#TBT March Madness Memory: Northern Iowa’s Al Farokhmanesh

NCAA March Madness Invited to Big Dance

Today’s #TBT sports blog rewinds the clock to 2010 when Ali Farokhmanesh of Northern Iowa emerged as that year’s March Madness Cinderella story.

Paving the way for unheralded participants in this year’s Big Dance like diminutive guard KJ Maura of UMBC, the Martin twins from University of Nevada and a collection of Ramblers from Loyola Chicago, Farokhmanesh set the bar way above the rim with his stellar play.

Here’s my blog from that year….


Can You Say Ali Farokhmanesh?

Can you say Ali Farokhmanesh (Ah’-lee Fa-rook’-ha-ma-nesh)?

After this past weekend, absolutely! Even if you’re only a casual college basketball fan, you’re probably proclaiming the name Ali Farokhmanesh everywhere you go.

As a matter of fact, with unabashed confidence you’re more than likely repeatedly rattling off the tongue-twisting name Ali Farokhmanesh, but you’re also spelling it, properly syllabicating it, and quickly correcting the butchery of those who stutter when they can’t make it past the first three letters of this stellar guard’s last name.

Ali Farokhmmanesh. The Rook to his team mates – is arguably the number one story in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the one player mostly responsible for manufacturing America’s first bout of mania during this Spring’s March Madness.

Expect Farokhmanesh-a-mania to flourish for at least another five fabulous days until the Sweet Sixteen resumes next Saturday in St. Louis. Little Ali’s created the kind of Big Dance buzz that rivals the likes of Cincinnati’s Big O’s scintillations of the early 60’s, Michigan State’s Magic’s mesmerizing moves of the 70’s, Jimmy V’s vanquishing the vaunted Phi Slamma Jamma in the 80’s, Duke’s dazzling Laettner turn-around in the early 90’s and the Cuse’s Freshman Phenon Carmelo’s captivation of college fans earlier this decade.

Ali Farokhmanesh. The only thing wrong about him is his six foot height generously exaggerated on the Northern Iowa Panther basketball team roster. However, in spite of this one accepted abberation, everything else is soooooo very right about this thick, hairy-legged, under-sized, midwestern kid with the receding hairline and barely pronounceable last name willing to take crazy, calculated, career-defining shots on the biggest stage during the biggest game of his life against heavily favored opponents before a national television audience.

Farokhmanesh: A Name Never to be Forgotten for a Lifetime of Big Dances

Ali Farokhmanesh. A name never to be forgotten for a lifetime of Big Dances. Forget the March Madness Heroes of NCAA Tournaments past. Move over, Magic (Johnson), Michael (Jordan) and Manning (Danny). Wipe Wilt (Chamberlain) and Walton (Bill) off your list. And don’t even challenge me with the name of Kansas’ Mario Chalmers. Ali has emerged as the Hero of Heroes and Prom King of the Big Dance…..even if he never makes it past the Sweet Sixteen.

Ali Farokhmanesh. Get used to hearing and seeing a lot of this alphabet soup of a name. Ali’s two tournament game heroics will be constantly replayed, analyzed, dissected, fawned over and endlessly enjoyed in our living rooms for all of America . . . at least until he and his Panthers lace ’em up again next weekend.

Ali Farokhmanesh. The reason why teams play the game . . . any game . . . is because even the number 1 seeded, more highly touted, athletically gifted, tremendously talented teams on PAPER must show up every night to take on unknown, over-achieving underdogs. But when the nationally ranked titans don’t show up, little-known Goliath-killer mid-major teams like Northern Iowa with unheard-of players like Ali Farokhmanesh rise up, seize the moment and write their own chapter in NCAA Basketball Tournament history.

Ali Farokhmanesh. Yup, I love writing this name as much as I love saying it. Thanks to this Iowa City native and Kirkwood, Iowa Junior College transfer guard for making my March Madness so memorable already.

Ali Farokhmanesh. All the best to you in St. Louis next weekend, Mr. Fearlessly Firing Shooting Guard with the twin fire hydrant legs, when your Northern Iowa squad squares off against another heavily favored team for a spot in the Elite Eight.

Trust me, at tip-off, sports fans across America will know who you are and will eloquently and effortlessly be able to say your name – Ali Farokhmanesh.

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MIKE – the ultimate talking head on sports!

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