BOB JORDAN / Associated Press
Ronald “Flip” Murray is lifted by Shaw fans after the North Carolina school won the 2002 CIAA tourney. Murray, a product of Strawberry Mansion, was the Division II national player of the year as a senior.

All over the neighborhood, the word was out. Flip was back. Ronald “Flip” Murray had been academically ineligible for his senior season at Strawberry Mansion High. His exile ended just before the Public League playoffs.

“I saw some people I knew – they were like, ‘Yeah, I got off work today, Flip is coming back.’ They were comparing it to when Jordan came back to the United Center, after he had retired,” said Littel Vaughn, who puts out Checkball magazine, about Philly hoops.

If memories haven’t faded, Murray’s first game back was a home game, against Olney High. At that time, Flip used to pack Strawberry Mansion’s gym for intramural games. To get in for this one, for Flip’s return, you had to know somebody at the door.

“He got three straight dunks,” said Kevin “Buzz” Forney, the other star on that Strawberry Mansion team, who went on to play at Duquesne. “One of our fans stopped the whole game and came out and gave him a hug.”

Flip sat down at the end of the bench, next to the security guard. Not because he’d be last to get in. He’d be first.

“I can see everything,” Murray said of his favored perch. “How they’re guarding our players, the stuff they’re running.”

The opponent that night wasn’t

Olney. It was the Boston Celtics, defending NBA champions. As soon as Murray got out there, first off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks, he belonged. During a time-out late in the game, the overhead scoreboard showed a highlight – a Flip highlight from a few minutes earlier, a simple shoulder fake and a shot. A Celtics defender sliding one way, Flip suddenly open, knocking down a jumper… Read Entire Article Here