Blessed with above average size and hand-eye coordination, my basketball travels took me from Marengo (IL) High School to Paducah (KY) Community College to Memphis State University, where I was able to compete at the highest level against the likes of Sidney Moncrief, Andrew Toney, and Darrell Griffith.
Although I switched to football my senior year in college in a last ditch maneuver to be a professional athlete, it wasn’t my first love. I was always early on the court for round ball practice. Regrettably, even though I was more acclimated physically for football, I could never duplicate the passion.
So when given the chance now to write about basketball, the words flow as if transferred from an endless reservoir of love.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet local legend Fran Dunphy of Temple University. It was a real treat to chat with the coach who has won more Big 5 games than anyone in history. You will read about my talk with Coach Dunphy later in this issue.
And then there wa s my encounter with Craig Sager.
A sideline reporter known as much for his flamboyant sports jackets as his friendly and folksy interview style, Craig lost his valiant fight with leukemia several weeks ago. I met him once in a hotel lobby in East Rutherford, NJ before an Eagles game. Not sure why he was there, maybe our football/basketball paths were crossing for a reason.
Sager loved the game. He loved people.
And the day he died, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr asked the crowd at a home game to honor Craig not with a moment of silence, but with a moment of joy to recognize the man so passionate about the sport and his role in it.
Applause rained down like a Steph Curry 3-pointer.
So seek your passion. And be #sagerstrong in your quest to find it.
There will be no regrets about the love affair. #Ipromise.