"Poetry In Moten" What SU Legend Lawrence Moten says as his jersey is retired
Lawrence Moten is the all-time leading scorer in Syracuse Basketball history with 2,334 points.
Let that sink in. Two-Thousand, three hundred thirty four points.
He beat Derrick Coleman's record and held off John Wallace by 215 points.
In fact nobody has eclipsed 2,000 points since Gerry McNamara's career ended in 2006.
Some may question why it took so long, 23 years, for the University to retire its all-time leading scorer's jersey.
But in an answer that sums up the personality of Lawrence Moten, "Poetry" believes it's all for a reason.
"I tell people this all the time, when they say it should have happened a long time ago, and maybe it should have. But, it didn't, and it's happening now. The good thing about it happening now, which I truly appreciate, is if it would have happened 20 years ago, the little kids I teach now wouldn't understand it. So now, with me teaching and mentoring they get to know and see and it's all about staying relevant. It keeps me out there, and it's definitely a good feeling having a 10 year old come up to me and say "Mr. Moten, I hear they're retiring your jersey!" So that's a great feeling. Moten told me on Wednesday.
Moten has a deep respect and love for his fans, especially ones that remember all of those record-setting points.
"This is for the fans. It's all for them" Moten says.
"When I stepped into that Dome, it was a situation where I always felt like it was my second home. Like I was going into my house and all of the fans were my friends and I was going to show them a good time" he adds.
That's not lip-service either, Moten remembers one fan specifically whose support he appreciated for the rest of her life.
The fan? She's the one that brought the nickname "Poetry in Moten to his attention.
"Mary Rose was her name, may she rest in peace, she was the lady that came up with the name that was the sign that she had on the sheet. She put it on an actual bed sheet and actually did it herself. I got a chance to meet her, may she rest in peace now but one of the things she said that I remember fondly was "I've been going to games for 33 years and I've watched a lot of Syracuse Basketball, and you're by far my favorite" That meant a lot to me" Moten tells me.
Lawrence found out about it when former teammate Dave Johnson noticed it in the crowd and told him he had to see what someone did. Lawrence laced up his sneakers and raced out there, thankful for Mary's support and he made sure she never forgot his appreciation for her.
A true fan favorite.
His partner in the Syracuse back court Adrian Autry says Lawrence is a unique individual and "remembers everything".
"It was unbelievable, we connected immediately. I just always knew where he was going to be, we could read each other without even speaking words. He talks about my game with 31 (against Missouri in the 1994 NCAA Tournament) but think about having those games for four years, every game. That's Lawrence "Poetry in Moten" right there! He was unbelievable, super-competitive. (We're) Friends on the court and off the court and that's what makes it so special" Autry says.
"We knew he was a leader, and he just did it in such a quiet fashion, a poetry fashion. He was so smooth" Autry adds.
"I consider him a brother of mine" Lawrence says of Autry.
So, you start to understand why perhaps this retirement is overdue. You also get the impression that Lawrence Moten, who remembers everything, will never forget that feeling Saturday when his jersey is permanently raised to the Carrier Dome rafters.
"I haven't really thought about it yet, but it's definitely going to be a great feeling to have my daughters there, my family friends and all my Syracuse family there" he says.
Indeed when Syracuse forever enshrines that "smooth" 21 jersey high above Jim Boeheim court it will be an historic moment in the history of Syracuse Basketball.
A moment that already exists, ceremony or not, in the minds of Moten's faithful fans from the second he stepped on the Dome floor in 1991.