One of the regular Friday highlights now ingrained in daytime SportsCenters is a segment called “Feel Good Friday.” It’s self-explanatory.
Today, co-anchors Nicole Briscoe and Randy Scott welcomed Bryson Bishop, who in 2017 as a 5-foot-6 eighth grader played man-to-man defense against Zion Williamson. Today, Bishop is a two-time high school state basketball champ in South Carolina. Here at Front Row, we have established our own FGF and it continues today with the backstory regarding play-by-play commentator Tom Hart and men’s basketball analyst Jon Sundvold.
Fans tuning in to Tuesday night’s SEC Network men’s basketball matchup between Vanderbilt and LSU were in for a Tigers-themed treat from play-by-play commentator Tom Hart. But not those LSU Tigers.
Hart and his analyst, Missouri hoops legend Jon Sundvold, came on screen as Hart introduced the duo on-air as a trio: “Tom Hart, Jon Sundvold and … Jon Sundvold.”
Behind Hart in his live-from-home setup was none other than an autographed poster of Sundvold, who was an All-American guard at Mizzou in 1983 and first-round NBA draft choice that same year. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye.
“My best friend’s mom took us to a local sporting goods store in the summer of 1983 for an autograph signing,” CoMo native Hart said. “If memory serves, the posters were $4. Jon and his teammate Steve Stipanovich (the No. 2 overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft!) autographed them on site. After years of the poster being taped to my bedroom wall, I eventually got it framed. It wasn’t the first time he’s seen it, but since it was our last game together this year, I thought it would be a nice touch.”
Sundvold notes that the first time he and Hart called a game together in Alabama, Hart asked to meet in the hotel bar, and they’d find something to eat.
“I walk in, and on the wall of the bar was the poster. I am totally puzzled as to why this hotel bar would have a poster of me, in Tuscaloosa, signed, hanging on the wall. Tom, as only Tom can look with a sly grin says, ‘maybe the bar owner is a huge Mizzou fan.’
“I replied, ‘That poster is 30-plus years old. What’s going on?’ Finally, he fesses up that he got the poster signed when he was a kid in Columbia, Mo., and I was playing for Mizzou. He hauled it to Tuscaloosa!”
Sundvold’s reaction was the same Tuesday night as it was their first game together in Tuscaloosa: laughing and shaking his head.
Hart noted, “I look forward to the day Jon has my poster hanging on his wall.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: In 2015, Sundvold was honored as a Missouri Sports Legend by the Missouri Sports Hall Of Fame. In November 1982, Sundvold and Stipanovich led Missouri to a victory over Michael Jordan and his defending NCAA champion North Carolina Tar Heels as seen in this Tigers highlights package.