Last year I got the chance to meet Ms. Brown-Blocker after the Illinois Orange and Blue Scrimmage and my son, who at the time was eleven years old, wanted her autograph. Ms. Brown-Blocker didn't stop at that request for her autograph, she had plenty to say that my son still laughs at to this day. This memory created an idea; why not find out more about one of the most popular basketball players at Illinois in maybe the last 10 to 15 years, through the eyes of his mother.
Most fans would consider meeting Dee Brown an accomplishment of a lifetime, but to his mother, he's just her son. "I don't see Dee that way, we laugh about it sometimes, but to me he's still my baby. I just see him as a young boy who's in college enjoying himself. Some people get so excited when the find out I'm his mother." said Brown-Blocker.
However, there is the other side that some people don't know about. "Sometimes when I'm at games and people say things about Dee, it's not always good. But that comes with being popular, things like that I don't let bother Me." stated Ms. Brown-Blocker
"When Dee was fourteen, just entering his freshman year in high school, I told him he really needed to focus on school." She went on to say, "Listen to me son, I love you. You will have other people telling you to do things that are wrong. Girls will start to be a part of your life, but be careful."
Recently, a local kid in 7th grade played his first basketball game, but the school principal didn't allow headbands. For that game the young man took it off, but the next day he took a videotape of Dee Brown playing against Iowa last year. He asked, "Why do they let Dee wear one and I can't?" The principal didn't have an answer, so he allowed it the rest of the season. When I told Cathy what happened, her reply was, "Wow, that's deep, real deep, thank goodness that man allowed that kid to that," said Ms. Brown-Blocker. "People should be themselves. As long as you are clean, people shouldn't judge you by the way you look. I can't stand people that judge, it's just wrong.
When Bill Self recruited Dee, he asked if he had to cut his hair. Self told him no, just be a good student and play basketball." Ms. Brown-Blocker said.
Illini Nation, at one point during the McDonald's AA game, asked Dees' father Fred Brown if he wished Dee had gone to Duke. Dee answered, "Why would go to Duke, I want to go to Illinois so I can be the man. What's the point of going to Duke just because it's Duke, I want a chance to make a name for myself."
This didn't stop there Illini fans, when Bill offered Dee a scholarship, Dee asked Bill if he was going to start. "That was tough for Bill," she said, because of Frank Williams. Ms. Brown-Blocker stated very clearly, "If Frank Williams would have stayed at Illinois, her son may not have gone to Illinois."
"Kedric I'm all about family. The FAM in family means father and mother to me, and I tell all three of my kids that being a family is very important. People say to me all the time, if Dee makes it in the NBA I may change. That will never happen, I will never forget where I came from. I might have a little more money, but my friends will never change.
"I tried to be a great mother for my kids. When Dee was a little boy, I let him go see what other kids in the world get to see like swimming, camping and canoeing. I didn't want my kids to just see people selling and doing drugs. Right now, I do the same thing for my grand kids." Ms. Brown-Blocker said.
Ms. Brown-Blocker tries to attend every game, but sometimes it's tough because of her job, but she uses her vacation time wisely. "I plan to go to Las Vegas with my family. I'm going to miss the annual border war in St. Louis this year, but I will be watching it, cheering on all the boys" added Ms. Brown-Blocker.
Illini fans, Cathy reads the IlliniBoard.Com everyday, so she knows what's going on with Illini sports on a daily basis. But for now, basketball season has started, so most of her time will be spent watching her son Dee.