Oakland is a black man in his early fifties. He’s rough. He’s honest. He’s funny. He’s intimidating. He’s an alcoholic. He played college football at Langston. He was drafted by the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders. Upon being drafted he was visited by Fred Biletnikoff, a former Raiders player, and given a large sum of money (Oakland claims it was $25,000). Once he flew out to California he partied, drank and wasted his money away. He never reported to training camp. Oakland is homeless and he’s always late to sign in at Cross and Crown for food.
A couple of years ago I got into it with Oakland at the front door when I told him he was too late to get food for the day. I repetitively attempted to explain to him how it would be unfair for me to allow him to get food at 1:00 in the afternoon when 50 other people had been waiting in line at 9:00 in the morning to sign up for food and another 3-5 people arrived at 9:15 or so only to find out they were too late. So, how did he see it fit for him to get food and not all those other people that had been waiting several hours before him in the cold? It didn’t matter. He was determined to get food that day (shoot, if i was in his position I probably wouldn’t take no for an answer either). After several minutes of failing to get my point across Oakland and I came to an agreement and worked out a plan.
Ever since this instance Oakland and I have been on good terms. Nowadays any day Oakland comes we talk basketball. Oakland is a big Celtics fan (go figure, in all honesty though he was fan well before KG, Ray and Pierce). He is a Kobe hater, so I’m in good company. He always asks me about my basketball playing and how my games have been going. He tells me I look like Jeff Hornacek ( http://www.nba.com/media/history/jazz_hornacek_240.jpg) . I promise him I don’t play like him. He calls everyone at the mission his kinfolk and says we’re the only family he’s got.