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Pitt Gorilla
01-10-2005, 09:53 PM
Special moment for McKinney

By MIKE DeARMOND
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The Kansas City Star

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COLUMBIA — Jimmy McKinney was shaken by the closeness of Missouri's 62-59 victory over Iowa State on Saturday. And then the Tigers junior guard and co-captain met Larry and Michael Anderson, two very special MU fans, and he was reduced to tears.

“You pray every night, and you ask God for more,” McKinney said. “You ask God why you're not playing to your ability. But there's somebody out there that really knows.”

Michael Anderson, 18, is a young man of special needs who attends school in the Hickman Mills district. His father, Larry, said Michael functions mentally at about the level of a 6-year-old because he was deprived of sufficient oxygen at birth. Larry, a mail carrier in Independence, has terminal lung cancer.

“I've been promising my son for years I'd bring him to an MU basketball game, and I never have,” Larry Anderson said. “Knowing that I've got less than a year to live, I figured I had to get him down here this year.”

At first, Larry Anderson thought that would be enough. Then, he thought it might be nice for Michael to meet the MU mascot, Truman the Tiger.

“I wrote a little note and gave it to the usher, told him about our situation and asked if he would have Truman come over and say hi to my son,” Larry Anderson said.

“Before you knew it, we were coming down here meeting Truman, meeting Jimmy McKinney, my son's favorite player (Michael had a McKinney jersey on). It's just wonderful.”

McKinney thought so, too, his eyes tearing up as Michael told McKinney he was wearing the player's replica No. 1 jersey because McKinney is his favorite player in the whole, wide world.

“I had a tear in my eye,” McKinney said, starting to tear up again just talking about it. “When people like that really admire you, it's something special.

“You always think that you're working for nothing. And there are people out here that would really love to be in your position.

“I never had a kid like that come up to me and just embrace me like that. He really started making me cry. I thank God for that. God brought him to me.

“That really let me know about life. Basketball is not everything. Especially today. There are people who would love to be in my position, and I take everything for granted.”

At one point, Michael started stomping on the ground, a motion that made McKinney laugh.

“We're really big MU fans,” Larry Anderson explained. “I said, ‘Show 'em what you do with a Jayhawk, Mike.' He throws the Jayhawk on the ground and stomps all over it. It's a thing he's done since he was a little guy.”

Larry Anderson didn't mention his own problems to McKinney. He thanked the MU player and gripped his hand with firmness and gratitude. “That's my boy, Michael,” Larry Anderson beamed as he told McKinney. “He's a great kid. My best pal.”

McKinney didn't find out about Larry Anderson's illness until later.
“That's a strong family,” McKinney said. “I can see it. They're standing tall. All my prayers are with that family. I hope they get through it and stay strong.”

Pitt Gorilla
01-10-2005, 11:24 PM
BUMP.

Phobia
01-10-2005, 11:25 PM
Yeah, cute story. I wanted to cry. Had Joe Posnowski written it, I wouldn't have gotten out of bed for a week.

Pitt Gorilla
01-10-2005, 11:28 PM
Having a young (healthy) son, I had to fight back the tears a bit.

Pitt Gorilla
01-11-2005, 01:46 PM
Up again; sorry.

Cochise
01-11-2005, 01:48 PM
Cool story, thanks for posting it :thumb:

Mr. Kotter
01-11-2005, 01:50 PM
Nice story. :thumb:



I knew you libs were good for somethin' :p

tyton75
01-11-2005, 01:55 PM
great story!