City Paper is not for tourists
For the fabulous moolah machine that is the print platform of Washington City Paper, I wrote this week about D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown‘s memories of his high school basketball exploits, and how they match up, or not, with the public record. Pick up a copy, read the column, acknowledge the awesome power of the hard copy of the 930 Club advertisement, don’t go changin’.
The nut of the story is that Brown, after complaining that another Michael Brown was stealing his political thunder, co-opted the athletic glory of another guy named Michael Brown.
The Councilmember had called me a couple weeks ago and wanted me to write about his participation in the Capital Classic all-star game. I had written earlier that the Washington Post archives have no record of him ever being named an All-Met basketball player when he was at Mackin Catholic High School in the early 1980s, which he had claimed to me on two separate occasions, and Brown clearly felt that story hurt his court credibility.
If you played at Mackin back then, you had to be good—Jo Jo Hunter, Austin Carr, and Johnny Dawkins are among the alums. But if you played in the Capital Classic back in the day (as James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, etc. had), that took your basketball bona fides to a whole other level.
The councilmember then had his office send me a box score of the 1984 Capital Classic, which featured the best prep players from this area against the best of the rest of the country. “Michael Brown” was indeed on the D.C. squad.
But, alas, after searching through those same Washington Post archives that earlier wouldn’t confirm that Councilmember Michael Brown was an All-Met, I learned that the “Michael Brown” in the 1984 Capital Classic was an All-American from Dunbar of Baltimore.
The box score the councilmember’s office sent out for me to write about had nothing to do with the councilmember. He’d graduated high school — Mackin Catholic in D.C. — in 1983. Definitely one of the bizarrest experiences of my years of typing about D.C. sports.
But, again, the Capital Classic was a huge deal around here for a long time. I remember watching that 1984 game, which was played at Abe Pollin‘s Capital Centre, on cable on the USA Network on the USA Network while I was in Lubbock, Texas. Chris Washburn, a massive center playing for the U.S. team, had a breakaway dunk that was one of the greatest slams I had ever seen.
On that highlight alone, I was sure Washburn, who was headed to N.C. State, would be a fabulous NBA superstar in no time flat.
Washburn instead turned out to be a fabulous headcase and one of the biggest busts in NBA history. Oh, well. He can say he played in the Capital Classic.