ABOUT FRANKLIN (2005-10): A true center is a rarity: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so fantastic as a pure center, and no scales can measure his excellence. Russell. Shaq. Kareem. Franklin. Pure centers. True big men. The mighty giants of basketball have a way of growing even larger as legends when their playing days are long past.
The world of pickup basketball is full of gunners and ballhogs; finding a real center who lives to play in the paint is a breath of fresh air. Franklin, aka “Hank”, aka “Blanklin”, aka “Wahlrus”, was as true of a center as ever may be found on an asphalt court. He was a mountain of a man, who played for blocks, rebounds and glory. “Hanklin” joined Lunchsketball in 2005, a raw player, built like a draught horse, and with God-given basketball talents that were a match for a draught horse as well. Finesse was never a priority for the Wahlrus, but over the course of his five year career with Lunchsketball, Franklin experienced a metamorphosis into a high-impact player. When he was in the game, the court seemed to actually decrease in size; there was less room to shoot on the baseline, and less space to dribble in the lane.
NAME: Franklin, aka “Blanklin”, aka “Tina”, aka “The Wall”, aka “Meathead”, aka “Optimus Prime”, aka “Franklinstein”, aka “Hank”, aka “Hanklin”, aka “Wahlrus”
BALL HANDLING: Not a dribbler. Thought the term “Ball Handling” was funny
MUSIC: 90’s grunge rock and Beatles
BEST SHIRTS FOR LUNCHSKETBALL: “Faux Paw” shirt, with image of wooden legged dog, or dinosaur shirt with words “Never Forget”
He was not shy about committing a foul. If you came into the lane, Franklin would take a swing at you, no questions asked. He didn’t aim for the grandeur of a clean, high-flying shot-rejection; no, he was just trying to hit the guy running past him, and he made no apologies. There is a certain noble sincerity in that; even if you got clothes-lined, you at least had the satisfaction afterward of knowing it was meant to be a clothesline all along. It is nice to know where you stand with somebody.
There hasn’t been a player like Franklin since. Lunchsketball will never forget.