A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Hoop Dreams: He Took a Shot and Got Gold!

By Jason Jacks on December 1, 2010

Wayne Spencer, left, with teammate Mike Richardson. Courtesy Photo

Wayne Spencer’s lifelong basketball journey has taken him from the hardwood at George Mason University to a gold medal more than three decades later in Eugene, Oregon.

A point guard for Mason from 1971 to 1974, Spencer, BA Biology ’76, has yet to hang up his high-tops. This summer, he led his over-55 basketball team to atop the medal podium at the Pan American Maxibasketball Championship at Eugene. A year earlier, his team won the bronze at the World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia. His team did the same at the 2002 and 2005 World Masters Games as well.

“I can still shoot the three,” this medical salesman says proudly. With a bad knee, Spencer still averages about 15 points a game for his Amateur Athletic Union team based out of Portland, Oregon, where he lives.

While at Mason, Spencer remembers the team he played for as one that was full of “talent.” One of his fondest memories was taking part in the conference finals his sophomore year when he scored 16 points in a losing effort to tournament winner Mount St. Mary’s University. “I don’t even remember what the conference was called back then.”

For most of the years since those days, Spencer says he had to explain where Mason was located to anyone who asked where he played college ball. That all changed, though, when the team made its magical March Madness run in 2006. “When they made it to the Final Four, I got all these phone calls asking, ‘Is that the George Mason you played at?’”

Today, Spencer, when not traveling for work, plays about twice a week, sometimes against players half his age. His next international tournament—the World Masters Games in Italy in 2013—will likely be his last. With injuries mounting, Spencer says that may be a good time to call it quits, before adding with a chuckle, “maybe.”

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