Meet Bo Hodges, the artist.
Hodges, one of the top players on the East Tennessee State basketball team, has been painting ever since his freshman year of high school when he decided to take an art class as an elective. He quickly found out he liked to paint and not long after that learned he was pretty good at it.
“It just took my mind off a lot of stuff,” said Hodges, a junior guard from Nashville. “It was just easy to do. It came easy for me and I really liked it.”
The subject of Hodges’ paintings have included landscape scenes, sunsets and mountains, but the one he’s most proud of is one of Michael Jordan. That’s the only one he has in Johnson City. The rest are back home.
“When people come in my room they ask ‘Where’d you get that?’ ” he said. “I tell them I painted it and they’re like ‘No way.’ I show them my signature on the back.”
“He’s a legend,” Hodges said. “It was kind of a must.”
These days, his painting is kind of a hidden talent. Hodges exposed his hobby during an interview with ETSU radio man Jay Sandos that was played on the big screen at a recent game.
“Not too many people know much about that,” he said. “I really don’t just tell people I paint. My friends and my parents, they all know.”
After the interview, 5,000 people suddenly knew.
“I had a lot of texts,” Hodges said. “People were asking if I could teach them how to paint.”
Playing college basketball can be an all-consuming job and since Hodges has been busy trying to win a championship with his teammates this year, he hasn’t had time to dedicate to his other interests.
“I haven’t painted this year,” he admits, while saying his does most of his painting back home in Nashville. “I did one here my freshman year. It was a house with grass and clouds and birds. I gave that one to my mom.”
Should the Bucs go on and win the Southern Conference tournament, it would put the team in the NCAA tournament, the ultimate goal for all college basketball players. Hodges said he’d be happy to capture the scene after the championship game in a painting.
“Oh, for sure,” he said. “I could definitely do that.”