To those indoctrinated into the historical significance of old-time sport stars, basketball aficionados will immediately recognize the name Bud Palmer. After all, he was the very first captain of the New York Knickerbockers. He was also among the first to introduce today’s vaunted “jump shot” to the cage sport. Then, too, he was the Knicks’ highest-paid player.
But Bud Palmer was a few other things during his rather illustrious career. He was New York City’s “Official Greeter” during the tenure of Mayor John Lindsay, plus was the first writer of Glamour magazine’s heralded “Ask Jake” column, which offered advice to women — from a man’s perspective.
Palmer, who was a mere 5-foot, 4-inches when arriving at Exeter, developed the jump shot to try and make up for his small stature. A growth spurt eventually made him the 6-foot, 4-inch star he became. He piloted a B26 bomber in World War II, and ran a children’s show for NBC. He also played the role of Palmo, the Hindu magician, on Globos Circus, a popular New York television program. Palmer was later an acclaimed sportscaster covering all three major TV networks and radio. Wow!
Bud Palmer’s career as New York City’s Commissioner of Public Events included everything from planning tickertape parades to big deal social events. Among the celebrities guided through major PR extravaganzas were the Duke of Edinburgh and Israeli leader Golda Meir — not to mention astronauts and countless championship sports teams.
They also tell the story about Palmer, who roomed with Sweetwater Clifton, one of the first black players in the National Basketball Association, successfully facing down a hotel manager in Baltimore to allow Clifton to stay in the hotel. Yup. A sports Renaissance Man. Palmer died at 91, after four marriages, on March 19 in West Palm Beach.