Wood tells me this interview led to his jersey being retired in Seattle
Jazzy turnaround jumpers with Common like words that he would eventually sing to a beautiful Somali paradise bird. Fought the power fantastic in a case that many would deem futile and drastic. Celebrated with Black fists and bare feet on Olympic ringed Mexican soil that made most of the nation’s blood boil. Iverson, Magic, Bird, Flash and King James lives will never be the same without the fame that he gave as he courageously broke the historic NBA Supreme Court Case power chain. Scotty beamed and socialite dreams that seemed to crown Wood king to his Iman queen. Paranoid days that blurred into nights until the Father said son, get up and fight! Four daughters later says the good Lord was right. Heaven watchin’ Mississippi burnin’ reminiscent bare soles ironically took their toll on a devilish role and helped Wood reclaim his God fearing soul…
Yes, Spencer Haywood has reclaimed his soul. He wants the NBA to recognize him for what he has done for the league. He also wants the NBA players that benefited from him winning the hardship case to sign a shirt for all to see. This man is as passionate as the NBA game. I recently had the glorious honor of interviewing a true voice with a true spirit. I wish everyone could hear it.
*This interview was conducted a few years back while I was writing for the now defunct Blacksportsnetwork.com. In the last segment, Spencer criticizes Chris Webber for something he felt very strongly about at the time. I recently had a very good conversation with Wood and he seriously wants to make amends (for admirable reasons) with Chris ASAP–especially in light that Chris now plays for his beloved Pistons. The Seattle Supersonics recently retired his number 24 jersey in a well over due ceremony. Check out his blog on the Legends of Basketball site.
Michael Tillery: What are you doing with yourself these days?
Spencer Haywood: I’m in Las Vegas, I have the Haywood Group LLC construction company. Getting ready to do a lot of work in the hotel industry. We’re building high as well as low rise hotels and homes in the community. Training young people that have dropped out of high school that need to get their G.E.D. As well as skills in various trades. On the local CBS station here they’ve done a special on me regarding what I’ve done for the community. I’ve done some stuff for USA basketball and Jerry Colangelo, who got me out of Denver, from the ABA to the NBA. He was talking about what I’ve meant for the history of the league. My work is just kind of beginning. I’m seeing more clearly now than I ever have. This is a wonderful time for me—a very spiritual time. I’m away from my kids and my family, but I have to do what I have to do—God willing. Without Him, I would be reckless. I thank Him for seeing me through.
MT: Do you think today’s College and NBA player knows who Spencer Haywood is and your struggles to enter the league in the 70’s as the first hardship case?
Haywood: They have no idea. Jerry Colangelo was talking about that recently. Most players don’t know who I am—they just don’t know what kind of impact my case had on the league. It’s a shame that African American players—even if I speak to them about the Supreme Court case—look at me in disgust and perceive me as some kind of crazy man. Instead of thinking of me as the guy that essentially made them their millions, when they see me, they don’t have time for me. I just walk on, but it does hurt. It’s like being stabbed so many times in your heart. I just thought they would be ingratiated. One of the main guys who gives me love is Zo, Alonzo Mourning. He speaks up for me and tells his peers that if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have all these fancy suits, shoes and big cars. We need to check our history! I see a young flourishing league with young men from China, Yugoslavia, Turkey, France, by way from Africa—Tony Parker, Desagnia Diop. Even Manu Ginobli. I see all this amazing talent coming in the league via the Spencer Haywood rule, Early entry, however you want to name it, but it is what it is and it still is going to be what it is. It’s like Roe vs. Wade, Brown vs. the Board of Education. In this case it is Haywood vs. the NBA. That is what the Supreme Court rendered. That is the rule. So I see so many people who are benefiting. The league has grown from a tiny group of people to an amazing league that is watched intensely across this entire world. People were happy with the way the league was even though it wasn’t growing, there wasn’t a great amount of freedom or creativity. Coming from a jazz, gospel and spiritual background—where there’s a lot of improvising—I can truly appreciate where the league has gone. From Julius Erving to Michael Jordan, from Magic Johnson to Larry Bird, Kobe, LeBron and all the future kids, I see my work, they are my orchestra. They are playing all kinds of music for all kinds of folks some are scratching, some are rapping, but it’s all coming out sweet and mellow.
The original NBA Superman. Sorry Shaq and Dwight…
This is a special vibe. I have no anger, but my heart is marked up from all the hypothetical stab wounds. Also, as young as LeBron is, he is one of the fellas that knows who Spencer Haywood is. He and Carmelo know. When they see me they say bow down brothers. I’m amazed and they both usually say that “I know my history, I would be a fool not to.” Kobe was here with me last summer doing a Poker tournament and he said a couple of nice things. Kevin Garnett, when he won the MVP, said in his opening: “I would like to thank Spencer Haywood.” I almost fell over backwards in my chair! Some of these players know their history, but most don’t. I won’t say that it’s all negative, because you know yourself that when you are young, you go through some things and you don’t really care about history. It’s only when stuff starts happening to you individually do you mature and teach yourself some things through others failures. It’s all in God’s hands and the individual players hands. It’s also in guys like you who have the forum to write like you do to help educate readers on what is really going down. You are doing a great job. Most of these fellas are savvy—internet savvy—and read as much as they can. We can’t have the mainstream press dominating where the message is coming from 24/7. Sometimes I’m like what are these people talking about? I know I’m old, but I’m not that old. Stop printing all that bull and speak the real. I’ve been looking forward to this interview for some time, I’ve been busy so it’s taken awhile, but here we are. I hope this message gets out to people who have common sense to understand that there are truths, and there are untruths. The people at BSN (Black Sports Network) speak the real and I hope you continue to do so. I appreciate guys like you, so keep up the fight! Dealing with a lot of pain, I can’t even get any glory! A lot of people are saying let it go, but I have to be real.
MT: What are thoughts on today’s ballplayer and the overall the NBA game?
Haywood: I love the state of the game. I would like to see them trained a little bit more on the Rip Hamilton style of game—shooting the mid-range jumper and the curling in and out of the lane using the big men to get free type stuff. I’d like to see everyone play like Detroit, but of course that isn’t possible.
(Spencer laughs) Man! I feel so blessed to be the one to have challenged the league so all these young brothas can flourish. I love these guys! I love watching this stuff. I get so much enjoyment and I’m probably the biggest fan of these guys. They can’t find a better fan than me! I’m worse than Bill Russell. These young bucks can play! You hear all this talk about them not playing an old school type of game. Man you can’t play the same stuff all the time. There needs to be new inventions and new creations. The style of play that some of these cats have is nothing nice! Basketball is music so it’s all part of the gene and that’s the beauty. So I love it! I love these players. I’m thoroughly impressed by them. I love the cleanliness. They make sure their appearance is unquestioned. They are doing a lot of great things. They are playing the game as hard as they can. Just look at what happened in the first round with Kobe and Steve Nash. Brother this is like an orgasm. (Spencer and I laugh hysterically) I almost get an orgasm every time I watch them play. The state of the league is just fine and the public at large needs to understand just that. These kids are good and they are young!
MT: What do you think of LeBron and his place in the history of the sport?
Haywood: I can speak about the present , but the futuristic potential is tremendous. Honestly, I like he and Kobe the same. I still give the edge to Kobe because of his way he goes for the jugular on every single play, especially when he’s in the open floor. He’s also more defensive minded. He kind of let me down in the series against Phoenix. I was crying for him, I sat in the bed crying for him. I could just relate because he’s been where I’ve been. In saying that I mean that he let someone else dictate how he played the game. Instead of playing in that natural flow of the game like he normally does, he started listening to people. They were saying—ridiculously, I might add—that “He can’t score fifty points—cause they’ll lose. He can’t score ten points—cause they’ll lose. He can’t do anything in between—cause they’ll lose. “I was like what? He was trying to satisfy too many masters. The only people you have to satisfy is God and yourself. So in the fourth quarter of game seven, I started to see what was going on, I felt so bad for him because it’s what I did. I allowed them to tell me—later on in my career–”Why don’t you do that and change this! You play center! You play forward! No play big forward!” As a result, I gave up my whole game. I was trying to please everyone. Trying to validate all who watched me. When you go off your trip and go on someone else’s trip that’s where you get yourself into some bad stuff. You can’t listen to all the negativity and conform because when they leave, what do you have? Nothing! I felt something beautiful with LeBron when he went up to Gilbert on those pivotal free throws and said that they are watching. He said, “If you miss these, you are gonna lose.” A lot of the media was talking about what he said and were saying that it was a bad thing. I thought to myself like wow! That’s some (expletive) that I would have done. (Spencer laughs.)
MT: That’s what cats do in the hood!
Haywood: Yes it is! That’s basketball. That’s just stuff that you know. You try to get into the head of the opposition anyway you can, especially with the game on the line. Gilbert probably thought to himself, “Whoa! Let me think about this.” The rest is history. I love this young guy LeBron. People were talking about LeBron way before I actually got a chance to see him. Being in Detroit, I got to see a lot of young talent like Magic. I’ve seen them all. LeBron is a very deep dude. He’s a lot like me in that regard. I was the youngest kid in the Olympics, the ABA and the NBA. LeBron is an old man in a young body. He’s nothing but old school basketball at it’s best. It’s like jazz and hip hop. When Coltrane and Miles were hitting, they were hitting right! Same thing with The Roots. I love the Roots! When they are on stage all jazzy hip hop like, I can’t do anything but close my eyes and nod my head. LeBron is the same way, but don’t close your eyes, because you will miss something special. Look at how he splits the defense. When you square your shoulders and split the defense with a powerful burst of speed, you got it! Aw man! He is nice! I also got to give a shout out to my Godson, Common. I played with his father Lonnie Lynn—who is six eight—early on. Common’s music is what it’s all about.
MT: Who would you most compare LeBron’s game to?
Haywood: He’s got his own game. A lot of people say Magic, Mike and all these other people. They are forgetting one person and that’s Elgin Baylor. Go look at his stuff. Look at Elgin Baylor and then it’ll become very clear. I look at his size, athleticism and I say, boy he ain’t nothing but Elgin Baylor reborn. You can see a lot of people in a lot of player’s games but they all have their own distinctions and that’s what makes the game love. It’s like when Miles was on top and Wynton Marsalis came along. They both are amazing, but they are preaching the same sermon and dancing to the same tune. The sky is the limit with LeBron. I just see him getting better and better.
MT: Since you successfully argued that the NBA violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the NBA wasn’t permitted to sanction you or Seattle. What were the ramifications both personally and professionally for you?
Haywood: It was always a constant battle. There were always evil spirits that were constantly out there trying to conquer my soul. My battle was always trying to stay unique—to keep my realness. To stay natural, Sometimes you get tired and let your guard down and you say to yourself I think I’m gonna fall over. Before you know it, you are on your back wondering how you got there. Then you are like Damn! I’m knocked out! That’s where the battle begins to regain your consciousness so you have the ability to keep on movin’. There were a lot of things going on that simply wasn’t right. It took me a while, but I endured. It’s like Peter Bunche singing reggae, (Spencer begins to sing) “ I gotta brush myself off ….all over again” I kept saying to myself that if I stay focused and leave it to God, it will surface and see me through. I had a terrible time in some respects, but as I grow older, I still have to maintain. I have to eat healthy, get my proper rest and most of importantly keep God first. It’s all written, we need to keep our heads as people, grow stronger, and study our history so that we can thrive without all the foolishness that is going on with our people today. These kids need to listen to their fathers. The fathers need to somehow make these kids understand that what they say is law. These kids today, with all this disrespectful talking back bull crap are crazy. Some of the things that are going on today would never happen in my time. Mr. or Mrs. so and so would whup my ass if I needed it. Then when I got home, the real ass whuppin’ came. I had to be a good kid. I had to study. I go way back. Studying the early civilizations—like the Kush. I learned all of that from Dr. Ben Chavis and John Henrik Clarke.
MT: Mr. Clarke was my man. He was an amazing historian and thinker.
Haywood: I use to study under these brothas. I’m not mad about my history being distorted. Look at our history and even the world’s history. There are so many versions of his-tory or her-story. That’s again where writers like you and some of the other writers come in Mike, we have got to make sure that what is written, really happened. We owe that to the future leaders of our civilization.
MT: A lot of people don’t like to talk about Brother John Henrik now.
Haywood: You get my point.
MT: Can you put into the words the challenges of going up against the NBA establishment?
Haywood: I took on the NCAA, ABA and the NBA. People were hitting me in my stomach, hitting me in my face, sucker punching me when I was going through this whole court case. Throwing bottles at me when I would walk on the floor during games. They would be like: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an illegal player on the floor and he must be escorted off!” Because the NBA got an injunction. All kinds of things would happen. They put me out in the snow with just my uniform. Come on Black man! We need to know this! I’m not discrediting Jackie Robinson or anyone, but I know what I went through! Kobe recently said that he’s changing his number to 24. My number was 24. Say it publicly that I’m wearing number 24 because of Spencer Haywood. That would be a grand gesture on Kobe’s part. He would definitely get mad props from me. He says it’s because it was his high school number and that’s definitely cool.
Because the NBA is still a predominantly Black league, the brothas need to understand our history. Don’t go to baseball and just celebrate what Jackie Robinson went through without knowing the total history of basketball and other sports. I’m the guy here! Get to know me, research me. I went through some (expletive)! It was very difficult to go through, but I used to just think about my mother and my brothers and sisters picking cotton down in the Delta, in Mississippi all day in the hot ass sun for two dollars a day! From sun up to sun down. So all the people–including myself for the fifteen years–picked cotton. My mother, her mother, her grandmother and so on. I had to pick through trash to find shoes so I would have shoes for the school year. I would put cardboard and other stuff in them to doctor them up so they would last. And you talk about me facing the league! My upbringing was hard enough. I was fighting for everyone before me and everyone after me.
MT: Did your peers support your aspirations to enter into the NBA?
Haywood: I had minimal support. Guys like Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell and Bill Walton supported me. I love Bill Walton we go way back and he was there for me, so yeah those kind of people—but not the union as a whole. No one was out in the open with me; it was just me on the island alone.
MT: Give us the real experience on playing professional basketball in the 70’s and 80’s?
Haywood: We were young and naïve. The game wasn’t as developed from a marketing perspective as it is today. We used to all sit around and laugh at the fact that we were getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to play a game. We used to say: “Why are they paying us for this (expletive) man. This is the coolest thing ever to get paid for something like this that you truly love. I bring up LeBron again, I was truly grateful when Damon Jones hit that game winner and they all piled up on each other. That’s love! LeBron is doing everything that he feels is right and it’s natural. That’s how we were. The Cavs would have done that if they didn’t get endorsements, if the cameras weren’t there or if they weren’t paid the large salaries they receive. Everyone who has ever been in that situation on the court knows that that’s one of the greatest feelings as an athlete. That was nothing but pure basketball love! That’s how we played the game. We talked trash with one another, but everything was everything off the court. Of course you had your rivalries, but that didn’t affect your personal life off the court. Basketball was played with strictly love in the heart and soul those days. With everything that was going on off the court, when I was on the court, I was at peace. This is a sweet game to love. I like football, I play golf, tennis but nothing affects me like playing some hoops. Baseball players tell me they wish they played ball, football players, tennis players, brothas in hip hop, jazz, actors, other musicians—they all wanna hoop. It’s a natural thing. The game is so fluid, graceful and powerful. It’s always going to be a part of my soul.
MT: You got caught up in the drug game. When did cocaine become a part of your life and why?
Haywood: That was a time in my life where I became lost in my spirit. At that time, I was married to Iman. We lived a superfast lifestyle. Everything was flying around us. People were saying that cocaine was a chic thing, the in thing. You think to yourself that you know it’s wrong. I definitely knew it was wrong. If I didn’t, then why was I peeking through the keyhole? Why was I peeking through the blinds? Why was I peeking and looking through the light bulb? I was paranoid out of my head! Every single time I did it! I knew it was wrong. I knew it was demonic and devilish. I knew it was ungodly. I had put my shield down with God. So when you put your shield down—hey man we are a proud people, but all we have is our love for the spirit that pervades our wanting souls. When we drop that, anything can come in and conquer you. So I’m glad it was just cocaine, it could have been a whole lot of other (expletive)! Not that cocaine wasn’t truly devastating to me, my career, my family—everything else, but damn. It had nothing to do with God. It was about me then. I had pushed God to the side and said, “Hey look, I need to be in charge!” I had the fine model wife; I had the cars, the social status and everything that comes with all of that. Along the way, I almost lost my way man.
MT: How did you find your way back?
Haywood: I went back to simple. When I went through recovery, I left New York. I said I gotta go home to Mississippi and sit on the banks of the Yazoo River. I used to remember sitting at this same garbage dump getting the shoes that I alluded to before. I had to clean my mind and start all over again. Man oh man, it was so hard to even think about what I had done. So, like I said, I had to get back to the basics. I had to find my way back to the church. Growing up, I was in church from day one. I felt at peace there. My mother had me there from sun up to sun down on Sundays. I had to get my mental strength back. The Lord is what got me back. Black people know this: He may not come when you want Him to, but he’s always on time. I was sleeping and dancing with the devil riding in the clouds, thinking foolishly how wonderful the journey was. Man, I was riding with the devil!
MT: Do you have an amicable relationship with supermodel and ex wife Iman?
Haywood: Yeah we’ve always been on good terms. Sometimes the media is funny. I don’t know where the rumor of her and I not getting along started, but it’s never been the case. We have a twenty-seven year old daughter! We better be on speaking terms! (Spencer chuckles) I brought her from Africa. Her sisters, I got everybody from Somalia. They come from the same dirt road like I came from. People have got tossed up into thinking: “She’s a supermodel, she’s this, she’s that!” Hey! We came from the same river bank, the same dry community. Extreme poverty, but there was no shortage of love. It was the same thing as growing up in Mississippi. We had the cotton fields, they had whatever they were cultivating in Somalia. There was almost no difference. It still is not that different. When it comes down to it, Iman can be flying high and all I have to say are a few words: “Hey babe, remember when?” She would then say: “Oh Wood! Don’t mention that anymore and smile” If we were talking on the phone she would say “Don’t talk like that, here’s ya daughter, talk to ya daughter.” You tryin’ to make me go back home. We would just laugh. As long as we have that understanding, we will always be cool. There isn’t room for animosity when you have children. All these parents out here at each other’s throats constantly, don’t understand that they are affecting their kids in a seriously detrimental way. Iman was my best friend. You just don’t go out and forget about your best friend. Every woman I have ever been with has been my best friend. Going back to the very first lady I was with when I was going through it at age nineteen, Madonna Love. Madonna Love and I are still tight. Of course, I still talk to Iman, we are still tight. Because I was raised by my Mother. I have four daughters! I don’t have sons. My mom once told me this old African proverb: “In order to pay me back for the burden of carrying you in my stomach for nine months, and going through the pain of labor. You are going to have to put me on your back and walk to the end of the earth and then come back to the same spot in Mississippi to repay the debt. Women go through it. For men to understand the pain associated with them going through labor, it would be like someone grabbing your groin and putting it on a table and hammering it repeatedly. Now that’s some pain!
MT: Whoa! The thought of that has me grabbing my pants!
Haywood: So the moral to all that is to tell our men to not hate the women who are the reason why we are here. We all have our faults and our insecurities. That doesn’t mean that we as men push our plight onto their already burdened shoulders. We can’t be angry with them because they aren’t our wives or girlfriends. That’s just life! Deal with it brothas! Pick yourself up and move on! If we hate women, then we hate ourselves and there’s simply no place for that. That African proverb is not a lot different than one that Iman heard when she was in Somalia. Wherever we have common ingredients—a lot of it is color—we have the same roots.
Most people don’t realize that when Iman was at the height of her modeling career, I took care of our daughter. I was basically a single parent. I raised my daughter before I married my wife. It’s not that Iman was a bad mother, because she’s a great one, it’s just that she had to do what she had to do to get where she is. She now runs and operates Iman Inc., which has become a very successful business. She and I always understood that whatever we had to do that was right for the child, we would do that. My daughter came to me when she was twelve. I raised her until she graduated from Michigan State, now she’s back in New York and works with her mother at Iman Inc. So there is absolutely no animosity between Iman and me. I don’t for the life of me understand what the public is thinking. (Spencer laughs) Come on Mike! This is a work in progress. I just got a call yesterday from her brother, thanking me for sponsoring him in America. This stuff is so much deeper than all of that gossip bull(expletive). It’s Love and Basketball. I remember when Iman was in an automobile accident. I left the game because I didn’t have a choice. I had two of her sisters at the house, her brother and our young daughter. Some of them didn’t even speak the language! So I had to come home. Then people were saying that I walked away from basketball. No! I didn’t walk away from basketball. I understood what I was dealing with and the priorities that came with it. I had to take care of my family first and foremost. Iman was in critical condition. Who else was going to take care of my family as well as hers? Me! I had to do what I had to do. I had to give up my first love, and that was always basketball.
MT: You have been quoted as saying “I want it while I am living” what do you want from the league, your peers and today’s generation of ballplayers?
Haywood: I am not holier than thou—let’s get that straight—but it would be nice if the league just recognized me for starting something that is truly why they thrive today. Like the late Curt Flood in baseball. His name is brought up all the time when you speak of free agency. It’s not just the leagues responsibility, because the past is the past, but if you attach my name to something I had to fight so frustratingly for, then I’ll feel a lot better about going through it. Don’t get me wrong there were a lot of good elements about the league and are still in place today. I love the NBA and will do so forever, I just want a little credit so when these kids come into the league, and they’ll already know my name. My future legacy will be forever immortalized. That just uplifts the spirits of all of my kin that came before and after me. It’s just about principle.
MT: Do you think today’s Black athletes have or need the conviction and courage of yourself, Jim Brown, Arthur Ashe, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul Jabbar?
Haywood: No. No I don’t think so, but we are at a different time. Back then, it was not about the game, it was about the battle–going through the Civil Rights Movement. Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks we can even go back to ancient times with Hannibal and Imhotep. These people were not worried about riches. They were more worried about making it better for the next man regardless of personal sacrifices. That’s almost gone now. Brothas knew back then that there were going to be some things that were not considered popular, but we knew our responsibility, not only to ourselves, but to the next generation. I don’t even expect these players to think like that. It’s now all about me and mine and me and my profit line. I truly feel that with all the money that all these Black athletes are making that we could get a more firm foothold on the power structure of sports and entertainment. It’s a different time. These brothas don’t think like that. I understand, but then again I don’t. Blacks have kind of lost their way regarding our natural history, instincts and natural thought pattern. We should be here to help one another.
Everybody has had things that have happened to them that has shaped our collective society. It also used to be about poor people. It doesn’t have to be about Black and White. Look at the various inner cities of America. Look at Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Little Rock, go down to Jackson, Mississippi. Brotha. You’ll see what you see. We can do much better than this. We are supposed to do better than this. Some of us have all this richness so we are supposed to do something with it. It ain’t gonna do no good if we just buy fancy cars, MTV cribs and alligator shoes. All that stuff is temporary and it definitely isn’t going to help our hungry children. There’s just a different breed nowadays. They don’t know about the sacrifices, they capitalize off of them. We had to do it like that back then. No one died when I made my sacrifices—I was close to it—but, I didn’t die. Many people throughout our history died over ideas. The same ideas that help us walk with both feet on the ground today. That’s what life is about.
MT: Have you followed the Barry Bonds situation and give us your take on the situation?
Haywood: I have followed that situation very closely. I look at what Bonds and what he’s going through. I say to myself keep on fighting Black man! He plays a different sport but it’s all the same ole (expletive) to me. I pray for Barry every single day. It’s like the movie Baseball in Black and White. You ever see the movie?
MT: Yes, it shed some light on a lot of baseball history that I was unaware of—great film.
Haywood: Well there you go! Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson, they couldn’t get into Major League baseball until 1947. What would have happened if they were allowed to play the game since it’s inception? Satchel didn’t pitch in major league baseball until he was in his forties? That’s crazy. It’s all hypothetical of course, but segregation eliminated a lot of the history of the game. I heard it all the time that Barry should not break Babe Ruth’s record. Hank Aaron is the name by the record!—not the Babe. There shouldn’t be all this uproar about Barry Bonds because the game was tainted long before him. There was rampant gambling and alcohol abuses that culminated in the Black Sox scandal of 1919. People speak like the history of the game is so pristine and outrageously angelic, I beg to differ. We live in America ! Just a few years ago we were slaves here. We were stolen, given away and captured just so we could become free labor. That was not even two hundred years ago—which is not a lot of time. We can’t expect people to change so quickly. Whites have their history that is passed down and so do we. You know what’s funny about the whole Bonds thing. The stadiums are still packed with baseball fans. That shows his impact on the game as well as society.
Spencer could go on for hours. Since my recorder is blinking red, it’s time to cut this short, albeit apprehensively. Spencer wanted to get some things off his chest concerning individuals he thought were not being righteous.
He begins to talk about Philadelphia 76er star, Chris Webber. Ironically, I’m wearing his blue number four from his Fab Five days. As enigmatic as Chris has been lately, he’s still my favorite athlete. I express to Spencer that I would hope the two of them could reconcile their relationship for the betterment of everyone involved. He coached Chris when he was young in an all star game played in Detroit. He is just being honest here:
Haywood: I’m disappointed in Chris. I’m calling it like it is! I sat there in that courtroom (Fab Five booster trial), and went through the hell and the torment or worrying about Chris, because I didn’t want him to go to jail for some bull(expletive)! My blood pressure was going crazy. I fought for him—and he spit on me! He’s never said hello, goodbye, thank you or nothing to me since that trial. When I see him, I will always wish him well. I will always pray for him. I wish him wisdom, knowledge and understanding. I wish him the best but I gotta be real here. I mentioned Bill Walton before. All I can do is judge how another human being treats me as an individual. I can only tell you the difference between Bill Walton and Chris Webber to me.
Spencer Haywood, thanks for the soul flow.