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When Basketball Media Guides Were Brutally Honest

Long ago, as a factchecker for a college basketball encyclopedia, I quickly learned to fear the SWAC. Its member schools' media guides, the official and often sole sources for history and statistics, were riddled with errors, omissions, typos, and for many seasons, simply weren't produced at all. The amateurishness would have been charming if it didn't make my job harder.

So this scan holds a special place in my heart. Reader Chris sent along a page from the 1981-82 Grambling State Tigers basketball media guide, the profile for junior center Paridon Williams. Whoever wrote it was not a fan.


'81-82 would not be Williams's year. He averaged 0.6 points and 0.9 rebounds in just over five minutes a game, and did not return to the team for his senior season.

(Paridon Williams ended up in Seattle, where in recent years he became a familiar figure in his neighborhood selling Real Change, a community newspaper about social issues that employs homeless men and women as vendors. After his own bout of homelessness, Williams now works as an author.)

They don't make media guides like this anymore—and that extends to the cover, also sent by Chris:

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