It's unusual to watch a 7-foot man post up a 5-foot woman on the basketball court, but when Kat Jayme asked her childhood hero for a game of one-on-one, he put on his game face.
Despite his visitor coming to Gans from another country, Bryant "Big Country" Reeves would not be allowing her any layups.
Jayme is a Canadian filmmaker, and her documentary "Finding Big Country" is the story of a woman who, at age 7 in 1995, loved basketball so much that she had already decided she would try to become the first female NBA player.
And her city was getting its own NBA expansion team, the Vancouver Grizzlies, that year.
The team's first draft pick: Reeves, a 7-foot, 275-pound All-American center with a crew-cut hairstyle from Oklahoma State University, where he had led the Cowboys to the 1995 Final Four in Seattle and shattered a backboard while he was there.
Jayme remembers her youthful fascination with "Big Country" upon his arrival in her Canadian city: "He was the biggest guy on the court, and he had the coolest nickname and he was our franchise player."
She became captivated by him all over again, long after the team left Vancouver in 2001 after only six losing seasons to move to Memphis — where no grizzlies exist, she notes.
"When it became clear to me that he was the 'holy grail' of Vancouver sports interviews, because no one could reach him, I decided I was going to make this happen and it would be a great way to tell the story of the Grizzlies," she told the Tulsa World .
She was at Circle Cinema in early November to show her film and talk about how she found "Big Country" back in Oklahoma.
She found a man who for years has been leading a happy, out-of-the-limelight life on his cattle ranch outside his Sequoyah County hometown of Gans, population 300 or so.
In the film, she finds that many in Vancouver barely remember Reeves (or the Grizzlies, for that matter), and none of his former Vancouver coaches or teammates have any contact with him.
But then she gets a tip about the secluded ranch, so hidden away that you'll miss it without precise directions.
"I had people tell me to not get my hopes up because he likes his privacy, and I contacted what felt like everyone in his life," Jayme said. "But I led with my heart and told them: 'I was a big Grizzlies fan, I wanted to be the first woman to play in the NBA, and I want to tell Bryant's story. Will you help me?'"
An invitation to the house — and directions — were offered after his friends vouched for Jayme.
Meeting the big man with the smooth shot around the basket exceeded all her expectations, she said, as he impressed with his Oklahoma hospitality.
They talked for hours, shot hoops (their match is in the film) and traveled around the ranch, meeting the cows and dodging their natural fertilizer.
"Everyone said how kind and humble and generous he was, but he was the nicest human being I've ever met in my life," Jayme said.
She added that her research discovered efforts he made to meet with sick children in Vancouver and help local charities, by his request, without any cameras around to see.
"I can see why he's so loved by family and friends, and by Grizzlies employees I talked to, who said, 'I wish everyone was more like him.' I find it special that he chose to come home, but he really liked Vancouver, too."
It turns out he didn't mind talking about his time in Canada, where injuries — to a knee first and then to his back — cut his career short.
"It's just in getting him to talk to you, and then he'll talk as long as you want. It's just the corralling him to do it," Jayme said with a chuckle.
"He likes his ranch and being there around his family, and I told him I could see why. It really is a paradise."
Thanks to the success of "Finding Big Country" — Jayme's 40-minute documentary won the audience award at the Vancouver International Film Festival over 300 other films — her next project will be a feature-length documentary about the Grizzlies' team history.
At the Vancouver festival, a sold-out theater of nearly 700 watched the premiere of "Finding Big Country," with many in doubt that she had tracked down the man in Gans, as she had kept it a secret.
"There were a lot of doubters, so when people saw him on the screen there were cheers, and that was great. We got everyone to stand up and say, 'Thank you, Bryant,' and I sent that to him," Jayme said.
There have been three more screenings in Vancouver, and three more sold-out shows, she said.
Jayme has invited "Big Country" to meet her for a screening of the film. She has yet to hear back from her hero-turned-friend.
But she's holding out hope, with the faith of a fan, that he might want to see "Finding Big Country" for what she said would be his first viewing.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Tulsa World.