Byron Beck scored 1,821 career points while leading the Coyotes to four Class B state appearances. All-state selection three straight years. Later named to The Seattle Times all-century team.
Player: Byron Beck, Kittitas, Class of 1963.
High-school rewind: Beck scored 1,821 career points while leading the Coyotes to four Class B state appearances. All-state selection three straight years. Later named to The Seattle Times all-century team.
After high school: The 6-foot-9 center and power forward played two years at Columbia Basin College (1963-65), winning conference titles both years, then played two years at the University of Denver (1965-67), totaling 753 points and 514 rebounds.
In a 10-year ABA career (1967-77), the two-time All-Star (1969, 1976) led Denver to seven playoff appearances, including the 1976 ABA finals. His number was retired the first by the Nuggets on Dec. 16, 1977.
After athletics: Employed at the Hanford nuclear reservation for the past 25 years, and is now manager of the operations security program for Day & Zimmermann Protection Technology.
Personal: Beck, 59, met Leslie, his wife of 38 years, at CBC. They have three children Byron, 35, Kris, 31, and Kate, 26 and two grandchildren.
Fast forward: Nicknamed the “moose in the middle,” Beck was the consummate team player. Looking back at his statistics and accolades, he’s quick to credit his teammates.
“It was a great honor,” he said of having his number retired by the Nuggets. “I’ve been blessed with awards like that and it’s primarily because of the people around me. Without the support system and the cast that I had, those things do not happen.”
Today, Beck’s basketball interest is primarily in the college and prep ranks, but he’s also caught up in the excitement surrounding the Sonics, and in particular is impressed with their selfless play.
“Any team that starts doing that whether it be local or East Coast when they start playing like that, I start following,” he said. “I feel that’s what basketball is all about and what I enjoy.”
Michael Chin, Seattle Times