02 February 2010
I'd like to say I’ve been thinking about doing this for months. But that’s not true. The idea of honoring February’s Black History Month with 28 days worth of sports photos which connect to who I am, hit me like an Muhammed Ali flip-jab – hence Monday starting with “The Greatest of All Time”.
By now, you guys know me. Or at least I hope you’ve come to know me a little bit.
You know I’m about “the story” - and even “the back story” if you’re a regular to this blog. So in this “History Black” series, you’ll get exactly that with a focus on the photo.
Growing up in Corvallis (by way of Nebraska), I fell in love with basketball mainly because of this scowl – this man; Gary Payton.
From his talk to his play, I spent many days watching GP do both as part of Ralph Miller’s Oregon State Beavers alongside Eric Knox, Earl Martin and Will Brantley. I lived on the other end of 9th Street, but I’d bike twenty-five minutes over to campus on a jacked up spray painted silver Schwinn, sneak into practice and sit up in the cheap seats at Gil Coliseum listening and watching Payton do work. Miller barked just as much.
It became a standard sojourn as a kid.
How ironic that I’d end up covering this league, minus having the chance to interview Gary all these years later. Can remember helping with a story on Payton back during my HOOPSWORLD days, and asked Nate McMillan if he could share a story with me about his days playing in Seattle with GP.
“Not ones that you could print,” McMillan smiled.
It’s funny though. I can’t remember going out and buying this issue of Sports Illustrated with Payton on the cover back on March 5, 1990 but I do remember reading the story and soaking in the cover once it was in my hands. I still have that copy.
Still, it’s something I think about whenever I see or hear GP.
Because even if you’re not listening, you always hear GP.
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