Kids Sports Reporter


The Miracle Man: Eric LeMarque

posted Apr 19, 2018, 9:53 AM by Ryan Allison

            Eric LeMarque is truly an inspirational human being. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Eric about his childhood, his love of ice hockey, his ice hockey college career, his short lived NHL career, and most importantly his story of survival (made into a major motion picture: 6 Below Miracle on the Mountain) and how it literally changed his life. Eric, is a friend of mine now and I look up to him for the courage it took to beat the odds. I hope you enjoy the video and see what a great human Eric LeMarque is.

 

Kid Sports Reporter

Weston Hooten



Daryl Evans: A King Once More

posted Mar 21, 2018, 9:48 AM by Ryan Allison

            On February 5th I sat down with retired LA Kings ice hockey player, Daryl Evans. Evans, made a name for himself on April 10, 1982 when he became the overtime hero in the historic 6-5 comeback playoff victory, against the Oilers, with the most iconic goal in Kings franchise history. It will forever be known as the “Miracle on Manchester.”

            I went down to interview Evans, and actually found myself in one of the friendlies, most interesting one on one conversations that I have ever had. Daryl gave me two hours of his time and I could have sat and listened for two more. I found that Evans is much more than just a legend on the ice, but one heck of a nice guy that gives back tirelessly to his community and owns some of the most awesome suits the sports world has ever seen (if you do not believe me then Google it).

            These days Evans is no longer on the team roster for the Kings’ but if you ever visit the Toyota Center (home of the LA Kings practice ice) you just might see him skating the ice (he is the guy that wears no laces in his skates) or giving knuckles to all the littlest LA Kings’ fans he walks by. This is what Evans does by day. On game night he is the long-time radio color commentator for his beloved Kings’.  As an added bonus I was able to meet Alex Faust the TV play by play announcer for the Kings’. Faust took the place of long time play by play announcer Bob Miller. I have been invited back to “headquarters” (AKA: Staple Center) for a Kings’ game and a visit to the broadcast booth to see Faust at work.

            Below is what Daryl Evans shared with me during our conversation. I hope you enjoy getting to know Daryl as much as I did.

Tell me a little about yourself: where you grew up, siblings?  I grew up in Toronto, Canada. I have a brother and a sister. My sister is a little bit older and my brother is a little bit younger and both my brother and I played hockey. He still plays a little bit of adult hockey, he’s in sales now. My sister lives in Michigan.

Did you play ice hockey when you were young? Did you have a dream to play in the NHL? I actually was a late starter. My dad had never ice skated ever. He was a very good athlete but primarily football, baseball, basketball. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers organization never on the big team. So, we used to play street hockey and actually got into hockey through one of my friends’ dads who suggested to my dad that we play in house hockey and that’s how it all got started.

Who were your ice hockey heroes growing up? Well, back when I was growing up there were only 6 teams so we got to know pretty much every player on every team. I think players I remember when I was young, young, remember watching Bobby Hull who had the big shot, when Bobby Orr started to play I was a big fan of his, I loved the way he played the game. Yvan Cournoyer because of the speed that he had.

Tell me about your career in the junior hockey league: the Niagara Falls Flyers? Well I was drafted to the OHL at that time to the Niagara Falls Flyers. I played my hockey growing up in Toronto. I played some junior B in Toronto that’s where I was drafted to Niagara Falls and when I was drafted in juniors to Niagara Falls I was actually a defenseman and I never played forward until I started junior hockey. Team was loaded up with defense and coach suggested that I play forward and that would be the only chance I would have to make a team. Fortunately, enough I got the opportunity and by the end of the year I was second on the team in scoring.

I read your stats in the junior league and it was obvious you could score and score often. However, some critics felt that this ability might not translate into the NHL where the players were bigger, faster, stronger. But yet, the Kings drafted you in the 9th round 178th overall in 1980. How did that feel?     Well, I think being a smaller athlete at the time, you know your size is always the question. So, size is one thing that no one has control over. So, things I worked on were: becoming a better skater, shooting the puck, all those types of things that were controlled by myself. Those are things that I worked on all the time my strength and my ability and continued to keep doing that. You got to continue to keep proving yourself. That is when I made the transition from defense to forward led my team in scoring there through my junior career and when I got drafted by the Kings went to the AHL, which was in Newhaven, CT at that time. Again, re-established myself and proved myself there and ended up scoring 51 goals in the AHL in one year. So, again its constant proving yourself, showing that you can play at whatever level you’re in.

At what point did you realize that being a professional hockey player was a real possibility?

I think it was probably more of a dream like I don’t know if you ever really look at it and think it is a possibility. You continue to keep chasing that dream. Probably when I was like 11 or 12 years old playing peewee in Toronto I remember going to the Quebec peewee tournament it was kind of a really big thing. One of the best minor league tournaments in the world, still to this day. I think at that point there I thought it would be great to be a hockey player. Probably never understood what it was to do it for a living or for a career. I think that is probably when the dream became a little more of reality a little bit more focused, striving forward. I was a good player at that time and so I continued to keep pushing to do all that I could. I always played ahead of myself. Played minor bantam and then started playing junior hockey. When I was 14 I was playing against guys that were as old as 21. That is when it was starting to kick in that there was an opportunity. So, the focus over the next handful of years was to do all I could to give that opportunity a chance.

What was it like to play in your first NHL game? Where was it and did you win or lose?

I think it’s a dream come true. I think that comes in a couple of different phase. I think one thig is getting drafted into the NHL, going to a training camp, playing in an exhibition game, and playing in a regular season game. My first regular season game was actually in Denver against the old Colorado Rockies at that time and it was a great experience. I didn’t score or get any points or anything in that game. But, it was just a great experience playing in that game against something that you will never forget.

What position did you play? Was that a position you saw yourself playing in?

Well, I always played defense all the way until I was drafted in juniors. Defense, I was always comfortable with. I played both left and right defense. I had a good shot when I was growing up. I never really envisioned myself playing forward at all. I think really throughout the course of my career whether it be through childhood or professional one position I never played was center. I played goalie and everything else. But I never really played center. I like the defensive position. Kind of like quarterback.

When you saw your schedule who was the one goalie you didn’t want to face?

At that time when you looked at it there was guys you didn’t want to face for a reason of how good they were but you still wanted to get that opportunity. Being in awe of some of these guys. I remember playing against the Montreal Canadians which they still are today the winningest franchise in the history of the NHL. You go back to the time when they had guys like Grant Fuhr on the team, these are guys that you really don’t want to play against, but you do want to play against. Probably say going into the Montreal forum for the first time playing against them was one of those experiences that everyone will remember.

What was your favorite road ice to play on? Well back then when we played I think the rinks especially the ones in Western Canada. Winnipeg had exceptionally quick ice. This was a rink at that time were used just for hockey rinks. But now they are entertainment centers ice gets taken in and out for concerts and things like that. I would say Winnipeg probably stands as having the fastest ice and Minnesota was pretty good back then.

No interview with Daryl Evans would be complete without asking about the most iconic goal in Kings’ franchise history. At the end of the 82 season the Kings made the playoffs against the Oilers. Not to mention, you would take the ice with Gretzky. You made the game winning goal in overtime for a miracle comeback. Who was favored to win that game? How does it feel to go down in NHL history as a legend?   I think when you look at that game in that series that year the Oilers finished 46 points ahead of the Kings in the regular season. So, it was a mis-match. They were clearly the better team of the two. I think what really favored us in that series was that there was a 5-game series of three out of five. Had the series been seven games we might not have had the success that we had. We had nothing to lose we went into Edmonton and that was really a unique series aside from the game of “Miracle on Manchester” game one of the playoff series we went in there-the NHL actually expanded the roster from 19 to 20 players that year just for the play-offs and so I actually got into the line-up. I was the twentieth player. The coach of the team Don Perry kind of put me in as an extra player I wasn’t going to get much ice time. I played for him in the AHL and the international league prior to that so he was familiar with me as a player. He gave me an opportunity to play in the play-offs. We were down four to one in Edmonton and eventually came back and won that game 10-8. Now the unique thing about that is that still stands today as a record in the NHL most goals scored combined by two teams in a play-off game-18 goals. That was my first play-off game and I had two goals and two assists and was the 1st star by Hockey Night in Canada, so that was a dream come true. First of all, to play in a play-off game and then have the impact that you would have on a game that is in the record books.  As I mentioned Edmonton was 46 points ahead of us in regular season, they were highly favored to win the series. Next night in OT Gretzky scores they beat us 3-2 so the series comes back to LA tied one/one with Edmonton having won the last game I think everyone felt Edmonton was on track and it was a wake-up call. In game three, the “Miracle on Manchester”, they built a five nothing lead through two periods. We were going into the 3rd period at the forum it was a down atmosphere. I think the focus of our team was to win the 3rd period and carry some momentum into game four. That’s what we did, we made the big comeback. Jay Wells scored a couple of minutes into the 3rd making it 5-2. At 9:56 of the 3rd myself along with some of my team mates got ejected for a 10-minute misconduct penalty forced to go to the locker room. It was a ten-minute waltzing penalty for pushing, shoving, or fighting. We listened from the locker room and the Kings battled to make it 5-4! Steve Bozeck tied the game with five seconds left in the 3rd and we got a chance to play in OT. It still stands today as the greatest comeback in Stanley Cup play-off history. I skated in behind Doug Smith because the puck was there just behind his leg and I just let the puck go in the direction towards the net and it had eyes. It made its way over Grant Fuhr’s right shoulder. Two nights later Edmonton beats us by a score of 3-2. Both teams actually boarded the same plane and went to Edmonton for game 5. Which is unheard of that both teams were on the same plane.  We went in there and beat them 7-4. I led the team that year in scoring in play-offs. It was a crazy type of year. That series it was odd that we won they were the highest scoring team in the NHL, but it was the Kings who won the 10-8 game the 6-5 game and the 7-4 game and they won the low scoring games that were 3-2.  It was a great way to start a career.

What’s your best/craziest memory from the sin bin?

We try to stay out of there as much as we can. But, in some of the arenas we used to go to there used to be a lot more fighting back then and you would have fans come in there and next thing you know your fighting in the sin bin. So, I would say probably some of the characters (fans from the opposing team) you had come down there pouring drinks on your head having to throw them back the other way. There was a lot of chaos back then. A lot of memorable things usually involved the fans trying to get themselves into the penalty box and once they got in there they were trying to get out because they bit off a little more than they could chew.

What path did your hockey career take after the Miracle on Manchester?

Probably not the course I would have expected it would have taken or would have likes it to take. I used that as a platform to get going and the unfortunate thing was it didn’t go quite the way I would have expected. I went down to the AHL (American Hockey League) and set a modern day record for goals scored in consecutive games down there. Had another chance to come up. Eventually got traded to Washington, went to Toronto which was unique playing in my home town. I always dreamed of being a Maple Leaf as a young kid, so it was good. Spent the last couple of years of my career over in Europe. A year in Italy, a year in England. All in all, the Miracle on Manchester that series, that game opened up a lot of things and I never looked back, never regretted anything. The path that I was given I wouldn’t change a thing.

Who were the biggest supporters of your dream to be in the NHL?

It would have to be my mom and dad and my entire family. Without them it never would of happened. First of all, the introduction to the game and then after that just continuously making it possible for me to practice, to getting new sticks and things like that. We didn’t have a lot of money as a family but it was a priority, it was something I likes and had passion for and everything was possible they did what they could. I am forever grateful and thankful to them. Still to this day they will come out here (L.A.) they come to the King’s games, they usually generate their winter trips around how many games we have. They love the game and something I am forever grateful for. Without their support, not only the financial support-the means to take me to all the games, but also the emotional support for all the ups and downs. I knew they were always there and they always had my back.

What went into your decision to hang up your blades?

At the time there was only 21 teams in the NHL. I went to Europe for a couple of years and the last year I went over as a player/coach so that was kind of the start of it, but it was a little bit of an introduction as to what hockey would be like post-career. I actually retired in Europe. I went in to coaching. I think recognizing where I was at and the opportunity that was in front of me-I knew it was time. I don’t regret anything. The time that I spent, as little as it was seemed like an eternity at the time but probably most proud of what I have accomplished post-career then actually playing in the NHL.

After retirement you chose a career in broadcasting with the Kings. Is this something you thought about prior to playing in the NHL?

Not at all. I actually stumbled upon that. When I retired from hockey I actually went into the automobile business. I managed a car dealership and just stumbled into broadcasting. I had an opportunity to do one game and I enjoyed it. It didn’t come about right away. Being removed from the game I realized how passionate I was about the game and how much I appreciated it. Coming back to it has been real special. I now have a career in broadcasting. I have been blessed with the people that have been around: Bob Miller, Nick Nixon, and Jim Fox. These guys all great in their industry. I learned from all of them. It is an industry where you continue to learn and that is what I like about it. It evolves every year. You look at the guys that have been around it 40 to 60 years and then you look at the guys that are coming now, from different generations. The athlete is different, so it’s a moving target and I enjoy being around it. I was more nervous commentating my first King’s game than playing my first game with the King’s. Broadcasting is not something I did as a young kid and coming in gave me a few more jitters than playing the game.

I watched a news clip on Fox about your fancy suits. Have you always been the guy with the suits? What is your favorite suit?

Some of it has to do with the way I was brought up with our teams. With certain teams we had a team uniform we had to wear, maybe a pair of slacks, sweater, sports jacket something like that. When I got to junior you had maybe one suit and when it was gameday you put that suit on. I remember getting my first three-piece suit. I have always liked being dressed up. It kind of evolved. Now a lot of the suits I wear are theme based. I like the shiny material. The suits that I had made for Vegas with the dice are some of my favorite.

Your are known for giving back to your community. Tell me about the youth camps you run?

I feel very fortunate for what the game has done for me. I was a player that started has a goal tender and couldn’t skate well. I have great appreciation for skating coaches. I have now been teaching for 47 years. Never gets old. Each student whether it is a child or adult is a different challenge. I like that challenge. When I was drafted here in L.A. in 1980 hockey was not very popular we some passionate fans but the number was small. We try to reach the next generation and the next generation after that. I am involved in the youth camps that have been around for 30 years and I take a lot of pride in that. I coach the skating element. All of the other things, the hospital visits, visiting schools, and anything else we can do to grow notice to our game-bring it to the forefront. Just not enough hours in the day. If I could do more I would.

Describe the game of hockey in three words

Fun, Fun, FUN

Greatest hockey goalie of all time?

Tough question. To answer this you have to go through generations and phases of hockey players because the game has changed so much. You have to look at statistics: Martin Brodeur owns every record. You have Glenn Hall who has a record that I don’t think will ever be challenged. He played 500 straight games as a goalie without a mask. These are the guys I got a chance to watch. In todays’ era I am a huge fan of Jonathan Quick who is arguably the best goal tender in the game today.

If you could give yourself a hashtag that summed up your hockey career what would it be?

#Dreamcometrue.

The First Ever 6th Grade Girls Basketball Team at AMS Proves to be Unstoppable

posted Mar 21, 2018, 9:45 AM by Ryan Allison

Atascadero Middle School sanctioned it’s first ever 6th grade basketball program this season, and the first ever girls team will go down in the record books as the “dream team” of 2017-2018. These girls have laid down the challenge for the upcoming 6th grade girls team and the incoming 5th graders have “big-shoes” to fill. The girls team went undefeated this season defeating opponents in regular season play and defeating SLO county club ball teams. The team was coached by head coach, Tim Moscardi and Assistant Coach Kirt Perry.

I had the opportunity to watch the “dream team” on February 15th when they took on rival team, Lewis Leopard’s, and from the first quarter until the fourth quarter AMS proved to be the team in control of the scoreboard. The 6th grade girls were a defensive dynamo. D-up was something that AMS did brilliantly.  Offensively, I watched them successfully drop dimes scoring on multiple assists. Lewis was unable to stop the “drive and deliver” at the basket. AMS worked hard at offensive rebounds leading to second chance points.

Coach Tim Moscardi is new to the coaching staff at AMS. What a privilege to have coached such a talented team. I caught up with Coach Moscardi after the game and asked how proud he was to have coached this undefeated team and he told me, “I am not sure how I could explain it. The main thing like I know you heard several times they like to pass the ball.” Moscardi went on to say, “the thing I am most proud about is there’s not one person on the whole team out of 12 girls that’s greedy. Their sharing is amazing. After the game I look at the scorebook and it’s never just one person scoring. Last game out of 12 girls, 11 girls made a basket and that’s true for every game.” I was curious about what Coach Moscardi thought was the contributing factor for this team to remain undefeated all season. Coach had this to say: “I think the chemistry as a whole before the season started they kind of knew each other from passing in the halls. The chemistry has grown. It’s mandatory on game days they eat lunch together and spend as much time as possible together.” I was wondering with such a stellar season and obviously some great coaching tactics if AMS would be seeing Coach Moscardi next season and without any hesitation, coach said, “yes.”

I was lucky enough to meet three members of the 6th grade “dream team”: Olive Moscardi, Abrianna Vazquez (known around campus and to friends as AB), and Kiera Taylor. I noticed these three girls during the game and all three were very polished offensive players. I asked the girls what it meant to be a team and they all three gave the same answer: we worked together and passed the ball around. This team did just that-they worked together to make the perfect shot each time. Kiera Taylor, summed it up when she said, “we passed the ball to players who don’t get the ball a lot.”  I wanted to know what their favorite memory was from their first season as a school sanctioned team and again all three girls were on the same page. Each girl mentioned working together.

Working together seemed to be a theme that Coach Moscardi and Coach Perry instilled in the team. I have to say from watching this team put up numbers the coaches’ strategy off the court seemed to pay off on the court. Congratulations to the 6th grade girls team and coaching staff for their perfect season!

Look for these girls to continue setting records at AMS! I am sure that our rival teams took note and will be looking for that offensive miracle that will crack this team’s defensive shell.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Saints Coast Through Season Undefeated

posted Feb 20, 2018, 9:36 AM by Ryan Allison

            AMS Saints ended their season on January 18th undefeated. It was obvious with game one that this 8th grade team would prove the statement: talent wins games. Whether the Saints were defending their home court, or playing on their opponent’s hardwood they earned respect by outscoring and outplaying the teams they faced. AMS 8th grade took second in the season ending tournament finishing behind first place team Mesa.

            On January 10th, AMS squared off with Mission Prep and beat them 67-22. Stevie Waiters stuffed the ball in the net five times adding ten points to the board making him the games top scorer. Thursday January 11th AMS took on Laguna Lancers taking the win: 58-43. A common denominator on the offense between the Mission Prep game and Laguna is Stevie Waiters. Waiters was the money player putting fourteen points up-making him the top scorer in back to back games. On January 16th AMS played their rival team Lewis Leopards and for the second time this season shut down their offensive play. In the third quarter, Waiters was the only Saint to find the basket on offense, stuffing in seven points. N Reese Evans aided Saints’ victory by consistently scoring on either fouls or offensive plays in each quarter. January 18th, the Saints played their last regular season game against Flamson and beat the Cougars 81-20. Kalvin Shope found the basket seven times and had a shot from downtown for three for a total of 18 points! Stevie Waiters was a close second on dominating offensively with six baskets and an impressive three-point shot.

            Congratulations to Coach West and the 8th grade team for their undefeated season! The talent on this team heads to the hill next year and you can bet they will have an impact on Greyhound basketball.

            Since this is my 8th grade year as well, and I also move to the hill, this is the final Hooties scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Atascadero Saints Deliver Lions’ Fate in Crushing 4th Quarter

posted Jan 16, 2018, 11:09 AM by Ryan Allison

            On December 18th, AMS beat Los Osos Lions in an all-out offensive attack. The board in the 4th quarter lit up like the 4th of July sky. Saints put up forty (yes, I said forty) points in the last 10 minutes of the game. The Lions had no defensive solution to the Saints’ brutal offensive blitz. Saints won the game with 77 points at the final buzzer.

            Offensive domination seems to be a theme with this 8th grade team. Considering, they man-handled Flamson offensively, just the week before. The first quarter started with a slow offensive burn. Saints put up 13 points in the first 10. In the second quarter, the offensive fire was fanned by: Moscardi, Abma, and Waiters, with all three making two baskets each, putting 12 more on the board. Saints were consistent in the 3rd quarter with their two-point scoring drives. Resulting in 12 more.

            The fourth quarter is where the magic happened. Saints scored 40 points. Logan Reyes and Riley Coalwell led the blitz with 27 points between them. Reyes, had nine attempts “on the house” and made eight of those. Reyes, added five more points finding the net for a total of 13. Coalwell, had two attempts “on the house” making both and had four three-point torpedoes. For a total of 14 points. This game, court cred goes to Reyes and Coalwell for their offensive work in the 4th.

            December 19th, the Saints played St. Pats and beat them with a final score of 62. AMS remains undefeated this season. This 8th grade team refuses to be beat.

            Until it is tipped off again on January 10th against Mission Prep, that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

 

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

 

Saints Win Again in Paso

posted Jan 9, 2018, 11:20 AM by Ryan Allison

            On Wednesday December 13th, AMS Saints showed Paso, for the second time this season, whose boss on the hardwood. AMS beat Flamson on their home turf, with a bombshell of a score: 83-7. This moves the Saints to five game winning streak.

            Saints ruled the scoreboard in the first quarter by putting up 24 points in a virtually non-stop offensive blitz. With Kalvin Shope & Curran Hoxie leading the blitz in the first half with 16 points between them. Flamson struggled on both sides of the ball in the first two. Flamson had no defensive answer to the Saints all out wrecking ball offense, and the home team was only able to find payday on the scoreboard two times. AMS showed no mercy in the second half, putting up 21 points in both the 3rd and 4th quarter. In the end, Flamson only added 3 more points to the score board giving them only 7 points. Levi Meeks helped the offensive attack by offering up five assists. With Sonny Rowlett right behind Levi with four assists. Kaiden Abma worked hard under the net and led the game stats with seven defensive rebounds.

            Court cred this game goes to Kalvin Shope for his outstanding game both defensively with his dirty work under the basket, fighting for rebounds. Kalvin racked up six defensive rebounds, two assists, and was the nights leading scorer, lighting up the score board with 14 points.

            Until its tipped off again on December 18th that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

 

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

            

AMS Saints Victorious in Rival Showdown

posted Dec 11, 2017, 8:04 AM by Ryan Allison

Last years 7th grade team has, for the most part, remained intact making them an 8th grade team that will be hard to beat with Coach West at the helm. Saints are three games into the regular season and have remained undefeated.

I was able to catch the game last Thursday (12/7) which happened to be a rival game on the Leopards home turf. This game was exciting from the first quarter to the 4th quarter. In the first half, the Leopards were slow to stop the fast-paced tempo of the Saints offense. Saints put 25 on the board before the half. Logan Reyes racked up a double stat by dropping 11 points in the first half, scoring 16 points total by the 4th quarter. Reyes had sticky fingers with an aggressive steal of the ball and took it to the rack for two. Speaking of sticky fingers, Stevie Waiters blocked a pass in the first half resulting in two more on the board for the Saints.

The Leopards were down at the half. But, I have heard the saying “bet on the losing team” and this was almost the case here. Leopards took to the court being behind a little and just about won the game. The 3rd and 4th quarters were an all-out dog and cat fight to see who would be on top at the final buzzer. Reyes remained strong with the ball scoring 4 more points. Reese Evans crashed the boards, rebounding like a wrecking ball 10 times: 5 offensive and 5 defensive. Saints took this one with a final score of 53-47-the Saints had the last word.

Court cred this game goes to Logan Reyes who led the team in scoring and dropped dimes 6 times allowing his teammates to score. Not to mention his highlight reel worthy steal that resulted in two for the board.

Until it is tipped off again on December 12th on home court that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Red Devil, Blue Devil, Made it to the NBA Level

posted Dec 11, 2017, 7:54 AM by Ryan Allison   [ updated Dec 11, 2017, 9:16 AM ]

Interview with Elton Brand


Recently, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview an athlete who until he retired from the NBA last year, was a household name. Elton went from Red Devil at Peekskill High, to Blue Devil at Duke, to a 17-year notable career in the NBA. The thrill of sitting in front of Elton Brand (the number one draft pick in 1999) and asking him questions about his basketball journey is a feeling that, for a kid who follows the careers of accomplished athletes across basketball, football, and baseball, is completely indescribable.

The day before Thanksgiving I received a text from Elton Brand wanting to speak with Weston. Later, Brand facetimed me from the 76er game with Reddick in the background making a basket. For a 13-year-old kid from Atascadero this seemed like a dream. I hope all of you that have taken the time to watch my video interview with Elton, will come away from that knowing what a gracious, humble, kind, athletically talented, and thoughtful individual that he is. Elton brand is a rare breed of professional athletes.

Elton had a lot of respect for his mom, Daisy. Sadly, Elton lost his mom a few years ago. In talking with Elton, I hear how much he loved her in his responses. Daisy raised Elton with respect for the value of an education. Daisy raised Elton to never feel like, no matter your station in life, that you are above others. Elton, I think you have made your mom proud. You were academically successful and you realized your dream in the NBA through hard work, dedication, and commitment. You never forgot where you came from, or who raised you. But, most of all, you are continuing Daisy’s work in your community and beyond- in my community. There is no doubt, she was smiling when you reached out to make my dream come true. I will never forget Thanksgiving 2017-ever.

What you didn’t hear when the recorder was turned off was that Elton Brand is proud of me and when the 76ers are on the West Coast we will meet up. We will keep in touch and Elton will forever be a friend of mine. I know that if I was 13 back in 1999 I would have owned an Elton Brand jersey and worn #42 with pride!

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Sports Agents: The Ultimate Game of Thrones

posted Nov 29, 2017, 9:49 AM by Ryan Allison

Making a career out of being a sports agent is much like a game of thrones. Those who are the most successful sit on a throne built on the talent of others. Being a success in this field is all about having a keen sense and a knack for mining raw talent. A career as a successful sports agent is all about having a contacts and connections that would be a “name-droppers” dream. The earning potential has no ceiling-but do you have the guts to enter an all-out bidding war for an athlete-well do you?

Twenty-one years ago, the second highest grossing sports movie of all-time hit the big screen and that movie was Jerry Maguire. For the first time, Jerry Maguire made the words “sports agent” a household name. ESPN reported that before the movie there was approximately 400 licensed sports agents in the NFL. Five years after the movie, there was a whopping 1,000 certified agents, which speaks to the competitiveness of the business. The character played by Tom Cruise was based on the real-life sports agent Leigh Steinberg, who some say was the “prince of sports representation.” However, the movie is a cautionary tale of fool’s gold. Being a successful sports agent is more about how hard you work, how outgoing you are, how you network, how well you negotiate, how much education your willing to get, and your hustle, than it is about rubbing elbows with elite athletes.

This week I was lucky enough to interview Chris Patrick, a licensed NBPA sports agent. Patrick is a success story in the field of sports representation with ties to the Central Coast-A hometown success story. Patrick is a PRHS graduate whose mother taught at Paso High and his dad taught at St. Rose, Paso, and King City. Patrick has one sister. Patrick played basketball and baseball in his youth and was coached by his dad and remembers fondly two coaches: Jimmy Roberson and Scott Larson from Paso high school. While at Paso High, Patrick played tennis. After graduation, Chris finished his basketball career at Division III Keuka College. Chris spent several years coaching AAU and one year as an assistant coach at the collegiate level. Chris said, “Basketball is my life, I played a lot of pick-up basketball growing up, and I still play three to four times a week-time permitting.” Chris went on to say that, “basketball is pretty special to me, it’s more than just a game for me. A chance to play and get a college education was pretty special.” Talking about Chris’s youth, out of curiosity, I asked him if he had a favorite NBA player growing up and Chris, with no hesitation said, “Magic Johnson and the L.A. Lakers.” Though, I have never been a Lakers fan I can understand being a fan of one of the greatest ballers in NBA history.

Chris Patrick has made a home in South Carolina with his wife and three children. I asked Chris if being a sports agent was always the plan, and what unfolded was a story of hard work, education, and success. Chris always saw himself as a history teacher and high school coach. In fact, to this day that is Chris’s dream job. In his early years of college, he didn’t even know what a sports agent was. Chris was taking units and playing his passion: basketball. In Chris’s senior year of college, he did an internship in a law office and fell in love with the law. Chris decided to pursue his JD. While Chris was in law school, a friend of his who played basketball overseas needed help with a contract-that was the moment in time where Chris Patrick saw his future in sports representation. While in law school Chris started his first agency, Court Vision XL, he was able to combine his love for basketball and the law. Chris went on to join Happy Walters and Relativity Sports, which at one time was the #3 agency in the U.S.

Chris Patrick is rather educated for a career in sports representation. Chris, has a bachelors in political science, a law degree, belongs to the Association of Sports Lawyers, and a MBA in business. Therefore, that qualifies Chris to offer more services for his clients, rather than just negotiating contracts. Chris does trusts, business documents (purchase of a restaurant or real estate holdings), and estate paperwork for his clients. Although a law degree is not required, this allowed Chris to separate himself from the average sports agent. Chris’s education allows him to help his clients prepare for life after basketball by helping them to ensure that they have a revenue stream when they leave the hardwood. Chris is an NBPA certified agent who found his niche in the business by representing under the radar NBA players, such as Eric Moreland, Robert Covington, Dexter Pittman, among other players. As an agent he has an eye for talent. He is able to watch an athletes game and see how their skill set could translate to the NBA. Chris is currently a partner in The Sports Law Group, a D.C. based law firm that serves players, coaches, or schools.

My impression of a sports agent after talking to Chris Patrick is the business is not as glamourous as it is portrayed in movies like Jerry Maguire. Slogans like, “show me the money” are better left in the Hollywood studio. If you are interested in a career in sports representation build your clientele with honesty and integrity. Always work as hard as you can, build relationships, build your reputation one solid brick at a time, standout from the crowd, be willing to go to battle for your client, and always stay humble.

To end the interview, I had to ask Chris if working in the sports field has enabled him to meet his basketball idols. Chris said, “Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan was one of the first guys I met.” I also asked who he thought were the three greatest NBA players of all time, and not surprising he said, “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.” I like Chris, but “the king” would have made my top three. With Chris being a basketball guy, I had to ask about his kicks. I asked what side of the off-court shoe rivalry he landed on: Nike or Under Armour (Lebron or Curry). Chris’ answer was neither. He’s an Adidas guy. Well, Chris I got you covered I own enough Nike for the both of us.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

NCAA Throws Shade on NFL

posted Nov 14, 2017, 2:10 PM by Ryan Allison

            Is the NFL empire losing it’s fanbase to the National College Athletic Association (NCAA)? Well that depends on who you are asking. Some would say the NFL is the King Kong of the sports world, but then I say they haven’t spent time on a college campus on game day, enjoyed the Pac 10 “after dark” where a jackrabbit took the field and scored a touchdown, celebrated a 45-point upset, watched a kicker re-kick his own blocked kick, or sat sunned when a game was won with a walk off fake punt and this was just the beginning of the 2017 season. For me the work is done on Saturdays and Sundays are truly a day of rest.

            For those of us who live and breathe college football it is comparable to a Hometown Buffet. Full of entrées for everyone. On any given Saturday you can flip through the channels and find a dozen different games with a dozen different offenses-triple options and spreads. College football boast more than two conferences and advice from a college super fan: root for a bunch of teams. Pick one team from each conference. Follow high profile college athletes or the team with the most draft prospects, and the NFL draft takes on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, on a Sunday Amari Cooper and the Raiders versus Deshaun Watson and the Texans becomes: Alabama versus Clemson.

            College football is full of pre-game traditions. For example, the nation’s number one tailgating happens at The Grove for a home football game in Oxford for Ole Miss, where “hotty toddy” becomes a way to greet fellow Rebel fans, Tailgating on Lake Washington for the Huskies, boat slips at Baylor, the dancing trees at The Farm at Stanford, the midnight yell the night before every home game at the Texas A&M home of the 12th man, the Purdue drum, tapping the sign at Notre Dame, Nittany Lions pre-game parade, W0000, Pig, Sooie, Arkansas: the calling of the hogs, Mike the tiger at LSU, riding the Schooner at Oklahoma, and no pre-game list would be complete without mentioning the Auburn War Eagle. Pre-game shenanigans are just the beginning of four quarters of traditions, such as: the Seminole war chant, the Alabama rally cry of “roll tide”, the Ohio State Marching Band (if you have never seen them form the traditional “Script Ohio” I encourage you to Google it), college fight songs that bond and fire up the crowd, and the Tennessee Volunteers trash can tradition. One of the best college gameday victory traditions is Toomers Corner where Auburn fans bring rolls of toilet paper and roll the trees after a Tiger victory. College fans tailgate in the same spots, sing the same songs, remember the words to alma maters, and recite chants that are decades old because, well fans have done it for as long as anyone can remember-that is what college football tradition is all about.

            Unlike the NFL you do not have to wait for the playoffs for all the excitement. In the NCAA every game counts. One loss or a win that causes an upset can cost a team a spot in the National Championship. For this reason, college ball is exciting. Anything can happen. Anyone remember sitting stunned when Auburn returned a missed field goal by Alabama to win the game? Or when Utah WR goes 78 yards to the end zone but celebrates early, drops the ball on the one and Oregon takes it all the way back for a touchdown?

            Finally, is there anyone who really sits on the edge of their seat to see who is going to take the NFL MVP? But, the Heisman journey-that creates intrigue and debate all season long. The Heisman in my opinion is (besides the Stanley Cup) the most revered trophy in all of North America.

            If you have not been to see a college game in person I highly recommend it. I have been fortunate to have seen more than a few games. I have been to the famed Autzen Stadium-home of the Oregon Ducks. I have been to The Farm, and I have been to Cal Berkeley to see Ole Miss play for the first time on the West Coast in the school’s 169-year history. I have to say there is nothing like the goose-bumps you get when you walk into a college stadium on game day and hear the marching band or the roar of the crowd when fourth and crazy happens. There is an excitement in college football that has to be seen and felt in person. Go see a college football game you will not regret it! It’s just my opinion.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

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