My story is below. Enjoy!
by Johnny Carroll
The first time I heard of William “Tiny” Baylor I was ten years old and had just discovered my love for basketball. After sitting way to close to the TV at my friend’s house watching the last game of a best of seven series where “Tiny” scored 39 points, dished out 17 assists and had a mind-blowing 10 steals to lead the Bowling Green Roosters to their first (and currently only) NBA championship— I ran straight home and begged my dad to buy me my very own basketball goal.
I followed Baylor for the rest of his professional career as I dreamed of one day starting my own. Middle school is a painful time for most children, but especially when you’re trying to be an NBA superstar. Working hard every summer and constantly day dreaming of playing for the Roosters, I honed my basketball skills.
Success was mine. I eventually became the point guard for my high school’s varsity basketball team, even leading the region in assists (my senior year). Every time I passed the ball that lead to another point for our team I remembered the first game that I ever watched where “Tiny” dealt 17 assists. My team, the Carpetbaggers, never won a state championship, but we always had a winning record.
Unfortunately, Being only six feet tall and carrying on the family tradition of short arms and a long torso, not only could I not dunk, but I didn’t even have a decent three-point shot. And we won’t even talk about how I couldn’t go left. I was too focused on passing the ball to ever work on an all-around game, knowing deep down inside that I would never really get drafted to the NBA or even start for a Division I college team.
After high school I did make it to college on a scholarship, but not for basketball. All of those summers where I was working on my jump shot and dreaming of super-stardom I also became obsessed with Marv Alberts, the most famous sports announcer during my youth. I wanted to go in to broadcasting or journalism and interview the super stars. Oddly enough that’s just what I did.
I hadn’t followed “Tiny” since his retirement from the NBA. Every once in a while I see his name on a list of attendees for a charity golf tournament or one of those events where the NBA honors the veterans of the game. Personally, I haven’t picked up a basketball in over 10 years, but this whole nostalgic walk down memory lane has been triggered by the fact that I am currently interviewing my childhood hero, William “Tiny” Baylor.
When given this opportunity I jumped at it thinking we could swap war stories about who our biggest rivals were, his being “Magic” Johnson and Isaiah Thomas, mine being that short red-haired kid with bad acne who played for Hamilton. Maybe I could even tell him how he inspired me to play basketball and it’s because of him that I’m even sitting here interviewing him.
Instead, he’s not even looking at me, but sobbing in to my voice recorder about how he’s now bankrupt (pyramid schemes) , divorced (twice), been in and out of rehab (crack) and how he will never recover from the mishap that occurred during his Penile Silicon Injection.