Can’t say I’m overly fond of this style of writing, but the story of Marvin Harrison is amazing.
If he left any trace of his existence in the league, it was only in the record books: second (to Jerry Rice) in all-time receptions, third in all-time one-hundred-yard games, first in receptions in a single season. Through all this, his teammates claimed they didn’t know him in the slightest. “He’s like Batman,” linebacker Cato June told Sports Illustrated.
Think about the discipline it would take to make a living as an elite star of a multi-billion-dollar entertainment juggernaut without ever once being truly seen. In this sense, Harrison’s football career is not only historic; it’s also a sort of miracle. The dude skipped like a flat stone across a rancid pool and emerged, twelve years later, dry as a bone.
The NFL is an ultimate, gargantuan form of prostitution, but that’s besides the point here. Like the story of the Von Erich family, this is another situation where the collision of money and fame with the hell of ordinary life creates what could be considered modern American versions of Greek tragedy.