The Return of Marcus Lattimore
Joyce Park stashed this in The Sporting Life
Finally reveals the solution to the mysteries of Marcus Lattimore. My favorite anecdote: Steve Spurrier had to dance the Cha-Cha Slide in her living room to win over Marcus's mother Yolanda.
He's so charismatic!
Marcus Lattimore is magnetic. Children of all backgrounds draw to him at the camp that carries his name, hanging off every word, staying late for autographs and pictures. A handshake or fist bump exchanged with the former Gamecocks running back here will become news to share with the other kids at school. Adults? They want a piece, too. Away from the camp, anywhere they play SEC football, he says, but without question all across South Carolina, Marcus cannot walk two feet without being stopped. “Are you … ?” one woman began at a restaurant last month, cocking her head while Marcus ordered his meal.
Forgive her uncertainty. Marcus has recently shorn his trademark braids, the hair he wore for years as he cut up college football one breathtaking run at a time, and so it may take some a second glance for his presence to register. Though with every signature request, every baby shoved in his hands for a spontaneous photo, Marcus greets each fan, black or white, young or old, South Carolinian or not, with warmth. This is life for him now, back home after an incomplete go at the NFL. He spends his days in the community much like a politician, even though Marcus seeks no public office.
He is a natural with his people, and returned to the state that nurtured his stardom. And yet what many he meets will fail to realize is that each smile he gives away brings something back in return. Every grin is restorative for Marcus, another moment of happiness removed from the personal anguish he so recently suffered, another opportunity to serve a new role in life.