March 10, 2005

Spending Time With Bobby

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When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be like Mike. Jordan had the shoes, the titles, and is still the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. And yes, I rooted for Jordan — we all did — but when it came down to it, Jordan wasn’t my favorite player. No, my favorite player was a scrawny white kid from Jersey named Bobby Hurley. And when he came to Cornell two Saturdays ago to do the color commentary for the YES network, I finally got to meet my idol.

It was one of the coolest experiences of my life — right up there with my first kiss and getting into Cornell. It was that big of a deal to me. Here was a guy that played under Coach K, had won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992, and had his No. 11 jersey retired at Duke. Here was a guy who is still the NCAA all-time leader in assists, with 1,076. Here was a first-team All-America selection in 1993 and a guy that was named one of the ACC’s 50 greatest players in 2002. Here was a guy out of Jersey City who landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Here was a guy … well, you get the point.

I was absolutely beside myself. I tried to scribble down what he said when he was answering my questions, but I couldn’t — I was in awe of my idol. To me, Hurley represented hope for all the little guys out there, and meeting him brought back many memories of times when I was told I couldn’t do something because of my shortcomings, only to prevail in the end.

I know it sounds corny, the old clich