TULSA — It's easy to pick out Tracy Moore before he even introduces himself.
It's the shoes. They're bright orange and black Nikes — with the No. 87 embroidered on the back — adding some pop to the tan scrubs he's wearing as he settles into a seat inside the lobby of the OSU Medical Center.
No, this isn't the Tracy Moore that plays receiver for Oklahoma State. This is his father, who not long ago was the best-known athlete with that name.
In the mid-1980s, the older Moore was regarded as the top high school basketball player in the state when he was a swingman star for John Marshall. He was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection for the University of Tulsa after that. Then he spent parts of five seasons in the NBA and CBA and also played overseas.
Now the older Moore is happy to hand all attention over to his son, who first shined at Tulsa Union and has since had a productive — though sometimes bumpy — career in Stillwater. And there are high expectations for the younger Moore for 2013, as he gets a second chance at his final season after getting a medical redshirt following a serious ankle injury in 2012.
And the older Moore is enjoying taking part in his son's journey.
“I wish he would have played basketball,” the older Moore quipped, “but I'm a big football fan.”
The younger Moore can't recall much of his dad's professional basketball career. He remembers the delicious pizza in Italy and the abundance of orange trees in Greece while his family traveled back and forth between the United States and overseas.
The biggest reminders of his dad's athletic achievements came from others, such as when the older Moore would get stopped for autographs at restaurants or when folks around town would ask the younger Moore what his dad was up to.
“I still know he was pretty good,” the younger Moore said.
The older Moore, however, has been there to witness his son blossom in sports and in life.
The second-youngest child and only boy, the closest thing the younger Moore ever had to a brother while growing up was his dad. He describes his son as a bit of a mama's boy at heart, but with a big — sometimes stubborn — personality.
“He'd have every light on in the house, the TV is on,” the older Moore said. “(And you'd know) Tracy's here.
“He didn't want to make his bed. Didn't want to clean his room. Didn't want to cut (the plants in) the backyard. I'd always tell him, ‘We're a team. I'll cut the front (yard), you cut the back.'”
The younger Moore was also always physically bigger than the other kids his age. And more athletic.
So when he started playing youth football, he naturally wanted to line up at an offensive skill position. Catch the ball. Run with the ball. Something.
As a fourth-grader, though, he was already the biggest player on the team and weighed too much to do anything but block.
“He really struggled with that,” the older Moore said. “He said, ‘Aw dad, I don't wanna block.' It turns out, growing up, that helped his blocking skills now. You play receiver, you gotta learn the block.”
Naturally, Dad also taught Son how to play hoops. They'd play in the yard with the neighborhood kids, with the older Moore often beating the younger Moore with a move that involved him going behind-the-back and spinning for a dunk.
Until Son returned the favor at age 14.
“I dunked on him one time,” the younger Moore said, admitting the basket was shorter than the standard 10 feet. “I haven't seen him out there since with all of (the neighbors). He won't play me in front of people anymore.”
The younger Moore continued to play both sports, with Dad serving as his summer league basketball coach.
The older Moore started to believe his son had more natural talent than he did growing up. But the younger Moore still needed to improve his work ethic, and that stubborn personality.
One summer during high school, the younger Moore got temporarily kicked off his dad's team because he wasn't practicing hard enough.
“We're getting to leave for a tournament,” the older Moore said, “and it was like, ‘No, you can stay here. You're not going to play.' He kind of sulked a little bit, but he got it together. I sent him a message that you've got to continue (working). But he came back and played ball for me. Lesson learned.”
Still, the older Moore knew early on that football would ultimately be his son's future. He told his son that if he ever committed to getting in better shape, he was “going to be a monster.”
That happened the summer after his freshman season at Union. He went on to become one of the top players in the state, tallying more than 1,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008 while helping lead Union to the Class 6A state championship.