My mother began receiving fan mail for me when I was in HS. She made me respond to it until I left for college. It was a good lesson. I got to college and UK would get fan mail for me – and I’d spend about an hour a day returning fan mail. But my mom kept getting fan mail from people even when I’d left for college. Feeling bad because I wasn’t home to respond to it any longer – SHE began responding to people. Not as me, but as herself. Hilarious. Anyway…
My mom apparently kept getting letters from three kids from northern Kentucky who referred to themselves as The Nator’s (as in “dominators”). They were UK basketball crazy and 12 or 13 year old kids. Well, unbeknownst to me my mother had become some sort of pen-pal’s with these kids and their respective mother’s during my time at UK.
Flash-forward to my 2nd-year in the NBA. Around 1990 or so. The season had just ended and I’d committed to play in a golf-tournament up the road in Cincinnati. I was going to Cincinnati with two of my best buddies/high-school teammates – Greg Baughn and Keith Vanderpool. Greg was going to caddy for me and Keith was going to follow us around and drink beer all day. We were looking forward to it. My season had just ended and I was happy to be back home in the bluegrass.
Well, just before we were about to leave Lexington, my mother calls me and says, “Rex, I have a favor to ask. You’re going to play golf in Cincinnati today, right? Listen, I’ve told you about these boys who call themselves The Nators. Well, will you please surprise them by stopping by their house after the tournament is over before you head back to Lexington?” She goes on, “I’ve talked to their mother’s and they’re expecting you.”
LOL! Just like a mom, right?
So … I couldn’t let her down & we just rolled with it.
After a day on the golf course we stopped by one of The Nator’s home’s and surprised these kids – who were now about 15 years old. They were really funny kids. Nice kids. We talked for awhile and laughed and really had a good time with these youngsters and their parents on a nice summer-eve in northern kentucky. Well, before I knew it these 3-kids had “challenged” me and my two HS buddies Greg and Keith to a basketball game of 3 on 3 on the house driveway – a place the kids had named “Nator Arena”. I’m not sure what possessed Greg, Keith and myself to do this – but we played these kids a game of 3 on 3. We probably did so because we were still basically “kids” as well at age 21 – even though I was in the NBA. I knew it would mean a lot to the kids and give them something to talk about for the rest of their lives. I also knew it would make my mother happy to know that we didn’t just stop by, say “hi” and then leave. We ended-up having a really good time – and I felt like we’d done something nice for some fans. We finished playing and drove back to Lexington.
Flash-forward again to about a three years ago (2011). I ran into one of The Nator’s – ALL GROWED-UP. I recognized him right away – even though he was now approaching 40-years of age. Looked just the same. We chatted for a few minutes. He told me that he was still the best of buddies with the other two Nator’s. I told him that Greg, Keith and I were still the best of friends as well. He told me that if I was ever in northern Kentucky that I should look him up. I told him that if he was ever in Phoenix he should do the same. Then there was an awkward pause. I realized that there was no way he could reach-out to me – unless I gave him my phone number or email address. So as to not appear like a jackass, I gave him my phone number and said, “Just please don’t give this to anybody.”. He assured me that he wouldn’t.
Biggest mistake ever. He didn’t give the number to anyone, but – well, you’ll see below.
For the past three years I have been hounded by this Nator like nobody’s business. Within days I realized that it was a mistake. He was calling CONSTANTLY. All hours of the day and night. In the middle of the night. He was MESSAGING ME CONSTANTLY. Within a week to ten days it had gotten to be so bad that I had actually tracked down the OTHER TWO NATOR’S! I asked them if they could possibly talk to their buddy and get him to stop calling and messaging. They both spoke to him. It’s done no good. The other two Nator’s are really good guys and have apologized all over themselves for their buddy blowing me up – just like he IS STILL DOING TO THIS DAY.
He doesn’t call anymore – thank goodness. But that’s ONLY because I stopped answering his calls altogether. But he TEXTS ME LIKE MAD. It’s become part of my life. I just ignore every single text I get from a certain 859-area code. Normally, it’s like water off of a ducks back – I ignore the texts – and go about my day. But tonight I just couldn’t do it any longer and I responded to this guy for the first-time in about a year. …The last time I responded to him was much like this time.
I’ve tried everything I know to do to get this Nator to stop hounding me like he’s done for the better part of the past three years. Now – I’ve decided to put him “on blast”. Maybe it’ll register. Hell, I don’t know anymore what to do.
I would have posted these texts (below) via screen-shot but alas, I STILL use a Blackberry for the most part. And honestly, I wouldn’t know how to screen-shot something if my life depended on it.
The very first text I received tonight from this guy – who I’ll keep nameless – for now – began as they all usually do … completely unsolicited and without rhyme or reason as to why they were sent in the first place. No clue. … Please keep in mind that the messages you’ll read tonight happen like this REGULARLY. He may BLOW ME UP LIKE THIS 2 , 3, 4 times a week – OR he may go a week or two without a word … and then BANG – ALL OVER AGAIN. It’s beyond ridiculous.
(Btw, tonight he sent me 53 (FIFTY-THREE) text messages between 8:57pm and 10:49 pm. Mind you, this is between 8:57 pm and 10:49 pm PACIFIC time. He’s on EASTERN. Thats between 11:57 pm and 1:57 pm EST.)
I feel bad for doing this – but something’s gotta give. IT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY.
Here you go (all texts from The Nator are in bold and italicized):
8:57 pm – I’ll never forget it. Thanks for the inspiration.
9:11 pm Watch the film, Dawger vs. Keith
9:11 pm – Mismatch
9:13 pm – You want to respond but you can’t. And that’s sad.
9:17 pm – How much better were t
9:18 pm – Seriously. How much better were you than (removed current UK players names) ?
9:20 pm Not even close 3
9:29 pm – Love you boy!
9:30 pm – Not even close
9:30 pm I think we all need to get together and talk
(AT THIS POINT my phone is BEEPING NONSTOP while trying to finish-up homework with my teenage girls. Against my better judgement, I respond to him for the first time in probably some NINE-MONTHS. I say:)
9:31 pm – Goddammit, (name removed). I’ve asked ten different ways. Lose my f*cking number. I promise, one more text and I’m putting you on blast. By name. Don’t respond.
(He can’t help it and responds right back:)
9:32 pm – There he is!
9:32 pm – Let’s talk
9:34 pm – What a blast!
9:39 pm – This thing has gotten out of control. Can’t help cutting a crown prep without “lovin every minute of it” ringing through my ears.
9:40 – Let’s settle this thing at Nator Arena
9:41 pm – Spin move!
9:42 pm – Call me
9:42 pm – Let’s talk
9:45 pm – Loved your story about Dean Smith. Awesome
9:46 pm – Thinking bout your Pops asking Dean Smith to come outside and have a smoke.
9:48 pm – I’ll never forget your Dad walking out for warm ups at NKU
9:49 pm – It was the night you were in the dunk contest.
9:49 pm – Same night that Tyson got his ass whipped by Buster Douglass.
9:51 pm – Do I still have to “lose the number”?
9:52 pm – We need to talk. You and me.
9:53 pm – Let’s arm wrestle or something to get this out of the way.
9:54 pm – Let it go 3
9:56 pm – My children can’t wait to hear anything from you.
9:57 pm – I’ve showed them all the highlights.
10:01 pm – You still there 3? I’m calling you
10:02 pm – No FaceTime?
10:04 pm – I thought you were good on CBS.
10:04 pm – How bad is this UK team?
10:05 pm – No movement. No work off the ball. No sense of urgency.
10:06 pm – When do you and Greg and Keith want to mix it up for a few hours?
10:07 pm – I was a young kid. So was Dawg. Scared to hurt you.
10:08 pm – You were awesome. Very understanding but yet you didn’t hold back.
10:14 pm – Okay. I’m gonna go balls outs. I am so sorry for all the bullshit. Just would do anything to F*cking talk to you.
10:16 pm – Man to man.
10:16 pm – I am 40-years old for Gods sake.
10:17 pm – Let’s talk please.
10:18 pm – C’mon 3, call me right now.
10:19 pm – Nators!
(Now, the phone has been sitting – on “silent” since I responded to him at 9:31 pm. Since then I sent out a few tweets about him – true to my word. At this point I’d just gotten the girls to bed and have picked-up my phone to see that he’s been messaging me nonstop since I sent that text. I flipped thru the messages and decide to send the following:)
10:23 pm – I told you (name removed), that I’d had it. I meant it. I’ve put you on Twitter for the past 45-minutes. Now I’m going to blog every last one of the 45 or so texts you’ve sent me over the past hour and twenty minutes. Because changing my f*cking number would be the biggest hassle ever. …I f*cking HATE that it’s come to this. You’ve pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed – and left me no other options. It’s not even as if I’ve just HINTED about it all. I’ve ASKED you to stop calling and texting me. I asked YOUR FRIENDS to ask you to stop. You have no f*cking shame. Asshole. But – I warned you.
(I then go to take a shower. My phone sits on the couch on “silent”. I return about 20-minutes later to find:)
10:30 pm – What are (you) talking about? 45-texts? Really? #loser
10:33 pm – Let’s get it on at Nator Arena.
10:33 pm – This time I won’t take it easy on you.
10:36 pm – Hah. Who do you think you are? Last time I checked, I had about 6 years of college on you.
10:37 pm – Unless you snuck into (removed) school and took classes.
10:37 pm – Don’t f*ck with me. I’m tired of your act.
10:37 pm – Nice T-Shirts
10:46 pm – Yo 3. Still there? C’mon put up a fight at least.
10:47 pm – That’s it. I’m calling you.
10:49 pm – Where you be?
Okay people – what would you do? What should I do at this point?
I did send out a few tweets about it/him last night. But ultimately I felt bad for doing so and erased them. Now I’m blogging about it! Jeez.
I’m at a complete loss. A little help please. Thoughts?