HOUSTON (TX) -- Recently I was in Houston for the WorkforceNEXT Spring Summit Petrochemical HR conference. At the end of the show, I grabbed a cab outside of the Hyatt Regency downtown to take me to George Bush International Airport, which is about a 45-minute ride if there isn’t any traffic. The cab driver looked in the rearview mirror and said that I looked like an NBA coach. I told him that more than one person has suggested that I resemble Brian Hill and that I had actually met Hill at a Pistons’ game. He said “Yeah, Brian Hill -- he was the guy that had the Orlando Magic up 3-1 in the NBA Finals vs. the Rockets and lost.”
You tell me if we look alike: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Hill_(basketball)
The driver then got a call on his cell phone and told the caller that he’s got a guy in his cab who looks like Brian Hill. He then proceeded to say that he played against Hill’s teams and a whole bunch of others. I pulled a Harry Chapin and ‘glanced at the license for his name’ but couldn’t discern it.
The driver asked if I was a basketball fan and I told him I grew up in Boston and I’m a Celtics guy. He replied “I played against coaches like Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Fitch, ML Carr, KC Jones…who am I forgetting?” Chris Ford I told him. “Man, you know your sports.” I finally asked him what his name is and he responded:
As in, the 13 years in the NBA, two-time All-Star John Drew.
This YouTube video will give you a sense of Drew’s game:
Drew claimed to have scored more points vs. Larry Bird than probably anyone else in the NBA. The intrawebs later confirmed that John did indeed score 47 in a tilt vs. Bird’s Celtics in 1980. As to how many of those he tallied face-to-face against Larry Legend is up for conjecture.
We talked about other Celtics players and he volunteered the name Henry Finkel. I informed him that Hank went to Dayton and so did I. He then brought up Johnny Davis and I told him that I interviewed JD a few years ago for UD Pride and he is a tremendous human being. Their respective Wiki pages inform us that JD and JD never played together in ATL, as Drew was traded to the Utah Jazz for Dominique Wilkins in 1982 and that same year Johnny came to ATL from the Pacers. John recalled that Johnny was an NBA Head Coach for two teams. I told him yes, Philly when they really sucked and Orlando. I then told him the story that Johnny had related to me about getting pimped by the GM in Orlando. The GM promised Davis that if the Magic made the playoffs his contract would be renewed. Late in the season Orlando was indeed in playoff position and in spite of that fact, the GM came to Johnny and told him they were going in another direction, coaching-wise. “Pat Williams lied to him?” Drew asked. In actuality, it was then-GM John Weisbrod who fired Davis.
Drew asked who else from Dayton made it to The League and I rattled off Jimmy Paxson, Negele Knight, Brian Roberts who is currently with the Hornets, Chris Wright
, Chris Johnson and Oscar Robertson’s old backcourt teammate in Cincy, Bucky Bockhorn
So, you are probably wondering why is John Drew driving a Yellow Cab in Houston? I didn’t ask, but in the course of our conversation Drew volunteered that “sh*t happens” and here he is. If you Google “John Drew” you will see that in his case “sh*t” came in the form of a white, powdery substance. Here is his Wiki page:
The following is an article from The New York Times
in 1983 on Drew’s struggles:
John won “Comeback Player of the Year” in 1984 but then had a relapse the following season and was eventually banned for life from the NBA in 1986.
When we arrived at IAH, I got out of the cab and John Drew thanked me for the great conversation and for bringing back so many good memories of his NBA playing days.
No, John. Thank you…for the best cab ride I have ever taken!
That’s it “From the Swamp.”
You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org