The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

21 Mar
Eric Greenberg

Brady Sports Madness

written by Eric Greenberg in Blog | 4 comments

 

This is a great time of year for sports fans. The NBA and NHL are heading towards the home stretch. Opening Day and The Masters are right around the corner, and March Madness is officially underway. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll catch some of today’s action and by the time ”One Shining Moment” comes around, I’m bound to find a Cinderella story to latch on to. But with my school heading for the NIT and no major upsets on day one, my mind is left with a little time to wander. That said, I started thinking about some of the great athletes that have walked through the Brady Bunch set. 

It’s amazing that no matter how great a career a pro athlete has had, they can be so identified with a guest spot on a sitcom. Think about it. If someone says the name Keith Hernandez today, what do you think of first, the ’86 World Series or “Seinfeld”? For me, while Kevin McHale will always remind me of those great Celtics teams I grew up watching, I can’t think about him too long without picturing him counting the bolts in the old Boston Garden floor on “Cheers.” Of course not every sports related guest spot ends up being so memorable, which makes it even more amazing that “The Brady Bunch” has racked up several that people can’t seem to forget. 

With a career like Joe Namath had, it’s a testament to the power of television (and the impact of the show) that people even remember his visit to a “very very sick” Bobby Brady. In fact, despite a Hall of Fame career of his own, I’ve been told by a reliable source that Deacon Jones still gets comments about his Brady episode to this day. Even crazier is that with six gold gloves, Wes Parker is still well remembered for just one scene with Barry back in 1970. In 2001, Parker told Dodgers.com: “The funny thing is when I go out and talk to kids, which I do a lot for the Dodgers, I’m better known for that moment than for anything I ever did with this ball club. Any kid who is 29 or under was not born when I was playing, so you can see why they know me better through that.” I can only guess that when Don Drysdale was alive, he got at least some of the same.

With day two of the tourney now in session, let’s get back to why March Madness led me on this wild tangent. While the “Brady Bunch” covered baseball and football, there was never a guest star from the world of basketball. Sure, that makes some degree of sense as Greg’s real passion was baseball. Here’s what’s a little ironic though. The Dodgers weren’t all that great during most of the Brady years. The Lakers on the other hand, were thriving right in the Brady’s backyard. I’m not complaining, but I can’t help but think there may have been an opening for one more sports icon. If I could go back in time and become Sherwood Schwartz for a day, here’s how I’d pull it off: 

A lot of you probably remember a 1972 “Brady Bunch” episode called “Big Little Man” in which Bobby is so upset about being short that he resorts to hanging from the swing set to stretch himself. What a perfect set up! In comes an NBA star, who Mike happens to be designing a house for, to show Bobby how hard it is to be tall. You see him ducking through the patio door to get inside and then going over his plans with Mike that call for extra high ceilings. The Brady’s already had a basketball hoop, which would obviously be needed for the requisite pick up game with the basketball star and Bobby’s friends.

Now time for some retroactive casting. The choice here is pretty obvious. It would have to not only be someone famous enough, but a local hero, and someone tall enough to drive the point home. Sorry Jerry West, this is no job for a guard. Yup, we need a center. Maybe someone with a little camera experience from appearing on “Laugh-In” just a year earlier. Someone, who by the way, knew a little bit about the Final Four from his time at Kansas. Your Brady guest star that could have been: Wilt Chamberlain. 

The timing would have even worked out great in that Wilt passed Bill Russell to become the NBA career rebounds leader in the very same month that episode aired, and the Lakers went on to win their first championship since moving to the West Coast. With Kareem later doing an episode of “Diff’rent Strokes” and Shaq showing up on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” there’s clearly a high sitcom success rate for Laker big men.

I wish I was there to take a shot at this one. Nothing but net!

 

4 Comments

    Bob Hunt
    on Mar. 21st, 2008

    At least Wilt the Stilt merited a passing reference. During a family pizza dinner in the episode “Bobby’s Hero,” Cindy, Peter and Greg attempt to offer alternatives to Bobby’s idolization of Jesse James.
    Cindy: I had to write about a hero once. Mine got an ‘A’.
    Marcia: Who’d you write about?
    Cindy: Joan of Arc. She saw visions, and she won battles, and later she was made a saint. She was a great woman.
    Bobby: That’s okay for you. You got a lot better chance of being a woman than I have!
    Peter: Personally, I like George Washington. Now there’s a hero.
    Bobby: Fat chance I got of being father of my country.
    Greg: Bobby, there are lots of great heroes who are around right now. Take Wilt Chamberlain, for instance.
    Mike: Yeah, now there’s a great guy for you to follow.
    Bobby: Yeah, some chance I got of being seven-foot-two…and black!

    Remember, I didn’t write this dialogue, I merely pass it along as a faithful Brady historian. Would that we could rewind the clock and see the real deal in “Big Little Man”!

    Eric Greenberg
    on Mar. 21st, 2008

    I’m gonna have to insist that you change your bio to say “Bob is an elementary school teacher and Brady Historian.”

    I’m only glad you use your Brady powers for good.

    Renee
    on Mar. 22nd, 2008

    “With a career like Joe Namath had, it’s a testament to the power of television (and the impact of the show) that people even remember his visit to a “very very sick” Bobby Brady.”

    Actually, that episode was on at about 4 this morning!! (I THINK that was the right time – too early in the morning to comprehend) – noticed it was on because I always sleep with the tv on, and woke up in the middle of the night.

    Don M.
    on Apr. 5th, 2008

    Hey, thanks for the Celtics plug. If you’ve been following the NBA this year, you’ll know that the new big three is poised to do what the old big three did in 1986. And as a matter of fact, you can thank one of the old big three – McHale – for creating the new big three – Pierce, Allen and KG.

    Go Celtics!

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