Entertainment

Bob, Viv and smoking in the boys room

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Bob Marley would have turned 73 in February. The Jamaica Observer 's Entertainment Desk will present a series of offbeat stories on his legacy. Today, we present a teaser.

Two of the biggest heroes in the Caribbean during the 1970s were Bob Marley and Vivian Richards. Music and sports fans packed stadiums to see the dreadlocked Jamaican reggae superstar and the Antiguan, a destructive batsman who was the West Indies' top player.

In a 2016 interview with Vikram Sathaye for the cricket programme What The Duck, Richards said he met Marley three times. One occasion was at the Pegasus hotel in St Andrew where the West Indies were staying in preparation for a Test match against England.

He did not say what year the meeting took place, but Richards recalled Marley and several members of the Twelve Tribes of Israel coming to meet the players.

“I was pretty privileged to know this guy whose music you would listen to, the international side of things, and now he's in your dressing room. That's pretty special,” said Richards.

But shortly after they entered, Richards noticed “a bumfire at the back of the room”. Apparently, Marley and his colleagues began smoking ganja and that sent the cricketers into a panic.

Also staying at the hotel at the time were a number of British journalists covering the Test series.

“I thought that wasn't the best advert at the time so I had to be quite brave and tell him, 'Brother Bob, this is not allowed in here. I know I am doing something totally against your religion but our religion says no, we cannot.' So, he obliged,” Richards explained.

Marley was not taken aback by the request. In fact, Richards said his response was typically Jamaican.

“The amazing thing about it was, if you've heard Chris Gayle talk — he's also from Jamaica — when those guys speak at times every two words is 'Yeah, man', or 'everything cool, man'. And then everything cooled and the fire was put out.”

Marley died in May 1981 from cancer at age 36. That year, England toured the West Indies for a five-Test series (four matches were played) which the West Indies won 2-0, with Richards scoring two centuries.

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