Growing up in Aurora-Colorado during the 60s and 70s was a rare privilege and delight. But to this day—my happiest times and my greatest memories came on the basketball courts of Del Mar Park!
These were times when there were no health clubs or recreation centers or open schools to play in. If you wanted to play basketball as a young 6th grader or a seasoned college player in the 1970s—you came to Del Mar Park! The best of the best area basketball players cut their teeth on the hard asphalt at Del Mar. And if you wanted to be the BEST—you had to beat Larry Risk which was a task I NEVER saw anyone accomplish during my many youthful years battling on these fabled Aurora basketball courts.
The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name
and the inheritance of a great example.
Larry Risk was a 6’3″ local white kid with freckles and flowing red hair whose Del Mar uniform was Chuck Taylor Converse hightops, a pair of faded Levi jeans, and a white tee shirt. Period! He was physically unassuming—which made his athletic feats that much more amazing! He jumped like a gazelle, shot like an expert marksman, and was so quick off the dribble that he was to the rim dunking before you realized he was gone! Let him set up outside? He’d drill 9 out of ten 30 footers! Game over!
Keep in mind that this was late 60s-and early 70s—during the height of America’s racial tensions as well. Nearly every night and weekend would see carloads of inner-city tough Black basketball players making the trip from Denver out to the Aurora suburbs for court dominance and supremacy-and more than a few dust-ups. Tough, tough games—always—were the rule at Del Mar and the only thing keeping that court a “home” court for us Aurora kids? Larry Risk! As long as Larry was on your team—the inner city kids got sent home packing and we got to keep ownership and bragging rights for Del Mar Park.
Beyond being a legendary basketball talent—Larry Risk was also approachable, generous, and exceedingly kind to the younger kids—myself included—who looked up to him admiringly for so many years. He had a devilish humor and a cutting wit that could simultaneously test your manhood while making you laugh and thoroughly enjoy the moment. He was our “Fonzie” on the basketball courts—tough and talented. Funny and friendly. And never losing that magical “aura” that made playing with him something special to remember.
Tonight—Metro State University inducts Larry Risk into their Athletic Hall of Fame. To that—I say congratulations Larry Risk! But for me and the many, many kids I grew up with and shared the basketball courts of Del Mar Park—Larry Risk made OUR Hall of Fame a long, long time ago. On this special occasion I would like to pass along to Larry Risk a short and simple sentiment on behalf of myself and countless other former Del Mar Park alumni.
Larry? Thanks for the memories!