How to alienate the blog-reading demographic :
This is Jimmy V week in college basketball. At the risk of dating half of the Pyramid of Excess publishing team, we’re going to relate our memories of Jim Valvano as well as ask you to donate at least part of your Weed Fund this week for a good cause. And by you, of course, we are referring to the Simpsons fans that Google imaged “Homer Simpson pyramid” and accidentally ended up on our site. You folks are the cornerstone of our readership, and we thank you.
1983 was a big year. When we weren’t taking Frankie’s advice to relax, we were trying to win over Molly Ringwald while fending off a rich bully in a pastel polo shirt with a flipped-up collar (It should also be noted this same thing could happen at a Santa Monica Urban Outfitters today). 1983 also marked not only the first year of my still-running NCAA Tournament pool, but the last time I won the damn thing (as well as the last time anybody tried to win over Molly Ringwald). Let me tell you, that 25 dollars bought me a lot of vanilla Zingers and Cherry Coke.
I owe that lone victory, collecting dust in the trophy case of my mind next to the time I benched 200, to Jimmy V’s NC State team. Younger college hoops fans may find it hard to believe that that these two men…
once comprised 2/5ths of the starting five for a competitive college sport that did not include drinking beer bongs. Or milkshakes. Or both. But that team’s legacy as one of history’s greatest underdogs belies the fact that this was a pretty solid unit. Current NC State coach Sidney Lowe (the fat man on the left) was a great college point guard, a guy who could run the offense, take care of the ball, and score when needed. Lowe had a cup of coffee with about five NBA teams, though from the look of things it may have been hot chocolate with extra whipped cream. They had a solid frontcourt with Cozell McQueen, tough center Lorenzo Charles, and Thurl Bailey, not only the Wolfpack’s most talented player but also the greatest black, Mormon, jazz-playing power forward this side of Wayman Tisdale. And they had off-guard Derek Whittenburg (the fat man on the right), an unconscious bomber and the team’s most important player in the mind of at least one 15 year old virgin.
Rather than a shortcoming in talent, Valvano’s team owes its reputation as a darkhorse to the fact that they were a 10 loss 6 seed in a then 48 team field, and their opposition in the NCAA Final, the seemingly invincible Phi Slamma Jamma juggernaut, featuring two members of the NBA’s All-Time Top 50 in Drexler and Hakeem as well as a great supporting cast (Larry Micheaux anybody?).
So in memory of Valvano and that fading victory of mine, I’m making a donation to the Jimmy V Fund (https://www.jimmyv.org/donate/donations/). Who knows, maybe it’ll change my luck come March. As long as I don’t pick Kansas.