by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist
This being a March of college hoop Madness, alert basketball fans may have noticed a Canyon Barry playing for the Florida Gators. Yes, he’s the son of Hall-of-Famer Rick and his second wife Lynn. Canyon is actually a grad student at UF, studying nuclear engineering, having already graduated from the College of Charleston—with a year’s hoop eligibility remaining.
Named for the Grand Canyon, where he was conceived, the younger Barry is one of the top scorers for the Gators, who earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Regionals.
Canyon has four half-brothers who all played pro ball—Scooter, Jon, Brent, and Drew, sons of Rick and his first wife Pam.
In his prime, Rick was the top forward in pro basketball. I met him in 1971 at a basketball camp in Fitzwilliam, N.H., where the other big name was Jerry West, then the top guard in pro basketball. (Imagine LeBron James and Steph Curry coming to New Hampshire today to run a summer camp to make some extra money!)
Barry was with the Nets then, who lost in the ABA Finals to the Pacers the next year. Rick then returned to his former Warrior team, whom he led to an NBA title in 1975.
As for West, he had a good season the next year as well, leading the Lakers to a 33-game win streak en-route to a then-record 69 wins and an NBA title in 1971-72.
The competitiveness of the two superstars became apparent when West claimed he could hit a five iron 200 yards.
“I can hit a six iron 200 yards,” claimed Barry, who is now 72 years old.
DOMESTIC SPORTS VIOLENCE
NEWS ITEM: Brazilian soccer goalie Bruno Fernandes de Souza was signed by a Brazilian B League team after serving seven years of a 22-year sentence for murdering his girlfriend and feeding her body to his dogs. (CNN).
How does the girlfriend’s family feel about de Souza getting out of prison early to make money as a pro soccer player? Did de Souza get special treatment because of his athletic ability?
That would not be news. OJ Simpson murdered his ex-wife and her friend and was found not guilty. Had he not been a former Heisman Trophy-winning football player with a dream legal team he’d likely have gone to prison for life in 1995. He should have.
Sports celebrity has its perks. But in America, sports notoriety can only take you so far. Don’t look for former New England Patriot tight end/murderer Aaron Hernandez to get out of jail in time to resume a pro career, as de Souza did.
But if Hernandez did somehow get released from the big house look for him to get an offer from the Las Vegas Raiders!
Which boxer—a 50-1 underdog—stunned Mike Tyson in 1990? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on March 23 include former Red Sox infielder George “The Boomer” Scott (1944) and NBA great Moses Malone (1954).
“Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend playing ice hockey.” – Anonymous
Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is email@example.com.