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Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

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Old 09-06-2011, 11:43 AM   #1
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Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

Have you ever bumped into any famous sports figures?
I have four I could talk about, two are football related which I will now regale you with (sarcasm intended)

This encounter I am fairly certain of but cannot confirm for sure but I'm pretty sure I bumped into Jack Kent Cooke one day in Lake Placid, New York.
I'm not sure of the year, would have been in the mid to late 1980's.
My two sons and I were walking thru downtown Lake Placid (a fairly small burg). I happened to be wearing a Redskins jersey that day and as we strolled along we approached this couple coming from the other way. As we neared the couple I thought the older guy looked familiar.
As we walked by he looked at me and said “That’s a mighty fine jersey you have there young man”.
I was startled a bit and said thank you. As we continued walking it kind of dawned on me and I looked at my sons and said “Do you know who that was?”
That was Jack Kent Cooke, the owner of the Washington Redskins.
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The first week of August 2005 I was in New Orleans with my wife visiting my sister in law who had moved out there that year and lived near the airport.
(ironically a few weeks before Katrina hit)
We were doing the basic tourist stuff there and one afternoon before heading to Bourbon Street we stopped at the Zea Rotisserie and Grill for a drink.
We sat at the bar and while my wife and SIL were chatting I was watching the TV above the bar but they did not have the sound on.
ESPN was on and was showing a picture of Antonio Gates who at the time was in the midst of a much ballyhooed holdout.
There was a guy standing next to me having a beer who was also intent on watching the TV.
I had no idea who he was so I casually said “Is Gates still holding out?”
He replied “Yea, I told him that he should”
A bit shocked, I looked the guy over for a second and noticed that he was wearing a super bowl ring.
I didn’t know who he was so I asked him if he played ball with Antonio Gates.
He smiled and shook my hand and said his name was Dwight Smith and he was a New Orleans Saint.
(turns out Dwight Smith had quite a day during Super Bowl XXXVI when he was a Buccaneer)
Apparently he and Gates were close friends and had attended high school together.
He was a very nice guy….I kind of spazzed out and didn’t get his autograph.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:46 AM   #2
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I met Jim Palmer when I was a kid...biggest name I've seen in person.

Cool story if that was really Jack.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I was once at Criswell's Chevrolet in Gaithersburg servicing my car. When me and my buddy saw a new Lamborghini but the weird part about it was that it was dirty, like it had been really driven not pampered. Rarely do you see one with any dirt on it.

So we went over to investigate it and we were hunched over the front wheels looking at the rims or something when a voice said excuse me I need to get in my car. Turn around and it is Michael Westbrook. We moved out of the way he got in and drove off not another word. Funny part of the story is I had on his jersey, he had said nothing about it.

I have meet Darrel Green few times as well, was better off not though. I felt like a kid who found out Santa Claus is not real after learning green's true personality.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

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Originally Posted by mredskins View Post
I was once at Criswell's Chevrolet in Gaithersburg servicing my car. When me and my buddy saw a new Lamborghini but the weird part about it was that it was dirty, like it had been really driven not pampered. Rarely do you see one with any dirt on it.

So we went over to investigate it and we were hunched over the front wheels looking at the rims or something when a voice said excuse me I need to get in my car. Turn around and it is Michael Westbrook. We moved out of the way he got in and drove off not another word. Funny part of the story is I had on his jersey, he had said nothing about it.

I have meet Darrel Green few times as well, was better off not though. I felt like a kid who found out Santa Claus is not real after learning green's true personality.
Damn, thats pretty sh*tty. And whats up with this Darrel Green stuff, is he really such an a$$hole?
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:45 PM   #5
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I was sure that this was a thread about Smoot and his pass throwing days!
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I worked my summers at the race track in Saratoga when I was in college. Bumped into George Steinbrenner one day. Also saw Jimmy Boeheim there too. Anyone remember Jimmy "The Greek"? He was a big regular at the track. Parcells is there a lot too, but I never saw him in person.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:47 PM   #7
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I met Patrick Ewing in the potomac village when i was in highschool, saw him returning a movie he rented. said something to him dont really remember, he was nice enough.

met hakeem olajuwon (sp) also in the village in HS. i was using the pay phone right near a door., a real short african guy opened it took a couple steps in then was followed by the tallest dude i have ever seen. he had to duck way down to get through the door. the short guy asked where he could buy some beer and i told him right next door.

at the gas station in the village about 10 years ago i was getting gas, noticed this guy had these nice socks on with the NBA logo (i could only see his legs), looked over and saw it was george mureuson (sp). he was driving an older small suv.

im pretty sure i saw chris samuels a few days after he was drafted. in the giant in the village late night (ner dan snyders house), this huge guy was walking around with some very nicely dressed ladies.

saw shawn merriman in the SD airport around thanksgiving time (flying to DC). they werent letting him on b/c he didnt have a ticket. he had this 40 year old lady who was def an escort type walking with him and some buddies. eventually another jet blue employee came over and told the guy who wouldnt let him on who he was. saw merriman sitting i think in a middle seat.

boarded a plane from SD to DC with a stop in AZ. walked through first class and saw bobby mitchell. during the flight i asked an attendant if she could get his autograph for me, i had to take several mins to explain who he was and what he looked like. needless to say the packed plane of people around me were listening intenly. a few mins later she comes back and says that he wasnt bobby mitchell but dennis green. i literally sunk into my chair in embarrassment.

meet every caps player from the mid 80s to mid 90s. meet moses malone and alot of bullets players back in the day aswell.

pretty sure i meet mike tyson a few times, cant really remember where or when though. def remember meeting 2 of his super expensive mercedes though.

meet payne stewart at the kemper open years ago when i was 12 or so. i was inside a private area of the club house (we were members at avenel) in an empty hallway that leads to the locker room. i was getting players to sign a program and they were al nice. then walks in payne stewart with his old school golf leggings and stuff. i asked him ncely by name to sign the program. he took the program and pen while never stopping or looking down at me, signed the program as he contined walking away from me then dropped it on the floor. i imagine he probably had a bad round but hes never been known as a fan friendly guy either.

pretty sure i already told these stories . . . i know i had a few more chance encounters with other athletes . .

went to school with dhani jones from 5th grade to HS graduation. we used to hang out as kids playing basketball and tennis. he gave me my first porno debbie does dallas. found a picture of me, him and a few others from a bar mitzvah we were both wearing bow ties, he had a big eraser style hairdo. dhani was a standup guy, very high morals and character. on half days in HS we would be playing pick up ball, drinking and smoking and we would be running up and down this very steep hill behind cabin john middle school for hours. when he would get to the bottom id say "dhani you want to hit this?", hed smile continue up that hill, hed come back down id say "dhani you look thirsty take a swig of this 40" . .
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

Had a few beers with Russ Grim about 20 yrs back. I also went out one night with Harry Caray for a few too many drinks after a Cubs game.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:09 PM   #9
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

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Originally Posted by CRedskinsRule View Post
I was sure that this was a thread about Smoot and his pass throwing days!
Ha!

Have had many encounters of course.

here are a few from my pre-career days though...and not including the time I waited in line at the car dealership to get Heath Shuler's autograph since I was convinced he was the league's next great QB

Used to run into Patrick Ewing a lot down at Tower Records in DC

Got steamrolled by Shawn Springs in a high school scrimmage

Got dunked on by Exree Hipp in another high school scrimmage

Ran into Mike Tyson at a Pizzeria Uno

Got cut off by Riddick Bowe while driving...then returned the favor

Spoke to Chris Webber on a flight to Miami
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #10
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I was waiting for my bags at the Phoenix airport next to Wes Unseld about ten years ago. I also ran into Riggo at BWI in '08 and got a picture with him. Through the in-laws of one of my brothers, I got into the A-list section of the Ky Derby last year and met Aaron Rogers, Arnold Palmer, and, last but not least, Kevin Willis. Also in '08, all of my brothers, and a few of our friends, decided to spend a weekend in Cooperstown. That was the year Goose got inducted. We were all at one of the two (or maybe three) "downtown" bars that Saturday night, and Goose walked in (he was in town for a walk-through for his ceremony). He hung out with us for awhile. Also, way back in '91-'92, I was living in San Antonio, which was the year Tark coached the team. He was walking down the River Walk when I saw him, and I shook his hand. Within a few minutes, he started getting recognized and essentially became Elvis (there was a whole lotta excitement about his hire down there when it happened, before he was run out of town at the end of the year). Also saw Derrick Coleman in an airport last year--wanted to tell him how sad I am for how miserable his life has become.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:15 PM   #11
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

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Had a few beers with Russ Grim about 20 yrs back. I also went out one night with Harry Caray for a few too many drinks after a Cubs game.
Very impressive, on both counts.
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

Other than encounters with Redskins at training camp practices where they were signing autographs I don't have any stories to tell. I met Charles Mann's sister at the car dealership I worked at as a salesman about 7 months ago. She was in there buying a car from another salesman and she saw the Skins jacket I wore to work, so she struck up a conversation with me while her salesmen was busy. I then promptly got yelled at by my manager for breaking the first rule of selling cars, which is never talk to another salesmen's customer, even though all we talked about was the Redskins lol.
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:32 PM   #13
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

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Other than encounters with Redskins at training camp practices where they were signing autographs I don't have any stories to tell. I met Charles Mann's sister at the car dealership I worked at as a salesman about 7 months ago. She was in there buying a car from another salesman and she saw the Skins jacket I wore to work, so she struck up a conversation with me while her salesmen was busy. I then promptly got yelled at by my manager for breaking the first rule of selling cars, which is never talk to another salesmen's customer, even though all we talked about was the Redskins lol.
You were building rapport with her which is her salemen's job not yours.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:01 PM   #14
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I know I've told the story here before so I won't completely rehash it, but I bought Champ Bailey a Big Bite at the 7-11 in Hillandale after a Skins preseason game around 8 or 9 years ago.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:12 PM   #15
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Re: Chance encounters with prominent sports figures?

I've run across Charles Barkley in Philly no less than 5 different times. He loves outdoor dining. Fat ass mofo, but nice as can be if you say hello on the street. Go figure.
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