Folks, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. For the past three months, I’ve remained silent on this issue, foolishly thinking, hoping, that the NCAA would right their clear-as-day mistake and fix college basketball. But no. It’s January 17, three weeks into conference play, and I have yet to see Perry Ellis.
If you have been blessed with the gifts of life, awareness, and sight at any time over the past eight years and have used said gifts to enjoy college basketball, you were made aware of a slightly balding, very good basketball man named Perry Ellis. While his official birth year is still a mystery, the little that is known about the time-defying forward is that he played basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks. You couldn’t miss him: he was the 6-foot-8 fellow dropping sweet baby hooks and embarrassing your lead-footed big men with pivots not of this earthly realm:
Over the course of his long and storied career, we slowly began to take his smooth play in the open court and dastardly jab steps for granted, thinking he, like the sun, would be remain a part of our lives forever. Look how soft my man’s elbow jumper was as a redshirt sophomore! If my memory is correct, this was back in 2002:
While the Jayhawks surrounded him with a truly staggering number of stars over the years (Wilt, Paul Pierce, Mario Chalmers, Andrew Wiggins, to name a few), Ellis was the core of every team, dropping 15-8 lines no matter who was in front of him. I grew up listening to tales of how my grandparents excitedly huddled around their radio to listen to his Kansas commitment speech. But alas, the legend who presented his heart and soul to Bill Self and college basketball fans everywhere for over 20 grueling seasons—or was it 25 seasons? No, it was definitely 22—is gone.
Now, I’m supposed to just be okay with the fact that this legend is playing in the D-League? Fuck that, says I. Get this man a Kansas jersey and give me my annual dosage of sweet Perry step-back jumpers and slams.