The sport of basketball has remained the one constant in Curtis J. Phillips'
life and career: a 26-year career in print and electronic journalism.
It was in 1978, after spending a few months traveling the U.S. of A. in search of some asphalt
court action, he returned home to Winnipeg, Manitoba to start the venture into the world of freelance writing.
In 1980, on the urging of then Basketball Manitoba executive director Rick Lambert, he started writing and
editing a monthly publication titled "Hoop Scoop".
To his surprise and delight, several of the articles were picked up by national publications in the United
Thanks to people like Lambert and good friend Ralph Aiello, the age of enthusiasm was unlocked and a lifetime
career had been discovered.
In 1982 it was off to the oilsands capital of the world - the community of Fort McMurray, Alberta - to take
on the role of sports/entertainment editor at the daily newspaper.
The 1990s would find him shifting over to the boob tube as program director for the local television station.
Then in 2001 it was back to the world of freelance with the summers now spent administrating at the
Legion Athletic Camp (www.legionathleticcamp.com); a international non-profit multi sports summer camp founded and still under the direction of
his father George Phillips.
Aside from hoops and family, the volunteer bug always seems to be biting.
Phillips states that "It gives the creative juices a true rush to spearhead a major project or event, be it
of local or provincial nature, and then after nurturing them for a few years its time to hand the ball off to other gifted
or more talented individuals and let them run with it."
His peers have recognized this commitment to the community and province, with Coach of the Year and Volunteer
of the Year recognition but by far the highest tribute was the Father of the Year honor bestowed.
He continues to be involved in all levels of hoops be it as a coach, player, organizer or cheerleader for
his own children.
He has worked in both television and print mediums covering the sports of basketball from grassroots right
up to the NBA and various world championships.
Noting that history can be fickle, he has become a basketball historian of sorts with works published in encyclopedias.
Of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, named in 1997, he has had the rare fortuity of meeting 30 of them.
His love for the sport, combined with his immense basketball memorabilia collection, has been featured in several magazines
and also on American national television.
"I have been collecting basketball related items, with the main interest professional hoops, for the last
37 years," said Phillips, 48. "From a team autographed Anaheim Amigos (ABA game program) to game worn uniforms or ticket stubs,
if its basketball related I'm a sucker for it."
For a 11 year-old kid who used to listen to NBA games on short-wave radio while lining up his basketball sportcards
on a basketball court diagramed out on a piece of cardboard, it proves that dreams do come true.
Top 10 Basketball Moments
10: Teamed two-on-two with Canadian hoop legend Eli Pasquale against a Larry Bird and Magic Johnson life-size cardboard cutout to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown" prior to the 1985 NBA
All-Star game on USA television,
9: Shooting hoops against NBA Hall of famer and leapin' hoop legend David "Skywalker" Thompson, stealing the ball from him and minutes later having him dunk it in my face with a Wilson lace.
8: Beating a couple of Vancouver Grizzlies players in a game of H-O-R-S-E.
7: Trading trick shots with the Harlem Globetrotters and being the unofficial ballboy - at the age of 35 -
for the L.A. Lakers at an NBA exhibition game .
6: Finding a pair of sneakers to fit Julius "Dr. J." Erving, who had lost his luggage enroute to NBA exhibition game in Canada.
5: Munching on popcorn with Charles Barkley when he was the real Round Mound of Rebound.
4: Having Dominique Wilkins showcase the "Human Highlight" film while landing on top of me at courtside and then patting me on the head.
3: Losing a bet to Larry Bird on how many 3-pointers he could make.
2: Winning a Manitoba city/provincial high school championship and making provincial all-star.
1: When my son was born in 1985, the late great Coach Jack Donohue sent out a letter inviting him to a national
tryout camp for the year 2005.