By Ben Cohen
Any parents needing a little extra help keeping their kids occupied now can count on the help of the basketball player who earned the nickname Psycho T at the University of North Carolina.
With one easy phone call, this man can read to your children.
As part of the Indiana Pacers’ Call-A-Pacer program, anyone can call the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library to hear Tyler Hansbrough read “Chicken Little.” His recording plays this week for anyone who calls 317-275-4444.
It’s a meat-and-potatoes reading that blends a little uneasily with lines like this: “Chicken Little was not the brightest chicken in the coop. He was very excitable and prone to foolishness.”
One of Hansbrough’s former teammates at North Carolina, Bobby Frasor, called attention to Hansbrough’s turn as an orator by tweeting the phone number this morning. (Hansbrough retweeted his pal.) “This could be the greatest thing ever,” he wrote, immediately setting off a cavalcade of callers yearning to hear him read the book’s signature line, “The sky is falling!” Frasor then tweeted at author Nicholas Sparks, a North Carolina resident, recommending Hansbrough’s “angelic voice” if he needed narrators for future audio books.
Hansbrough’s rendition of “Chicken Little” was the fifth in the Call-A-Pacer series, which began this year April 4, when Dahntay Jones read “Giraffes Can’t Dance.” Other player-literature pairings include Josh McRoberts and “I Am Not Going To Get Up Today,” Roy Hibbert and “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly” and Paul George with “Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!” The 18th year of this partnership ends the week of June 20, when Mike Dunleavy reads “T is for Terrible.”
The librarians pick about 20 stories for the players to choose from, and they try to limit the recordings to two or three minutes, said Tami Edminster, a program specialist at the Indianapolis Public Library. (She was reached by phone in her office, where the library’s hold music is an advertisement for an upcoming concert by Harry and the Potters.) She says interest in the Call-A-Pacer program has surged this year, partly because Indiana made the playoffs for the first time since 2006. “We count the number of calls through technology and all that jazz,” Edminster said. The library won’t have the official analytics for Hansbrough’s much-hyped recording until Monday.