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I used to work for the autocratic madman named Chris Wilder at this magazine named The Source Sports and one of Wilder’s ‘bright ideas’ was to do a story on the hangers-on of popular athletes.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens was just coming off his second season in the NFL. Future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice had been injured and Owens had stepped in, catching 60 passes for 936 yards and 8 touchdowns-making a name for himself among football diehards, but few other people.

Owens also had a hanger-on of his own; a muscle-bound pretty boy from his hometown who ostentatiously worked as his personal trainer, but was possibly just spending TO’s money.

After about three days of listening to the hanger-on’s philosophies on life, him, I and TO went out to a club in Oakland. At the end of the night, a girl-cute, Black, a little chubby, called TO over and gave him her number. I’ll never forget the way TO looked right then, looking down at the number in his hand. It was as if he was holding a winning lottery ticket and still couldn’t quite believe it.

Whatever has happened to Terrell Owens subsequently, whether it was suggesting that his former quarterback in San Francisco, Jeff Garcia, was gay, whether it was posing, as a 49er, on the star at midfield in Dallas, whether it was challenging his quarterback in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb, to a fist-fight, or whether it was inexplicably breaking down in tears after his quarterback in Dallas, Tony Romo, cost his team a playoff game due to poor play, I can’t shake the thought that the real Terrell Owens was the guy that was so gassed to get the phone off an almost fat girl.

TO is not an idiot. He realizes that personality sells, in some cases more than talent. Name a wide receiver that’s had better numbers than Marvin Harrison over the past 10 years. Or does anybody even know who Marvin Harrison is?

So I still cheer for Terrell Owens and I might even watch his new reality show even though it promises to be stupid because I think the whole ‘TO’ thing is just a put-on.

I mean really; if every silly thing you did was rewarded with more money, how would you act?

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