Judge's Sports Fanaticism Becomes Local Attraction - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/2/04-Palestine

Judge's Sports Fanaticism Becomes Local Attraction

District Judge Bascom Bentley hears the same types of court cases most judges do. But when he leaves the bench, the chambers he enters prove he's no ordinary judge.

Bentley has collected sports memorabilia since he was a kid.

Julie: "Do you remember what all these names are and who they are and everything about them?"

Bentley: "I can just about, you know, Todd Landry, Kyle Rote."

He's expanded from his Anderson County office into the hallway and even taken over what used to be the law library. And that's only half of it. Bentley has another office in Cherokee County.

"I need a third county is what I need," he said. "Or really, what I need is to convince commissioners in Anderson and Cherokee County is to let me have the courthouse, and they build themselves another structure, ok."

Bentley has pro sports items, but prefers college and high school sports. He's got footballs autographed by every Heisman trophy winner.

Julie: "Tell me about your athletic background."

Bentley (laughing): "It's not worth telling, you know. I was on the verge of really being something in sports, but just a lack of talent seemed to stand in my way."

Bentley says he didn't have the talent for business or medical school either, so he decided to become a judge. And voters have re-elected him for nearly three decades. He says there's no way they could make him leave, not with all the stuff he has.

"I feel like global warming, you know," Bentley said. "I'm just going to slowly but surely take over."

Bentley says his wife thinks he's crazy and he agrees.

"I'm sure psychologically, I've got more problems than Freud could work out."

He said it, we didn't.

Bentley says he welcomes anyone to tour his little museum of sports memorabilia. He says area schools take field trips all the time to his court chambers in both counties.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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