Brent Barry is in his 14th season of NBA service and on his sixth team in that time, the Houston Rockets. After years in the association, Barry has no doubt come across his fair share of loyal and dedicated fans and now, the journeyman role-player, with the help of ESPN the Magazine, has decided to give something back: tickets.
Dubbed "The Brent Barry Ticket Experiment" (hopefully there wasn't a lot of time spent coming up with the name), the magazine is chronicling Barry as he gives away two free tickets to fans for every Rockets road game this season.
Along with Ric Bucher, Barry writes the story behind each ticket giveaway (one "lucky" recipient was Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam). Most recently it was Larry Bowens, "[A] community-college student by day, a late-shift cook in a 24-hour diner by night and a father round the clock..."
"I put my hospitable skills to work when he came in," Bowens said. "I didn't crowd him. I wasn't gawking. I just wanted to make him feel at home."
The service earned him two tickets to the next night's Heat-Rockets game, a chance for Bowens, 47, to treat his six-year-old son, Donovan. "A chance to go out with someone close to you, you can't beat that," Bowens said. "The seats were good, too. Gave me a chance to see the actual height of these guys."
It's easy to be cynical and pessimistic toward sports nowadays (see: Mike Vick, Plaxico Burress, Brett Myers, Jared Allen, Leonard Little, etc.), so when good and honest stories like this come out, quite frankly, it's refreshing.