Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update on Ed O'Bannon: The Man of the Year in 1995

Photo credit: New York Daily News/Shimada for News

Former Westwood BMOC Ed O'Bannon has been in the news of late. A number of "Where are they now?" articles have been popping up everywhere but I choose to highlight only two of them, one from the New York Daily News in March and another from the Washington Post in June.

Followed by an article on Eddie O taking the head coaching position at Henderson International School in Henderson, Nevada.

Finally, a video in which former Bruin Kris Johnson talks to Eddie O and Chuckie O for JerseyChaser.com, talking about their Toyota 'connections' and Little Wayne. Looks like the bros are doing quite well.

Specifically, Ed looks really happy now and quite content with how his life has turned out, and I am truly happy for him. Nice to see a great man do well in life.

Recently, Eddie O has also made the news due to the fact that he is sueing the NCAA for using his image in promoting college basketball but not paying him for it. But you could just google about that and read it yourself. But good luck on that, Ed.

OK, so here goes...

Where are they now? Former UCLA star and Nets guard Ed O'Bannon
By Ebenezer Samuel
Saturday, February 14th 2009, 3:29 PM

It happens once or twice a day, guaranteed.

Somebody walks into Findlay Toyota's showroom and sees a somewhat familiar 6-8 figure walking around in a suit. They stare for a while, trying to discern who he is, and he watches.

"After a while I put them out of their misery and tell them who I am. I get recognized quite often," he says. "Then I try to sell them a car."

He is Ed O'Bannon, the one-time would-be Nets savior and former UCLA star. These days, the 36-year-old is a promotions manager for Findlay, a family-owned collection of dealerships in Henderson, Nev.

"It's hard work, but I'm good at that," he said while directing the setup of a parking-lot sale on Thursday. "Life knocked me on my ass, and I picked myself up again." (Continue reading article at nydailynews.com)

From the Court to the Sales Floor
Ed O'Bannon, An Example of When a Promising Career Goes Bust

By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 14, 2009

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Retiring was the easy part -- because, really, what was it that Ed O'Bannon was walking away from in the summer of 2004? A career? No, basketball had long since ceased being a career, or even a passion, by then. It was at that point just a profession, a paycheck, a mostly joyless succession of one-year contracts with godforsaken European teams. Basketball was a way to stave off the day when he had to go out and get a real job.

So the act of retiring was simple: Go to your hotel in Eugene, Ore., take off your sweats and your sneakers, leave them behind. Don't even shower. Change into street clothes, cab to the airport, call the wife and say, "Baby, I'm coming home." Don't even tell those folks from the tryout for that Chinese basketball league, the ones who didn't even know who you were or what you have done in this game, that you were packing it in. And by all means, don't look back.

But retirement -- the noun, the state of being? That was dark. That didn't go so well.

It was great at first. Who wouldn't want the life of leisure? But there were a lot of hours to kill between the time when he would send his wife Rosa off to her job and haul the kids off to school, and the time when everyone got back home. There were too many afternoon beer-buzzes, too many self-pitying viewings of the 1995 NCAA championship game, when nobody could stop Ed O'Bannon and those UCLA Bruins.

There was an angry admonishment from Rosa -- "Get a job . . . or else" -- and there was a business card with a name and a phone number on it, jammed in his hand weeks earlier and sitting out now on top of the dresser, in plain view, as if O'Bannon knew someday he'd have to call the number.

He called the number.

He interviewed the next day, got hired right away, and started work the day after that.

And that, in a nutshell, is how Ed O'Bannon, once the greatest college basketball player on the planet, the Wooden Award winner as the best men's college basketball player in the country, a lottery pick by the New Jersey Nets, wound up here, in the middle of the desert, selling cars on commission for a living and still trying, at age 36, to reconcile this part of his life with the last part. (Continue reading article at www.washingtonpost.com)

UCLA great to coach local high school basketball team
Ed O’Bannon takes over program at Henderson private school

By Rob Miech (contact)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.

A passing comment from former Durango High coach Al LaRoque in the Findlay Toyota sales lot three weeks ago mushroomed into Ed O’Bannon’s next basketball chapter.

The man who led UCLA to an NCAA national championship in 1995 officially takes over today as the coach of the Henderson International School boys’ team.

“I’ll get a chance to go in and learn from them, and they’ll get to learn from me,” O’Bannon said. “I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t have a whole lot of experience, but I’m fired up.

“Hopefully, I’ll make a difference in some of these kids’ lives, teach them the game of basketball and really be involved in the game again.”(Continue reading article at lasvegassun.com).

Finally, Kris Johnson checks in with the O'Bannon brothers for Jersey Chaser(dot)com:

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