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Assigned Reading: “The Owl Without a Vowel”


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The Temple basketball program has produced a number of great players throughout its history, including the likes of Hal Lear, Guy Rodgers, Bill Kennedy and Mark Macon. Another of those all-time greats is Bill Mlkvy, who managed to score 1,539 points from 1950-1952. Dubbed “The Owl Without a Vowel,” Mlkvy played during an era in which Temple didn’t have a gym to call home for either practices or games.

Josh Verlin of City of Basketball Love profiled Mlkvy, with the feature serving as an introduction of sorts for those who may not have known of Mlkvy’s accomplishments both on and off the court. Also of note in the piece: Mlkvy’s recollection of how he received his nickname.

Besides Mlkvy’s game against Wilkes (school-record 73 points), in which he scored 53 of his teams’ points in a row at one point, it’s his nickname that perhaps is his most recognizable trait. He attributes the nickname to longtime AP sports writer Ralph Bernstein, who came up with it right in front of his subject’s face.

“[Bernstein] was doing a story for Sport Magazine, and we’re sitting in [public relations director Robert] Geasey’s office in Mitten Hall, he was typing with two fingers, and he said ‘That damn name, what is that?’” Mlkvy recalled. “And then I saw it, the Owl without a Vowel.”

Mlkvy was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in 2000, two years after younger brother Bob (who played at Penn) was the recipient of the same honor.

Verlin’s feature on Mlkvy can be read here.

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