In honor of Sunday’s 72nd NBA All-Star game in Salt Lake City, Utah, this week’s guest on Legends Of Sport is Dallas Mavericks legend, Rolando “Ro” Blackman! At the 1987 NBA All-Star game, Ro famously sank two clutch free throws at the end of the game to force overtime. Hear Ro share the trash talking that took place and how his Western Conference team sealed the victory.
Andy & Ro also discuss the culture shock he experienced moving from Panama to Brooklyn, how he discovered the game of basketball, playing for Kansas State in college, Walt Frazier, the heartbreak from the 1980 Olympic team that never was, being the first and only Panamanian player to ever be drafted in the NBA, playing for a brand new Dallas Mavs franchise and Coach Dick Motta, memories from the 1988 Western Conference Finals vs the Showtime Lakers, finishing his career with the New York Knicks under coach Pat Riley, his passion for community service and much more!
Ro’s jersey was retired by the Mavs in 2000 and he currently serves as the team’s Vice President of Corporate Relations and Ambassador for Diversity & Inclusion.
Topics discussed in this episode:
4:00 Moving from Panama to the United States as an 8 year old and overcoming language and cultural barriers with the help of his Brooklyn community
6:40 Learning to play basketball at the famed Ditmas Park (now renamed Rolando Blackman Park) and Ted Gustas, the man who changed Rolando’s life with one question
12:00 Playing at Kansas State for Coach Jack Hartman
15:41 Why being named to the 1980 Olympics USA Basketball team was a bittersweet moment in Rolando’s career
18:41 Getting drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, the 1988 NBA Finals vs Showtime Lakers, playing for the New York Knicks under Pat Riley and the 1994 NBA Finals vs Houston Rockets
26:06 Rolando hits clutch free throws to send the 1987 All Star game into overtime
32:45 Rolando’s passion for paying it forward and helping today’s youth succeed