Londaryl Perry blog series Part 1: Perry's basketball playing career
I wrote a story for Tuesday’s newspaper about Northeast girls basketball coach Londaryl Perry, who was raised in a home with a drug-addicted mother and his two younger brothers. When Perry was 21-years old, he took his mother to court and was given custody of his two brothers. Both of them now have careers, wives and children.
Perry’s childhood was extremely difficult, and his life story goes well beyond what was in Tuesday’s newspaper article. I decided to continue Londaryl Perry’s story in a five-part blog series. I’ll release a new blog each day focusing on a different aspect of Perry’s fascinating, often chilling, life story.
Today, I’ll write about his basketball career and how hoops, in many ways, saved his life. Here is the list of the blogs I’ll release each day:
Tuesday: Perry’s basketball career
Wednesday: More on Perry’s mother and two brothers
Thursday: Perry’s first coaching job
Friday: Perry’s military career
Saturday: The state of Perry’s family today
At age 8, Londaryl Perry was introduced to basketball.
His family bounced around Oklahoma City from apartment to apartment, and in the summer before his third-grade year, he was playing with some kids at a park.
One other boy asked Londaryl to play on his summer league team, the Colts.
“We would just go out there and play, and I just kept playing,” Londaryl said.
He had natural talent and loved the game, but basketball was also a welcome distraction from a miserable home life with a mother who not only ignored her oldest son, but showed genuine disdain toward him.
She made fun of him in front of her friends, mocking the clothes he wore and calling him awful names.
The one family member Londaryl remembers really showing him affection and love was his uncle Jerome, who also lived in Oklahoma City and now lives in Denton, Texas.
“I remember him coming to me one day, telling me how he didn’t think his mom loved him because she was doing drugs and she was never there for him,” Jerome Perry said.
“Like a lot of little kids, he always wanted to make his mom proud. But she never took out time for him.”
She didn’t even take out time to watch him play basketball. In a hoops career that lasted through four years of college, Londaryl’s mother saw him play exactly twice, and she had to be dragged there both times by other parents.
“Even when he was a little boy, he was a great basketball player,” Jerome Perry said.
“I used to always try to tell his mom, ‘You need to go see him; your son is great out there,’ but she was too busy worrying about getting high and doing drugs.”
Perry didn’t realize a college basketball career was possible until he was 16 and a junior at Putnam City West.
One day, PC West coach Dick Balenseifen walked down the hall with Perry and handed him a letter from a junior college in Kansas.
“What is this for?” Perry asked his coach.
“This is the middle of my junior year, and I had no idea I could go to college and play basketball,” Perry said. “I never even thought I could.”
Through that point in high school, Perry’s grades were bad. He was never ineligible during basketball season, but made C’s, D’s and F’s otherwise.
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