A Basketball Legend Visits Columbia - DatelineCarolina

A Basketball Legend Visits Columbia

John Roche signed autographs and talked with fans on Saturday. John Roche signed autographs and talked with fans on Saturday.

By: Tess Rose

     Gamicock fans lined up outside of Safran's Antique Shop in Columbia Saturday to meet basketball legend John roche.  Roche was on the 1971 Gamecock basketball team that won the ACC championship and he's the only Gamecock basketball player to make the cover of Sports Illustrated.  

     About 450 excited fans of Roches came to Safrans for autographs and conversation.

     "I woke up at like 6:30a.m. on a Saturday.  I was so excited to see him. I could hardly sleep at night," said Robert Valios.

     " I was so afraid I wouldn't get here in time...that he wouldn't be here.  I'm just so thankful," said Gay Laird.

     Roche was signing everything from basketballs to T-shirts while sharing stories from his basektball days.  He was touched by the number of people that came to see him.

     "It's been so many years ago.  It's a very nice gesture and feeling that our team had a positive impression on people when we played.  On behalf of my teammates,  I thank everyone," said Roche.

     Roche was in Columbia to support the 100th anniversary of Gamecock football and raise money for the March of Dimes.

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