During his college basketball career at Northwestern, Larry Gorman had been dubbed with a less than flattering nickname.
He certainly understood it, however.
“I guess my nickname was often-injured,” said the 1987 Oak Forest graduate.
After playing through a broken finger in his final high school game, Gorman endured an injury-riddled collegiate career.
A hernia cut short a promising freshman season, but the real trouble started his sophomore campaign.
“I just stood up during practice and my disc blew out,” Gorman said. “I had some hereditary issues with back problems and basketball just pushed it along.
"It was frustrating because I had decent success with basketball and was not able to really play again. Northwestern is a class organization, and I still got all the support that any athlete got and was able to keep my scholarship. I’m not sure many institutions would’ve done that.”
Gorman still considers his decision to attend Northwestern as a blessing.
After initially committing to Iowa State, Gorman made a last-minute choice to play for the Wildcats.
“Iowa State started recruiting me freshman or sophomore year, but they ended up over-recruiting in my opinion,” said Gorman, who works for an insurance company in Rock Island and has enjoyed coaching his three children, ages 15, 12 and 6, in YMCA basketball. “They recruited several other big guys that year, so I decided to go to Northwestern and got a really good education.
"It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Getting a college scholarship was huge for me. My family didn’t have a lot of money, and I don’t know if I would’ve gone to college without a scholarship, certainly not to Northwestern.”
Gorman made a comeback his junior season after major back surgery in January of 1989, but never returned to full strength.
“He started as a freshman and was averaging 11 or 12 points a game,” said Denny Denman, who coached Gorman in high school. “They were really high on him. He was the prototype Big Ten forward, big and physical, and he could really hurt you inside.
"He was athletic, a good jumper for a kid his size, could run the court and had a good face-up game. He was very talented.”