GAINESVILLE — The story is as old as higher education and detergent.
Two parents doing their college kid's laundry.
It doesn't matter that you've hit the genetic Powerball with your only child, that he's a 23-year-old basketball star for the NCAA Tournament-bound University of Florida, that he's a 6-foot-6 swingman with a scoring touch. That he's a brain, too, carrying a perfect 4.0 GPA in pursuit of a graduate degree in nuclear engineering.
The wash still needs to get done.
Meet Canyon Barry. An amazing young man.
Meet his parents — a pair of conquerors if ever there were.
"I taught him to do laundry," Lynn Barry said. "But this kid is so busy between basketball and class and tests. He has a midterm Thursday. He has a game Wednesday. So, he's scrambling a little bit."
Canyon Barry is the son of a basketball legend
The legend is married to Canyon's father, Rick Barry.
Rick also was good at basketball. Most of you know his story. Hall of Fame. One of the great scorers of all time. Canyon wears No. 24 to honor his father. He shoots his free throws underhanded, and very well, like his dad, "granny style," though probably as much in the name of physics as his father. Canyon is wicked smart.
"The majority of Canyon is from his mother," Rick Barry said. "It's 90-10, and lucky for him it is."
True story: While Lynn and Rick were dating 30 years ago, Lynn's mother, Arlene, came across a newspaper clipping in one of Lynn's scrapbooks from her spectacular prep career in: St. Petersburg. She sent it to Lynn, who remembers one sentence by heart.
Five years later, she ends up marrying the guy.
"How bizarre is that?" Lynn said.
Florida guard Canyon Barry (24) shoots against Charlotte in the first half in an NCAA college basketball game in the Orange Bowl Classic tournament, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. Barry is the son of former NBA great Rick Barry.
Lynn and Rick Barry sat in their condominium a few miles from Florida's campus. They've been renting it to follow their son's final season of college basketball. They'll soon head home to Colorado Springs, where Canyon was raised. Rick is still all over the place, traveling, speaking, promoting. All those years later and he's shooting underhand foul shots in an insurance TV spot. He's still working it. That's him. They rented a place in South Carolina when Canyon played for the College of Charleston.
Canyon averages 12.1 points for the Gators coming off the bench, with an .878 free-throw percentage. He made a school-record 42 consecutive free throws at one point. Barry was recently voted SEC Sixth Man of the Year.
"He's a remarkable kid," Florida coach Mike White said. "He's uniquely talented — and he's on track to be a nuclear engineer. Pretty good combination. I think it takes, especially in 2017, when you're the only one in the world doing something like underhand free throws, it takes a strong individual, a thick-skinned kid, a kid with a lot of maturity. And that's Canyon."
Florida guard Canyon Barry (24) goes old school with his underhand free throws, just like his Hall of Fame father.
Lynn and Rick's Canyon.
"Some people could consider it a burden," Canyon said. "I view it as a blessing, having such a wealth of basketball knowledge around me."
Maybe it's no coincidence that Canyon, the youngest of Rick Barry's five basketball playing sons, has stuck with underhand foul shots the longest, since he was a junior in high school. Maybe it's because the other Barry sons — Scooter, Jon, Brent and Drew — were too close to their driven father's playing days.
Rick said, "Scooter wasn't bad, but he said, 'Dad, it's hard enough being your son without shooting underhand free throws.' I think it was much harder for them than it is for Canyon, because I was far enough removed from my career."
But it also goes back to Canyon's environment, Rick plus Lynn — self-confidence doubled down, a conqueror's will, no matter how many people think it looks funny at the foul line.
"Personally, I don't care what people think because of the results," Canyon said. "They can make fun of me. I don't know why other people, people in the NBA, don't switch. People are willing to shoot 50, 55 percent from the line. Crazy."
Even his father couldn't have put it better. Louder maybe, but not better.
Classroom update: Canyon was recently was named to the sports information directors Academic All-American first team for the second time in his college career. He was first team at Charleston, too, where he had a 4.0 GPA as a physics major. Canyon and Lynn, as far as they can tell, are the first mother and son to be first team Academic All-Americans. Now they're two-time first teamers.
"Barry family trivia," Lynn said.
Canyon Barry's mother, known then as Lynn Norenberg (11), was a trailblazer at Lakewood High School in the 1970s, playing the first season of girls high school basketball in Pinellas County.
Lynn Barry, the former Lynn Norenberg, was a trailblazer.
Forty years ago, she was a scoring sensation as a 5-8 guard for Lakewood High School, her ponytail bobbing as she ran the court in her low-top black Chuck Taylors, driving in for another score.
She was born in Tampa and spent her childhood in St. Petersburg, but her family moved to Hawaii, then North Carolina as her father, Richard, a doctor, underwent more residencies. She returned to Pinellas County as a high school sophomore, in time for the very first season of girls high school basketball in the county.
She averaged 30.1 points as a junior and 28.2 points as a senior. The late great St. Petersburg Evening Independent named her the area's top amateur athlete of 1976. The hand-carved wooden statue carved in her honor, ponytail and all, still resides in her parents' home in St. Pete Beach.
Lynn Norenberg just had to be all-county in three sports. And a straight-A student. And a prom queen. And she played French horn and sang in the show choir. She was selected Junior Sun Goddess in the Festival of States Parade. A Pinellas County dental association even voted her "Miss Healthy Smile."
At the College of William & Mary, she scored 1,500 points in just 82 games and had a 3.97 GPA as a kinesiology major. The school retired Lynn's No. 22 basketball jersey in 2002. And she was homecoming queen. She earned a master's in athletic administration at Kentucky (4.0) and was a women's basketball assistant. After a stint as an enforcement agent for the NCAA, she was assistant executive director for USA women's basketball for 12 years.
Rick Barry, shown here in a 1974 game against Dave DeBusschere (22) and the New York Knicks, led the Golden State Warriors to the 1975 NBA title.
And in 1986, while preparing for the Goodwill Games in Moscow, she met Rick Barry. He was doing TV for Turner Sports.
They played tennis in Moscow. They competed. It's what they do.
"If you hit a weak serve, she would kill it — kill it," Rick said.
Lynn was reluctant at first. There was the age difference — Rick was 15 years older. And he was going through his second divorce. He had five children from his first marriage. Lynn knew Rick Barry was a Hall of Famer. He also made enemies chasing perfection over the years. He was demanding, opinionated, brash.
"He had baggage," Lynn said.
"Oh, I had baggage," Rick said. "Over the limit."
They dated five years before marrying in 1991. They celebrated their 25th anniversary last year.
"She has made me a better person," Rick said.
Canyon Barry is one of Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry's six children, and the fifth basketball-playing son.
Florida senior guard Canyon Barry, left, credits his mother Lynn, right, with helping him become a well-rounded person and an Academic All-American.
Here's how Canyon got his name: Lynn and Rick were rafting on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, a family trip organized by her parents. Along the way, Lynn told Rick she thought was pregnant.
"I said if I'm pregnant, let's call the kid Canyon," Lynn said. "We kind of laughed. But we never found a name we liked better. It's a good Colorado name, too."
"My mom kind of gets overlooked a lot because of the career my dad had," Canyon said. "But, when I was growing up, she was instrumental in my development. My dad kind of took over when I was older. But at a young age, she was the one who really worked with me on fundamentals, a lot of ball-handling drills, cone drills, working with me every summer, shooting with me."
Florida guard Canyon Barry is shown here with his mother Lynn and father, Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, on a safari.
Canyon Barry earned straight A's at Cheyenne Mountain High School. He was also a state champion in doubles tennis and badminton. He played volleyball and was on Cheyenne's state champion track and field team. He was class valedictorian. He was an Eagle Scout. Lynn reeled off some of the instruments Canyon taught himself to play: euphonium, recorder, keyboard, trombone, guitar, harmonica, dulcimer, rababa.
"A lot of that was my mom, wanting me to be more rounded," Canyon said. "My parents let me try everything. They never forced basketball on me. I think from my mom I get that well-roundedness, and the academic piece, being an academic All-American. That side, her family with all the doctors. Then my dad with that competitiveness, trying to do the best you can do."
Canyon is wicked smart. When not mastering neutron multiplicity and radiation detection, he can solve a Rubik's Cube in less than a minute. In seconds flat, really.
"He tells me it's just an algorithm," Rick said, shaking his head. "Just an algorithm."
"Canyon taught me to do it," Lynn said. She found a Rubik's Cube in the condo and started fiddling. "But I can't do it as fast."
Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry and his wife Lynn moved to Gainesville to be a part of their son Canyon Barry's senior year with the Florida Gators, who open NCAA Tournament play Thursday in Orlando against East Tennessee State.
Rick sees great things for his youngest son.
"I'm telling you right now: Canyon Barry could be a find for an NBA team, a hidden gem."
Rick said no one in the NBA ever listened to him about his other sons, successful as they were. His voice rose.
"Be nice," his wife said.
Lynn the lion tamer.
So much back and forth. It's as if they never stopped playing tennis.
Rick said, "Sometimes I feel like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men — you can't handle the truth!"
"You just have to work on a nicer tone," Lynn said.
Rick grinned at her.
At Florida's fall commencement inside the basketball arena, Dr. Kent Fuchs, the university president, held up Canyon as a positive example for the graduates. Fuchs pointed out Canyon's underhand free throw style, doing something outside the box, following his own path and sticking with it.
"Three months and he's in a commencement speech," Lynn said at lunch. "Who gets that? He's amazing."
A few hours later, Lynn Barry sent a text.
It included a photo — just her hand, holding a solved Rubik's Cube.
Thanks again for lunch! And just so you know I can do it. Haha.
She added a grinning emoji.
Miss Healthy Smile.
*** note: full disclosure - in the past Lynn Barry has given my daughter group and private basketball lessons. She is a great coach and female role model. And I think, as this article from the Tampa Bay Times show, a great mother and wife.