Remembering the Legend: “BIG” John Taylor
Published 10:47 am Monday, September 12, 2022
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By C.Y. Peters
Big John Taylor was a basketball star who started school around the mid ’60s and never left. He became the janitor, bus driver, assistant coach and advisor to every coach, principal, teacher and student that entered Unaka High School. Some of it was good advice, some were bad, but all of it was Big John’s advice and you took it.
“Big John” was a retired employee of the Carter County School System, after many years of service. “Big John” loved sports and getting to watch the pride and joy of his life, his son, Jamie, and grandson, Brady, get to play for the Rangers.
It is said that true wealth is measured by the number of friends you have; if so, “Big John” was a very rich man. Taylor was a Ranger fan in any sport they played; he supported them all. He also supported all the other county schools when Unaka didn’t play. One time Hampton was in the sub-state game and Big John wanted to go. He talked to his friend from Hampton, Tim Andrews, and ask him if there was any chance of getting a ticket. Andrews told Taylor, you come on up I’ll take care of you, and he did. Took John to the front row where the coaches sit and had him a padded chair.
Taylor was unstoppable in the paint, his fifteen-foot jumper was the best I ever saw. Big John was listed as a guard but played like a forward and was an all-conference player. He played with players like Keith Bowers, Javy Taylor, Johnny Bennett, and Larry Estep. He won many games for the Rangers and quickly became a fan favorite. If the game was on the line, Big John wanted the ball.
After winning the 2004 state tournament, Donald Ensor said “Big John was my right-hand man, he was always there for me,” and “If I needed anything, he was always supportive.” John was proud to be a Ranger and very proud to take the Gold Ball back to Stoney Creek.
If you ever want to hear a good fishing story about Big John just ask his good friend Malcolm Kress.
Sadly Big John passed away on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.