Perception is reality, the saying goes. Modern players can never transcend time, athletes only care about the money and the fan is never wrong. Yet, all you need to do is dig a little deeper to find the truth. As a freelance sportswriter, my job is to give the audience a story around what just happened. As a consumer, I expect that sports will always provide more than I bargained for. As a fan, my hopes are to be enlightened by more than points. Welcome to the mind of a sports scribe.
When I was the Giants reporter for WHCR's "What's Going On", I had the pleasure of not being back on the air again, but appearing as an in-person guest with John Isaacs.
Isaacs, for those of us who don't have the depths of basketball history as we'd like, was a member of of the Harlem Renaissance, the first team to win a professional world basketball championship in a Depression-era sports world.
Mr. I, as people had called him through the years, passed away at the age of 93, but was still heavily involved with the game of basketball to his last days.
Because I had a short stint (just the 2007 season for the Giants), I did not have the opportunities to learn much about his days as a player or mentor to many of the City's talents that came in his direction for over five decades. The news, however, rattled me a bit.
I thought I had some handle on basketball history until Mr. I essentially schooled me a few times off the air. However, he was one of those guys who gave the respect he received, regardless of generational views.
Mr. I, from afar, was more than a former athlete, but someone whose heart truly belonged to the game and to the City.