Chances are if you sat courtside at a Denver Nuggets game in the early ’80s, you got to meet Glen Gondrezick. He might have crashed into you while he was taking a charge or diving for a loose ball. Or you might have heard him say something funny. His sense of humor was one of the defining characteristics of his life.
“Gondo,” as his friends called him, was a Colorado native who grew up in Boulder. By the time he made it to Boulder High School, his prowess as an athlete was well-known. He was a three-sport, all-state star in high school, but the truth is… Gondo excelled in any sport. He could throw a football 60 yards on a line. He could beat you in tennis, and he was an outstanding softball player later in his life.
After thinking about other places, he went to UNLV where he concentrated on basketball. It was a wise decision. He flourished under coach Jerry Tarkanian, averaging 14.7 points per game (17th all-time) and leading the team in rebounding (7th all-time). In the 1976-77 season, Gondo led the Runnin’ Rebels to the school’s first Final Four appearance. Although the team would lose to North Carolina 84-83 in the semifinal round, they went on to beat Charlotte 106-94 in the National third-place game. His No. 25 jersey was retired by UNLV in 1997.
Gondrezick was a second-round selection of the New York Knicks and played there two years until coming home to play for the Nuggets. Fans loved him because they could relate to him. He left everything he had on the floor every time he put on his uniform.
And could he keep a team loose! Whether it was pulling a prank on Chopper, the Nuggets’ legendary trainer, or wrapping himself in tape and coming down the conveyor belt with the rest of the team’s luggage, on the road he always had the right touch.
His best year in the NBA came with the Nuggets during the 1981-82 season when he played in 80 games and averaged 8.3 points per game as a reserve off the bench. The 1982-83 season would be his last at the professional level.
After he retired, Gondo became the color voice on UNLV-Radio broadcasts. He never forgot his friends and, if he liked you, he joked about you.
Gondo passed away suddenly in April of 2009 from complications following heart surgery. At the time of his death, his former college coach told the Associated Press, “He was only 6-foot 6; the hustle is what made him,” said Tarkanian. “He would dive on the floor. He would take charges. If they had kept that stat, he would have led the nation in taking charges.”
If he were here tonight, he would make a speech telling us all it must be a tough year for Colorado Sports Hall of Fame candidates. He would make it funny, but he would be wrong. He is a hall of famer in every way.
For his three children and his many friends, this is a night to tell stories about a Father and Friend. Gondrezick’s athletic achievements earned him this award, but it’s the person who is missed so much by those who love him.
He was a three-sport, all-state star in high school, but the truth is… Gondo excelled in any sport.