Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Cardinal Vault XVII: K.J., Matt & Employee #8

By K.J. Cardinal

It's only fitting for the 17th entry into the Cardinal Vault to be Celtics related. So, this entry takes us back to the Spring of 1997.

Pictured below, Matt and I are with none other than Employee #8 himself Antoine Walker.

As juniors in high school, Matt and I traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of the Close Up program, a nonprofit that exists to educate and inspire young people to participate in our democracy.

So we were moseying around the nation's capital going from one meeting to another when we came across a chartered bus that had a small sign on the windshield that said "Inside the NBA."

We saw that the bus had people aboard, so we decided to wait to see who was about to come off the bus. The first person to step off the bus was none other than "Coach" Willie Maye. At the time he was a courtside reporter for Fox Sports Net and the Celtics, so I was immediately fired up.

Then a handful of kids came off the bus followed by none other than Toine. My insane, psychotic, staulkerish love affair with Antoine had already begun as he was wrapping up his rookie season for the C' needless to say I was giddy as a school girl.

We approached Toine (Matt recalls that I was throwing kids out of the way to get up-close with him) and chatted it up for a few minutes. He was pretty cool and was rather skeptical of my fanaticism until I pulled a Celtics ticket out of my wallet to prove that my family had season tickets.

Anyway, we had Willie Maye snap this picture and it's definitely one of my all-time favorites. I look like a tool with those sunglasses on, but I was 17 and thought I was cool. Also, yes, my polo shirt has a zipper instead of buttons...WTF was I doing?

I appreciate that Toine is showing that he isn't any bigger than us as he was wearing a name tag too. Something tells me that after his rookie season he wouldn't be caught dead with a name tag on, regardless of the scenario.

Apparently "Coach" and Toine were taking Boston inner-city kids with perfect attendance on a trip to D.C. So that's why he was there...not sure why he had to have the name tag, but he did.

The next entry into The Cardinal Vault will feature another encounter with a member of the original Big Three that is definitely vintage and priceless.

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