In appreciation: Jason Rebideau

WASSAIC — Jason Rebideau, or Jay (as I knew him), was a local basketball legend who recently passed away suddenly at 40. 

He and I had been playing pickup ball together for more than half his life. We played on just about every court from Pawling to Poughkeepsie, Millerton to Millbrook. He was the true gym rat who lived for a game. 

Jay always looked overweight and out of shape, but I say “looked” because that was his ruse. He tricked far better players into thinking he couldn’t play.  Yet he was a beast.

Jay developed the most amazing shot, no doubt to make up for his shortness, a sling from behind his head that went straight up a few feet and then arched mightily with deadly accuracy.  He had a sniper’s eye, and a smooth stroke. I would guesstimate that he shot 50 percent in the more than 2,000 games I played with him, most of them 3-pointers.

My favorite story of him was a night he and I showed up for some game organized by New York State troopers. They were all big and ballers but he destroyed them with rainbow after rainbow from downtown and they kept thinking that he was just lucky on that one, and the next one, and then the next one — until they were sitting down.

It’s too bad he didn’t have a fortune because I know he would’ve built his own gym and kept the doors open all the time, at all hours, every day, every season, to anyone who wanted to play.

Well, he’s got that now. It won’t be all that long before we turn up to play pickup ball again with him. By that time he’ll have Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Larry Byrd and Jerry West on his five and he won’t ever lose a game again. 

Joe Brennan