detailed sports journalist. To this blogger, he was one of the first people I met at my first NFL Draft, in 2005. He passed on today, at the age of 74, and to cardiac arrest.
The scene was Javits Convention Center and a new experience for me that NFL Draft veteran Bill Chachkes made a good one by introducing himself New York-style, as in “Hey, what’s your name.” After some banter, Bill said “Go over to Bert Sugar, introduce yourself, and ask him for a cigar.” So I did, and Bert shook my hand good and hard, introduced me to the legendary Roy Firestone, and provided me one of the best cigars I’ve had in my life (OK, I’m not by any means a big smoker, in fact I don’t smoke for the most part and that was my 20th cigar ever.)
But Bert’s cigs also came with a dose of observation and wisdom about boxing and sports, as was the case in my 2006 video, when he talked about the problems of one Wladimir Klitschko, and gave a history lesson about the NFL Draft:
That video’s very rare because starting at the 2008 NFL Draft, the NFL implemented the “Zennie rules” so camcorder use was limited to the downstairs interview room. The last time I saw Sugar at the draft was 2008.
What I will always remember about Bert Sugar was his zest for life and for people. He always had a smile, a handshake, and a cigar, and with a heavy dose of knowledge and wisdom.
I have been blessed to be in his orbit.