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Wiley Brown, head coach at Indiana Southeast and former Louisville basketball star, grew up literally across the street from me.  We looked up to him because he was 6’8” and because he was a standup guy.  I like to think he honed his skills on the whole court in my backyard—it was dirt but still a whole court.  Brown and my sister were classmates and both basketball players but her tryout as a walk-on at Georgia Tech didn’t last a week. 

When I asked Wiley what should I do about my socks not staying up, he said use rubber bands liked the varsity.  In 1980, Brown and the Louisville Cardinals won the NCAA National Champion but dude never got the bighead.  A few years ago, he was an assistant coach with Louisville and called my sister and her husband to offer tickets to their game against UNC Charlotte.  Since my brother in law is a pastor and sports fan, Brown asked him if he would like to speak to the team and meet coach Rick Pitino before the game.  After the brief devotional, Brown asked the pastor if he would like to hold a clipboard and sit with them on the bench.  How cool is that?  He declined and sat with my sister.

The moral of the story is: when you get married, you miss out on cool stuff.  I would have been on that bench and in the huddle during each timeout. 

For the second time in my life, I will be cheering for Duke this weekend.  You know Duke has that whole Boston Celtic/Nerds v. Homeboys thing popping.  But, Wiley Brown’s late teammate Derek Smith is the father of Duke’s Nolan Smith.  An article in the local newspaper today says that Smith and Brown created the high-five back in the day.  Who knew?  The only other time I cheered for Duke was during the Grant Hill era.  Hill is just good people.   

Things have changed on East Lee Street in 30 years.  This street has produced many PHDs, Master’s degrees and military honors from modest homes paid for with real sweat. When I pickup lottery tickets and cigar wrappers today (you know what the kids do with Blunts), the youth don’t even speak.  Old ladies can’t sit on their porches because the ugliest language in the world gets pumped out of car stereos and foul mouths.  The last time Brown was home I told him we had some good point guards in the area and he looked like “now tell me about their mindset and attitude.”  At the end of the day, team sports are about building character and winning at life.  Some cats aren’t team players.   Personally, I played on the tennis squad–a squad is a group of individuals from the same school. 

Blue Dogs who voted against the healthcare bill are on the squad—not a team.  These local point guards are brilliant raw talents (like Iverson) but can they function inside the team concept.  There is no “I” in team and but their is a “u” in squad.  Okay, that doesn’t really mean anything. 

http://www.albanyherald.com/sports/headlines/89820962.html

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