Ballin’ Hall of Famer currently attending Cal

13-03-11 Ballin' Bears

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If you go to the RSF often to shoot some hoops, you know that you can end up playing pickup games with all kinds of people. Some of these people are the ones that you think you want to play – namely because they appear to be old, clumsy and long past the days where their body would react as quickly as their minds. To you, it’s an easy match and you could definitely show off that killer crossover you’ve been working on. But don’t be surprised if you get your ass beaten by one of these older guys – he could be Isiah Thomas. No, we’re not just giving him that title because compared to you and that he looks like one of the 50 greatest players of all time … he actually might be NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.

The legendary Detroit Pistons Bad Boy of the 80s – no ladies, not that kind of bad boy – might be that old guy who has silently been raining threes from the corner all day, a fact that you conveniently overlooked because you know, he’s over 50 years old! But he didn’t come to Cal to resuscitate his professional career – although by the Bears’ showing in the Stanford game, the team definitely wouldn’t mind a lift. No, he has been attending Cal to complete his Master’s Degree in the School of Education, fulfilling the true meaning of being a student athlete, although most people tend to partake in both activities concurrently. At the beginning of last semester he was 10 units away from his degree, and despite popular opinion he has not yet enrolled in the fictional course “Front Office Management in Professional Sports.”

So why are we mentioning him now — other than the off chance that he could somehow convince Allen Crabbe to stay for one more season? He spoke at Renaissance Night, an event hosted by the African American Studies Department, on Sunday along with some guy named Jason Kidd — who was actually pretty good when he attended Cal, considering that was before his baldness kicked in. Kidd, probably the best player to ever play in the blue and gold, was in attendance at the event in Memorial Stadium with fellow New York Knicks teammate Amar’e Stoudemire — who is best known for the apostrophe that sometimes magically appears in his name as well as his uninsured back that is worth $100 million — and Thomas.

So remember this the next time you stroll through Haas Pavilion and glance at the retired #5 jersey in the rafters: don’t be so quick to challenge those old guys – they know what they’re doing pretty darn well.

Contact Uday Mehta at [email protected] and on Twitter @mehtakid

Image source: Bradley Park (right) & spablab (left) under Creative Commons