Thursday, December 07, 2006

Another Great Piece From Paul Shirley

This most recent effort from my favorite ESPN writer discusses the origin of the author's idolization of Larry Legend, and how Bird's race impacted that idolization. As a contributor to a blog that strives to talk about non-Texas sports, I immediately thought to share this piece, and ask the Dudes, which athlete did you first remember idolizing??

For me, it was Warren Moon... When I first stepped off the boat in 1987, I pretty much immediately began watching all the sports through my rabbit ears TV. And watching the Oilers when they played became, instantly, must see TV. As a Chinaman with no coordination, I harbored no visions that I could one day be Warren, but it never stopped me from wanting to pretend to be Warren when I played touch football with the other kids in the apartment complex. I would mimick his drop-back, his mannerism, his cadence, and it had nothing to do with the fact that Warren was Chinese. Mostly, because he wasn't Chinese.

Since then, other sports figures have captured my imagination: Hakeem the Dream, Craig Biggio, Shane Battier, and Yao Ming - just to name the most prominent ones that come to mind. But for a 10-12 year-old fresh off the boat, no one could ever surpass the grace of Mr. Moon.

1 comment:

Head Dude said...

First Larry Parrish, then Ruben Sierra, with a little Brad Davis mixed in. I was always a Rangers' fan first and foremost, probably because of my grandfather, and LP was our slugger back in the early 80s, meaning he'd hit 20-25 home runs a year back in the pre-juice era. I still have about 15 of his rookie cards.

But he quickly gave way to my one true boyhood idol, Ruben Sierra. He was the original El Caballo down here, the golden boy headed for a hall of fame career as the next Roberto Clemente. But after losing the MVP unfairly to golden white boy Robin Yount in 1989, he was never the same. He turned surly and spoiled, and was quickly upstaged when Senor Octubre joined the club and left Ruben in the dust. Still, from about age 9 to 14, he could do no wrong in my mind.

Brad Davis was just a throw-in. We met him at a Mavs' post-game party they used to have across the street from the Arena back in our early 80s glory days, but he was a hell of a nice guy.