Chuck, Kurt. Kurt, Chuck.
Chuck Dellinger, who's lived in Indian Trail since 1998, has a Quirky Claim to Fame (QCF) that hails back to another era: when the Hornets NBA team was from Charlotte, not New Orleans.
Chuck, a native Charlottean, shared his story in an e-mail.
“Back in 1988-89, when the Charlotte Hornets were first here, I had season tickets,” he wrote. “The people I sat with in our area said I looked just like (center) Kurt Rambis. So one night they had a Rambis look-alike contest judged by then-coach Dick Harter and his wife. I won first place.
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“At the next game, I wore my jersey and black-rimmed glasses,” he continued. “From then on, Section 103 was known as the Kurt Rambis section. People would come up and get their picture taken with me and ask me for my autograph. I guess I was like the ‘Catman' at the Panthers game.”
A newspaper did an article about Chuck and took him to meet Kurt, he said. The two had their photo taken together, and “shortly after that he was traded to Phoenix. On his return, another radio station did a Rambis look-alike contest at the Coliseum, which I won as well. It was a great time in my life.”
I drove to Chuck's house to meet him and see the photos.
“This is you, right?” I asked, as I pointed to one of two figures shaking hands in one of the photos.
“No, that's Kurt Rambis,” Chuck corrected, pointing out what should have been obvious, but wasn't. Chuck's the shorter of the two.
I think he may have enjoyed my mistake.
He explained he hadn't been trying to look like Rambis at first.
“I wore the same kind of glasses he did, the same mustache, the same everything,” he said.
But Chuck did admit that he began wearing the glasses – without lenses – on game nights instead just opting for his contacts.
Twenty years later, Chuck may not be confused with the basketball star much anymore, but it's clear to see how he once earned that distinction.
Next week: A Union County reader remembers time he spent with Tammy Faye Bakker.