I wonder how many Bruins Nations readers remember Mark Eaton?
For those who don't, Mark was a 7-4 mechanic who was discovered by the basketball coach at Cypress College. After two seasons at the JC, he joined the Bruins, playing one season under Larry Brown and another for Larry Farmer. Famously -- or infamously -- Farmer didn't let the senior Eaton travel on the Bruins last road trip to Washington (back in the day when the conference limited the number of players who could travel). Farmer had little interest in a senior reserve and wasn't particularly fond of JC transfers either. So, Farmer left Mark home and traveled with freshmen centers Stuart Gray and Brad Wright.
The rest is history.
Eaton was given a shot by the Utah Jazz and became the NBA's All-Time leading shot blocker. He was a fixture in the middle for the Jazz, playing with Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek and the rest of a Utah team that was a playoff fixture and Lakers rival.
Now, it seems Eaton's story is coming to the big screen.
According to the "Coming Attractions" section of the Crazy Parkite production company web site, a movie co-authored by Eaton is in pre-production.
Currently in preproduction, Riding the Bench is the inspirational story of how former starting center for the Utah Jazz, Mark Eaton, stumbled into the NBA. Starting out as an auto mechanic at a Mark C. Bloome tire store in Anaheim, California, seven foot-plus Mark was perfectly content to work on cars, when at age 21, he was reluctantly plucked from the grease pit by Cypress College assistant basketball coach.
After graduating from Cypress College as a basketball star, Mark talked his way onto the UCLA men's varsity basketball team (believe it or not, they weren't eager to take him). Playing for the Bruins for a career total of only 62 minutes over the course of two years, Mark's dreams of being drafted by an NBA team were dashed when head coach Larry Farmer decided to leave Mark at home for the last two games of Mark's senior year. Ready to toss in the towel on basketball, Mark's Cypress College coaches refused to give up on him. In a last ditch effort to get Mark signed, Tom Lubin, Bruce Randall, and Mark's former UCLA assistant basketball coach Keith Glass, rallied around the big guy to get him an audience with Jazz head coach Frank Layden and convince him that Mark should be on his team. How they got Frank and Mark together is a lesson in perseverance and ingenuity that should be an example to all who aspire to a great dream.
Most basketball movies are pretty sucky, it's just too hard to recreate the action realistically. But because Mark was a Bruin (and a really cool guy) I'm interested in this one. Yeah, it seems a little obvious and bit too Rocky-esque -- but it might be fun to see this rags to riches story brought to life.
Heck, it will just be fun to see who they cast as the familiar faces in the story.
(HT to Slam Magazine)