NESN insider Peter Gammons began his storied career as a sports journalist long ago, but how it began was a bit of an accident.
Gammons — who was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in Salisbury on Monday night — was at a Chapel Hill bar called the Tempo Room while he was a student at the University of North Carolina when he came to the defense of his beloved Boston Patriots of the American Football League.
Like any good New Englander, when his team was insulted by a Bills fan, Gammons came to its defense — but the Bills fan in question just happened to be future Sports Illustrated icon Curry Kirkpatrick.
According to the Salisbury Post, Kirkpatrick — then the editor of the Daily Tar Heel — encouraged Gammons to write for the paper. And that's how it all began.
"Three days later, I'm covering the UNC-High Point soccer game for the Daily Tar Heel and writing out a story longhand on a yellow pad," Gammons told the Post. "That's where it started."
Also instrumental in Gammons' development as a sportswriter was legendary basketball coach Dean Smith.
"Coach Smith was encouraging, kind and helpful to a young, aspiring journalist — or whatever it was that I could be called then," Gammons told the Post.
Would the legend ever have gotten his starts if it hadn't been for a friendly argument about the supremacy of the Boston Patriots over the Bills?