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Most awkward team photo in Federal Way basketball history?
The Federal Way High School boys basketball program got a lot of free publicity Thursday afternoon. But it was the Eagle team from 24 years ago that got the national run, thanks to the website deadspin.com.
A photo of the 1987-88 Federal Way team was featured on deadspin with the headline, "Why Does This High School Basketball Team Photo Have An Uzi And A Tank In It?"
The photo was taken after the Eagles made a trip south on Interstate 5 to play a game and stopped at the museum at Fort Lewis. It shows the entire team, along with longtime head coach Jerome Collins (featuring a jheri curl), standing on top and in front of a tank in some very, very, very short shorts. It also shows then-senior Sean Sehlin holding, what I'm just assuming, is a plastic uzi machine gun.
"We all love laughing at old team photos. There's the passé fashion and the awkward facial expressions, and some dude's dumb dog is always the 'team mascot,'" the deadspin.com story said. "The photo above is no exception. Look at those short shorts! The bad haircuts! The gigantic tank and semi-automatic weapon! What a bunch of dweebs — wait, what?"
Deadspin is a sports website owned by Gawker Media and was launched in September 2005. As of February 2010, the site had attracted more than 462 million unique visitors and about 573 million page views, according to Wikipedia. Deadspin has 187,479 Twitter followers.
The website posts commentaries, recaps and previews of the major sports stories of the day, as well as sports-related anecdotes, rumors and YouTube videos. Like Gawker.com, stories on Deadspin come from anonymous tips, readers and other sports blogs.
The 1987-88 Federal Way High School team advanced to the Class 3A (then the biggest classification in Washington) State Boys Basketball Tournament. The Eagles finished 1-2 inside the Seattle Center Coliseum.
The Eagles suffered a 74-72 loss to Marysville-Pilchuck (a team that included former University of Washington All-American safety Shane Pahukoa) in the opening round. Federal Way then beat Columbia River, 72-61, before being bounced by Mead, 53-51.
Federal Way was led by All-State guard Jeremy Sloane. The sharpshooter went on play a couple of seasons at the Air Force Academy before quitting the sport to concentrate on becoming a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
Sloane flew several missions during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo and Serbia in the 1990s, and his F-16 was actually the second fighter jet into the war. During Operation Allied Force, Sloane was also on the rescue crew to rescue Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady, whose plane was shot down.
Following his combat missions, Sloane was later awarded a spot into the Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron.
Could Sloane (pictured with his arm around the gigantic tank gun) have been swayed into the military lifestyle by the awkward team photo at Fort Lewis? You never know.