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Yonkers remembers Bernard Toone, Gorton great and NBA player

While unicorns and perimeter-shooting big men run rampant in today’s NBA, former Gorton great Bernard Toone was one of the first of his kind.

There was no three-point line back in his heyday, but there was no mistaking or underestimating his shooting range, combined with his ability to dribble, defend and score.

“He was way before his time as a big man,” said Lowes Moore, who had some battles with Toone as a Mount Vernon player. “Being 6-8, 6-9, handling the ball, shooting the jump shot. Guys that size, you see them as power forwards and center, but he was a wing. When he was young, he got all that guard work, then he had a growth spurt. He was already like a grown man, playing with the boys.”

Gymnasiums were filled to the rafters whenever he and his talented Gorton teams took the court, with everyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the All-American standout.

“The JV played first, and if you didn’t get in at halftime of the JV game, the gym would shut down,” said Morris Crute, longtime friend and 1974 Gorton High School graduate. “If you came just for the varsity, you couldn’t get in. People would be yelling out the door, hollering, ‘What’s the score? Who’s winning?’ Even the parking lot would be full of people.”

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