Friday, March 16, 2007

Extra: Guest blogger Ray Floriani

Ray Floriani, of Hoopville, sent along this missive:

"Last Friday, off to MSG to cover the Big East semis. There was an added ‘assignment’; a meeting with Patrick Ewing. I have been covering college basketball for three decades and naturally those epic Georgetown contests were included. As it turns out, in the mid-Eighties I was able to obtain a photo pass for my wife Karen who is an artist. Karen took some wonderful Ewing shots and had exhibited them in several shows. At one show at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, one observer remarked that he played with Georgetown a year (didn’t get his name) and loved the work.

On that Friday evening I set off with media bag and artists’ portfolio. Karen was giving Ewing two framed and signed shots while requesting he autograph a couple for her collection. Just after six, I spotted John Thompson a few rows behind the Hoya bench. He assured me Ewing would be there. The time got closer to tip off. No Ewing.

During the first half I noticed Ewing arrived and was front row on the baseline. With a minute to go I went to the press room, grabbed the portfolio and made my way to Ewing.

At the half I introduced myself and mentioned I covered some of his games back in the day (couldn’t hurt?). He declined to go back in the holding area possibly thinking it was another interview. I explained my intention: My wife is an artist. We are giving him two nicely framed copies with her signature. Could he sign hers personalized (to insure it’s not for resale).Thankfully it’s the half and I’m not getting much attention from bystanders. Ewing declines. I open the package and show him a shot of him battling Bill Wennington of St. John’s in the low post. He stops, smiles and says, “Man that was a young guy out there.”

Ewing asks for the marker (acid free to safeguard the photo) and autographs a nice detailed message to Karen. Could he sign the other two? He smiles and politely declines. I say thanks and pass along Karen’s message, that she always admired his ability, work ethic and expertise all those years at Georgetown and in the NBA.

I went to the holding area just behind the baseline. While repackaging everything I saw the Georgetown cheerleaders and proudly showed Karen’s work and related the story behind it. They were impressed but also added that they should have a group shot taken to also be exhibited. Hmmm, if it happens they’ll have to sign it as well."

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