Former Razorback U.S. Reed shares adoption story

    6:04 PM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It was 1981, and Arkansas was playing defending champion Louisville in the NCAA tournament. Reed's game winning shot gave Arkansas a victory.

    Today, nearly 30 years later, Reed remembers that moment like it was yesterday

    "I kinda felt it was goin' in! One of those moments, 'man this is going in,'" he says as he reflects on a photo which captured that famous moment.

    Fans still approach him at the age of 52. His number "24" Razorback jerseys, along with magazine cover photos and sports awards, adorn Reed's Pine Bluff home.

    But it is the photos that have nothing to do with Arkansas sports history are closest to his heart.

    "That's my adopted parents," Reed points out, looking at old photos with THV anchor Dawn Scott.

    The former basketball star reveals publicly for the first that his parents adopted him and another child at birth. But they didn't tell them that until Reed was 13-years old.

    "Other little kids would say, you guys don't look alike," says Reed. "Shocked me. Kids can be cruel, but honest. I asked my mother and father - are we adopted? And they sat us down and told us."

    It was a secret Reed kept all his life. He spent his younger days shooting hoops, and his mother insisted he take piano lessons. He did, all the while trying to forget.

    "It's always something lingering in the back of your mind, your mother. Do you have brothers and sisters? But after years go by, you kind of say, 'this is my real mother, real father - don't worry about that.'"

    Reed didn't worry. He eventually married, started a family of his own, and coached the UALR women's basketball team. It was then he received a bombshell phone call at the age of 40. It was his birth mother.

    "Actually my mom found me," says Reed.

    She wanted to know her biological son was okay, and she asked to meet him. He agreed.

    "She surprised me at the gate. She kind of rushed up and grabbed me, and that's how we first met at the St. Louis airport," recalls Reed.

    "She said, "I always knew you'd be okay when I gave you up for adoption,'" says Reed. "And I was. I realized when a mother gives up a child at birth like that, it affects them the rest of their life."

    Turns out, she'd never told Reed's biological father she was pregnant. So he too got a phone call.

    "He never knew he had a son," explains Reed. "So they had to call him and tell him your son is U.S. Reed, the one you been watching in Hot Springs all this time!"

    Reed's adopted parents are now both deceased. He says he is grateful to them for the love they so willingly gave to him, love that enabled him to make sports history.

    He now shares a close relationship with both of his biological parents, something he says has been an unexpected blessing that has brought much healing.

    "It was good I met them at the age I was," says Reed. "I have no hard feelings. I know how hard it was, to get pregnant, a young mother like that. Goes to show a mother's love never dies and they still love you whether they're with you or apart from you. It never dies."

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