CLIFF REED'S APOLOGY
Cliff Reed was a great basketball player at New Mexico State University. He was 6’4″ (193cm) and strong. Off two feet he could jump and almost hit his head on the rim.
Cliff was Co-Nevada Player of the Year (American’s call it Mr. Basketball) with Brian Sitter who coincidentally also played at NMSU. He played for Rancho High School in Las Vegas, NV.
This is a short manly man story; but I’d be remise not to tell it.
The story begins in Las Cruces, New Mexico (Southern New Mexico near the Mexican/USA boarder). While playing basketball at NMSU we would quickly be recognized by (inebriated often) fans – and thus targeted both positively and negatively. At one of the local bars in Las Cruces, Cliff unexpectedly got himself into an unfortunate altercation (a destructive fight) with a Mexican-American (a tough Hispanic kid), who had miraculously and rather successfully worked his way under Cliff’s thick skin.
Cliff had the biggest smile on our team. He was always kind and gentle. However, on this particular night he was not smiling at all. Outside the bar I watched the two young men clash toe-to-toe for awhile before their altercation (a nasty fist-fight) was finally broken up by the Hispanics’ friends.
Altercations (serious battle royals) were nothing really new for student-athletes at NMSU – it was somehow part of NMSU’s off campus scene (especially when basketball & football teams were present).
Calmly standing outside the bar, I paid no attention to Reed’s dust-up other than being mildly surprise that Cliff himself had uncharacteristically gotten into this likely unintended altercation (call it a ferocious man-to-man hostile free-for-all).
After the scuffle (MMA dogfight), Cliff gathered himself nicely – leisurely brushing off the dirt and blood from his body. Then, looking to make amends, Cliff slowly proceeded back to the group of Hispanic kids huddled near their cars to apologize (wise, I thought). Of course, Cliff was met instantly by four men asking ‘what the hell he was thinking/doing?’ and…Cliff with all bona fide calmness smiled and said, “No, I understand, I really just want to apologize to the kid for what happened.”
The 12 (tough) Hispanics sceptically allowed Cliff through. However, the nano-second Cliff was in front of the man he fought and completely surrounded by a dozen Hispanics he began systematically unleashing punches and kicks as hard as he could until finally he punched and kicked himself out of the circle and thus to safety.
I chuckled and shook my head. Sly-fox Cliff had just flown under the radar and unleashed bombs (and kicks), upon their unsuspecting group. After Cliff escaped, all I could here him yell back was, “Man you guys gotta be kidding, there ain’t no way I was going to apologize to that P#$$@.”
I just smiled and thought OH MY GOD!!! What a bold move by an audacious man.
As for Cliff Reed, you could tell he was satisfied and proud of himself – beaming ear to ear with his huge CLIFF REED smile.