He was once called the "toughest man in New Jersey," not because of his military service, but because Sheldon Ezor attended every New Jersey Nets home game for more than two decades, including the evening of his 50th wedding anniversary.
Sports Illustrated gave Ezor that nickname in 2002, as the Jason Kidd-led Nets were racing through the Eastern Conference. Ezor, who traveled to Brooklyn last season to watch his final game, died a week ago at age 91,
As Jay Levin of The Record writes in his obituary/tribute ...
Mr. Ezor, who died last Wednesday at 91, fell in love with the basketball team in 1967 when it bowed as the New Jersey Americans of the American Basketball Association (the Americans played at the Teaneck Armory, an easy drive along Route 4 from Mr. Ezor’s home on Paterson’s Eastside.) He followed the team as it moved to Long Island as the New York Nets, then back to the Garden State as the New Jersey Nets of the NBA, then back to New York as the Brooklyn Nets.
That is loyalty. So much so that players called him "Uncle Shelly."
"He’d say, ‘Guess what I’m doing tonight? I’m going to see the greatest basketball team on the face of the earth!’ " Mr. Ezor’s real life son, Bobby, told The Record. "And this was no fair-weather fan. He actually fell in love with the team."
It would be a nice gesture, we think, if the Nets at some point soon, maybe tonight, offered a moment of silence for a fan, a father, and a veteran of World War II. Uncle Shelly indeed.