They called him “Stilts” because Arnie Risen played back in the days when 6-foot-9 was really something. He weighed 210 pounds for much of his career, maybe 220 later, but what he lacked in bulk, Risen made up for in agility.
“He was also a constant thorn in the side of some of the more prominent big men such as George Mikan, Alex Groza and Larry Foust,” is how “The Biographical History of Pro Basketball” described Risen, a 1998 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee who died Saturday in Beachwood, Ohio, at age 87. “Perhaps only Mikan, Neil Johnston, Ed Macauley and Alex Groza were more polished at the pivot position during the NBA’s first half dozen seasons.”
Risen, who starred at Ohio State and was a part of NBA championship squads in Rochester (1951) and Boston (1957), was a longtime resident of the Cleveland area. He died from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (more…)