Lawrence, Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

KU20

My best friends in this wonderful life are the kind of cats that you can speak to after a couple days, weeks, months or even years and pick up right where we left off. My oldest & dearest friend from childhood (and I’m talking, we go back, WAY BACK, all the way to Kindergarten…yeah, real talk) is my brotha, Justin Anderson. Growing up in Los Angeles, the Andersons were like a 2nd home & family to me. Justin & I were inseparable. In the 1st grade, we both breezed through our 1st day of math assignments, only to find out the next day in class, that we were only supposed to complete the first chapter, not the entire book – what can I say, if homework was in the way of having fun, we made sure to knock that out quickly. The result? Our teacher turned us into math tutors that year 😉 We pushed each other in academics, athletics, video games, boy scouts and together had the most insane collection of Star Wars actions figures anyone has ever seen – sadly, in our late teens, we didn’t have the foresight to hang on to those collector items (remember when you had to mail in UPC symbols to get The Emperor action figure???) and idiotically destroyed everything in a bizarre game of toss-the-basketball-on-the-roof-to-come-crashing-down-on-action-figures-in-the-courtyard-and-laugh-our-asses-off-as-shit-exploded-into-pieces. In 7th grade, we went to different schools, but that divide never impacted our relationship. For college, I stayed relatively local, heading up north to UC BERKELEY (aka CAL) and Justin headed to the mid-west to attend the University of Kansas (aka KU), where his father & father before him had attended. Post-college, we did the the Europe-trip together and then he headed out to Chi-town for dental school. Little did I know, when we parted ways after that trip, it was the last time I would see Justin as a California resident. Despite the fact that he was born & raised in LA and that his parents lived here, Justin was going to make a life in Lawrence, Kansas, with his college sweetheart, Jean. When he called me to tell me he wasn’t moving back to Los Angeles after dental school, I’ll admit, I was baffled. In October 2013, when I flew to Lawrence with his beautiful parents, it finally clicked as to why he didn’t want to come back to LA. Everywhere we walked, people knew his name. They were kind, open, engaging and super excited to meet his oldest childhood friend. They treated me like I was family. I kid you not, we walked a main strip for less than 1 mile and over 35 people stopped him just to say hello. It was small town America and you just can’t get that in Los Angeles. This is where his parents met & fell in love. He was home and I was happy to see him in his element. It was the first time I had been back to Kansas since his marriage, so a lot had changed and the Andersons rolled out the red carpet for me like they always did as a child. And even though I got flown out on a private jet and got to see the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins, play his first scrimmage as a Jayhawk, the highlight of my trip was watching Justin coach his younger son, Josh, in basketball and attending his older son’s, Jack, soccer match. There are few greater things in life than watching your childhood friends become parents and there are few greater fathers in this world than my boy Justin. Andersons, as always, I love you guys with all my heart and I look forward to my next visit to Lawrence. Until then, here are some memories from last fall…

KU30

KU11

KU22

KU6

KU1

KU14

KU2

KU3

KU31

KU32

KU10

KU5

KU9

KU33

KU23

KU24

KU16

KU8

KU7

KU19

KU13

KU15

KU28

KU25

KU26

KU35

KU36

KU34

KU21

KU4

KU12

KU17

KU29

KU18