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Take note NBA: Eugene is the 'hair apparent'

By Jensen Karp
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 11, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Jensen Karp

Attention NBA team owners: It is time to look no further. A foolproof solution to your problems of an uninterested viewing public and the negative aura surrounding the sport of professional basketball has been found.

You can attempt to spend millions of your allotted funds on Team Spirit Days, pushing angry primadonna brats into autograph sessions and photo opportunities with actual adolescent brats.

You can attempt to distribute ridiculous amounts of dollars to reestablish a strong and positive advertising campaign, utilizing the services of Jack Nicholson or Spike Lee.

You can even slowly abolish and dwindle away your profits by offering discounted ticket prices, or even a night with free admission, to attract a decent crowd.

All of these suggestions, my fellow basketball entrepreneurs, are both costly and in effect I... okay, well it's just costly. And that truly is what matters to you guys, right? Well, a successful plan that keeps both your wallets and popularity in mind is upon us.

Gentlemen, when this season comes to a close and the draft approaches, surprise the nation and choose Arizona Wildcat junior forward Eugene Edgerson as your first pick.

That's right, pass on the obvious choices of college superstars and eventual spoiled pro egomaniacs from programs like Duke, North Carolina and Connecticut. Take a stand and select "Mean Gene" Edgerson.

We are living in a time when bad boy, and master of the choke hold, Latrell Spreewell gets a standing ovation in Madison Square Garden while the Knicks' team captain, Patrick Ewing, gets booed for acting as the players' representative during the labor strike. Ewing has dedicated his entire career to playing in New York, which is no easy task by any stretch, and receives a negative reaction on his home court. Edgerson can fix this.

"Gene" Edgerson can remind fans, as well as his fellow basketball peers, that this game involves heart.

He keeps alive the point our parents stressed to us when we were 10-year-olds in a park basketball league. "Gene" understands that having fun is the major goal on the hardwood.

He understands what fans want to see when they purchase an overpriced ticket to follow an NBA squad. Edgerson has proven that one can still be a true workhorse, while also being an entertainer.

Arizona students tune in to every televised game to keep tabs on his ABA-reminiscent afro, his elevated knee-high socks (with the blue bands) or those vintage 1970's basketball "hi-tops" that you think your father still owns.

Along with being an unquestionable retro-fan favorite, Eugene is a hard worker. He dives for every loose ball, scuffles for every possible rebound and plays each game with dignity, pride and courage.

Eugene Edgerson could restore the class that once came along with signing an NBA contract. "Gene" exemplifies the personality that each NBA team strives to have on their roster. Ignore his draft eligibility and you are ignoring the essence of basketball.

Do it for the kids, do it to save the soul of the sport or at least do it to hear the ominous chant of "Eu-Gene" ringing in your sold-out arena. His clean reputation may stick out in your crew of felons, ungrateful twits and money-hungry goons, but Eugene Edgerson may just be what your National Basketball Association needs for the fans to still love this game.

And at least you could always have a "Eugene afro wig" giveaway night...