ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I will never forget it: Pep rally, senior year, and our basketball coach is introducing the newly minted members of the hoops team to the assembled student body, who were cheering loudly from the stands in our high school gym. Coach worked his way down the list alphabetically, and I stood at the end of the row of players, waiting to run across the floor — the only person with a last name starting with a “W” — knowing I would be the last name called.
Or so I thought, because Coach called the name before mine, and then he momentarily forgot about me, and asked the crowd to give a big hand to the team. Meanwhile, I stood alone, momentarily forgotten yet never more visible than at that moment. My teammates, to their credit, pointed me out to our Coach, and he double-checked his list and hastily blurted out my name. No harm, no foul, although the memory has obviously stuck with me for a while.
So I, for one, can understand if Memphis guard Jerryd Bayless feels a little under-appreciated after yesterday’s postgame news conference, when Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins banked on Bayless’ name. Just like my high school coach, Hollins consulted the paper in front of him and made a pretty quick recovery, and I’m sure he meant no harm from it.
Still, this happened …