Sports memory No. 6: My notekeeping catches Jo Jo White off guard


Jo Jo White played for the Boston Celtics and was an assistant coach at the University of Kansas.
It can’t be said that Jo Jo White doesn’t take time for the media.
He granted an interview with a young sports writer who took notes on his forearm. (LJWorld.com)

1983, Muskogee, Okla.: I’m sitting at the press table at a Muskogee High School basketball game, a few minutes before tipoff. From courtside, I can smell the popcorn wafting from the concession stand that’s on the upper level of the gym. I look toward the concession stand and I notice a tall guy in a brown fashionable overcoat wandering about, trying to wade through a mob of men who had recognized him. Curious, I grab a pen and run upstairs. I catch up to him and notice the face, those deep-set eyes and high cheekbones that I’d seen many times leading the Boston Celtics come NBA Playoffs time. Whoa, it’s Jo Jo White. In his capacity as an assistant coach for the University of Kansas, White has just visited with Brian Rahilly, a Muskogee High basketball star, and was heading out. I holler: “Stop, Jo Jo!” He turns, and I run toward him, pulling out my pen. Then, I panic … no notepad, no paper, not even a popcorn bag wrapper. I ask whether I can interview him anyway. “Make it fast. I have to leave to catch a flight. Where’s your notepad?” No problem, I tell him. I roll up my sleeve and take notes on my left forearm (way before iPhones, of course). “I’ve never seen anyone do that,” Jo Jo tells me. We chat a few minutes and he appears amused that I’m writing on my arm while he talks. I stall him long enough for my photographer, Kent Johnson (now at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), to shoot him with a zoom lenses from courtside below. Kent then bolts upstairs only to find Jo Jo is gone. Nevertheless, Kent got a nice candid grainy photo. And I was able to transcribe my forearm.

No. 5: Close call in Cowboys locker room
No. 4: Meeting the ‘Killer’ face to face
No. 3: John McEnroe cusses up a storm
No. 2: Rex Caldwell doesn’t have to chili dip
No. 1: I get a good view of OU’s national championship

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