January17/ 2000

… Quick, name all the great sports figures from Missouri, NOT named Stan Musial or George Brett.  How about Harry Truman? … He came from behind to win a memorable race against Tom Dewey … and he threw a couple of big “bombs” against Tojo in the late 40s. … Prince Armani’s hijinks notwithstanding, we want to tout two Show Me State Superstars destined for Wheaties boxtops – CARL BOY & TYLER!

The quality of public education in America is sinking faster than a bowling ball in a quicksand bog, so 8 out of 10 recent high school “graduates” could not find Missouri on an unlabeled map of the US of A.  It’s somewhere in “Fly Over Country” between Denver, Churchill Downs, Canada and the Rio Grande.  9 of 10 recent high school graduates have never heard of Churchill Downs or the Rio Grande … … this is getting perilously close to a mega-rant about throwing billions of $$$ into a black hole overseen by bloviating bureacratic bumpkins incapable of managing a one car funeral …… lets talk about Carl Boy and Tyler.

“Franklin Street types” know about Tyler. … but who da heck is “Carl Boy”?  Is BobLee talking about a certain former UNC Football coach known as NASCarl for his wraparound shades?  No, but the name NASCarl is quite coincidental.

If you have a bunch of $$$ to invest in CAN’T MISS sports marketing properties I have two hot tips for you.  One is Stacy Keibler the Wrestling Diva about to bust out into “the mainstream” thanks to Dancing With The Stars … the other is, indeed, “Carl Boy” …

 Carl Edwards  

The back-flipping, dream-come-true for the 

“Go Fast, Turn Left, Make A Lot Of Noise” folks in NASCAR.

    While we covered Circus Snyder, Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine scooped us on Carl Boy this week.  Oh, we knew all about Carl and have known for quite some time, but now the rest of America (defined as the “we are ignorant bigotted prigs who hate NASCAR” crowd) knows about him.

Hardcore Swaggerites can “see it coming” so lets get it over with.  Yes, there is ANOTHER “one degree from BobLee” connection here … Carl’s mom, the lovely Nancy, and step dad, Jim Sterling, are friends of the First Family of Internet Punditry.  They are on our designated “call us if she needs ANYTHING” list for Kid’s upcoming “nest emptying rite of passage” to enroll at Univ of Missouri next Fall.  Carl Edwards was born and raised in Columbia MO … just like Paige Laurie … well not quite like Paige.  Paige’s daddy is a silverspoon billionaire … Carl’s daddy was a volkswagen mechanic.

You just know the city fathers of Columbia are hoping Carl takes the checkered flag at Daytona diverting attention away from the odious mess of Prince Armani, Bumbling Elson, Mike “I didn’t do nutin’” Alden, and a Board of Curators auditioning for Ringling Brothers Clown College.

What’s so great about Carl Edwards?  Read either the SI or ESPN The Magazine stories.  As I told his step dad, Jim, I went into insulin shock halfway thru the SI article and developed three cavities from all the sugary sweetness.  In what amounted to his rookie Nextel Cup season, Carl finished 3rd in The Chase, won bazillions of dollars … turns backflips off his car w/ each victory … dates Olympic Gold Medal swimmer/ swimsuit model Amanda Beard … did a recent cameo on “24” where the camera fell in love with him … has a midwestern “aw shucks” charm that is bone marrow deep … follows a daily work-out regimen that would cause a triathlete to holler uncle … and, the best anyone can figure, Carl does not have an enemy in the whole wide world.      

Can you stand any more?  How about this.  Not one bit of his incredibly success was “handed to him”.  He started at the lowest level of “racing” and begged, cajoled, and bluffed his way into rides and races.  He seemed destined to be just another Friday night crash’em jockey stirring up dust and ignoring the common sense voice to “grow up and get a job”.

Unlike “Billy Blue Chip” … at 18 Carl Boy did NOT play Three Cap Monte on national TV and have board monkies calling him “The Stud” to take Whatssamatta U to BCS or The Big Dance.  Nope, at 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Carl Boy was eating dirt and vienna sausages at poorly-lit tracks in Moline and Wentzville and bustin’ his knuckles on stubborn lug nuts.   

Carl begged rides … raced hard … and drove all night to do it again … he said “please” and “thank you” and called everybody “sir”.  And HE MADE IT!  … HOLY HORATIO ALGER, BATMAN!  

A BobLee Swagger-kinda Guy 

#99 In the Office Depot car … 



    Maybe its something in the water from those two mighty rivers that define the State.  “The wide Missouri” that crosses west to east; and “the big Muddy” that defines its eastern boundary.  Think about it … Stan Musial, George Brett, Carl Edwards … not one bit of sordid sports thuggery about any of’em.  “Hemorrhoids and pine tar” … yep, that’s the best you can do and both are good natured laughable anecdotes for #5 of the Kansas City Royals.  There ain’t a boy what ever rubbed neatsfoot oil into the pocket of a mitt that wouldn’t trade places with that first ballot Hall of Famer.  And Stan will always be “The Man”.

So why should any one be surprised to meet Another Show Me Superstar – THE PLAYER that I am predicting will define The Ol’ Roy Era of Carolina Basketball –


    Its only been 20-some games but Tyler has already passed the acid test.  He is so solid a gamer and so solid a citizen that the goggle-eyed hobgobblins at “Eddie Cameron Indoor” and “the Canadian Bank’s arena across from F-Bomb Alley” are flumoxed on how to taunt and insult him.  Oh sure they’ll come up with something droll and lame in the next two weeks but it won’t stick.

Apparently his teammates call him “Psycho T” which has been picked up by the witless wonders on “the boards” but that won’t stick either … with due respect to his teammates.  I’m not prepared to announce his official SSays sobriquet just yet.  You can bet that the same mind that produced “Prince Tassel Loafer” … “F-Bomb Alley” … “Rosemary’s Other Baby” … and “Prince Armani” will eventually shout EUREKA and the bumper sticker and t-shirt printers can fire up.

NUGGET:  Biil Guthridge has been around for almost 40 years, yet so-called “real fans” STILL misspell his name (there is NO “e” in the middle).  No doubt those same “real fans” will stick an erroneous “o” in the middle of Hansbrough.  Do your part when you see this … stick a fork in their eye!

Tyler Hansbrough is THE perfect player at THE perfect time in The Era of Ol’ Roy @ Carolina.  Go ahead and enter him w/ Lennie Rosenbluth, Larry Miller, Charlie Scott, Phil Ford, Eric Montross, and “Michael”.  Tyler is “The Keystone” for Roy that we keep saying Burly John must find.  We remind you as we have for 2.5 years … “Trust the Blue Messiah” … not that that seems to be a problem with anyone right now.

   You ever heard of Crystal City MO? … on the banks of the Mississippi about an hour south of St Louis.  Sleepy little midwest version of Mayberry.  In the early 60s, Crystal City High gave the sports world one of the finest pure basketball players in the history of the game – BILL BRADLEY.  Think Chip Hilton – All American Boy … Every mother’s son … Big Shot At The Buzzer … Princeton All American … Rhodes Scholar … New York Knicks World Champion … US Senator … Goofy idealistic failed presidential candidate – oops … lets stop at US Senator.

Forty years later, drive a couple of hours further south and slightly west to Poplar Bluff MO … another sleepy little “midwest Mayberry”.  Cherry cokes and cane pole fishing and cruising Wal-Mart on Saturday night.  WHOA there Swagger … what about “urban mean streets and crack dealers hangin’ out at asphalt court jungles and drive-by shootings and mamma working three jobs to support eight kids who’s eight different biological fathers are all doing 20 to life at Joliet” … ???  What about’em? 

Can’t we have just ONE scenario that 95% of the alumni and fans of Big Time College Basketball can actually identify with?  


    My Dad wasn’t an orthopedic surgeon and my Mamma wasn’t a beauty queen (actually Mamma Swagger WAS May Queen) but I’m pretty sure I “know” Tyler.  He’s Ed McLamb, Paul Camnitz, Willie Taylor, Bill Bunting, the Randall twins, Titus Martin, and Everett Cameron.  OK, he’s stronger than any three of those boys and he has a basketball future those guys could not even have imagined in “the old days”.  But two things they all share … a love of the game of basketball and being “a small town sports hero”.

   Wanna play “what if?” … “what if” Tyler had stayed home and gone to Mizzou !!!  How many lives might have been changed ??

I can say what I’m about to say because SI’s Rick Reilly said it in his column in the current (Carl Edwards issue) of Sports Ilustrated.  Tyler Hansbrough, along with JJ Redick and Adam Morrison represent a rare phenomenon in modern basketball.  They are “white guys”.  I could call them “Caucasian” or “European Americans” or “honkies” … but I prefer “white guys”.  Not only are they “white guys” they are “white guys” who are bona-fide superstars of their teams.  

   Stephen A Smith and Jason Whitlock might not agree, but … A young man growing up in a suburban cul-de-sac without the socio-cultural advantages of “mean streets” and “the imminent threat of gang violence” should not be denied the dream of a hoops career based on his race and/or having a nuclear family. If black guys can play golf then, damn it, white guys get to play basketball. It’s only fair.  Does a “white guy” have to give up his US citizenship and embrace a foreign flag in order to enter the NBA via Ellis Island?

Given “equal opportunity” might we be on the cusp of a new wave of diversity in the sport?  Could Tyler and JJ become “The White Tigers” causing little white kids across North Carolina and Missouri to lay aside their golf clubs, playstations, and NASCAR die cast models and start cross-over dribbling and perfecting their “drop steps”.  

    Today 50% of ACC BB head coaches are “black” … that seems fine.  Today among the three ACC programs in “the Triangle” 60% of the players with the most minutes played are “white guys”.  I think that’s “fine” too.   I have absolutely no idea why that is indeed the case in 2006 … no doubt Clarence Thomas or fluorocarbon emmisions are involved.  This could be an anomolay that will not ever exist again … but ACC Basketball will no doubt retain it’s quasi-religious hold on this area regardless.

       Also regardless … it’s not Tyler’s fault one way or the other.  Tyler plays hard … Tyler plays fair … Tyler has great “fundamentals” … Tyler’s character and poise appears thicker than the muscle slabs across his shoulders … Tyler has no tattoos or visible piercings … Tyler does not make “diamond signs” or sulk, or taunt, or say really idiotic crap to the media.  Of course, other than a few tattoos, all the above descriptions fit Sean May too.  Sean May and TYLER Hansbrough are both good for basketball, I think.


 Swagger’s Stumper

Bill Bradley was from Missouri but was a US Senator from ________ .


   Rocky and Bullwinkle attended Whassamatta U in Frostbite Falls.

    I just did a story about “white basketball players” and did NOT mention Larry Bird!  I think that violates some sportswriters rule.  Next, I’ll try a story on Cary NC and not mention “Stepford Wives”.  A story on Meezie and not mention “organ”.  A story on Coach K and not mention “cussing”.  A story on NCSU BB and not mention Chris Washburn … naaaah!

    Yeow … the olde SSays keyboard is smokin’ … gotta slow down.  At a soiree Friday night (see below) two fellows told me I had become their “primary source of stuff worth knowing“.  So many minds to capture … so little time.

   That recent story on “when Billy Blue Chip was Billy Bum Fodder” flew across the Internet like a peregrine falcon hunting bunny rabbits.  

   Swagger Manor was the scene of an incredible Conflagration of Conviviality on Friday night.  Gals, pals, politicians and pundits aplenty gathered to enjoy each others company PLUS outrageously expensive wine courtesy of “our outrageously generous wine buddy”.  The Talk Show King of Kansas City was in town.

[email protected]

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x