Playing The Game: From Sports To Business To Let’s Eat


April 20, 2012 by David Gillaspie

How Basketball Created Slick’s Big Time BBQ Sauces (posted on

Former Blazer Michael Harper, Barbi and Dan Slick, 1080 The Fan's Isaac Ropp

From the fundamentals of basketball, to the fundamentals of cooking, Dan Slick is a master. It only takes a lifetime to get it right.

Learning to dribble, pass, and shoot, are the roots of basketball; learning to create, innovate, and accommodate are the hallmarks of a winner. A teammate shows up when the stakes are high; a certain businessman shows up with the steaks, the chicken, and the pulled pork.

Can you guess the business?

Slick’s Big Time BBQ Sauce is the name of the game. When he rolls out the grilling gear, you and everyone else become part of the Big Time experience. Whether it’s catering an event at Nike, winning the barbeque challenge at the St. Paul Rodeo, or cooking the pre-game meal for the OK Thunder before they beat the Blazers, Slick’s Big Time is in it to win it.

The competitive nature of sports carries the same drive that leads to business success, if you learn to channel it correctly. With parents as educators and coaches, a kid in the Slick household either jumped on the bandwagon, or hid. If they stuck around, they learned how to work to get better. They learned about responsibility to the team.

Most important, they learned you can’t take back a shot once it leaves your hand. Hit or miss, you don’t stand still.

In sports, you’ve heard of ‘The Dream?’ It’s usually a big dream. Go faster, higher, and stronger and it’s an Olympic-sized dreams. Win one championship and play for another and you’ve got the repeat-dream.

Sports dreams for athletes growing up in the seventies came with extra baggage and mixed messages. Hair was still an issue. Grow it too long and it became a freak-flag, too short and it became a symbol for redneck.

If you lived through the Sixties, or read about the times, you probably heard Timothy Leary’s advice to ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.’ You’ve seen pictures of those who took his advice gathered at Woodstock. What did it mean to athletes?

Not a lot of basketball happening in that mud pit.

Drop back another decade to The Beats in the fifties and read Allen Ginsberg’s howl about  “the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked…”

He didn’t see the best minds of his generation destroyed on a basketball court, not when the Warriors played in Philadelphia and the Pistons played in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The times were different. There was no twenty four hour news cycle of instant data. Athletes didn’t play for millions of dollars, but they played.

They were drawn to game, not the opportunity. It was more need than choice.

Basketball captured Dan Slick the same way. Other sports came and went, but not hoops. Oddly enough, basketball in the seventies carried a penalty for players big enough, or strong enough, to jam. The slam dunk was illegal.

So what does a high school baller who doesn’t need a ladder to touch the rim do in the illegal jam era?

Wait for the rule makers to come to their senses. Why deny a player with enough hops the chance to electrify the crowd? The rules changed and opened the space above the rim. During a game, Slick leaped high enough to unofficially, or officially, become the first player in his high school to dunk in the new-jump era.

He wanted the second one, too.

“I ran through a guy trying for the second one,” he said. This is not someone you want to block. From the looks of him it would be like you standing on the tracks while a train pulls into the station at full speed.

After playing high school ball for Tigard, and college for Clackamas Community College, Slick drew interest from Illinois and Indiana State before heading to Warner Pacific. He was good enough there to get feelers from Europe, then it was over.

Except like most real sports guys, it’s never over.

Today, Dan still plays. Whether basketball or business, the fundamentals remain the same: Bring your A-Game.

If you need proof, scroll up to the top picture. From the expressions in the photo, Slick’s Big Time BBQ scored.

Dan and Barbi Slick stand between Michael Harper and Isaac Ropp from KFXX TheFan’s Primetime. The missing member of the team is Isaac’s radio partner Big Suke. Anyone with a nickname ‘Big’ has seen their share of barbeque, especially a former college all-American and NFL lineman.

If Big Suke didn’t make the event, he struck out on Slick’s Slider. Less competition for pulled pork leaves more for Isaac. He looks ready to fight his way to the front of the line, ready to claim his prize. Any self-respecting man from Kansas, like Isaac, knows barbeque. Texas and Oklahoma might think they are barbeque heaven, just don’t say it in Kansas.

Don’t say it in Oregon, either.

Speaking of change, consider the difference today if famous east coast thinkers like Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg had access to great barbeque.

Dr. Leary’s famous quote would have spun a different direction with, “Turn On (the grill), Tune In (the sauce), and Drop Out (of ordinary barbeque)”.

Ginsberg might have said, “I saw the best minds of my generation improved by Slick’s Big Time BBQ, not starving hysterical naked from other sauces…”

Work hard, play harder, compete as well as you can in sports and business. Those are the rules. You could do a lot worse.

If you knows kids who play sports, pump them up. Help them stay involved by explaining how sports values are life values. You never know if a kid has something great in store for the future, but you can help them out with a basketball/barbeque story to keep them on the right track.


2 thoughts on “Playing The Game: From Sports To Business To Let’s Eat

  1. lindajane1324 says:

    I enjoyed this article. I will try Slick’s Big Time BBQ next time I see them!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Linda,

      Ordinarily I’m all over the Chinese rooster sauce and salsa. Slick’s has changed the order.

      Even better, it resulted from backyard testing. A DIY cook makes his own DIY sauce and scores. I put some on cole slaw. It’s a game changer in a bottle.

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