Carter’s story still being written
RILEY Wallace walks up smiling, eager to greet his favorite writer.
"She might teach you to write," he says.
She might, at that. She is Sonnah Barrie, 12, prize-winning essayist from Brooklyn Park, Minn., and she's squeezing in hoops lessons while being blinded by photo flashes, doing TV interviews, going shopping, making friends, heading for the beach.
A beaming Wallace poses for a picture with her, asks when he can read what she's written. He's heard it was especially good.
"I thought we did a great job of picking a winner," the Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Carter -- AC -- would say.
You would have to say that they did. Sonnah was the winner of AC's essay contest -- in conjunction with the Minnesota DARE program -- in which the grand prize was this dream-of-a-lifetime trip: Going to Hawaii with the old UH guard for this week's Rainbow Boys and Girls Basketball Camp.
Her essay on "The Effects of Making Good Decisions" beat them all.
Carter, in the latest stop of a seven-year (and counting) NBA tour, was the judge, taking a whole day to read all 50 or so finalists. He wanted someone special to take back with him to Hawaii, so he made sure what he read had no faces, no names. Boy, girl, fan, nonfan, it didn't matter. He wanted it anonymous. The essay was the important thing.
"I didn't know if she had basketball experience or what," he says.
She doesn't, not really (she's played a few times at the park down the street from her house). But after a few minutes 1-on-1 with AC she's putting it in the hoop. A nice, arcing shot.
Still, she seems more interested in her new friends, and nice weather, and the beach. Did she know her fabulous, glamorous, trip to Hawaii would include a tour of infamously steamy Klum Gym?
Carter laughs, spreads his arms out wide, his eyes alight with an alum's love. This is a landmark, he says: "This is a great experience. You can't say you've been to the campus if you haven't been up here."
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Anthony Carter was at the UH Rainbows Boys and Girls Basketball Camp with Sonnah Barrie of Minnesota yesterday.
SEVEN YEARS IN the NBA and he's still coming back, still hanging around in Klum Gym. He's famously endowed a scholarship in his name for the Hawaii basketball program.
"The way I look at it, I came from nothing and when I die, I'm not going to have nothing," he says. "So, while I got it I just want to do something where I can be remembered by, not just being selfish, getting a big head, not coming back and forgetting people who I thought were really close to me."
Seven years in the NBA. Do you have to watch losing yourself, in that life, watch getting a big head?
"Yeah, I think you do. You still have to treat people like you don't have no money. Just like when I go home to Atlanta, I treat everybody the same -- we go out to eat, everybody still go half. You know, they don't try to ask me for this and that, and I tell them, you know, the only person who I owe is my mom and my grandma. You know, I can keep it real with them. I'm going to keep on doing the same thing, I'm going to hang out with you, we're going half on this stuff, I'm still the same person. I think that's kind of what helped me maintain myself, because my friends understood at home. And when you've got friends at home who understand you, it's different."
"Drinking and driving and having a nice vehicle and then playing loud music at the same time will draw a lot of attention to you," Carter says.
His old coach, Wallace, has said AC's March 3 Minneapolis arrest might have been almost a blessing, forced a good guy to refocus. The man agrees. It's a blow he's glad he took.
"Everything happens for a reason, and I could have wound up speeding and killed somebody," AC says. "... I learned from my mistake. I'm a grown man, and everybody makes choices."
It sounds like his essay contest -- except the essay contest was already in the works.
"He looks like he can still move," AC says.
"He's one of the biggest pieces to helping me get this far. Without him, I don't know where we would have been."
SEVEN YEARS IN the NBA and still hanging with Wallace, still coming back. Sponsoring a contest (AC is quick to point out Sheraton Waikiki came through for the rooms) is about character that gave a young Minnesota girl a dream Hawaii trip.
"He's giving," Sonnah Barrie says, "he's willing to help me play basketball."
"Everywhere I go they like the way I play. I play with a lot of passion, a lot of heart, and that's all you can do," Anthony Carter says.
They've both earned this unlikely dream. On a hot day at Klum Gym the essayist and the proud alum pose side by side. AC and every Rainbow's favorite writer look into the camera and smile.