23 July 2010
It was about this time last month that Landon Turner picked up the phone on an early Tuesday morning and within minutes was sharing his life story all the way from Indiana.
"Let's do it," said a jovial Turner.
Years removed from the game after a tragic one-car accident left him paralyzed on July 25, 1981, basketball was a large part of Landon’s life back then and still is now. Some things in this world will change, but that will never change for Turner.
Part of Landon Turner's story ran on my feature for ESPN.com - Page 2, Turner Remembers Life Before The Chair...
Here is the rest of Turner’s story – a chance to understand life from someone who has truly lived it - told by Landon Turner himself:
I miss being out on the court and using my talents to the best of my ability.
I miss helping my team win. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the players and going into the locker room and listening to their jokes. You’re like a band of brothers. You’re working towards the same goal. I miss that more than anything. Now, I’m a motivational speaker telling people about my story and also spending time fishing.
I try and keep myself busy and enjoy life.
We never know how long we are going to be here.
I remember when I was young and 21 years old. I didn’t have it all together, but these guys may be mature or they may not be. There is a maturity level. They need to watch their money and get all the information they can, so that way when they retire they have something to fall back on. I hate hearing about these guys who have millions of dollars and then years later say they are bankrupt. They need to be mature and take care of their money. I would tell them that first. Then I would tell them to be respectful. Today, it’s almost like the word “gentleman” is passé.
I’d like them to be a gentleman. And they need to give back to their community and to the kids. These guys came from somewhere.
But playing in the NBA, you have to have an attitude or a mean streak in you.
I was not your friend on the court. Off the court, we can go out and have a good time. But once we stepped on the court, you were not my friend.
Coach (Bob) Knight has a lot of respect for me, but he gets his shots in.
I attended a home game when he was still there (Indiana) and I had just purchased these nice looking cowboy boots. They were all shined up with a point on the toes. I thought I was sharp. I went in there with those cowboy boots on and Coach Knight looked down at me and then looked at my boots, and then back at me.
He said, ‘Boy, I wish I had those boots when you were playing….because I sure would have kicked your ass'. I wasn’t expecting that, but Coach Knight saying that is funny to me. I usually had comebacks for him, but I didn’t have a comeback for that one.
He is someone you’ll never forget in your life.
I might have a picture around here somewhere of Isiah (Thomas) trailing me on a dunk. If I find it, I'll send it to you.
photo: landon turner
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