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Catching up with... Sleepy Floyd

Golden State Warriors guard Sleepy Floyd drives up the court during an NBA game in the 1988-89 season. Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors guard Sleepy Floyd drives up the court during an NBA game in the 1988-89 season.

Eric Floyd, better known as “Sleepy” Floyd got his nickname from a fourth grade baseball game. When the first pitch hit to him went right through his legs, a spectator shouted out, “Get that kid out of the field, he’s sleeping!” The nickname has stuck with him ever since.  

“They never let me live it down,” says Floyd. “I hated it initially. I just grew to love it, and it became a part of me, and in sports a great nickname goes a long way.

According to Floyd, some people don’t even know his real name.

“I was in the airport one time and a guy came up to me and asked, ‘What’s your name?’ And I said ‘Eric,’ and he said you look just like Sleepy Floyd.”

As a Georgetown Hoya under the tutelage of John Thompson, Floyd was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round of the 1982 NBA Draft. Floyd was known to drift off during games, and never seemed to have that fire inside him. Though he was dangerous in transition and he got through defenders flawlessly with his stylistic ball handling, he was still very much known as Sleepy Floyd.

That all changed in Game 4 of the 1987 Western Conference semifinals where he led the Golden State Warriors to a victory over the Showtime LA Lakers. Floyd’s play in that game was far from drowsy.

“It was an amazing opportunity, the Golden State Warriors were going up against the mighty Lakers who at that time had Magic and Kareem, James Worthy, who I grew up with in Gastonia, North Carolina so we had some history,” says Floyd. “They [hadn’t] lost a game during that time and they were 3-0 in the series and if we lost that game our playoff run would have been over.”

Photo: John W. McDonough/SI
Floyd went from being a nonchalant player, to an explosive point guard against the Lakers, with the tenacity to score with every chance he got. He wanted to prove to the showboating Lakers that he was there to win, and he went on to set two NBA playoff scoring records that night with the most points in a quarter and a half, he finished with a career high 51 points.

“They were a team that talked a lot of trash, but backed it up,” says Floyd. “I just got fed up with it, and as a point guard I decided to take it upon myself to score, it was a magical moment scoring 39 points in the half, 29 points in the fourth quarter and that record still stands.”

Despite being away from the game, Floyd is still well known and his nickname has still stuck around. The NBA star has gone from the hardwood floors of a basketball court to the soft tops of pillows and comforters. Floyd is the Brand Ambassador for Comfort Revolution, a company that develops high-end sleeping products.

“They reached out to me and asked me if I would be a brand ambassador and it’s such an amazing company,” says Floyd. “I represent the company at shows and events and they have amazing products that I believe in.”

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From mattresses to pillows with a hydroluxe cooling gel component that allows you to fall asleep faster than normal. Floyd emphasizes the quality products and goes out and shares not only the products but also the importance of getting good sleep, which Floyd is a big believer in.

“How your brain reacts, you’re more able to retain information, which is pretty basic you would think,” says Floyd. “A lot of times we take that for granted.”

Aside from Comfort Revolution, Floyd is involved in other causes, specifically helping children. Floyd says he seeks to work with causes for all children, especially those who are underprivileged. He has gotten behind the Michael Fuchs foundation, a charity that works with children who are in the hospital.

Speaking about his work with the foundation, Floyd explains that he’s “working with kids that have had a lot of challenges physically. They organize learning programs to help enhance kids that have a lot of challenges with different illnesses,” says Floyd.

Another cause Floyd has gotten involved with is the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization, which provides kids with mentors and positive influence in their lives. He’s also worked with Police Commissioner of Charlotte, NC, Rodney Monroe with a program that provides after school programs for kids.

“When kids get out of school, there are so many challenges out there for them,” says Floyd. “So [we’re] getting them into programs that will challenge them mentally and hopefully help show them right from wrong and taking advantages of opportunities educationally.”

Getting kids into these programs is something that really hits home for Floyd. Growing up Floyd explains that he had great parents, but he was also fortunate to have people in the community that reached out to him along the way.

“There were those outside programs that also took a hand at shaping me and forming my ideas and putting me in positive situations,” says Floyd.

Floyd’s message to people is to always give back any way they can.

“If you are in a position to give back or affect someone in a positive way, please take advantage of it,” says Floyd. “It makes you feel good and it’s not monetary, it’s just you might be able to change a kids life for that day and make them feel good about themselves.”

Pro Files: Jonathan Bender

As injuries were derailing his NBA career, Jonathan Bender began developing a product to help athletes like him rehab more effectively. That product became a successful post-basketball business.

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