By DaVince “Dino” Wright
Whenever the Big3 comes to town it’s like the Beatles, Michael Jackson or Prince is in concert! One might think that I’m exaggerating but when basketball meets the entertainment world you would get this sonic boom inside the arena. The Big3 will be in Dallas every weekend through August 7. I get excited to see all of my childhood basketball heroes from Dr. J to Clyde Drexler. There’s always one person that I look for when I make it to the arena. I look for George “the Iceman” Gervin! I got a chance to sit down with “the “Iceman” for a minute not just for a basketball interview but for wisdom and knowledge. I can remember my first encounter with Mr. Gervin about 17 years ago when I moved to San Antonio from Dallas. I was answering a teaching ad in the San Antonio newspaper for the George Gervin Academy. I can remember driving up to this huge school and there in the distance was a pile of wood, plastic tubing and materials stacked in the parking lot. My first thought was, “Is this school under construction?”
While making my way into the school, there were people standing with resumes out and chatter coming from a short lady with a big personality. I waited for what felt like 3 hours for an interview and in walks this 6 foot 8 older gentlemen with a t-shirt and khaki pants on. He took a stack of resumes and called my name first. The interview was casual, and he talked about how the school came to pass and what they do for at-risk kids. I asked about the materials in the parking lot and was curious about what was going on? He shared, “College isn’t for everyone. We are a trade school and if I can teach a kid HVAC, plumbing or cabinet making, then they can take care of themselves and their family without owing student loans or being in debt”. We talked about life, family and business. Needless to say, he gave me the job as the Dean of Students and for the year I spent at his school he taught me a lifetime of wisdom. The dopest thing is after all these years he remembers me.
Me: Mr. Gervin, Thanks for the interview! How many seasons have you coached the Ghost Ballers?
Iceman: “I’ve coached the team for 5 years and every year the team gets better! I love teaching young men basketball and life”.
Who is the impact player on your team this year?
“Hands down our captain Ricky Davis! Ricky is a player that commands respect. He brings positive energy every game, but his leadership skills are what’s needed in crunch time”.
What’s the difference between this team and past teams?
“Intensity! Big man Chris Johnson is back and is playing tough in the paint. Rebounding is key in these games, so having a big fella in the paint makes a huge difference around the basket”.
How has the game changed from when you played to now?
“The game is geared to protect players and add longevity to players careers”, he shared with a smile.
Your career is littered with accolades and awards. What would be your legacy, if you could guarantee it; that you would leave to the world?
“That I loved people and wanted to change lives through education and sports!”
I walked away from the interview like a ninja leaving the presence of his master. The conversation and history that we share has been nothing short of a blessing to me from then to now. Mr. Gervin is a huge cornerstone of NBA/ABA history and the City of San Antonio, Texas. His legacy is cemented in the lives of people that played against him, coached by him and attended his school. He is the blueprint of how to change lives through sports and education.