Every aspiring writer or wannabe famous journalist has one – a Holy Grail subject, a figure so compelling and an interview so enthralling it propels the author into the annals of outstanding journalism. David Frost historically conducted The Nixon Interviews. Ted Koppel was the first to speak with the late Nelson Mandela following his celebrated release. And Martin Bashir captivated the world during an intimate Q&A with Princess Diana.
Well, I have tracked down a figure so famous — or perhaps infamous – mere mention of his screen name elicits emotion ranging from envy to disdain. He is known across the country – well, Gator Country, and his sudden disappearance is discussed as often as that of Jimmy Hoffa.
But unlike the notorious teamster, he has not been ‘knocked off’ – not from his lofty perch as Gator Country’s self-proclaimed “greatest basketball poster” and “most knowledgeable fan.”
Yes, I give you the one and only – tupacbiff.
GC: Rumors, conjecture and speculation have surrounded your departure – without getting into the reasons behind your banishment – can you confirm that you are safe, sound and a still a Gator fan?
TB: First off, I was not banned. My last conversation with the moderators was that I was free to post if I so choose. I opted to leave on my own accord.
With that minor point of clarification out of the way …
I am safe, sound and a Gator fan for life. I have not missed a game this year either in person or on television, bringing it to 10+ years.
GC: Clearly, you are visiting the site – how frustrating is it to read posts and not be able to instill your wisdom?
TB: There have been a few times I wanted to chime in, but it has not really been frustrating for me. Mostly I feel bad for the forum readers who miss out on my vast and, more often than not, superior knowledge. I also think the board – especially in the off season – is a lot less interesting.
GC: Tell the truth, have you been posting under a new screen name?
TB: No, what fun would that be? I enjoyed posting as “tupacbiff” and I don’t think I would be able to hide my online persona very well under a new screen name.
GC: Speaking of screen names, give us the back story on “tupacbiff” – in life, are you more Tupac, or more Biff-like? Who is the real tupacbiff?
TB: I don’t think the back story is funny enough outside my circle of friends to share. I’ll just say it started as a name to mock a friend and just stuck on this forum.
The real ‘tupacbiff’ graduated from UF and eventually went on to get his Doctorate from another school. I worked in sports and media for awhile and have discussed it on this site plenty of times. My time in sports included a major TV network and professional sports league. I then had an opportunity to work for my favorite hometown professional sports team in the department on the path to my “dream job,” but was given an insulting financial offer. I “incredulously” told them they had 24 hours to reconsider their offer, but never got a response.
To make a long story short, I went in a different direction entirely. I very quickly realized I was a tremendous asset to the company I was working for and made an outrageous demand on them to keep me. They refused so I quit and started my own and now very successful firm. I have dropped some insight into what I do, but am purposely vague. Life has come full circle, as I am now friendly with the team owner I basically insulted.
GC: How much has the posting/thread quality dropped as a result of your departure?
TB: Tremendously! Simply put – the best poster is no longer doing it. It is akin to Martin Scorsese stopping making mob movies. Would the genre miss him? Of course and it would lower the overall bar – just like what happened on the site. Although I can’t say I’m surprised because people often do not appreciate greatness when it is staring them in the face.
The board has also lost a great source of the historical perspective. I mean, how many members really know why all Gator fans should hate Roy Williams? How many know Roy Williams was caught cheating at Kansas and tried to throw a low-level compliance officer under the bus? How many know about Dave Telep’s recruiting bias? How many know about Chad Ford lying on his bio/resume for ESPN? How many people know why O. Greene had to transfer but didn’t want to?
GC: Is “tupacbiff” more famous or infamous?
TB: That is for my adoring fans to decide.
GC: Who do you think misses you more, RSERINA or Mike Hill?
TB: I am sure they both miss me, as should any poster on the forum. Quite frankly, my inbox should be full of messages begging me to come back. Perhaps this piece will help jog people’s memory and push them to reach out to me.
GC: Have you ever been wrong – either on the forum or in life? If so, can you give us the details?
TB: On the forum – possibly once or twice (although doubtful), but the details escape me. You see, when you have 10x the knowledge of the person trying to prove you wrong it is like someone bringing a knife to a gun fight.
In life, I am pretty happy with my place. I think everyone makes mistakes and has some things they may have done differently, but can’t say I have any serious regrets. Plus, from an ego perspective I can’t say people envying you is a bad thing.
GC: Many posters are clamoring for your “Grades.” Give us Coach Donovan’s season grade, and include a special component for in-bound plays.
TB: I think coach has done a fantastic job of powering through the early season injuries and suspensions, and integrating the players to form a cohesive team. I think we are seeing a perfect example of the sum is greater than the individual parts.
I think the inbounds plays have been really good this year. In fact, I can only think of one turnover from an out of bounds play from under our offensive basket. We used to average one almost every other game. I am glad Billy took my advice to heart and improved our plays and thought process towards this aspect of the game.
I also understand the mockery of my harping on it, but it is often a very costly turnover that results in points for the opponent. I also think most people have a hard time comprehending the grading scale due to a ‘5’ being the mean. It is very simple, but that is why sometimes I would do the “simpleton” grades where nearly everyone gets a 10 because we won. Plus it was an easy target, and the masses often pick the low hanging fruit.
I have heard really good things about the assistant coaches, and I am glad Billy has righted that ship after a couple glaring misses and a favor to Pitino Sr. However, I am really disappointed in Pelphrey’s suit selection. His shirt/tie/jacket combos have ranged from just okay to vile. He really needs to rework his looks.
GC: I know you will have an opinion on this – the push for Justin Timberlake to perform prior to a basketball game. Your thoughts?
TB: I think it was a real disservice to both our players and fans. At this point and for some years now, Dickie V is a caricature of himself, but I don’t think you want to feed into that from a SID (sports information director) standpoint. It is bad enough he can’t talk about the teams in front of him, but why would you feed him information to go further away from the team and players on the court. I was dumbfounded.
I think our UAA fails to realize that we are one of the most successful programs since 2000. It is about time they start acting like it. The decisions they make around the hoops program are often misguided and amateurish. This Timberlake thing was just another example in a long line of examples of really poor decisions.
GC: What is the prediction for the UF-UK series?
TB: I am going to go out on a limb – and like past years – predict an absolute sweep of UK. I don’t think it should or will be close. I could see UF winning by a combined 40 points between the two games. I mean, you look at that UK roster and it is full of guys who made the wrong college choice.