The perils of being a professional athlete are numerous. For former NBA player Rex Chapman, currently being flooded by hundreds of text messages from one lifelong admirer, it's his own damned fault for being so nice.
Chapman relates the story in a pretty great blog post on his site, and it all started with his mother. Back in his UK days, his home was inundated with fan mail, and unbeknownst to him, his mother struck up a correspondence with three Kentucky preteens who called themselves "The Nators" (as in "dominators"). A few years later, after Chapman had made the NBA, Mama Chapman somehow engineered a surprise visit for the boys, where Rex showed up in their neighborhood and played some hoops with them. All good, right?
Flash-forward again to about three years ago (2011). I ran into one of The Nators – ALL GROWED-UP. I recognized him right away – even though he was now approaching 40-years of age. Looked just the same...He told me that if I was ever in northern Kentucky that I should look him up. I told him that if he was ever in Phoenix he should do the same. Then there was an awkward pause. I realized that there was no way he could reach-out to me – unless I gave him my phone number or email address. So as to not appear like a jackass, I gave him my phone number and said, "Just please don't give this to anybody.". He assured me that he wouldn't.
Biggest mistake ever.
For the past three years, Chapman says, he has been swamped with calls and texts from the fan at all hours of the day. He's appealed to the other two Nators, who promised to try to talk some sense into the guy, but to no avail. Finally, last night Chapman gave in and responded.
8:57 pm – I'll never forget it. Thanks for the inspiration.
9:11 pm Watch the film, Dawger vs. Keith
9:11 pm – Mismatch
9:13 pm – You want to respond but you can't. And that's sad.
9:17 pm – How much better were t
9:18 pm – Seriously. How much better were you than (removed current UK players names) ?
9:20 pm Not even close 3
9:29 pm – Love you boy!
9:30 pm – Not even close
9:30 pm I think we all need to get together and talk
(AT THIS POINT my phone is BEEPING NONSTOP while trying to finish-up homework with my teenage girls. Against my better judgement, I respond to him for the first time in probably some NINE-MONTHS. I say:)
9:31 pm – Goddammit, Tom. I've asked ten different ways. Lose my f*cking number. I promise, one more text and I'm putting you on blast. By name. Don't respond.
(He can't help it and responds right back:)
9:32 pm – There he is!
9:32 pm – Let's talk
9:34 pm – What a blast!
9:39 pm – This thing has gotten out of control. Can't help cutting a crown prep without "lovin every minute of it" ringing through my ears.
9:40 – Let's settle this thing at Nator Arena
9:41 pm – Spin move!
9:42 pm – Call me
9:42 pm – Let's talk
9:45 pm – Loved your story about Dean Smith. Awesome
9:46 pm – Thinking bout your Pops asking Dean Smith to come outside and have a smoke.
9:48 pm – I'll never forget your Dad walking out for warm ups at NKU
9:49 pm – It was the night you were in the dunk contest.
9:49 pm – Same night that Tyson got his ass whipped by Buster Douglass.
9:51 pm – Do I still have to "lose the number"?
9:52 pm – We need to talk. You and me.
9:53 pm – Let's arm wrestle or something to get this out of the way.
9:54 pm – Let it go 3
9:56 pm – My children can't wait to hear anything from you.
9:57 pm – I've showed them all the highlights.
10:01 pm – You still there 3? I'm calling you
10:02 pm – No FaceTime?
10:04 pm – I thought you were good on CBS.
10:04 pm – How bad is this UK team?
10:05 pm – No movement. No work off the ball. No sense of urgency.
10:06 pm – When do you and Greg and Keith want to mix it up for a few hours?
10:07 pm – I was a young kid. So was Dawg. Scared to hurt you.
10:08 pm – You were awesome. Very understanding but yet you didn't hold back.
10:14 pm – Okay. I'm gonna go balls outs. I am so sorry for all the bullshit. Just would do anything to F*cking talk to you.
10:16 pm – Man to man.
10:16 pm – I am 40-years old for Gods sake.
10:17 pm – Let's talk please.
10:18 pm – C'mon 3, call me right now.
10:19 pm – Nators!
Chapman has a Blackberry. Rex, if you're reading this, it's really easy to block incoming texts, or just call your phone company. You don't have to live like this.
I Have A Fan Problem [irex3.com]