Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Baskeball Jesus

For the non-basketball fans, you'll just have to sit through this one and deal with it. On Sunday, I was able to live a lifetime dream. I went to Beckley, 2½ hours south of me, to watch the one and only Larry Bird, The Basketball Jesus, give a speech in front of around 2000 people. I was there almost 4 hours before he spoke and made sure to get a ticket. A friend of the family was able to hook us up big, but more on that later..

I went with my parents who are also big Bird fans and they wouldn't miss it for anything either. He spoke for about an hour I'm guessing. The first 15 minutes or so, he talked about how it amazes him how people look of him as such a big celebrity and he just feels like this regular bum who is still a hick. Then the next 45 minutes or so, he had a Q&A session and that's when the real good stories came out. I'll share a few before I get to the meat and potatoes of my day there.

Someone asked him when was the last time he played a pickup game. He says he still tries to keep in good shape, but as far as playing ball, he hadn't done that in almost 10 years. Anyways, at practice one day while coaching the Pacers, he set up a 4-on-4 game. He teamed up with current coach Rick Carlisle (former Celtic), Derek McKey, and someone else against Big Al Harrington, Jon Bender, Austin Croshere, and I forget their fourth. They played a Best Of 3 Series and it came down to the final game. Remember, Bird is playing with plates and pins in his back after fusions so he's pretty much a mess. Game point and they get it to Bird in the post on Big Al. He puts down the dropstep, fakes Big Al who doesn't know what to think, and busts it for the win. He says he hasn't played any since.

He also talked about Magic, MJ, Bernard King, and the young dudes of today's game that he likes (he's real big on Bosh, Wade, and LeBron). A big thing that impressed me was that he came here for free. I'm sure that's not totally true, but supposedly he donated all of his money they paid him to the mine relief fund.

Yeah, I'm getting around to the actual meeting. A lot of people were curious how that went down. An Italian chick buddy of our family has a big part in the armory in Beckley and we talked to her before coming down. She told me to just get down there and she'd take care of me. I didn't expect much, I would've been happy just to be in the place to hear him and actually say I got to see him. Early in his talk, she comes to my section I was sitting in and told me to come to a place that was very close to where he was talking. Unfortunately, my cam batteries went out, so I didn't get to do much with that. Afterwards, it rocked though like no other. She told me exactly where he was leaving the building at and how I could be in the right place at the right time. On his way out, Bird was going to sign for the workers who did catering, tickets, and whatever else since he appreciated their work for him. That's quality. The chick takes me past this locked gate and tells security guards how it is and to let me through. She's there with me and says to wait in this hallway. A few minutes later, up through the hallway that only about 15-20 of us were in, up strolls The Basketball Jesus himself. I was really surprised how big of a dude he is in person. He's legit 6'9" and then some. He said he weighs 267 now and his playing weight was 230. He didn't look out of shape at all. Anyways, he goes and sits down in this room and tells us to come in. He was never big into giving autographs and taking all of the fame. So you couldn't chit chat and get any pictures, but he owned up to his word that he'd sign for the workers (and me, hah). I got up to him, thanked him for coming, and he signed a 50th Anniversary Bird jersey that I've had and also a program. The jersey is definitely going into a nice frame soon so it'll be preserved. My life won't get any better now, but I'll never forget it. It all goes downhill from here, but that's the ultimate.

I don't have much time to chat about much else, but you'll get a few fast deals. I went bowling on Saturday with quite the crew. There was about 15 of us in all and it was a real good time. I'm an awful bowler, but it's just fun to go and be an idiot. I get a very light ball and sling it down the lane without putting my fingers in the holes. In the 3 games I bowled, I had a 76, 89, and the last game was 95. Horrible, I know, but that's improvement every game, hah. Then we went to Denny's afterwards with the same crew. Pancakes with strawberries and an order of cheesesticks, you know how I roll.

That's about all I'm getting in tonight. I'm going to be crazy busy from here on out for the next few months. In this semester of work, I have to setup big meetings with students, parents, and whoever else. A crazy crazy amount of paper work involved with special education, you have no idea. On top of that, I also have my final 2 classes I'm taking for my Masters. Then there's the time put into fantasy basketball and gearing up for fantasy baseball. I may have a full head of gray hair by summer, hah. But I don't stop.

3 Quick Thangs:

1. Will the groundhog see his shadow tomorrow? I say no.

2. Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.. If paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper, what beats all 3 at the same time? Answer: Chuck Norris.

3. Groundhog Day Birthdays? Farrah Fawcett is 60 and I don't feel weird at all saying she still looks good. Christie Brinkley goes for 52, dang. NFL wildman Dexter Manley turns 48.


yvonne said...

DAMN...seems like you had a good time with the Basketball Jesus. well you know how to do it big over there, you know the right people bud. must be nice...hey that is a song by lyfe jennings. just came to me. sorry. hey you ain't gonna go downhill. it only gets better. dang 6'9"!!! i am only 62". i will keep it at that. you can figure it out yourself. hey that ain't bad for bowling. being that i took bowling for a semester in college i never got over an 80. that sucks. as long as i passed the class thats all that matters. well i will communicate with you later. take care up there.

Shell said...

I haven't left a comment in a while so I thought I would. Thats cool that u filled a lifetime dream . I don't bowl much but I do it every once in a great while its fun. Wow I didn't realize Groundhog Day was tomorrow, I'm so lost in the days lol. Have fun out there byes

Robin in the South said...

Ha you with grey hair... You make me sound ancient boy hahaha

c-note said...

Nice post about the Bird meeting, I'm sure you were numb the whole he was near. Also a huge play by Mary Theresa getting you the hook up.

Glad you finally got to meet your idol & that jersey will look sweet when its framed

DirtyKash said...

Hmm...according to my biography, Farrah Fawcett is 59 years old, not 60. Maybe I'm wrong?

Bird33 said...

It looks like you're right Kasher. My site says 1946, but the every trusty IMDB says 1947. Clark, how'd you know it was Mary Theresa who helped me? You're on top of things. She's quite the character, I love her to death. Even though she screams at the top of her lungs, she still throws around f-bombs like any guy out there. She was telling people how it was down there. It was classic.

Anonymous said...

Ed ... You forgot I used to hang out around their family alot from 12-15 years old. She definitely is a character (No Perry), but also a sweetheart. I knew she worked at the Beckley Convention Center as well. I saw here there a few years back when I went to listen to Dr. J speak.


Anonymous said...

I don't know what kind of frame you got lined up for that jersey, but here's some I saw in Tuff Stuff that looks pretty sweet...some of them are kind of expensive though:

- Mandingo

chiphead said...

Sounds awesome, Bird meets Bird. Dude's a class act, too. Too bad you couldn't get pictures, but that's overrated anyways.

yvonne said...

did the groundhog see his shadow or no??

dirtykash said...

yes it did

yvonne said...

since it saw its shadow what does that mean kash. you are always there help me out. thanks.. :-)