"I came out
of high school I was 17 years old, you dig? From being a high school student to
having to deal with this business aspect. That's what college sports is, and
nobody should think otherwise. I was recruited by every major university. I had
guys put 5-6-7,000 dollars on the table and say, 'Here, all you got to do is
sign this piece of paper.' I'm not going to hurt anybody by telling who it was,
that's not my thing.
"But, hey, I
wound up going to a school like Northern Illinois, in DeKalb. All right, hey,
1969, I was Public League scoring champion, and I went to Northern Illinois, a
school that never had a team anybody ever heard of in any sport. The next year
James Bradley—recruited by everybody, including UCLA—he came to Northern. And
Cleveland Ivey was there, from Carver. He'd been Public League scoring
understand what I'm telling you? Northern Illinois, the little school out in
the corn. We were ranked 20th and got featured in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. We
would've had a championship team, but the NCAA came out and started looking.
Don't think that Northern got there by saying, 'All right, we're going to give
you guys four years of education.'
"When I left
college I took a pay cut. People want to think guys don't get paid for playing
basketball in college, that's their business. We're psyched into thinking that
it's good, healthy, all-American fun. That's the thing that hurts the most. All
the crap they shoot into your mind. But I was treated super at Northern
"But if you
get ineligible or decide you want to be in business school, which is what I
wanted to do, they're going to come snatch that scholarship from under your
ass. I could've got my degree at Northern. I could've graduated on time. I had
a 3.2 average. I always carried a full load—over a full load. I was going for a
B.S. in phys ed, but I took a lot of history courses—Roman History, all of 'em.
Hey, it ain't so tough to get good grades. There's always a way to get around
anything. I'm very intelligent, but I'm not above taking a break.
"But I went
from being almost like a god to no one really caring. You don't see that until
you're 20 or 21, when your four years of eligibility are up. I need six hours
to get my degree.
drafted by the Bulls in the seventh round in 1973. It was a big letdown, you
understand what I'm saying? I went from seeing headlines—HARRIS NEAR SILVER
LINING, MILLION DOLLAR DECISION—to being drafted in the seventh. Hey, that will
make you deal with reality.
gave me a $2,000 bonus, and I wound up getting cut. 'Attitude,' they said. It's
been six years since I left college. I've been kept in limbo all that time. I
played in the Eastern League, I played overseas—in the Philippines, in
Europe—you understand what I'm saying? I could still be a force in the
by. I can get up in the morning and put on Pierre Cardin slacks. I've got two
Cadillacs to drive. A lot of guys work all their lives and never get to drive a
"Last year I
was counselor for a job-placement agency, but it's closed down now. I was
interviewing kids at a halfway house. I was trying to show kids what's in my
life, you understand what I'm saying? I want to be a positive influence.