Bald, bone-white, wearing baggy sweats and clunky sneakers, Jerry “Tark the Shark” Tarkanian looks like a cross between Mr. Magoo and Yertle the Turtle as he paces the length of the hardwood floor of the Blossom Athletic Center in San Antonio, where the Spurs are holding their rookie/free-agent camp. Twenty players, most of them seasoned pros and all but one a college meal ticket, are running a fast-break drill up and down the court, pulling up short for eighteen-footers, bending the flexible rims when they hang after slamming it, passing blind. Tarkanian keeps his hooded, bloodshot eyes fastened on that one raggedy-ass exception: Lloyd “Swee’pea” Daniels, a pigeon-toed, bald, twenty-five-year-old man with delicate, intensely expressive features, limbs that are puffy with subcutaneous fat, and a bullet embedded in his back that he’ll let you feel when he gets to know you. The two go back a ways
Originally published in the November 1992 issue of Esquire.