I'm lucky, that's for sure. I've met a fair share of athletes and incredibly talented journalists as of late - and I've been able to learn about their stories and hear about their goals and learn more about what made them pursue a life in sports or sports journalism. There are amazing people like Charles Davis, who is an incredible talent and broadcaster and a personal mentor for me. I'm also lucky enough to say that the one and only Laura Okmin, has taken an active interest in me (and my career) and believes in me enough to continue to coach me on how to talk to athletes, how to learn their stories, and how to understand their love of sports and report it in a way that does them justice. There's also guys like my friend LaMar Campbell, who are working to achieve their own dreams outside of the gridiron who are pursuing their own dreams who inspire me.
Danielle & Carlos Boozer - Dukies Unite!
Then, there's the alternative, which is meeting an athlete in passing or with random circumstances, like last night, when I was lucky enough to briefly meet Duke alum and Chicago Bulls power forward, Carlos Boozer. What a nice guy...seriously. I went to the Hawks v. Bulls game last night as a guest of my friend Danielle (who, as I've mentioned previously, is a die-hard Dukie). The Duke alumni club here in Atlanta had set up a meet-and-greet after the game, which she also kindly took me to. It was so interesting hearing him talk to these alumni about the campus, reminiscing about his time at Duke, on the team, and the campus. He talked about the team's future and made it clear he's a Dukie forever. I could see these alumni light up as he talked to them - such a special thing to witness. Now, of course, there was a drawing to win a Boozer jersey, and who wins? The non-Dukie, naturally. So looks like I'm getting a signed jersey...that's going straight to Danielle - it means far more to her. The point of this, though, is that it's always so great to see an athlete who has achieved great success be so willing to talk to those who helped propel him to that position. Fans and supporters are such a huge part of sports, and it's great to see that Boozer recognized that. He's one of the good ones, and it's always so great to see.