The Rev. John Ellis answered the phone call Saturday night as he was driving to his home in Gordo, Ala.

He was returning from Selma, Ala., where he had attended the funeral of the Rev. James McBride, 58.

Before I go any further here comes full disclosure -- Ellis is the father of yours truly and I had no idea he knew McBride, the eldest brother of Pistons big man Ben Wallace -- until he called me Feb. 26 to let me know that McBride had died after a long battle with cancer.

Pops isn't quite familiar with how things work in today's world when it comes to the immediacy of news and wasn't aware that I knew of McBride's death almost as soon as it happened.

But I was stunned at this reminder of how small the world is. My father actually knew the brother of a guy I have covered the past two seasons.

When he called me more than a week ago, he told me he got to know McBride when he was invited to preach at McBride's church, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Centreville, Ala., about four or five years ago.