Love and Basketball
There was no getting around the basketball. That was a given, right from the start.
When Charlene Kirk met her husband-to-be, Michael C. Fiore, in 1976, he was playing in a half-dozen leagues. He had games six or seven days a week, putting points on the board. About the only way to see a lot of him, she recognized, was to watch him shoot and pull down rebounds. Figuring she was at the games anyway, she became the scorekeeper.
They married and he became a firefighter, eventually joining Rescue Company 5 in Staten Island. They had three children — Jessica, now 17; Cristen, 14; Michael Jr., 11 — and settled into a home there.
But there was always the basketball. Firefighter Fiore continued to play on multiple teams, including the Fire Department's esteemed All-Star Team, which traveled to other states and countries.
Known as reserved and compassionate, a good listener and a good friend, Firefighter Fiore, 46, became something else on the court. "He was a very quiet guy, but not when he played basketball," Mrs. Fiore said. "The guys said you didn't want to meet up with him under the boards."
He always carved out time for his children. It didn't hurt that he was able to coach their basketball teams.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 14, 2002.