John Grisham, one of the greatest writers of the modern era, has had his books translated in 42 languages and published worldwide. He may be most comfortable, though, in his seat at the John Paul Jones Arena watching the University of Virginia basketball team battle the best teams in college basketball. The quintessential storyteller, Grisham has a front row seat to the annual story of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball – which always provides nearly as many plot twists and turns as his award-winning novels.
Grisham was in his seat at the JPJ to watch the Seminoles battle the Cavaliers on January 28, 2020. He watched as Devin Vassell scored 18 points and Anthony Polite 14 as Florida State and Virginia battled until the final buzzer.
Grisham is a familiar with Florida State athletics as he watched the Seminole baseball team defeat The Citadel, 10-2, from the first base dugout in Dick Howser Stadium on March 26, 2003.
As we continue to celebrate Head Coach Leonard Hamilton and Florida State’s success in 2020, seminoles.com had the pleasure of visiting with Grisham for #CelebritySightings – the Hottest Ticket in Tallahassee. It’s a series of interviews that showcase the celebrities who enjoyed front row seats to the Seminoles’ magical run to the ACC Championship.
Where does your love for the game of college basketball come from?
I made the junior high team when I was 12 years old and got my first uniform. I started for two years in high school and have always loved college basketball.
What is your most favorite college basketball memory of all time?
I saw Pistol Pete (Maravich of LSU) score 40 as a sophomore against Ole Miss in 1968, in Oxford.
Who put on the greatest single game performance in a college basketball game that you have seen in person?
I’ll have to stick with the above. Ole Miss put three men on Pistol Pete. They picked him up at mid-court and practically mugged him, and he still got 40, which was his average. A lot of his points that night were free throws. And LSU lost in overtime.
Your favorite – college basketball or college baseball and why?
I went to Mississippi State and know how important baseball is down there. I’ve watched a hundred games from the Left Field Lounge, including some classics versus Florida State.
What is your favorite buzzer-beating ending to a NCAA Tournament game?
Virginia, 2019, Final Four, Kyle Guy hit three free throws against Auburn to win the game.