The last time I turned on an NBA game on TV, I’m pretty sure Hakeem Olajuwon or Michael Jordan played in it. I watch the NCAA Tournament every year; however, the pros hold no interest for me. Except for the slam dunk competition at the All-Star game… now that’s exciting. Last night’s 28th edition will be remembered for Blake Griffin leaping over a car for the winning jam. I’ll remember it for another reason.
At the end of the broadcast, when you had changed channels or gone to bed, Ernie Johnson read the credits for the production crew. Half listening, I heard the name of a talented gentleman who directed many of the telecasts I worked on as a rising producer. He’s been part of the TNT team since the network launched. Then Johnson mentioned the executive VP… and my mind immediately jumped back to 1988.
You see, in March of that year, my former mentor – who had gone on to become the executive producer of Turner Sports – offered me a job as coordinating producer of the NBA. After much deliberation, including spending two hours in an empty church listening for the right answer, I turned him down. There were many reasons: I liked my job and was starting to work bigger events; I loved living in Fort Worth; I wasn’t open to relocating. The biggest one, though, was the night before flying to the interview in Atlanta, I went on a first date and something deep inside told me that I was supposed to stay near her.
As you might have guessed, that young lady became my wife 15 months later. We have three children. I’ve changed careers a few times during our marriage. She’s supported every one of them. We moved to Houston in 1998… met new friends, discovered new things, found ourselves called to serve new causes. Like any marriage, we share wonderful joy and tragic heartache together.
When I didn’t take the job, Turner hired someone younger than me. He’s apparently done great things the past 23 years: it’s his name I heard announced last night as their executive VP. That moment reminded me that each major decision you make truly does impact many people. Things would have been quite different had I said ‘Yes’ to Don McGuire instead of ‘I do’ to Kathy Lott. I’ve always known my prayers were answered that day. It’s a wonderful life.