Photo courtesy of Eric Torpy
According to the judge, Torpy "was just as happy as he could be" to get an extra 3 years, so I caught up with him at Oklahoma City Prison to see if he still feels the same way.
Torpy was mum on the issues of his criminal past, only volunteering a short remark of, "I've been in trouble most of my life". Instead, he proudly boasted of his accomplishments as a high school and vo-tech graduate, and his attainment of an associates degree.
While he spoke on other personal issues, Torpy was insistent that TDR share only his comments regarding his Celtics' pride, basketball behind bars, and why Larry Bird may be the loophole to a brighter future.
Torpy had this to say:
"The hard thing to come up with is answers...I represent the Celtics because of their roots from Boston. Larry Bird's #33 is significant (because) I'm Irish on both sides of my family - O'Connors and Kearns."
"The clover has a lot to do with #33 and Celtics. I do represent #33 and the clover on a daily basis...there's a lot more to the clover than people think."
"I watch the Celtics doing real good this season. We play basketball at this facility as well as have cable to watch televised games."
"The number issue is a pride thing. If you're given a sentence, wouldn't you rather represent a number that you like than a number that has no significance to it?"
"It's only 3 more years. Something to take pride in lasts longer than things (given) that have no significance. Turn negatives into positives."
Although Torpy alludes to no regrets in the 3 year jail extension, his hope for an appeal is contradictory to his professed pride in 33 years behind bars. He now gives Larry Bird additional credit for a potential appeal that could result in a reduced sentence.
"If you think about it," said Torpy, "thanks to Larry, I will get to go back before a different judge."
Google Eric Torpy's name and you'll find that he's been called everything from the ultimate fan, to an idiot, dumb, and crazy, and although the mocking hasn't seemed to bother Torpy, he prefers to be called by a another name...The Celtic-Loving 33 Admirer.
As the 2008 NBA Finals ensue, even fans behind bars are watching. In the not so famous words of Eric Torpy, "Go Celtics!"