Al Cervi

Although Al Cervi didn’t play a single game of collegiate basketball, he had the court savvy and defensive skills to become a champion in the pros.

Al Cervi was born February 12, 1917, in Buffalo, New York, and began his sports career with the National Basketball League’s Buffalo Bisons in 1938.

He later played for the Rochester Royals, winning championships in 1946 and 1947 and being voted league MVP the latter year.

As player/coach of the Syracuse Nationals, he led his team to the NBA championship in 1955. Cervi was an all-star as a player three times and was named “Coach of the Year’’ four times. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.

He was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.