Friendship forged through photography, continues by phone

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John Peterson has loved basketball since he was a kid. The now 84-year-old Hibbing man likes to relive the glory days when the Lakers played for Minneapolis.

"In those years, we won national championships," Peterson remembers. He used to write down the scores of every game, and listen to them on the radio.

Now, he gets to marvel about those plays and games and the way of the world back then, with one the players himself, Bobby Harrison.

The two reconnected a couple of years ago, after John Reinan wrote an article in the Star Tribune about old photos of the team that Peterson uncovered in his basement.

Peterson started taking those photos in the 1950s. Specifically, when he and his grandfather went to a game together, after taking the train from Montevideo.

"I said grandpa, why don’t you find seats. And I’m going to see if I can squeeze into the locker room. And Bobby Harrison was the one who opened the door," Peterson said.

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. "He said, I’ll call you Petey. And from then on, I was right in the locker room. He was introducing me to all the players as Petey. It was almost a two-year thing," Peterson shared.

Harrison lives in Florida now. He turned 94 earlier this year.

The two connect by phone one time a week or so.

"It brings back a lot of good memories," shared Harrison during a call last month.

That’s what people are relying on, more and more these days, when the pandemic and other problems seem like too much.

"You make my day every time I call you," Peterson shared with Harrison. "Thank you," Harrison replied.

Hopefully the conversations continue, gentlemen.