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Words and Baskets

Jessica Lloyd

How on earth do words and baskets tie together? It’s a question I asked myself many times when I was first getting to know my husband. He would watch sports, of any kind minus soccer, for hours. I repeat, hours. But basketball, that’s always been his favorite. He’d skip dinner or outings if it meant catching a few minutes of an Alabama basketball game, which also added to my confusion. Alabama basketball has been downright awful for several years now; I’d hear him hollering from the other room at the TV in frustration. Why spend so much of your time watching a team you know will lose to the team I’d never even heard of before? And just as quickly as the game was over, Gary would be back in the office, writing. A 180 degrees from what he was doing just minutes ago … quietly scratching down ideas in his black, spiral bound notebook he’s frequently seen with or typing away on the Mac. 

It took a while for me to realize that Gary was not the one-sided guy most would guess him to be when he runs down the statistics of baseball games from thirty years ago or talks about Alabama football’s newest recruits. And he was also not the boring words guy; correcting me lovingly to this day when I say “four cent” instead of “cents.” These two things, words and baskets make up a huge part of who Gary is. From the time he could walk, he was playing a sport. It’s just what you did growing up a boy in the South. And he grew up loving it. I still hear stories about how late into the night his parents would hear the tap, tap, tap of the basketball outside on their driveway. 

But Gary also loves writing. He can put words to paper and tell a story that people want to read. I’ve seen him write stories about football players, genius kids ahead of their time, young men fighting cancer and the people behind growing businesses and towns. He’s covered more sporting events than I can count; sometimes I’d tag along…mostly for the concession stand food and the chance to see him work. 

Eventually, as he got older and more practiced in his writing he began to morph those two worlds together. Taking one passion and making it come alive with the other. He’s been talking about his new book he’s been working on for a while; long before he met me actually so it’s hard to call it new. But it’ll be new to you when it comes out. He’s put his heart, his love for basketball and sports, his love for writing and telling a story into this book. I hope you’ll check it out when it’s available and find out for yourself about words and baskets.

Gary Lloyd is the author of five books: "Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History," "Deep Green," "Heart of the Plate," "Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South," and "Ray of Hope." He has been a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines in Mississippi and Alabama. He grew up in Trussville, Alabama, and graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School in 2006. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Alabama in 2009. He lives in Moody, Alabama, with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Abby and Sonny.

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