Saturday, July 4, 2009

R.I.P. Steve McNair

Steve McNair on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1994

Sad news today. Steve "Air" McNair died from a fatal gunshot to the head in downtown Nashville. There are alot of reports and rumors going around via the news and Twitter. I hope and pray for the best for his family and all of those effected by this tragedy. I'm not going to be disrespectful of the situation and speak on things that I do not know of.

But, I would like to share that McNair was truly an inspiration to me.

With him coming out of Alcorn State University--a HBCU in Lorman, Mississippi--odds were stacked against him with naysayers saying that he wouldn't be able to succeed at a pro level, especially in the quarterback position. Hell, him playing quarterback at ASU was actually a result of him bucking at Division I schools telling him that they wanted him at their school and on their team...but not as a quarterback. They wanted him to play defense...something that a lot of Black quarterbacks coming out of high school are told. A lot of them bite the bullet and accept a defensive role and put a lid on their quarterback career. But not McNair. Instead of taking what the Division I schools wanted to give them, he chose otherwise and went to a Black college and made history.

I was only 14-15 years old during his senior year at ASU where he threw for 6,000 yards, 53 touchdowns and finished 3rd in the Heisman Trophy race behind Rashaan Salaam and Ki-Jana Carter (where are they now?). But seeing Air McNair succeed was one of the first and only things (other than watching A Different World and visiting Morehouse in 8th grade) that even put the thought of going to a Black college, if college at all, in my confused, rebellious mind.

Years later when I was accepted into Fort Valley State University, McNair continued to inspire me. With every game he won, he proved that you can go to a small Black college and still compete on the grandest of stages. That really meant a lot to me. Seeing him win MVP trophies, Pro Bowl selections and go to the Super Bowl during my sophmore year in college (almost winning it) was the icing on the cake. Even though I've always been a lifelong Steelers fan, McNair was my guy.

So, when I heard that he was shot...killed...dead. I was devestated. I never met the man, but, I actually cried a little. Dude was really an inspiration to me for real. Once again, keep McNair's family and all those effected by this tragedy in your prayers.

R.I.P. Steve "Air" McNair


Jabari said...

yeah graduating from jackson nair was all we heard about..granted my years at jstate was when mcnair was in the league but during our biggest classic "jsu vs asu" his legacy at alcorn was def. still there...

man i pray for his family...july has been a cold month..

Leah A Wilson said...

that's deep. i'm from the ark. originally, but I was raised in so. cal. u never really hear about all the great athletes from hbcu's out here, unless they went pro. i forget how inspiring athletes can really be, beyond their athleticism. i feel so far removed from the situation until i read things like this.