Mount Mitchell State Park

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Basketball Camp


I went to at least two Auburn basketball camps during the Sonny Smith era.  Have some funny and interesting stories I will add here in coming days or weeks.  One story involves Charles Barkley.  Another, Chuck Person.  And another, the great Jerry West.

  • I was the biggest Lakers fan in the eighties.  The biggest!  Jerry West was a speaker/instructor at one of the camps.  All the campers sat around on the arena floor while he put in a few jump shots.  He then moved it to half court, where he calmly sank a couple.  He had the perfect form!  Later, he spoke to us all.  At one point, he pulled out signed Kareem, Magic, and Worthy jerseys, and said they were prizes for some trivia he had.  I don't remember the questions, and I never got called on.  But boy what a moment!
  • Once at a camp, I was under the basket at one end of the coliseum floor, and Charles Barkley, who was already with the Sixers then and was assisting at the camp, started running off the floor.  I was in his path!  He ran up, grabbed me and put me in a ball over his head.  Of course, I was horrified, yet thrilled!  Barkley laughed, then put me down and ran towards the tunnel.
  • The "Rifleman" Chuck Person, who was an Indiana Pacer at the time, led morning shooting drills.  This was at 8 AM!  And he was out just firing away, like a machine.  Everyone then had to get up and get in line to shoot jump shots.  Anybody who shot a brick (air ball) had to run up the stairs to the top of the arena and back down before a certain time, with everyone watching, of course.  Luckily, I managed to hit iron every time.  I am pretty sure at the same camp, the Rifleman's brother Wesley and Lance Weems were campers.  They later played at Auburn!
  • The Auburn players that were always the nicest to me (and I really looked up to them) were Bobby Cattage, Gerald White, Frank Ford and Paul Daniels. 
Update:  proof that Jerry West still has it

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