‘Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke’ by Andrew Maraniss: An Excerpt

Roger Brigham, a San Francisco sportswriter, sat with Glenn and was overcome by the senselessness of it all. “It just seemed like such a tragic combination of events in his life where he could not have the strength of freely being who he was,” Brigham recalled. “If ever anybody paid a price for his sexuality and prejudice against it, it was Glenn Burke. God knows how he could have flourished as a pro athlete if he had been given a grain of support.” When former minor league teammate Larry Corrigan paid a go to, the dialog turned to bas­ketball. Corrigan requested Burke to call the 5 best gamers of all time. “Magic, Jordan, Kareem, Larry Bird, and me!” Glenn replied, his humorousness intact till the top. If he had one remorse in life, he advised Corrigan and others, it was not pursuing a basketball profession.

And there have been those that didn’t come to go to, family and friends members who, like many others within the nation, have been afraid to be within the presence of somebody with AIDS. “I was squeamish about it,” Glenn’s previous playground pal Jon Nikcevich mentioned a long time later. “So I didn’t go see him. That was one of the worst deeds of my life. Oh, if I could go back. You don’t have that many friends who are always there for you. He always had my back.”

When Lutha got here house from work one night in late May, a nurse who had been attending to Glenn advised her she didn’t need to go house that night time; Glenn’s readings have been low, and he or she thought he could be about to die. That was troubling information for Lutha, not solely as a result of her brother’s dying sounded imminent, but additionally as a result of she needed to go to work within the morning. If Glenn didn’t move away till the following day, Lutha didn’t need her younger kids to be house with out their mom when it occurred.

In the morning, she known as an AIDS hospice program on the Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro, simply south of Oakland. But when a medic arrived to choose up Glenn, he didn’t present up in a pleasant van or ambulance, however in an open-bed truck. Lutha and Glenn’s nurse have been mortified. Lutha recalled sending the truck away and asking for an ambulance as an alternative. Already late for work, Lutha caught a bus to the Claremont. “I’m just trying to hold on to my job,” she mentioned. “I’m the only one my kids have.”

After work, she hurried again to the hospital, where Glenn appeared to be feeling just a little higher, properly sufficient that his urge for food had returned. He requested a few of Lutha’s specialties, and he or she stayed up till one a.m. fixing ribs, collard greens, potato salad, and candy potato pie.

“And he ate like a champ,” Lutha recalled. “Every time he sat up the next day, he was eating. I told myself there was no way he was going to die after eating this food.”

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