By Steve Jones, The Courier-Journal
One of Louisville’s greatest former athletes, basketball player Allan Houston, was on hand to watch one of the city’s greatest sporting events this weekend.
Houston, the former Ballard High School, University of Tennessee and NBA player, was at Valhalla Golf Club for the PGA Championship with his whole family — father, Wade, who is a former U of L assistant and UT head coach; mother, Alice, and sister, Natalie Daniels.
Wade Houston is a member at Valhalla, and Allan, now an assistant general manager for the New York Knicks, played the course with him about a month ago. Allan Houston has seven children, so he doesn’t have much time to hone his game, but he did drive the cart for his dad when he was a kid and has always enjoyed golf.
“It’s amazing seeing all the people from all over the country coming to Louisville,” said Houston, who also attended the 1996 PGA at Valhalla. “For me, with my dad belonging here, when you can see where (the pros) hit the ball, and it’s 30 or 40 yards where I would have been, that makes you see how really special they are.”
Houston gets back to Louisville two or three times a year and thinks it’s is a great sports town. He left the state for college to play for his dad and the Volunteers, and he is interested in seeing the fan dynamic when he visits home.
“The difference for me coming back is I see a lot more Kentucky fans,” he said with a laugh. “When I was growing up, you didn’t see a lot of blue in Louisville. Growing up with my dad and growing up with red everything, that’s the biggest thing for me.”
Houston encountered a local college sports fan this weekend who didn’t recognize him and asked Houston if he was a UK or U of L fan. The fan was incredulous to Houston’s response that he enjoys basketball in general and doesn’t cheer for either team.
“He looked at me like I was a Martian,” Houston said.
Houston was happy to see more than a few Tennessee fans at the course this week.
“I took a selfie with a Vols fan on Instagram,” he said.
Houston was also encouraged by how many young boys and girls he’d seen in the galleries at Valhalla.
“This whole area is just a great environment for sports,” he said. “You see a passion for golf, a passion for all sports. It’s great to see a major golf event like this in Louisville.”