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Traveling down memory lane

by Michael Baldwin Modified: April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm •  Published: February 25, 2011

The Jayhawks visiting Lloyd Noble Center Saturday afternoon is a trip down memory lane for me because of Kansas coach Bill Self.
The legendary KU coach helped me learn an invaluable journalism lesson early in my career — people read what you write and will let you know if they have issues with your story.
Self was a senior at Edmond High School when I was a young 22-year-old sports editor at the Edmond Evening Sun. Self ended up being The Oklahoman’s Player of the Year, known for his late-game heroics.
But in a loss at Midwest City, Self, double-teamed, fired up a long shot at the buzzer that missed. I wrote a column that Self should have passed to an open teammate in the paint, that he was trying to do too much.
In those days, e-mail didn’t exist. But the phones rang off the hook at our office the next few days. Most wanted to know why the local paper would criticize the local star.
The team threatened to boycott interviews with me the remainder of the season. Following a meeting with the team, players slowly understood it was just my opinion.
That lesson always stuck with me. Write what you believe is the truth but know there will be some who disagree with you.
Years later, when Self was coaching at Tulsa and I had been at The Oklahoman for 15 years, I covered the Golden Hurricane’s run to the Elite Eight. I asked Self if he recalled the column I wrote years earlier.
“No,” Self said. “But I bet my parents do.”

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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