No matter where you live there is always some local legend of sports. When I was a kid/in high school, I once saw (fill in the blank) play, or when I was in little league/high school I played against (fill in blank). I grew up outside of St. Louis and I can tell you all the names that people in that would use those spaces on. However, as an adult, I moved to North Carolina and learned all sorts of new names.
When I first relocated to this state, I lived and worked in Durham. Wearing Missouri shirts around town I would hear funny stories about Quin Snyder. Seeing Quin Snyder at the Harris Teeter on University off of 15-501. If I happened to have a Cardinals shirt on I would have inevitably have someone tell me that there was once a Duke basketball player who played for the team and won a World Series (Dick Groat).
There was one other name that would come up all the time. A local kid, played high school basketball, starred in college, played in the NBA, and even moved back to Durham and worked for the city. The Durham Bull is his local nickname.
Rodney Rogers went to Hillside High School in Durham where he was on the All-State basketball team twice and was named to the McDonald's All-American game. Rogers played college basketball at Wake Forest and was the ACC Player of the Year in 1993. Wake retired his number 54 a short time after he left to play professionally.
Rodney Rogers played roughly a dozen years in the NBA. He was never an All-Star, never the star player on a team, but was always made a significant contribution to his teams. He won the 6th Man of The Year Award in 1999/2000. In all, Rogers averaged roughly 10 points and 5 rebounds a game over his career, but went as high as 15 points per game. He was a big guy, but a great athlete....
He moved back to Durham after his basketball career and blended into the city. One of my co-workers knew Rodney Rogers, would tell me stories about him, but would also end each story with, "The next time you see a city construction project, you got to stop and talk to him". Rodney worked as a heavy machine operator for the city of Durham. There was a McDonald's that was two blocks from our school, we went out for lunch the one day just to grab something. This is my Rodney Rogers story:
We walked into the restaurant, it was really busy. We ordered our food and then stood on the side of the registers waiting along with a lot of people. My co-worker was excited to see a really large man with a big coat, they hugged and talked about youth football for a few minutes. He introduced me, we shook hands, and they continued talking. Our food came, we went back to work.
That's my Rodney Rogers story.
Rodney liked being outdoors and did all sorts of different activities. In 2008, he was riding a dirt bike on a hiking trail, hit a ditch, and flipped over the handle bars of his bike. He was paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Rodney is still around Durham and pops up at different events around town, or the occasional basketball game. His daughter DD Rogers is one of the starting forwards for NC State's women's basketball team.
She's a good player, averaging almost 12 points a game for a team that is currently ranked in the Top 10, and is the only undefeated women's team left in college basketball.
Which brings me to the card part of my post. I usually do not dip into the world of basketball cards outside of the occasional NC State player. I think I also have posted an occasional Mizzou player from when I was a kid. It's really small. However, I did end up picking up a few Rodney Rogers cards long ago. I ran into them yesterday while I was working on my card closet. Thought it would be a good blog post.
Mind you, I do not know anything about basketball cards. I am going to start out with my favorite two cards, probably because they are both college basketball cards.
They're both cards from Classic, which was a mass produced basketball product in the early 1990s. Walking around card shows in Raleigh, these are really easy to find in the cheap single card bins at different booths. That is actually how I ended up with both of these cards.
This second cards makes me a little dizzy. I am not sure what the card designer was going for here, but I am not sure its a good look. I like the white border and the picture of Rogers dribbling the ball, but I would love to be able to see the player behind him. Who are they playing? Good cards tell a story, not sure what this one says.....
Nice draft card of Rogers. He started out in Denver, back when there were nice draft hats. I think I had a Dallas Mavericks hat like that back in high school. Tons of hats, only one NBA hat. The tie is really 1990s too. Clean design with the nine celebrating him as the ninth overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. The top overall pick that year was Chris Webber out of Michigan.
is an autograph of Rogers from him time with the Clippers. This is a late 1990s card, sort of the middle of his career, and probably maybe even say this was his prime. Unfortunately, this was the 1990s Clippers, which meant that they did not win very much while he was there.
Tomorrow I will go back to baseball, nice to take a day to share a local legend.