You can count on his friendship,
strength and loyalty
He believes his actions speak for
He is Friend.
With the gentle touch he uses for shooting free throws, Joey eases the Cessna down toward the runway. His landing is dead solid perfect--and nobody gets airsick.
There?s still more to learn, of course. Instead of getting master?s degrees, the Grahams are working on earning an instrument rating that would allow them to fly in bad weather, after which they hope to obtain their commercial licenses. Then it?s on to faster planes, jets and, after pro basketball, perhaps, jobs in the aviation management industry. ?I don?t want to go all the way to commercial planes like Delta?s,? Joey says. ?I just want to stay private, contract myself out, fly CEOs and big-time organizations from place to place in their Learjets.?
For now he?ll stick mainly to Stillwater-based passengers. Aside from persuading South African?born teammate Frans Steyn, a 7'2" Ernie Els look-alike, to squeeze into the cockpit for a ride, Graham hasn?t been able to get any other Cowboy to join him yet. It?s a reminder that the wounds from the tragic 2001 plane crash, which killed eight Cowboys players and support-staff members, remain deep. ?Right now they?re still on edge, and I understand,? Joey says. ?Maybe someday I can break that barrier with them.?
If he does, they may discover what the Grahams already know. For all the pain that air travel has dealt the Oklahoma State basketball program, it can also be a source of pure, exhilarating joy.