I lay here in bed in the wee small hours of the morning, beginning my last day as a 20something. It makes sense that I reminisce, looking back on all of the things that have made my life what it is for my first three decades in this world.
So many things come to mind unbidden, many of these things make perfect sense. I loved pop culture early, so as far back as my memory goes I can think of all sorts of awesomeness, and plenty of embarrassment as well.
The first icon I idolized: Michael Jackson.The first record I owned: “Born in the USA” (I also owned “Bad” and Lionel Ritchie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling”). The first tape I owned: Bon Jovi’s New Jersey. The first concert anyone ever took me to: Rod Stewart. The first baseball game I ever attended: Yankee Stadium, Yankees vs. Royals, Mattingly homered. Favorite childhood pajamas: glow in the dark Superman symbol. The first CD I ever bought, BLACKstreet, by Blackstreet. I remember when my favorite bands were A Tribe Called Quest, Boyz II Men and Shai. My brother Matthew and I used to watch Newsies and Bedknobs and Broomsticks every weekend. Also, as much as I hate Michael Bay in my old age, I’ve actually seen Bad Boys and The Rock over a dozen times each (“What’dya say we cut the chitchat, A-Hole?!?”). There was a time when my favorite television shows were The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Simpsons, and Martin (yup, that’s right, Martin)[this also explains why I was so excited when Bad Boys came along]. I remember the summer that Jurassic Park and Robin Hood: Men in Tights came out, easily solidifying my belief that the movie theater was the greatest place in the universe, where very special things can happen.
I remember imagining I was turning into a superhero as I pulled up my underoos, just like in the commercial. I remember Thundercats, Gummy Bears, DuckTales, and later on, Animaniacs. I also remember making sure my grandma called me in from the basketball court at 4:30 every afternoon so I never missed Batman: The Animated Series. I remember the awe of Captain EO at Disney World. The earliest movies I remember seeing in the theater are Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Little Mermaid, Look Who’s Talking, and Oliver & Co. I remember seeing Sharon, Lois, and Bram do The Elephant Show live. I also remember wishing Bram was my dad. That was a cool live experience, but not as cool as when I got to go see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour.
Growing up, my dad didn’t like sports, and my mom only liked baseball and football. Basketball was a complete mystery to me, but it was something I thought seemed pretty awesome from a distance. One night, with a Sonics/Rockets game on TNT, I decided I would teach myself the rules of basketball by watching it on television. I found what would become my first great sports love. Eventually I would settle into a long, initially happy though obsessive, eventually miserable marriage with the New York Knickerbockers. However, before the Knicks, there were the Charlotte Hornets. My God how I fell in love with the Charlotte Hornets. They were young and cool. They had awesome teal and purple uniforms. They had a crazy dunking mascot guy.
He would go on to join the Miami Heat, bitter rivals of my beloved New York Knicks. In a brawl between the two teams, (a fight started between Zo and former Hornets teammate Larry Johnson) Jeff Van Gundy would literally be dragged around on the floor while holding onto Zo’s leg. Good times. Here’s low quality video of the event:
Speaking of which, they had former UNLV star (the last time UNLV was remotely relevant) Larry “Grandmama” Johnson. The one and only reason I started wearing Converse shoes.
He would also be a part of one of my five favorite Knicks moments ever.
Oh, Charlotte Hornets. I’ve since moved onto a tumultuous relationship with the Knicks, and you’ve since moved on from Charlotte, but I will always cherish the memories. If you’re interested, we’re looking for a team to move to Seattle with the Sonics gone, so if you’re interested in a name change, it’s a great city to play in. Look me up when you get here.