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Peter King tells funny story about Al Davis, thanks him in Sports Illustrated farewell

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Buffalo Bills vs Oakland Raiders - October 23, 2005 Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary

Media access is not something for which Al Davis was known. If anything, he was known for disdain for most media – especially those who had less than positive things to say about his Raiders.

Peter King has been part of that media for some 30 years with Sports Illustrated – a post he will be leaving at the end of this month for a position with NBC. He posted his final Monday Morning Quarterback article today, sending out thank yous to a great many in the business who have meant a great deal to him. Among them, strangely enough, was Al Davis.

King recognizes how strange it may sound that he would have Al among his thank yous, but he was there just the same. And, as you might expect from a member of the media getting a one-on-one with Al, it was accompanied by a story.

Thank you, Mike Shanahan and Mike Martz and Matt Millen and Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff and Al Davis (yes, Al Davis), for giving me the peeks behind the curtains of the real game during my mid-career at SI. They allowed me to see drafts, game-plan meetings, team meetings (Shanahan gave me a riveting look at Saturday night Broncos team meetings before the ’05 AFC title game) and, in Davis’ case, the ability to see a little bit how his brain worked.

The day before the 2004 draft, Davis showed me his office, which had four big TVs in a diamond shape on the wall opposite his desk. “Basketball, women’s basketball, baseball,” he said. “All the sports.” He loved women’s basketball. He was fascinated with UConn, how everyone was shooting at the Huskies but couldn’t take them down with any regularity. Stupidly, I tried to test Davis, who was 74.

“Got a quiz for you,” I said. “Who took Diana Taurasi with the first pick of the WNBA Draft?”

He made a noise that sounded like Pfffffft. I’m sure Amy Trask and Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden heard it a hundred times. “Oh come on,” Davis said. “That’s easy. Phoenix.”

Key word for King was “stupidly”. He should have known better than to quiz Al on anything he’s passionate about.