My memories of Bud Collins are not very unique, but it is poignant to me.
Bud has been an extremely generous and kind man that I’m lucky to call a colleague. I have covered tennis since 2000, and by covering tennis, it is one event, the BNP Paribas Open.
That part is not unique. Bud was generous and kind to everyone in the tennis community. He is the sports greatest journalist, ambassador and friend.
I know the first few years, I was intimidated to go up to Collins or even introduce myself to him.
But it was Bud who introduced me to tennis. The first match I watched, which also got me hooked, was the classic John McEnroe-Bjorn Borg match in the 1980 Wimbledon final. And throughout my tennis watching experience, Bud was there.
So working in the same press box with him was surreal for me. I always enjoyed his interaction with the players and how he was able to ask tough questions while always being respectful. A real gift.
It only took me about six or seven years to get over my shyness with him. And actually, when I formally introduced myself to him, he said he had been reading me for years. That meant the world to me.
Since then, he would always say he wanted to get me to the US Open, that I needed to be there. But Bud and his wife Anita always made me feel like they were in my corner in supporting me.
I can’t put into words how having someone you idolize are there to support you.
The same day Bud left us was the same day I went to talk to John McEnroe. It was coming full circle for me.
I’m going to miss Bud.