Steve Mix got the best Grandpa Job. Everyone else is just shooting for second place. Even Adrian Dantley, famed crossing guard.
The 6-7 former Philadelphia 76ers forward and 13-year NBA vet was also a 22-year veteran behind the microphone at Sixers games before being let go by the club in 2007. A decade later, he’s taken to his role as usher at New York Met spring training games at Port St. Lucie, FL., living the manageable retirees’ dream as the tallest guy (we think) helping fans to their seats at exhibition Major League Baseball games.
The New York Post’s Kevin Kernan recently caught up with Mix, a former teammate and roommate of Julius Erving’s, at his new gig:
This is a great spot behind home plate, and the people are the best thing about this job,’’ Mix said. “They come in, they are friendly, they’re baseball fans. Instead of passing the ball to Julius, I’m helping ladies down to their seats and helping them back up. I have a wonderful time doing it.’’
“I heard somebody say sometime, when you retire and you do nothing, how do you know when you are done?’’ Mix said of his desire to keep working. “I need that place where I can hang my hat. I just need a place where I can do something.’’
The news hit with such ferocity on Monday that Mix’s Wikipedia page has already been updated:
Mix was a fringe NBA and ABA forward between 1969 and 1983, one that had to pay his dues in the minor leagues for a year (in the Continental Basketball Association) before shooting to prominence as a 76er just before Julius Erving was dealt to the team in 1976. Prior to the influx of ABA talent sent to the NBA in 1976, Mix was an NBA All-Star in 1975 with averages of 14.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and two assists in 48 games for the 34-win Sixers.
The 6-7 forward was a reserve on the unit that made the NBA Finals in 1977, but signed as a free agent with the Lakers in 1982 just after Los Angeles’ downing of Mix’s 76ers in the 1982 NBA Finals, just missing his best chance at an NBA championship with Philly’s 1983 title win. In the New York Post feature, Mix points out that he and Julius Erving remain friends some 35 years later, so there appears to be no lingering, Ray Allen-like resentment toward Mix for leaving the bridesmaids in order to hop on with the champs in 1982.
Mix, who was nicknamed “Sky” by Erving while the two were roommates due to Steve’s inability to jump toward the blue above, retired just a year after leaving the 76ers, and was a highly-regarded color analyst for the team for decades following alongside the great Marc Zumoff.
The former All-Star did not reveal why, exactly, he chose the Mets over the Philadelphia Phillies or either of the teams that play in Mix’s home state of Ohio, but does any retiree really need a reason to accept a job working as an usher at baseball games in Florida?
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