April 21, 2016 started off as just another Thursday – hit the snooze on the alarm three times. It takes at least three attempts to get going in the morning. The day was somewhat normal until about 12:30 pm. That’s when reports were circulating from TMZ that Prince Rogers Nelson was dead. So like any normal person in today’s world, you go to Twitter to verify. Could it really be so? Then CNN reported that he had died at 57 years young. WOW! From that moment on, millions of people worldwide expressed their sympathies about the passing of this legendary music artist. Buildings throughout the country and worldwide, displayed purple lights in tribute to this iconic artist. What was noteworthy was the sports world’s reaction. Seems a bit odd at first glance, but Prince was a sports enthusiast, especially basketball.
In 2004, the Chappelle’s Show aired a skit of a pickup basketball game between Prince and the Revolution verse Eddie and Charlie Murphy and their friends. In the skit, Prince’s team won, leaving many to wonder about the actual events. Through his own admission, he stated that it was really true. After looking up some microfiche photos, it was proven that Prince played basketball for Bryant Junior High and Central High. His basketball coach Richard Robinson said he was “an excellent ball handler” who probably would have started at another school instead of coming off the bench. Prince’s love of basketball and his city of Minnesota were apparent when the Minnesota Lynx won the 2015 WNBA Championship. He invited the entire team and personnel to his home for a private concert. The concert lasted three hours. Long time Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Garnett recalled how “super cool” he was and “how much he knew about me and the game of basketball.” Prince was a fan of Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, which prompted him to attend the game in person. He was in the area performing on tour and decided to attend the Warriors verse Oklahoma City Thunder game in Oakland on March 3rd this year. It wasn’t just basketball that Prince liked.
Prince was a “homer” when it came to the Minnesota Vikings, not just because they were purple. He would support them even to the point of making a fight song for the team called “Purple and Gold” in 2010. The Vikings, led by Brett Favre, would have made the Super Bowl that year. However, the team’s mismanagement of the clock verse the New Orleans Saints cost them. Speaking of Super Bowls, how can you not forget one of the greatest halftime performances in history? In the Miami rain in 2007, Prince delivered like no one else could have. The song “Purple Rain” took on a whole new meaning that day. Showing his sports versatility like the range on his guitar, he attended the French Open in 2014. He was able to watch the “king of clay”, Rafael Nadal, and invited him to his concert the night before. Whenever some hits a home run at a Minnesota Twins game, Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” is played. Last year the team adopted “Little Red Corvette” as the theme song. The Milwaukee Brewers played “Let’s Go Crazy” before the seventh inning as tribute to Prince and the visiting Twins. He truly had an effect on the sports world.
“Like so many people I am shocked at the news that Prince has died,” Michael Jordan said in a statement. “His songs inspired me throughout my career and remind me of so many moments from my life. His greatness will live on through his music, but this is a sad day for his fans — me included.” It was a good thing that Prince didn’t follow his hoop dreams, but instead became the musical genius that will be sorely missed.