Do you know anyone that has one of these?
April 23, 2014: “Lady Potters in the Hall of Fame – sort of”
Only old people read those “25 Years Ago Today” items in newspapers. So there I was reading one such item in the Pantagraph. To my surprise, the item was about me. It reminded readers that in 1989 I had been named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, in the media division.
Yes, I remembered that news. I even had a Lincoln Evening Courier clipping of the announcement.
But when I went to the IBCA website to check it out, my name wasn’t there.
So I asked an IBCA executive about getting my name on the list.
He seemed dubious. Our conversation became a courteous interrogation. I gave him my basketball resume. I played on the 1959 Atlanta High School team that went 29-0 and won the school’s first, last, and only regional championship. I worked six years at the Pantagraph, reporting, writing, photographing, directing coverage of 66 schools. I’d written two books on basketball and a zillion columns in the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, the Washington Post, and the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution.
I also dropped in this nugget: In 2000 the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame – the one with Jerry West and Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Red Auerbach -- had given me the Curt Gowdy Media Award “For Outstanding Lifetime Coverage of Basketball.” (More on this in a minute when I explain to my wife who Red Auerbach was.)
“Besides,” I told the IBCA man, “I’m now back in Illinois and I’m writing basketball columns every winter.”
“Really?” he said.
“Three years now, I’ve written for Mortonladypotters.com. Every night, snow or not, every game. Check out the website. I’m not sure, but I bet I’m the only guy with a Naismith Hall of Fame trophy who writes about Illinois girls high school basketball.”
Anyway, after that, things happened, and I’m thinking the Lady Potters coverage tipped the scales.
This Saturday, at a dinner at Illinois State University, I will be inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame, the media division.
I’d also bet that I will join our old Peoria Journal-Star friend, Jane Miller Sands, as the only IBCA Hall of Famers who made it there by covering girls basketball.
Now, back to Red Auerbach on a memorable night at the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts . . .
As we sat in the VIP section awaiting my turn to speak, my wife, Cheryl, said, “Look at that old man with the cigar.”
It was Red. Maybe the greatest coach ever, won all those NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. When the Celtics had a game wrapped up, Red would lean back on the bench and light up a cigar.
“He’s not supposed to be smoking in here,” Cheryl said.
I explained that he was Red Auerbach.
"Well, I don't care. And he's dropping ashes on the carpet."
So, in my little speech, I mentioned that my wife had noticed a man flicking cigar ashes onto the carpet.
“I gave her a history lesson about Red Auerbach,” I said, “and told her that the world is Red’s ashtray.”
Red laughed and raised his cigar to me.
Celebrating 41 years of Title IX ! June 23, 1972, 37 words that changed history! It was a small part of the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, signed by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity, receiving federal financial assistance." Thank you Mr. President!