Louis “Lulu” Bender ’35 was an all-American basketball player whose professional career in the 1930s and early ’40s earned him induction into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. Bender passed away on September 10, 2009, at the age of 99.
Bender, a 6-foot-1 forward, launched his basketball career in the 1920s at DeWitt Clinton High School, where he earned what would become a lifelong nickname. When Bender made a basket from a substantial distance, a fan yelled out, “Now that was a lulu of a basket.” The “Lulu” moniker remained with Bender throughout his basketball career and beyond.
At Columbia College, Bender led the Lions to league championships in both 1930 and 1931. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1935 and began a professional career in the American Basketball League that would last for the next several years.
Following his retirement from the game, Bender served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he aided in prosecuting members of the German American Bund, a pro-Nazi movement active in the United States in the 1940s. Bender then became a criminal defense attorney, specializing in tax
In 2008, at the age of 98, Bender was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. “I’m glad I lived long enough to receive this honor,” he told a reporter from The New York Times. “It’s truly incredible.”
Bender is survived by his wife of more than 75 years, Jean; two sons, Steven and Michael; two daughters, Ellyn and Golda; and 11 grandchildren.