Houndspeak: Basketball is a Game

Houndspeak: Basketball is a Game

Han Vance on UGA: Up in Kentucky, with a rolling hills Bluegrass campus, they ALL tailgate in parking lots beside beautiful lawns. This ain’t that y’all.

In the Deep South, “basketball school” is an insult. More people in Dawgland are excited about UGA getting the #3 high school football player in the Peach State (#9 in the country) at our position of least need on the roster, than great Georgian Antman going in the top 3 of the NBA draft tonight, maybe #1.

Ol’ Georgia is Peach Bowl bound, at best and all but officially eliminated in the SEC East.

Playoff[s]?!?! You talking about playoff[s]? You talkin’ about practice, man? Practice. You talkin’ about practice. We talkin’ about practice. Don’t know no Mora Sr., but I got to know AI pretty well when he hung around PRIME at Lenox, where I worked while trying to figure out how to get my (then written) first book published and started into journalism and sports talk. It was [just] a job and also a city social scene to see, with literally half of the NBA owning homes in Atlanta, flexing atop the mall, at a fine-dining joint that sold: Steaks, Seafood, Sushi.

Kevin Willis is tall (and nice). Iverson is pretty funny, but the bartenders didn’t enjoy his company or friends. Clyde Drexler is a cool cat; he glided through…

Back then, I did BHB and briefly covered the HAWKS for www.SI.com. I became better chums with alum Dominique Wilkins, who I’d met years before. Great guy! He was “always” up in PRIME, saying, “That’s my spot. See you there soon,” when I saw him at the arena before interviewing Coach Bud; got my name/question on TV.

I also met a ton of other famous athletes and rappers. Like literally 50 or so. It was their spot. Lots of flash and cash. My buddy Ryan Hale and I were the super team, the smooth servers who ran the back room. He’s like a brother to me, and I’m still friends with some of those other guys, like big Georgia fan Christaan Waring, who is in CANINE CREW and Newby, who is “strong like bull.”

Why can’t the HAWKS get the great free agents, why can’t GEORGIA become at least proficient at basketball, were topics that flashed through my mind and mouth. At the time we had KCP at UGA: The current world champion who plays for the Lakers and not much else. ATL was a playoffs regular, and I went to NBA games a lot.

I go to even more, by train, now – way more – or did until the pandemic. My dude Chris Weber and I went to the last public sporting event in America, as the Knicks blew out the Hawks. The next NBA game that night was canceled at halftime, and Atlanta lost the Final Four and $400 million. (I lost a restaurant management job, too. I won’t bore you with all that but just say there’s a story called “PASSPORT”).

The Hoop Hounds won in the first round of the SEC Tournament – which I used to attend every year when it was in Catlanta as Kentucky called it – beating Ole Miss, behind Antman.

Then the SEC Tournament was aborted. We had the only win! Give us a trophy for that, to go with our two football recruiting Natty trophies.

At UGA, I regularly played ball with big Charles Claxton – we still see each other, periodically, and we’ve tailgated together – and once on a pickup team with solid pro Shandon Anderson, who my slashing runners-style meshed best with, we beat all comers. Four UGA players were on the first team we smoked. I lost a midair collision with my friend Jonas Jennings and even packed NFL Hall of Famer Champ Bailey in a league game; he did that “I’m pissed” walk-it-out I later saw a few times in the pros when somebody caught a key ball on him. Fastest athlete I played with, ever.

I played three or four days a week on average, attending 1990-1993 and 1996-1998. Happy Homecoming to my fellow alumni doing things! Be a doer, Dawg!

Jersey in photo was originally an Ezra Williams, ALL-SEC Marietta buddy of mine, he was on the best team in modern school history. Maybe better than the team that went to the Final Four, the year after Dominique went pro to the Hawks. Ezra’s team was prohibited from the tournaments, because of academic fraud. I know for a fact that Ezra himself was too smart and just good for that crap, and he and Jarvis Hayes (and Jonas) would have could have…so GEORGIA, y’all.

I love you, Georgia!