Perry hopes to ‘save the day’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005

His natural ability to shoot a basketball gives Antonio Perry the ability to draw double- and triple-teams on the court.

Off the court, the Dallas County High School senior forward can draw just about anything else.

When he isn’t playing basketball, Perry can often be found with a notepad and pencil in his hand. Schoolwork may be Perry’s top priority, but when study time’s over, he spends a lot of his free time drawing cartoons.

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“It’s just something I do for fun,” Perry said. “It eases my mind, brings me back to my younger days when I could play all day and have fun all day.”

Perry said he creates the storyline, then draws the characters to go with it. Much of his work consists of stories based in the 23rd Century. At that time, Perry said, the planet consists of flying cars and is haunted by a mysterious virus. In a nutshell, society has gone haywire.

“Star Wars stuff,” Perry said.

The hero of the story is a character named Himitshu. The half African-American, half Japanese sword-carrying superhero sports a gigantic afro and sideburns that reach down to his cheeks on both sides. He wears only a belt to carry his sword and pants similar to those worn by martial arts experts.

“He saves the day,” Perry said of his creation.

Perry hopes to do the same thing for the Dallas County basketball team. Midway through the season, Perry has become one of the team’s go-to guys along with guard Rafel Miller and post player Michael Johnson.

“Antonio’s an outstanding kid,” Dallas County coach Bill Porter Jr. said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him.”

Even though he has known Perry for the past four years, Porter said he still finds it difficult to know what Perry is thinking. Porter said Perry hardly ever tells anyone what is on his mind and his facial expressions are the only way to know. Porter referred to Perry’s personality as silent aggression.

“He gets mad at himself and nobody else when he’s on the floor,” Porter said.

Perry said he wants to continue creating characters and stories in his drawings. He currently has completed four 30-page storybooks and wants to add to his collection.

“I’ve thought about having them published,” he said. “My mom wants me to go to college and study art.”

Perry also has been contacted by a handful of junior colleges interested in having him play basketball for them, including Alabama Southern and Shelton State. Perry, whose mother played basketball for Dallas County and father played for Selma, has considered taking his game to the next level. Then he will be the creator of his own one-of-a-kind story.