Flint, Michigan born and raised, Andre Rison was a multi-sport star at Flint Northwestern High School, excelling on the gridiron, the hardwood and the track.
Tony Reid–Your rookie cards were in all of the major products in 1989. Do you remember seeing yourself on a trading card for the first time?
Andre Rison-You said that like it was a long time ago. I did my first card deal with a Hall of Famer, Steelers running back Franco Harris. He was working for a card company at the time. My mom had a crush on him ever since she first saw him on TV. It is ironic that he would be the guy that I did my first trading card deal with. We got to meet him in person. She was single and solo but he was married. I almost had a chance to have Franco Harris as my dad. Can you see that headline? Breaking News: Andre Rison Almost Had Franco Harris as His Dad.
TR-You were a star in the league for the better part of a decade. What is your most memorable fan interaction?
AR-We played the New York Giants one year in New York. Joe Horn, the great receiver, and I were coming out of the tunnel. Joe was a youngin’. We were coming out of the tunnel pregame. One of the Giants fans was pressed up against the gate. He called me by my last name. He said ‘Rison!’. I turned and looked. He said ‘I hope you break your leg.’ His son was standing next to him. His son was maybe ten years old. The son said “Yeah, I hope you break your leg, too.’ That’s the ruthless part of sports.
TR-What athletes inspired you as a kid? Whose poster was on the wall in your room?
AR– Man, we couldn’t even afford a poster on the wall. You better hope you got a poster in the cereal box. Take the ‘d’ and the ‘s’ off of sports cards and what do you have? Sports cars. I would have to say I was collecting sports cars instead of sports cards. I did have an idol I looked up to growing up and it was Muhammad Ali.
TR–You definitely had the opportunity to collect sports cars later in life. What did that collection consist of at its peak?
AR– It was a lot of fun to be able to have high powered cars that you see on TV that were like Formula 1 race cars. I was drawn to those high powered names and great brands like Porsche and Ferrari. I was the Ferrari guy. I said years ago when I was young that I would get this car or that car when I got to the league. When I got to the league it was totally the opposite. I didn’t get anything I said I was going to get. I started buying Ferraris really early. My mom’s car was the first big purchase. My mom’s car, my mom’s house, my mom’s wardrobe were my first big purchases.
TR- With the illustrious career you had in the NFL, did you manage to hold on to memorabilia and meaningful items from your career? If so, did you ever have a mancave or area where you displayed them?
AR-I was taught at an early age that if you win a trophy and keep looking at it you will never win another one. I believe that is why I had success in multiple sports coming up and the reason I was able to play basketball, football and run track in college. I had a humbleness there because I had great coaches, a great surrounding and great people that always kept me grounded when it came to success. I was getting success yearly because of playing multiple sports. Even my great friends that went to the NFL or NBA, my elementary, high school and college teammates, some of the guys that made it to the pros, we went to the school ever since elementary. I had guys before me show me the way. They were great humble people, too, because they had the same coaches and people around them. We didn’t put a focus on trophies. We wanted to be attached to the word champion. We wanted championships, we wanted that more so than the trophy.
We’ll have a Card Back Q&A with Andre Rison in the coming days.