Do you remember in 5th grade shop class when you would finish your big project for the grading period early, (either a gumball machine face with the twisting nose, or the miniature pool table with marbles that you never actually played a full game on) and the shop teacher would kill time by making you sand a board by hand for 45 minutes even though the power sanders were frustratingly on a shelf in plain sight. All that so the shop teacher could get out his dremel-tool and ask you what you wanted him to write in perfect cursive on your smooth new board. Perhaps you would cross a name off your Christmas list with “#1 Mom” or strike fear in the heart of would be intruders with a “Billy’s Room: Keep Out”. Mine read “Bobby Hurley #7”. What an asshole my shop teacher must have thought I was. How would you react to an annoying 10 year old walking down the street today with a hand made Jimmer Fredette plaque?
As an adolescent and adult, I’ve been an unwavering Cleveland Sports Fan, but like a lot of kids growing up I went through a phase where I would randomly attach myself to athletes from teams to which I had no prior allegiance. I liken this phase to the days when I would buy tapes & cd’s and then only listen to singles, rather than appreciating bands and albums as a whole. I went through a Will Clark phase, a Drew Bledsoe phase, and the most severe of them all, a Bobby Hurley phase. I wish I could say that it began with me watching him win two national championships at Duke, but I cannot. I got to the party late. I jumped on the bandwagon his rookie year after being drafted 7th overall to the Sacramento Kings in 1993.
I certainly would have jumped off the bandwagon not long after that when I learned the lesson that every young kid eventually does about the NBA…No matter how much you care and hope, the hard working, undersized and slow of foot guard who can’t shoot over 40% from the floor is only going to break your heart. 19 games into his rookie season though, Bobby Hurley was in a terrible car accident. Not wearing his seat belt, his truck was hit head on by another car and he was thrown through the windshield into a ditch with life threatening injuries. Hurley did recover, and came back to the NBA and played the following season with the Kings. Like any true fan would in that situation, I stuck with my guy and rooted for his recovery and eventual return to the NBA after the accident.
My devotion ran pretty deep, I had two of his jerseys, the red, white & blue jersey from his rookie year, and the black and purple jersey from his return in 1995 (which I still have, sorry hipsters, it’s not for sale.), multiple pages of upper deck and tops rookie cards, and the aforementioned sweet wooden plaque.
I’ve told you all of the above, so that I can now show you this video. Maybe you saw it back in the day, maybe you missed it. If you saw it back in 1993, I guarantee you’ll appreciate it more now.
I give you the crowning piece of my Bobby Hurley fan memorabilia, the ITZ. Available only at FootLocker.
Couple things to note:
The amazing cover at the end of Heroes by David Bowie…I like to think that the Wallflowers shit cover of the song in the late 90’s was actually an homage to Bobby Hurley and not to the Thin White Duke (Ironically, wouldn’t that have been an awesome nickname for Bobby Hurley too?!).
I challenge anyone to find me a shoe commercial that exclusively features a guy who averaged less than 4 points per game in his career.
“and everyone’s like, you’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. I’m not filling anyone’s shoes. I brought my own.” Words to live by indeed.
-this was written by Kevin Wagner, a special contributor to BaconSports and great relief pitcher in slow pitch softball.