Just some thoughts:
“You know sometimes regardless of one’s age they just need their dad (mom).”
It was 1985 and the Los Angles Lakers and the Boston Celtic’s were in the play-offs for the NBA Championship. In game one of the championship Boston had beaten the Lakers badly, 148-114. Some sports writers had dubbed it the “Memorial Day Massacre.”
The blunt of much of the poor play for the Lakers was laid at the feet of their center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In that game he had scored only 12 points and had three rebounds. Speculation began that the 38-year old was done, over the hill. His coach Pat Riley was not pleased with his play nor his team’s play and had been particularly hard on Kareem in a team meeting regarding the loss.
The Laker players would all tell you Pat Riley was a stickler for rules. He had’em and if you were on his team you may not liked them but you lived by them. One of the rules Riley had was on the team bus taking the players from their hotel to the playing arena there would be no one, absolutely no one allowed on that bus but than team members. As Magic Johnson, said “no one got on that bus but us.”
On the day of the next game, after Kareem’s poor performance, to be played at the Boston Gardens as the bus was about to leave Riley sees Kareem running to meet the bus and following very closely behind him was a small man. The man was Kareem’s father.
Riley would later say as he observed the situation and thought about Kareem’s play from the day before, got to thinking how maybe just maybe the most important person in his life right then was that man following him, his father. “I thought back to my dad and how there had been times in my life where I had needed him. Maybe just now our big center needed to hear some kind words and encouragement from his dad. I decided I was not going to let some stupid rule I had made enter the picture here.” Dad rode the bus.
The Lakers would go on to win the NBA championship and Jabbar would be named the MVP. In fact he would go on to win two more NBA championships as a player.
Rules are not necessarily stupid but there can be times when maybe it’s best to make an exception.
You know sometimes —I have found regardless of one’s age—it is comforting to hear and see one’s mother or father. In fact I wish right now I could.
As legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant once said at the end of a AT&T commercial:
“Have you called your Momma lately…I sure wish I could.”
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December 22, 2018
Posted January 15, 2019