When Jimmer was a Senior at BYU and just getting started with basketball season, it was customary for the team to play a game at the Seniors’ hometowns….or at least close to it. Many of the guys are from Utah, or somewhere in the West, so it’s not much of a problem to schedule their games. Jimmer’s situation was different, he was from NY. After much deliberation and planning, it was going to happen. A D1 college game was coming to Glens Falls, NY. I’m not going to talk about all that happened during that game on this post, but I’ll just say it was a perfect, magical night for us all. BYU won the game against UVM. It was a memory we will never forget.
Something interesting happened at our house the day of the game. I was sitting on the couch when I heard a knock on the door. As I looked out the window, I saw a tall middle aged man. I didn’t recognize him but I noticed he was holding something in his hand. As I cracked opened the door (my husband was home so it was ok), the stranger asked me if Jimmer was home. Obviously he knew that Jimmer was in town for the game and assumed he would be staying here with us at home. Actually Jimmer had to stay with the team at the Queensbury Hotel so he wasn’t here at the time.
“Well I wanted to give him these pictures,” said the man. As he showed me the pictures, I recognized that they were taken in our house. He told me that he was one of the guys in the pictures and that he used to live in this house. He grew up here with 2 or 3 brothers ( I can’t exactly remember how many)….very tall brothers in this little tiny house. His name was Ray. I don’t know what I was more surprised by…. that he lived here at all, or that those TALL people lived here. Our house is not made for tall people. Everyone knows that if you are tall, there are places in our house that you have to duck your head, especially upstairs. How in heaven’s name did these very tall teenage boys manage in this house?!!! Ray said he was 6′ 6″ tall! I guess you make due with what you have. Well anyways, we talked for awhile about his life here and in this neighborhood. By then I had invited him in to look over his old homestead. He was clearly going down nostalgia lane as he looked around. We all can imagine how he felt being in the home where he grew up. Lots of memories.
He then proceeded to tell me that this tall black man in the picture was a young Bob Lanier. He was the #1 draft pick in the NBA in 1970. He was 6’11” tall. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. At the time that this picture was taken, I’m not sure if he was already in the NBA or he was in college where he was playing for St. Bonaventure, a college near Buffalo, NY. He actually was born in Buffalo. You can google him and read about his history and accomplishments. Very impressive. His shoe size alone is very impressive actually. Size 23!!! Of course my first question was how did he happen to have his picture taken in our house? Unfortunately I can’t remember what he said, but I know he did mention something about basketball in Albany. It will forever be a mystery as to why Bob Lanier was here. The point is that he was here. Maybe he left behind some NBA “vibes” in our house. I noticed that Lanier’s jersey was #16. Jimmer was #16 when he played for the Knicks D League. I personally like the #32 better. Ha!
Ray not only lived in this house but I also found out that he played basketball on some of the same summer teams as my husband, Al. You can see in the picture that Ray is not much shorter than Bob Lanier. Al said that he loved playing basketball and he was a good player himself. If that wasn’t a coincidence enough, he dated and married a girl who went to the same college that I did. I actually knew her. She was a wonderful, very sweet, girl. The sad part of this story is that he told me that she had passed away from a rare form of cancer a few years ago. My heart sank. As he talked about her, even though it had been awhile since she had been gone from his life, he clearly was still in a lot of emotional pain. He lingered here in the house longer than I expected. In retrospect, I realized that this man was here, not only because he was a Jimmer fan and wanted to do something nice for him by bringing him those pictures, but he also came back to his childhood home to soak in some memories of days gone by….a simpler time for him. I’m sure it gave him some comfort to be here and to talk to someone that knew his wife Kathy. Ray ended up coming back one other time just to talk but we haven’t seen him since then. My hope is that he has found solace and happiness once again in his life.
So it was quite a day that we experienced. Bob Lanier is about 68 years old now. Hard to believe those pictures were taken so many years ago.
So this tiny little house has a history for sure. It may not be in the best shape, it’s weathered and warn out, but a lot of excitement and interesting things happened here. We’ve had people from everywhere in this house. We’ve had the prestigious Naismith Award, Oscar Robinson Award, Wooden Award, Oscar Robinson award, AP award, the Espy award, etc., ESPN crews, BYU media crews, NYC crews, newspaper people, whole basketball teams from both my sons playing years, people from other states stopping by to see where Jimmer grew up, my daughter’s accolades from school, dancing and winning Miss NY Teen USA….the house actually looks like a small museum (some people have said), but to me the best thing that ever happened in this house is that all 3 of my children were born and grew up here. It was full of love for each other and love for God, much excitement, good friends, an occasional pet or two, good times, some tough times, but like every family, you wake up every morning and go to sleep at night and hope that in between, your days are filled with good health and meaningful, productive, successful experiences. The pages of life turn very quickly, and the years fly by, but this house, such as it is, has given me a lifetime of memories….and more to come I’m sure.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time….see ya!