My first big-time interview as a sportswriter was with O.J. Simpson. OK, I was an aspiring sportswriter, still in high school. It was summer of 1973 and I had won a contest through my hometown newspaper in Central New York to chat with The Juice at Bills training camp at Niagara University.
I was awestruck by his larger-than-life persona. I was impressed with the sense he gave that he genuinely cared about my not-so-probing questions such as, “How many games do you think the Bills will win this year?” He said 10, one more than their actual total.
Our conversation probably lasted no more than four or five minutes, but I felt as if we had spent at least an hour of quality time together and that I captured the essence of a superstar. For many years, it stood as one of the happier memories of my life, something upon which I reflected with Simpson when he interviewed me for NBC during the Bills’ Super Bowl run.
Now, those encounters are more haunting than happy. Watching the “O.J.: Made in America” series provides a blunt reminder of how much we never really get to know in this business.