January 19, 2008

Foots Walker and the Mystery of Discovery

I'm fairly confident I have a firm grasp on the way the world works. Let me rephrase that. I was fairly confident. Now I'm not so sure. I found this 1981-82 card of Foots Walker today at the White Plains show in White Plains, New York, and it's existence, well really the existence of Foots Walker himself, has thrown my understanding of the world under the bus.

I get it that basketball players of the Seventies and early Eighties had crazy nicknames. Many players were naked without them. I'm thinking of Nate 'Tiny' Archibald, Earl 'Slick' Watts, Lloyd 'World B.' Free. And now Clarence 'Foots' Walker.

But what I don't get is: why 'Foots'? Shouldn't it be 'Feet'?

Or is it a sociopolitical reference that I'm not reading?

Needless to say, my view of the world has changed now that I know Foots was on the scene this whole time.

Unfrozen Caveman Basketball Player

I bought a lot of mid-Seventies basketball cards at the show. And while nearly every African-American player sported Artis Gilmore-mutton chops and Afro, most of the white players were shaggy, but rarely was there any facial hair besides the odd mustache. Which brings up Mike Newlin. Stare into his eyes, if just for a few seconds–they're surprisingly similar to those of Steve Guttenberg. It begs the question: Before Police Academy, before Cocoon, and before Diner, was Steve Guttenberg an unfrozen caveman baller playing under the assumed name 'Mike Newlin'?

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