It's been a week of mourning in basketball, not just for Laker legend Kobe Bryant, but also for a Macon legend, Terry Fair. Fair was a former Southwest Patriot who passed away on Thursday. Now, the city and those who knew him best are remembering an icon.
"First layup he did, he dunked it. I went like this I said, 'well, now we got to find four more starters," said Eddie Ashley, who let out a hearty laugh afterwards.
That's a memory Ashley, who coached Fair in middle school, held of the local legend in the seventh grade.
It wasn't long before Fair's middle school coach was watching him dominate on the next level at Southwest High.
"He's one of the greatest players to come out of Macon, Georgia," Ashley said.
Fair anchored arguably the greatest high school teams ever in Georgia, the 1978 and 1979 championship teams coached by Don "Duck" Richardson. The 1979 team went undefeated and were eventual national champs. Teammate Henry Goss says to playing on that team was something special.
"I don't have words for that. I mean that's a special group of young men. It was a goal of mine to make that team," Goss said.
Fair went on to have a phenomenal career at Georgia where he is in the Top 10 in nearly every major category. But it's Macon that will miss him most. On Thursday he passed away of natural causes. He's the second of the 1979 team to pass away this month. Henry "Hook" McCarthy passed just a few weeks before. For those close to them, it's a gut punch.
"It's pretty tough, to know that Henry McCarthy, Hook McCarthy and Terry are both not with us now. I love those guys," Goss said.
"I mean it was just a big loss because he was a giant," said Willie Goolsby, current girls basketball coach at Southwest. "It was like Kobe Bryant, you can't believe at that young age that those guys are gone."
Luckily the brotherhood had one last moment in the sun together. The 1979 team was honored at the GHSA Final Four in 2019. You couldn't help but be emotional.
"When you go back to that it was pure magic that night. If you weren't there you missed one of the greatest nights around," Ashley said.
Both Fair and McCarthy were just 59 years old.