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I follow Elliot Perry on Twitter. I had been introduced to him once before by a man named Jonathan Dyson who was one of the biggest influences on my decision to become an entrepreneur. Elliot Perry doesn’t know who I am at all and it doesn’t matter because the city of Memphis knows Elliot and everyone realizes how important he is to the fabric of this town.
I first saw Elliot Perry when I played basketball at Hillcrest. I was in the eighth or ninth grade and he was a senior who played at Treadwell High School. When their team traveled to opposing high schools the game was an instant sell out. I remember distinctly when he entered the gym. He had on a pair of Jordans and all of us in the stands where ooohhhhing and aaaahhhhhing. When he exited the locker room for the game he played in all things a pair of Red Chuck Taylor Converse. Here was this small dude with socks up to his knees who had a pair of Jordans, but played in shoes nobody would have rocked. At barely 6 feet, he dunked on our 6-5 center (father of Adonis Thomas who played at Perry’s alma mater the University of Memphis). Our home crowd went bananas.
In my head I knew something was different about Elliot Perry. He played with a chip on his shoulder, but there seemed to be an element of respect and humbleness in the way he would push his teammates. When I met him later in life after being introduced by Dyson, I wanted to tell him this story, but I didn’t have the chance. There were a lot of people speaking to him. Dyson died in a motorcycle crash and I often drive by the lot of his business which was on Summer Ave in Memphis. I think about my success and failures. I think about how I wanted to open an art gallery, but got cold feet. Dyson wouldn’t have let me get cold feet.
It’s nice to read such a great discussion on art from Elliot Perry and seeing this article reminds me of that kid wearing Chucks who did things a bit different than what was expected and continues to do so.
Use the source link to read this great piece from Larry’s List. Source: Former NBA Star on Why the Work of Artist of Color is Vital to Art Institutions | Larry’s List – Art Collector Interviews and Art Collector Email Addresses