Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - It was his rookie season in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks when he was still known as Lew Alcindor and was the first NBA game I ever went to with my brother and parents when I was 13. It was a home game and I was so naive I even brought an autograph book and pen with me. We were waiting just inside the arena for the gate to open when, outside on the street, who came bounding out of a cab with a pretty well-dressed young woman on one arm and a duffle bag in his other arm but Lew Alcindor himself! He said goodbye to his lady friend (maybe wife? I don't really know) and was waiting at a gate while a guard fumbled with some keys to open it for him (standing 7'2", he didn't need to show an ID to identify himself!). I walked over to him with pen and autograph book in hand and asked "Mr. Alcindor, can I please have an autograph?" He looked down on me and with a very quiet voice that I barely heard said, "Not right now," and was soon off through the gate. He must have been quite late, because minutes later when we were let in, all the other players were already on the court warming up and he was the last to show. The game was on national TV and Lew poured in 41 or 42 points that night, going against Willis Reed and the Knicks. The Bucks won but the Knicks were very good that year and went on to win the NBA title. Alas, no autograph for me but I have remained a Bucks fan over the years -- and have attended probably dozens of NBA games since but have never encountered another NBA player under quite the same circumstances again.
Jonathan Harris - I met the famous "Dr. Smith" at a sci-fi rally in Cleveland in early 2001. I had him autograph a picture with my name and he actually said my name in that "scheming" voice along with.."What an interesting name." Too cool. - Joe B.
Mr. T - In 1996 my family took a vacation to San Antonio, TX. We had been out and about and when we returned to our hotel one of the hotel employees was gushing all over about Mr. T staying at their hotel. He even told us that Mr. T was out at the pool, and encouraged us to check it out. Not wanting to be too intrusive, we did go poolside but did not approach him, and we saw him with his entourage. Meanwhile, a little boy and his dad went up and asked Mr. T for his autograph, and Mr. T refused!!! The little boy left, obviously upset. I left disappointed for the little boy, and in Mr. T for being less than gracious. His glory days were long over when this happened. I was just curious if he realized it! - Anita
James Brown -Since he's gone, I want to pass on this meeting: 1968, LAX at midnight. There used to be very cheap tickets at midnight. My best friend and I went to pick up friends; we were walking down a very long hallway to the landing site. We saw, in the distance, a man in a kelly green suit with another man, walking toward us. I turned to my friend and said (we were 19),"That guy thinks he's James Brown." As we got closer and closer we realized and screamed at the same time, "It is James Brown." He did his little dance, spun around, then left. We were thrilled. Rest in Peace, Godfather. - Terri
Aretha Franklin - In 1996 the Democratic National convention was held here in Chicago and parties were going on all along the lakefront. I just so happened to be passing by the Art Institute of Chicago and noticed a crowd in front hoping to catch a peek at Michael Jordan (who slipped out the back) but Madame Ms. Franklin herself took center stage as she waved toward everyone around, taking her sweet time (I swear) seeming almost to "float" down the steps into her car! - WAJ
Jay North - I met Jay North when he appeared at our local movie theater in High Point, NC. I remember being very excited to see him. After he left the stage I went upstairs to the restroom and I heard voices down the hall. I walked around the corner and there was Jay and company in the theater manager's office. I said hello and he was very cordial and even posed for a picture with me. He didn't seem much like the boys I knew. He was very professional and it made me feel a little sad for some reason. I felt sorry for him and wished he could come home with me and play with me and my friends. I think he would have liked that, too. I think he had to grow up too fast and would have loved a chance to play and just be one of the guys for a day. It still makes me smile to think of him and that day. - Andy D.
Tex Ritter - When I was 13 years old I went to a Tex Ritter concert at a local junior high school auditorium in Hamilton, Ohio. I was always a huge fan of Tex when I was small. I sat in awe of the great man during the first half of the performance. He was accompanied on stage by his long-time cowboy sidekick Smily Burnette. During the intermission I was honored to walk up to the stage and request his current hit at the time, "Hillbilly Heaven", which he sang right after the show resumed. He made a young person pretty happy. - rg
Bill Walton - The basketball Hall-of-Famer lives about three miles from our house here in San Diego. I've seen him twice in the past ten years -- once in a local supermarket and once while he was walking into his home. Both times he realized that I'd recognized him, and although we each smiled and nodded, I respected the man's privacy, and said nothing. He has a bumper sticker stuck above the entrance to his house that says "Walton for Governor." - Joe C.
Goldie Hawn - In 1986 my hubby and I were in Hawaii on the island of Maui. We were playing "tourist" in the little fishing village of La Haina, noted for its arts and crafts. The narrow street was crowded and we saw an attractive couple pushing a stroller move on by. She wore a white muslin dress and he ws in jeans. They proceeded down the street and soon someone shouted that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell were in the crowd. Soon they drew a crowd, especially when they entered an art gallery. She graciously signed some autographs, and they left the shop. Besides her tremendous beauty, I was struck by the fact that so famous a couple could have been on a crowded little street for so long without someone noticing sooner. They wore no sunglasses. I guess that is how stars blend in with crowds every day. We just don't notice them. - DKH
Gene Roddenberry - Back in the '80s I was working as an engineer at a TV station here in Jacksonville, FL. One day we aired a Star Trek marathon, hosted by Gene Roddenberry. I wasn't working the day he came in to pre-tape his segments, but I went in anyway in hopes of meeting him. We stood there talking in the nearly dark studio after the taping, and he answered every question I asked (even the dumb ones). It was nice to meet someone famous whom I respected, who turned out to be so nice in person. - Cessna Ace
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