So, I'm walking through John F. Kennedy International Airport a few weeks ago and walking past the baggage claim area where I run upon a taller-than-me African-American/Negro/Black/Colored man. I'm just about 6'1" so I immediately think to myself, "NBA!!" Well, as coincidence or Murphy's Law or whatever would have it, I recognized the dude. And yes, he was NBA!! albeit former. It was none other than the Spider himself, John "Best Damn Sports Show Ever!" Salley.
I put my hand out on some 'ol hey, I'm black...you're black, let's do some soul clapping handshake!! kind of thing. He was tooling on his Crackberry so it either took him a minute to notice me or he was straight ignoring me. Either way, I didn't remove my hand until I knew he knew that I was recognizing his famousticitiy.
For those who don't know, John "The Spider" Salley (corny nickname, but he earned it) is the proud owner of four NBA Championship Rings - two earned via the Detroit Pistons before M.J. decided to shut them down forever and two ridin' the bench. He earned one with Shaq and Co. on the Lakers and another, ironically, watching from the Chicago Bulls bench as M.J.'s teammate. He's also been in Bad Boys I & II. You know...don't you remember the imprisoned computer geek? Didn't think so. He also co-hosts that show I mentioned in between his name earlier along side other more-famous-in-their-own-heads people such as Tom Arnold.
That being said, after he finally decided to shake my hand, almost on cue, he spun his head away from me as if someone called him or.....something. Pretty convenient. I suppose he didn't want any *ahem* fans recognizing him or anything. God forbid if I blew up his spot or anything. I didn't trip though. I took it in stride and kept on. I actually like John Salley. He's a nice guy and it was cool meeting him, even if it was really just me meeting him and him not really meeting me.
I didn't get five paces away from Mr. Spider, when I hear someone walk up behind me and say something. I didn't quite think this person was speaking to me so I didn't respond. The person then raised their voice to make sure I heard them. I then felt a touch on my elbow and heard a ladies voice say, "Excuse me, what NBA player was that?" Now...what made that question interesting to me is that w/o even mentioning NBA or sports at all, she KNEW he was in the NBA or had been at some point. Amused, I turned to see who this was. To my amazement, I see this vision loviness walking besides me:
My simple exit from JFK had now become a bona fide, very surreal WTF?! moment. Susan Sarandon - five time Oscar nominee, one time Oscar winner, political activist, grounded New Yorker and all around beautiful woman that she is - stopped me and asked me who John Salley was. Now, it wasn't the fact that she didn't know who John Salley was. I mean..he's not that famous. It was the whole famous person asking me who another (semi) famous person was that got me. I mean...I know Mrs. Sarandon (long time love of Tim Robbins) is just another human being in the grand scheme of things but isn't there a 'famous person' code written somewhere that says if you're famous, you're allowed to run up on other famous people and ask them who they are? I'm just sayin'.
Anyways, I open my mouth and the first thing I say is, "Well...you're Susan Sarandon," as if she didn't know already, "...and that was John Salley, former NBA player." She laughed at my answer for a second then said, "Oh..." I would've literally LOL'ed had I not still been semi-mesmerized that I was speaking with Susan fuckin' Sarandon. She became one of my favorite actors after seeing her in Lorenzo's Oil and Dead Man Walking. I'm respectful of celebrities' celebrityness so I didn't bother to ask for an autograph or anything like that. I just kept it moving.
Susan (I can call her that now) and I walked another 8/16 of a mile together just giggling ('cause right after she asked me, another woman ran up on her to ask her who 'that' guy was...until she realized she was asking Susan Sarandon which tripped her out). She was very sweet and humble and HUMAN. It was a GREAT moment to be in...especially after my brother gave me the cold shoulder. I won't read too much into it but the difference in how they both dealt with me was pretty amazing. The 2/4 champion acted as if I was disturbing him when in fact he should've been glad that someone who doesn't watch The Best Damn... recognized his corny ass at all. On the flipside, this seasoned, very accomplished, VERY FAMOUS entertainer was just as sweet and chill as could be.
If I were to ever reach that level of celebrity and want to be respected, I plan on handling it like a sexy, older white woman. Trust me.