Katz And Carter Come Full Circle
Wednesday - March 02, 2011
It was fitting that Anthony Carter and Yuval Katz entered the University of Hawaii Circle of Honor together. While playing different sports, coming from wildly different backgrounds, and going on very dissimilar post-college careers, the pair continues to share a cult of personality that has long outlasted their athletic achievements.
Anyone who had seen Carter play witnessed a man of incredible skill, equal humility and unfailing generosity. While the first brought fans by the thousands to Stan Sheriff Center, it is the latter upon which his legacy revolves. The Atlanta native, who was raised by his grandmother in a home with 13 children, took over games without being selfish. His career averages of 18.9 points and 6.9 assists attest to that. He also had a flair for the dramatic. Most point guards don’t finish with alley oop dunks, but the high-wire act was a Carter specialty, often begun by back court mate Alika Smith, with whom Carter created one of the most accomplished and popular duos in UH history.
Showing his talk was anything but cheap, Carter returned to the university in 2004 to donate $100,000 to begin the AC Carter Scholarship Fund, becoming one of the very few former student-athletes to truly express appreciation for the university that gave life to their dreams. Even after a decade-long NBA career, stories abound of his generosity to fans, especially if they happen to be visiting from Hawaii. To many, he remains the greatest basketball player to ever don the UH jersey.
Without the video, still images and the collective memories of thousands, the truth would seem too strange for fiction. A community so enamored with its volleyball team, fans camped out for tickets, and players had to be sneaked out of the arena in laundry carts. Yuval Katz was the comet in the universe of stars. His presence inspired awe. The outside hitter was the AVCA
Newcomer of the Year in 1995 and player of the year the very next season. In just two years, Katz scored 1,444 kills, a school record 7.81 kills per set, 100 service aces and .394 hitting percentage.
Fifteen years after he finished his UH career, it’s hard now to imagine the big Israeli’s impact. Had you been at the induction ceremony Feb. 24 at the Stan Sheriff Center, you would have gotten a feeling of what it was like. Katz was greeted with a standing ovation and the loudest response of the night - which is pretty impressive considering the home basketball team had just finished putting a first half whoopin’ on the visiting competition. His thick-accented English didn’t carry well in the arena but that hardly mattered. The king had returned after a 30-hour flight, wife and daughter in tow, and his subjects were there to one last time perhaps, witness the man who became legend. No one was likely more surprised by the out-pouring of support than mother and daughter who for the first time got to witness a small amount of the madness that was once a regular part of their husband and father’s life.
Cam Newton wants to be an entertainer and an icon. The statement to Sports Illustrated writer Peter King caused quite a stir, and the former Auburn signal caller has already backed off his statement. But to those upset over his “brash” statement, one must ask, What else would you want to hear? That he hopes to one day be mediocre? Or that he always aspired to build on the legacy of Joey Harrington? Let’s give some credit for confidence and the honesty that we all beg for but cringe when we hear it.
What modern athlete doesn’t want to be an icon? Who doesn’t want to be stalked by TMZ camera operators while wasting an entire day hoping for 15 minutes of background fame? Had he said he already was a star of the first magnitude or that he would make the world forget the names Brady and Manning, then a bit of psychological questioning may be in order. Until that happens, let him fantasize about cultural significance. Who does it hurt?
E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS Comments (0) |
Most Recent Comment(s):