SI Vault
Alexander Wolff
October 28, 1985
Dear Mom and Dad:Tapocketapocketapocketa. That's the sound James Thurber's Walter Mitty heard as he imagined himself piloting a Navy hydroplane, and preparing for delicate surgery, and leading an Allied bombing mission in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And that was the sound I heard when last July I got caught in my first sandwich pick in the lane at the Indiana Pacers' Walter Mitty tryout camp. Tapocketapocketapocketa.
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October 28, 1985

Want To Play Pro Basketball? The Pacers Give Small Hope To The Tall

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"Maybe go overseas, get more comfortable facing the basket."

"That's it."

"Come back next year, more comfortable out on the floor."

"That's it," Allen said, nodding now. "Go to Europe. Come back next year."

Nicks and Tony Martin got through, although they didn't survive rookie camp. Bank did; I'll keep you posted.

Even Anderson, who has a reputation for flaunting what in NBA circles is known as a "bad 'tude," was invited back. His rep is not entirely undeserved, as Dwight himself will admit. But Anderson looked to be in great shape. He led the break, made the extra pass, hollered encouragement.

Anderson had put in three seasons in the Continental Basketball Association since leaving Southern Cal sans degree. " CBA's great, man," Dwight told me as we rode the van back from the final workout. "Some great guards there. You gotta come to play every night or you get embarrassed. See what I'm sayin'? [Yes, now I certainly do.] My boy, he won't go to no college. No. I'm sendin' him straight from high school to the CBA. See what I'm sayin'? He don't make the NBA, then he goes to college."

I asked Dwight who this guy Walter Mitty was.

"I don't know, man," he said. "I think he's some long shot who made it one year."

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